Thursday, April 14, 2011

Everything Hinges on the Resurrerction, By St. Bellarmine

Brethren, Christ's Resurrection is the
Fundamental Truth of Christianity.

Prove to me that Christ arose not, and in a moment I am an infidel; prove to me that Christ arose, and in that instant I conceive a faith broad enough to accept all the teachings of Christ and Christ's Church.

A hope that stops not short of everlasting life for my soul and for my body too and a charity for God and my fellowman which, God willing, will procure me a happy and a blessed immortality. For if Christ rose again, then beyond all peradventure, He was God, and every word He uttered and every truth taught by the one true Church wherein He promised to abide forever, must be infallible beyond all doubt.

For Christ had said: " I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it up again."
Words, which, if justified by the event, proclaim the speaker to have been a God. Lazarus, and other few before and since, have been recalled to life, but always, mind you, by a power other than their own, but only God, the Arbiter of life and death, could say:
"I die at pleasure and at pleasure do I rise again."
In fact on this one truth that He should rise again, Christ staked His reputation as a man and His claim as God upon the world's credence and fidelity. All His other miracles had a distinct purpose immediately in view, whether it was that He pitied the widow of Nairn, or had compassion on His famished followers or rescued them from shipwreck And invariably He enjoined silence concerning such evidences of His Godhead, until He should be risen from the dead. Nay, when pressed by His enemies for a proof of His divinity, He refused the sign they asked, saying:
"No other proof shall be given you but that of Jonas the prophet, who after three days came forth from the whale even as I shall from the tomb, for if you destroy this temple, My body, in three days I shall raise it up again."
His position, therefore, was that His Resurrection was to be the crowning proof of His divinity and that without His Resurrection He and all His teaching and wonder-working would have come to naught. Not only Christianity, but all religion from the beginning, would have been discredited had not God's promise to our fallen parents that their seed should conquer sin and death been fulfilled in the person of the risen Saviour.

Everything Hinges on the Resurrection!

This supreme importance of the Resurrection as an historic fact was recognized by Christ's enemies and friends alike. The Jewish nation's honor was at stake, for if Christ rose again they were forever branded as the murderers of the Messias, but if He failed to rise they could take credit to themselves for having justly punished an impostor. Hence they sought by every means to prove His promise unfulfilled. The Apostles, on the other hand, seem to have preached at first as though the Resurrection was the only dogma of our faith, styling themselves the witnesses thereof and taking care to elect as Judas's successor an eye-witness of the Lord's arising.
"For," says St. Paul, " if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain and our faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God and we are yet in our sins, and they who have died in the Lord have perished and we are of all men the most miserable."
Whereas, I repeat, and repeat and repeat again, if Christ did rise from the dead we are bound by inexorable logic to admit His divinity, to accept all His teachings and all the teachings of His Church, and to conform our lives thereto—we are bound to fall at the Saviour's feet with St. Thomas, and repeat Thomas's all-embracing profession of faith:

"My Lord and my God."

By St. Robert Bellarmine


Shirley said...

Amen! Hope you and your family had a blessed and happy Easter, John Michael.

Fr Paul McDonald said...

Hello. I am a priest, pastor of four French parishes in Canada.

Can you tell me the source of this marvelous text on the resurrection of our Divine Lord by St. Robert Bellarmine? I would dearly love to translate in into French, but perhaps that was teh original language.

In any case, where did you find it?

Fr. Paul McDonald,
Diocese of St. Catharines