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How are We Able to Hold Fast to Our Faith? He is Risen!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

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How are We Able to Hold Fast to Our Faith? He is Risen!

 

In the midst of our busy lives, it is easy to be overwhelmed and to feel overcome by difficult circumstance. For those who strive to pray, Christ risen from the dead allows us to taste this only in order to help us come to spiritual maturity. He himself comes to give us hope, that we might stand firm and not lose heart. This is the great spiritual battle of prayer – our victory is assured because Christ rose from the dead and has not abandoned us. It was along these lines that, to encourage the faithful entrusted to his care, an ancient author once wrote:

“As we have born the image of the earthly man, the image of human nature grown old in sin, so let us bear now the image of the heavenly man: human nature raised up, redeemed, and purified by Christ. We must hold fast to the salvation we have received.”

Christ comes to those who trust in Him, and He is constantly coming in ever new ways. He is there, risen from the dead, to help us hold fast – enveloping us in his love and establishing us in his truth. His silent presence knocks on the doors of our hearts. His voice whispers in the stillness of our prayer. He gently admonishes the wayward and leaves the proud vexed. He firmly defends the innocent. He patiently seeks the lost. He lifts up the lowly. He lovingly gazes into the eyes of those who hold fast, and gratefully rests in the hearts of the humble. He speaks of beautiful mysteries that await those who will persevere until the end.

To be visited by the Lord in this way is not merely to have good feelings or pleasant thoughts. He who is risen in the flesh to new life offers us heavenly power over everything that seeks to dehumanize us in this present old life. If someone is trapped in sin – call to Him, for He is the unconquered Liberator. If someone is overwhelmed with sorrow – go to Him, for He is the Consolation of all consolations. If someone has been unjustly treated – Jesus the King of Righteousness takes up your cause. If someone is anxious and it seems that death itself overshadows you – fear not for the Prince of Peace is at your side.

Christ is truly risen! Real power flows from his glorified body and He longs to show us the victory He beholds even now. This is why Easter is the greatest of all feasts ever known – it contains the essence of Christian hope, the secret of true prayer, a glimpse of the victory God yearns to realize in our own lives. Trust in Him who comes for you – hold fast to the salvation you have received, bear the image of the Heavenly Man – raised up, redeemed, purified by His blood.

 

Art: Detail from Resurrection of Christ, Charles Le Brun, 1674/1676, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons.

Editor's Note: For more of Anthony's insights on prayer, don't miss his book, Hidden Mountain Secret Garden, an experience like no other. Anthony has an unusually profound understanding of mystical theology and lives a life of deep prayer. Among his many accomplishments and responsibilities, Dr. Lilles now teaches theology for the Avila Institute.

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About Anthony Lilles

Anthony Lilles, a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, completed his graduate and post-graduate studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. He and his lovely wife, Agnes, are blessed with three children and live in California, where he is the Academic Dean, and Associate Professor of Theology, St. John's Seminary, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Academic Advisor at Juan Diego House, House of Formation for Seminarians. For over twenty years, Dr. Lilles worked for the Denver Archdiocese directing parish religious education, R.C.I.A. and youth ministry, as well as serving as Director of the Office of Liturgy for the Archdiocese and as Coordinator of Spiritual Formation for the permanent diaconate. In 1999, he became a founding faculty member of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary where he was Academic Dean for nine years and Associate Professor of Theology. He is a Board Member for the Society of Catholic Liturgy. Dr. Lilles has provided graduate level courses on a variety of topics including the Eucharist, the Sacraments of Healing, Church History, Spiritual Theology, Spiritual Direction and on various classics of Catholic Spirituality. His expertise is in the spiritual doctrine of Saint Elisabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In 2012, Discerning Hearts published his book "Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: A Theological Contemplation on Prayer," a compilation of discussions with seminarians, students, and contemplatives about the spiritual life. He collaborated with Dan Burke on the books "30 Days with Teresa of Avila" and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Therese of Lisieux. And, his book "Fire from Above" was published in 2016. Among his many accomplishments and responsibilities, Dr. Lilles now teaches theology for the Avila Institute. He blogs at BeginningtoPray.blogspot.com

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