Christian Paradoxes for the Easter Season
Christianity is full of paradoxes, those seeming contradictions that are in fact truths beyond human understanding. Saint Paul tells us that the “foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor 1:25). Ponder this as you meditate on these Christian paradoxes, which put us in mind of our Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
Original sin was a “happy fault” and a “necessary sin”
The Easter Vigil Exultet says, “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” Adam's sin, passed down to us, had this happy result: through Christ's Redemption of us from sin, we are restored and raised to greater glory than we would have had in the state of original grace.
Humility is greatness, and the master must be the servant
“[W]hen thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted” (Luke 14:10-11). Christ Himself washed the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper and tells us that “the Son of man also is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many” (Mark 10:45). And consider the example of Our Lady, who called herself the lowly handmaid of the Lord, yet was raised up as Queen of Heaven.
Suffering leads to joy, and suffering is joy
The saints were glad to suffer and die, and even to seek out more suffering, because it was their joy to share in Christ's suffering, and their joy to anticipate the glory of Heaven that comes to those who love their crosses. Christ did not suffer believing that it would never end; He suffered so that joy would come. Paradoxical, yes, but we know this even in ordinary life: a woman does not come to the joy of a child without the suffering of childbirth.
Our Savior’s death was His victory
St. Paul tells us that “through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil: And might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude” (Heb 2:14-15). We are saved and sanctified by His one perfect sacrifice, offered to God on our behalf; He “exhausts” and empties our sins. Death, our punishment, is defeated.
Death is life, and death leads to Life
We die and live with Christ. In baptism, we die to ourselves to be born again in Him. We cannot enter heaven except that we die and rise with our Savior. Yet, while apparent foolishness, we are told: “unless a grain of wheat falls and dies, it remains a single grain” (John 12:24); what is sown in corruption, dishonor, and weakness will rise in incorruption, honor, and power (1 Cor 15:42-43).