Life-Death-Life Is the Paradoxical Logic of Human Fulfillment

“For many Christians, belief in the saving work of Christ begins and ends with the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, sometimes called the paschal mystery. The term paschal recalls the Hebrew Passover (Pasch), in which God delivered the Israelites from slavery into freedom. Christians hold that in death Christ too “passed over” into the Father, effecting our own liberation from sin. Many Christian traditions hold that the celebration of the sacraments, particularly through baptism and the Eucharist, is a means of ritually uniting ourselves with Christ in this paschal mystery. But it is a mistake to think of the paschal mystery only in connection with the final events of Jesus’ life. For what transpired in the last days of Jesus’ life on earth was but a dramatic culmination of his entire life. The central challenge of Christian life is to internalize and make this spiritual rhythm of life-death-life our own. With Jesus we are to live out of the assurance that we are God’s good creatures, die to any tendency to make ourselves the ultimate reality in the universe, and live anew in lives of loving attentiveness and service to others. What Jesus lived, he also taught: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). In his life and in his teaching, Jesus offered us a new vision of human wholeness in which death and life are infused with new meaning.”

Richard Gaillardetz, A Daring Promise: A Spirituality of Christian Marriage (Ligouri, MI; Ligouri/Triumph, 2007), ebook location 464-474.