Bishop Ricken

Bishop's Corner

The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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The morning will come

By | March 24, 2010

The song, I believe, is written about the power of the resurrection to overcome the darkness. Through the suffering of Jesus Christ, the victory has already been won. It is a matter of us entering into his redemptive suffering and then rising with him. Because of his victory over sin and death, all people of all time, of all history and all of creation can enter into these great mysteries.

Even those who do not necessarily have the blessing of belief in Jesus Christ are the beneficiaries of these events of Holy Week and Easter. Dr. Victor Frankl has written a book about his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. The book is called “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In this book he writes so powerfully about how he survived the atrocities in that camp. His clothes, his manuscripts that he was writing on psychiatry and all of his possessions were taken from him.

One day he wrote: “I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn out rags of an inmate who had been sent to the gas chamber immediately after his arrival in Auschwitz railway station. Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in the pocket of my newly acquired coat one single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book containing the most important Jewish prayer: ‘Shema Israel, Listen Israel. The Lord your God is Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…’ How could I have interpreted such a coincidence other than a challenge to suffer bravely? Life has meaning up to the last minute. And it retains this meaning literally to the end.” (Taken from Daily Reflections for Lent.)

This true story, as lived by Dr. Frankl, shows how in the midst of the greatest darkness, in a place of great and horrendous evil, the morning star can shine. “Then comes the morning.” With the word of the Lord, his life had significance and meaning and he was able to survive and help many others to do the same.

As we have journeyed through Lent and now begin Passion or Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we will journey with the savior down through the valleys of Holy Week and ascend with him up to the Holy City, Jerusalem. There he will perform his act of total self gift to the Father and to the divine will. And then we will share in the radiant joy of his rising from the dead on Easter Sunday, the morning of all mornings.

Any time we suffer through an illness, the loss of a loved one, struggle with freedom from an addiction, suffer through unemployment or the countless other ways we suffer, we are entering into the suffering of our Lord Jesus and his acts of redemption of the world. And when we rejoice in the good times, we are participating in his victory over sin and death. We are helping the “son of meaning and significance” to rise once again. Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.

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