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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

United under the Radiance of the Face of God

This Easter, we celebrate life, even in the face of death. There are loved one's who have faced death and not all of them have made it through. This passing out of this life is a difficult sorrow for those of us who are left behind. There are no words to express or relieve the heartache. When death is not expected, we are left with a troubled sorrow and unanswered questions.

Christ knew this sorrow too. His heart was troubled before the tomb of his friend Lazarus. And so He stands with us, allowing our tears to mix with ours. He did not create us for death, and He came to overcome its claim on our existence.

Through our faith, the Risen Lord leads us beyond the limits otherwise imposed on us by death. His love is unconquered and no threat to human existence can impede His way. So our Captain leads those who have died in faith into everlasting light, and those of us who still live by faith follow this Victor even under the shadow of that same glory. This symphony of glory and faith is the communion of saints—an exchange of holy gifts between the whole people of God both in this mortal life and in eternal life.

What union between heaven and earth is realized in the Savior! So in that most sorrowful hour, when unanswered questions buffet our very existence and everything we believed about our lives seems to be shattered, we still have hope. Our hope does not disappoint—for no matter what we suffer the love of God is poured out in us through Him (Romans 5:5). And if He is Lord of all and all things belong to Him, even death is subjected to His power to restore and make new.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity reflected on these same truths with a young seminarian who had lost his father. Her words reach out to everyone who has lost someone in this present crisis too. They are a call to live with our hearts in what is above and to make our priority those things of heaven that seem so far away. This is how she dealt with the death of those she love - it is the Christian faith. And so she prays with us so that all might enjoy the eternal face to face that we were meant to know from before the foundation of the world: "Let us live in what is above, in what is very far away, in Him... in us... Under the radiance of God's Face, I remain united with you."(Letter 200, April 27, 1904)

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