Glorious Cross 25 April
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous. The Prince of Life, who died, reigns immortal (Sequence, Easter Sunday).
While the classic struggle between the forces of good and evil predicted in the Book of Genesis (3:15) has its end in Christ’s definitive Easter victory of life over death, the struggle to extend the impact of that triumph in the world continues. It is not a question of doubt about its reality, but rather a question of its on-going realization until the Second Coming of Christ. Christ made sacramental provision for that to happen. He shares his power with his disciples to accomplish this by the invocation of the Spirit and the imposition of hands, called the Sacrament of Confirmation. In this sacrament, the Spirit of Jesus Risen seals the reality of salvation in the Christian and equips the person for the “cleanup” battle. The Letter to the Ephesians (6:14-17) speaks of this in images of the battle dress of the Roman centurion: the Belt of Truth for a “gutsy” conversation with the world; the Breastplate of Justice for the courageous promotion of human dignity; the Footgear of Zeal for the energetic pursuit of peace; the Shield of Faith to extinguish with unshakeable confidence the fiery darts of the Evil One; the Helmet of Salvation for an unswerving commitment of service to the end; and the Sword of the Spirit to speak prophetically in the God’s name. The Bishop’s traditional gestures of anointing and striking the cheek remind the confirmed of the force and threat to be met with in the work of bringing about the Kingdom.
The person who is courageous is known when the battle gets furious. (Burundi)