HAVING consulted the College of Consultors, His Grace Most Reverend…
In his new apostolic exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” Pope Francis writes:
Here hope comes most fully into its own, for it embraces the certainty of life after death. Each person, with all his or her failings, is called to the fullness of life in heaven. There, fully transformed by Christ’s resurrection, every weakness, darkness and infirmity will pass away. There the person’s true being will shine forth in all its goodness and beauty. This realization helps us, amid the aggravations of this present life, to see each person from a supernatural perspective, in the light of hope, and await the fullness that he or she will receive in the heavenly kingdom, even if it is not yet visible (No. 117).
In the Fourth Gospel, the Resurrected Lord takes up earth’s unfinished love. Like so many of us, death had robbed Peter of the chance to redeem his denial. You cannot apologise to the dead. You cannot undo what life has ended. But the resurrection of Christ reveals an eternal life that finishes earth’s loves. Heaven doesn’t cancel earth. Paradise is not a winnowing away from the loves of this life. In Christ, what was wrong can be righted. What sin ruptures, grace can heal.
This is the deepest meaning of purgatory, which should be understood as the compassion of the Risen Christ. It is not a place of minimum security. It is an ante-chamber of heaven, if you will, a process of mercy, whereby the Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, heals the wound of time.
In the Eucharist, heaven’s meal, the Lamb redeems us and, with us, all of human history.
“Do you love me?” is the great do-over of the disciple. It reveals the depth of redemption. Resurrection is Peter’s solace and our security, because resurrection completes earth’s unfinished loves.
Today Christ reveals that the darkest of human nights yields to the dawn of resurrection. In “Amoris Laetitia” Pope Francis quotes his predecessor Pope Saint John Paul II,
Moreover, moments of joy, relaxation, celebration, and even sexuality can be experienced as a sharing in the full life of the resurrection. Married couples shape with different daily gestures a “God-enlightened space in which to experience the hidden presence of the risen Lord” (No. 317).
Human relationships aren’t lost in death. To the contrary, it’s there that the Lord of life makes them whole again. – America