Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter from A Conservative Blog for Peace
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.
Et cum spiritu tuo.

“The Peace of the Lord be alway with you.”
“And with thy spirit.”
So even to this time that night is watched
by the moon, and we, like the disciples, do not see
the Son of man arise, but know him afterwards in
the breaking of bread. In the liturgy of the Mass
itself, we do not see the fraction of the Host into
the chalice which shows his rising, though our
attention is ceremonially called to the solemn
moment when the Altar becomes both Bethlehem
and Calvary. We know when he takes upon
himself the veils of our humiliation, we know
when his sacrifice stands lifted to the Father, but of
the moment when the Altar is Joseph of
Arimathea’s garden, when the broken body and the
poured-out blood attain the re-union which is their
resurrection, we know nothing till we hear the
Easter greeting — “The peace of the Lord be alway
with you.” It is the priest alone who looks over the
Altar as on that first night the moon alone looked
over the Altar of the world and saw the Sun of
Righteousness arise.

“A festival of the returning Spring” — “the god dies to symbolize the apparent death of Nature in Winter, then rises again at the Spring Equinox.”
Thus the student of comparative religion
flings the solemnities of our redemption into the
same heap as the nature cults of heathendom. We
are inclined to resent this treatment, to deny its
justice — but can we? Do we really need to? Why
should we be ashamed that in some far back time
our father Hammurabi, or our father Tutankhamen,
as well as our father Abraham, rejoiced to see our
day, and he saw it and was glad?
The devout pagan, whether of the valley
of the Euphrates or of the Nile, was wiser than
many a learned man to-day who sees in the story
of the suffering and triumphant God no more than
the story of the withering and flowering field.
Those pious heathen of old looked out on the rice
fields drowned in the winter floods, they saw the
floods recede and a cleansed and refertilised earth
emerge from the waters, but their eyes were not so
dim as to see only an earthly tragedy and its
overthrow — they saw their god suffering in the
drowned field, victorious in its resurrection*. They
could not see the woes of earth apart from the
woes of heaven, and as their allegory of food and
drink purged itself through the ages into an
allegory of sin and redemption, so that under
countless rites countless redeemers pointed to the
Redeemer of all, that great shape of human
thought was made which should be the chalice
waiting to receive the wine of divine revelation.

When S. John saw the heavenly Jerusalem he said
that “all the kings of the earth shall bring their
glory into it”, and among those kings ride Mithras,
Tammuz, Osiris, Orpheus, Dionysius ... riding to
Joseph of Arimathea’s garden, to lay their glory at
the empty tomb.
— From The Mirror of the Months by Sheila Kaye-Smith, Society of SS. Peter and Paul, London, via S. Clement’s

*Natural religion or what C.S. Lewis described as ‘good dreams’, preparing humanity for revelation.

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