Spirituality for Today – March 2013 – Volume 17, Issue 8

Love One Another

By Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

A photo of William Tecumseh ShermanWilliam Tecumseh Sherman

Speaking to a group of young men preparing for military service, the great Civil War general, William Tecumseh Sherman made this telling statement, "There is many a boy here who thinks that war is all glory, but I tell you, boys, it is all hell." Sadly, the inability for humanity to live up to the Lord's command to "love one another" at least to the degree of making war and its "hell" unthinkable has yet to come to pass. But even in the midst of war, love cannot be snuffed out from the hearts and minds of those who serve and those who love them. Last Easter, the 127th Military Police Company stationed in Afghanistan sent 145 of their number home for that most sacred of Holy Days. Television station, KRDO in Colorado Springs, Colorado covered the return of a number of troops from their area. Among those interviewed was Sargent Anthony Petro: "First person I saw was my wife. She is the one who has kept me going this entire deployment. Obviously, my daughters mean a lot to me, but my wife has kept me motivated to get home."

Being motivated to get home is a phrase that certainly applies most aptly to the Resurrection of Christ. Yes, Jesus wished to return, to go home to the Father, but I was referring to our motivation in life because of the reconciliation Jesus accomplished for all mankind. Sometimes our weaknesses in spirit and flesh could cause us to despair. Why can't we show the kind of love and gratitude to Jesus that he deserves? It is because we do not appreciate the magnitude of Christ's actions for us? Are we too complacent in the magnanimity of Jesus' love? Because human beings can give an affirmative answer to these questions even in their relations with one another, it is no wonder that we must examine our relationship toward the mystery of God's salvation. It is the leap of faith, the leap from darkness into the light of truth that places us in that awkward twilight of belief that we must overcome if we are to share in the gift of Jesus' saving act. As Clarence W. Hall once said, "Easter says that you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there." On whichever level we desire to love and to be loved, we find our confidence shaken by the awesomeness of love and our fear that we do not merit such a reward. Within that feeling, however, we can discover the assurance we need and the courage to welcome the truth of God's love for us and to see the value of our genuine efforts to live a life pleasing to God despite our faltering. It is Jesus himself who calls us to him. There is a light burning in heaven's window for us and we are invited to come home.

The powerful love surrounding the Resurrection has mystified those who follow Jesus from the day of the miraculous event itself. The disciples were incredulous, Thomas doubted, the Jewish leaders denied it, and the pagans scoffed at it, but no one could be indifferent to it. The gravity of the impact of the mission of Jesus can find its only appropriate context in love. The fullness of the commission of the Apostles is found in proclaiming God's love: love is joy, love is forgiveness, love is sacrifice, love is labor, love is hope, and love is the pathway home. Life is the visible expression of God's love, death is the consequence of turning from that love, and the Resurrection is the eternal presence of God's saving love. Human reason is baffled forever by the sacrifice and the Resurrection of Jesus, but by the event of Easter, the human heart knows its purpose.

Faith in the resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life which is part of the person is indeed answered… God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed.

– Pope Benedict XVI

When we think about ourselves and our own loved ones, the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is the only source of hope that the struggles of life carry meaning and that the terrors of death are conquered. Sargent Anthony Petro has come home as if arisen from the hellish reality of war and restored to his family at Easter. Thankful for their Easter miracle, Sargent Petro's wife Dawn says it beautifully, "It is a blessing. It is awesome. You couldn't have picked a better holiday." On this Easter, we, at Clemons Productions, pray that you and your family enjoy a glorious and joyful day of Jesus' victory over sin and death for you and for all of us.

Happy Easter!