A Spiritual Reflection by Pope John Paul II: Edited excerpts from JESUS, SON AND SAVIOR, A Catechesis on the Creed, March 29, 1989.

Every Christian, in every age and place, is a witness to the risen Christ. Christ, victorious over death, is actively present also in the world today. Christianity continues its course, because it can count on the action of the Word Incarnate who was made man, died on a cross, was buried and rose again, as he had foretold. The Resurrection is the very heart of our faith.

As today’s witnesses, the Christian sees with the eyes of Peter and the apostles. He is convinced of the glorious resurrection of Christ crucified and therefore believes completely in him who is the Way, the Truth, the Life and the Light of the world. He proclaims Jesus with a serene courage. The paschal witness is thus the specific characteristic of the Christian.

The Second Vatican Council taught in the Constitution on the Church: “All the faithful of Christ are invited to strive for the holiness and perfection of their own proper state. Indeed they have an obligation to so strive. Let all then have care that they guide aright their own deepest sentiments of soul. Let neither the use of the things of this world nor attachment to riches, which is against the spirit of evangelical poverty, hinder them in their quest for perfect love” (LG 42).

Every Christian, therefore, has the grave responsibility to always be a credible witness by clarity of doctrine and consistency of life.

Paschal witness is expressed first of all by spiritual asceticism, and thus through a constant and decisive striving toward perfection in conformity with the demands of Baptism and Confirmation. Further, it is also expressed through apostolic commitment by accepting with a healthy realism tribulations and persecutions, ever mindful of what Jesus said: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you …. In the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”{ (Jn 15:18; 16:33). Finally, it is expressed in the “ideal of charity”, whereby the Christian, while suffering because of the many sad situations in which humanity finds itself, is always engaged, like the Good Samaritan, in the temporal and spiritual works of mercy. He constantly breaks down the walls of selfishness and shows others in practical ways the love of God.

The whole life of a Christian must be paschal! I, John Paul II, invite you all to bring to your families, your work, your daily concerns, your schools, your professions, your free time and also to your suffering, the serenity and peace, the joy and trust that come from the certainty of Christ’s resurrection! May Mary Most Holy accompany you and strengthen you in your Christian paschal witness!

Source: Pondering the Word: The Anawim Way, Meditation for the Seventh Week of Easter, pp233-235.

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