Our faith juggles two seemingly opposed ideas. On the one hand, we are pilgrims in a foreign land, and we await the fulfillment of God’s promises. On the other hand, as St. Paul says, “now is the acceptable time… now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). God’s promises to us have both an aspect of “now,” and an aspect of “not yet.” This is especially the case with our resurrection from the dead. This is articulated quite well in this passage from the Gospel of John, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (John 5:25). Here, Christ says that the time when the dead will be raised to life is both “coming” and “now.” How is this the case? How can it be both?
We can think about our resurrection as having two stages. We have our resurrection properly speaking, which is when our bodies will be reunited to our souls at the end of time, but we also have what we might call in a metaphorical way the resurrection of our souls.
Let’s begin with the “resurrection of our souls.” What does this mean? Due to sin, we are spiritually dead. Does this mean that our souls are in fact dead? No. Our soul is that which makes us alive. It can never die. We can, however, speak of our souls in a metaphorical way, as being dead because of sin, since they are deprived of true life—life with God. By grace, our sins are forgiven. Not only this, but we are raised to divine life here and now, and the seed of the resurrection is planted within our hearts.
However, we are creatures that consist in both body and soul, and thus our perfection entails both. We can never be perfectly happy–we can never be complete–without our bodies. At the end of time our bodies will be reunited with our souls and we shall see God as he is, and it is by seeing God as he is, that, as our souls are transformed and made like him by this vision, our bodies will also share in that glory. Our bodies will be like the body of Christ who rose from the dead. We shall see God, and we shall enjoy God, as human beings: body and soul. It is at our resurrection that the seed that is planted in our souls in this life will blossom into the most beautiful of flowers.
What is the implication of all this? The implication is that Jesus’ Resurrection, and thus our resurrection, is not something distant, but it is what gives us divine life both now and at the end of time. Our salvation is never something that begins tomorrow or in the future, but it is offered to us here and now. Now is the day of resurrection.
Br. Nathaniel Maria Mayne, O.P. | Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE