Katie Faley: Look for ways to discover the Resurrection in everyday living
CAUSE OF OUR JOY / By Katie Faley
Since St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve been reading Celtic mythology stories. Some of these myths have origins that pre-date the time of Christ, so I was surprised to notice that one of the major themes in these myths is resurrection. But once I started to notice this, I started to notice something else: our lives are filled with resurrection stories.
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Did your elementary school religion teacher make you memorize the phrase, “The Old Testament conceals what the New Testament reveals”? Stories in the Old Testament with resurrection themes point to the True Resurrection of Christ to come in the New Testament. We see this with the stories of Daniel, Noah, and others.
However, this is especially obvious in the story of Jonah. He runs away from God’s call only to be swallowed by a giant fish. He stays in the darkness of the belly of the fish under the sea for three days (sound familiar?) until he is finally freed and returns to the light of the earth above. This story fills us with hope that God will always welcome us back into his light, even when we turn our backs on Him.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Disney has been copying the Resurrection story for decades. If there were a wall covered in posters of each Disney movie ever made, you could close your eyes, throw a dart, and land on a movie that copied the Resurrection story.
The first that comes to my mind is “Sleeping Beauty.” The long and the short of it is, Sleeping Beauty is a princess cursed to die at the prick of her finger on a spindle. She spends her whole life avoiding the curse only to prick her finger on a spindle, fall into a death-like sleep, and only awake after the prince defeats the dragon and awakes her with his true-love’s kiss. Sleeping Beauty and her prince aren’t Christ-like figures, but their story is obviously one of redemption and awaking to new life.
It’s not just Disney either. Lots of movies, television shows, and books make use of the resurrection theme: “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Good Place,” and even the “Marvel Universe.”
Here in the Midwest, we know a cold winter day as well as we know a hot summer day. The seasons play out a resurrection story right before our eyes every year. The life of the natural world around us dies in the fall. We see the grass turn brown, leaves fall, and flowers die. But, when the first signs of spring arrive — the first bud on a tree or the green of the grass poking above the snow — we know that there is hope that new life in nature is coming.
We don’t even have to wait around for the changing of the seasons. Each day we’re greeted by a miniature resurrection when the sun rises. After the darkness of night, the new day begins with the light of the sun. Even the Scriptural account of the first Easter starts with the dawn of a new morning. The sun of the earth rises just as the Son of God rises. Each day is a reminder of the new life we have in the light of God.
THE SACRAMENTS: EPIC TALES OF RESURRECTION
The sacraments are, by design, resurrection. With each sacrament, we receive grace and new life with God. Baptism is the rising into new life when we join the family of God and our Original Sin is washed away. Likewise, every time we walk out of the confessional, we are new creations wiped clean of sin. And each time we receive the Eucharist, we are literally uniting ourselves physically and spiritually to the new life of Christ.
With these resurrection stories that surround us, we remember the hope of new life that Jesus gives us. These stories point us toward the True Resurrection of Jesus. There are plenty more resurrection stories to discover: in art, literature, history, and many other everyday things. I know I’m going to try to keep my eyes open to the resurrection stories that surround us, especially during this Easter season.
KATIE FALEY is a member of St. Mark Parish in Peoria and a writing coordinator for OSF HealthCare. She has a master’s degree in theology and theological studies from the University of Notre Dame. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.