HOLY WEEK EVOKES FAVORED MEMORIES FOR ME
Background: All my journeys began when eleven years old, 66 years ago. I was delivered by dad and thrown into a bunch of neighborhood boys. I had been a Cub Scout and now I was fresh meat for the big and bold counselors to form me into Boy Scout material. But the place was hundreds of miles from home and thousands of feet above sea level.
SUMMER CAMP FOR A PRE TEEN IS AN ABSOLUTE GOD-SEND
I am inspired to write this today, Palm Sunday, when hearing the homily of Archbishop Pierre in the huge basilica in Washington DC. I am learning about Catholic theology because I sense God’s presence in places like this, I am thinking to share as much as I can remember of my experience back then and also our place here and now we call Chub Lake.(EWTN) [cathedral.org]
Over all these years, my personal life and work was influenced by all the Boy Scout lore I was exposed to. The people who most influenced me, were my Dad, his cousin and Boy Scout Commish, Uncle Dick Sims, camp director, Dick Hacke, his son Danny, and a few counselors, like Art and Richard Walenta, and Reggie Carolyn; the very popular camp cook, Manny; also, fellow campers like cousin Rick Sims, and friend, Dennis Johnson. (Remember?)
THE THEOLOGY OF EASTER IS MUCH MORE THAN SUMMER CAMP
The Boy Scouts teach boys to obey God’s Law. We boys needed to know such things. And summer camp was a place to start. I still sing the camp songs they taught us. They were crazy and fun. Songs sung about what we did and who we are and even parts of our bodies (“Vas is dis my son”). We learned reverence too. Counselor Richard led devotions, being a seminarian.
What is it about family and the rich resources that bring up boys to be willing to become men? Isn’t it much like a tree that grows from a single seed within which are all the branches and what they need to develop into maturity. The example of fine young men who teach boys to seriously accept the camp program; to form a young conscience with honor and duty.
My Boy-Scout-formed conscience enabled me to accept faith in God when serving as a Marine on Okinawa (Japan). When on a mission to transport a drowning victim, I ran right into Richard Walenta, who was a chaplain serving at Camp Hansen, to help show our rescue helicopter where to pick up the casualty. I did visit his office to show him honor for his faithful duty.
Such an experience, makes one realize just how small is the world we live in. Or, just how God has predestined all people to get in line. Boy Scouting led me to military duty, and that got me to church old enough to choose God for myself. So far as I know, no one else in our family shares my experience. So I feel a certain obligation to share this certain Good News for all.
THE REAL TEACHING OF THE REAL AUTHORIZED CHURCH
One of my Christmas gifts was the catechism of the Catholic Church. I was inspired to pick it up at the book store, with a sense of wonder. [No church I have ever attended had anything even close.] I perceive more value in this because of my interest and desire to grow in faith. As Saint Anselm said, faith seeks understanding, I learned this studying theology.
The following is organized under three of the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Profession of Faith, Celebration of the Christian Mystery, and The Life in Christ. [Part four is, Christian Prayers.]
THE CATECHESIS (TEACHING) OF EASTER
Archbishop Pierre quoted Pope Francis saying, Easter is the “coming moments of salvationism.” Easter is defined from AS and ME as aester and eastre as taken from the pagan godess of Spring, Eastre. [Webster] The date is set according to the first Sunday following the full moon after the Equinox (the sun’s crossing the celestial equator). [Google] (Sounds spooky!)
638 “We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this day he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.”(Troparion Easter melody) The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal (Passover-Easter) mystery along with the cross:
“Christ is risen from the dead!
Dying, he conquered death;
To the dead, he has given life.”
[Note here of Christ’s mother Mary was “full of grace” and actually conceived as already redeemed (“predestined sinless”) in order that the sinless One might be delivered through her.(Immaculate Conception) Luke 1:28]
THE HISTORICAL AND TRANSCENDENT EVENT [Part One: Profession of Faith, On the Third Day He Rose from the Dead]
639 The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. . .”(1 Cor 15:3,4) The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.(Acts 9:3-18)
The empty tomb
640 “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”(Luke 24:5,6) The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ’s body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.(Jn 20:13; Mt 28:11-15) Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter.(Lk 24:3, 12,22,23) The disciple “whom Jesus loved” affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there”, “he saw and believed”(Jn 20:2,6,8). This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb’s condition that the absence of Jesus’ body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.(Jn 11:44; 20:5-7)
THE MEANING AND SAVING SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION
654 The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”(Rom 4:25; 6:4) Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace.(Eph 2:4,5; 1Pet 1:3) It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren.”(Mt 28:10; Jn 20:17) We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.
655 Finally, Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor 15:20-22The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment. In Christ, Christians “have tasted. . . the powers of the age to come” (Heb 6:5) and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”(2 Cor 5:15; Col 3:1-3)
HISTORY OF THE SACRED EVENT [Part Two, Celebration of the Mystery]
1169 Therefore Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the “Feast of feasts,” the “Solemnity of solemnities,” just as the Eucharist is the “Sacrament of sacraments” (the Great Sacrament). St. Athanasius calls Easter “the Great Sunday” (St Athanasius, AD 329) and the Eastern Churches call Holy Week “the Great Week.” The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him.
1170 At the Council of Nicaea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox. Because of the different methods of calculating the 14th day of the month of Nisan, the date of Easter in the Western and Eastern Churches is not always the same. For this reason, the Churches are currently seeking an agreement in order once again to celebrate the day of the Lord’s Resurrection on a common date.
(Part Three, Life in Christ)
1339 Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum: giving his disciples his Body and his Blood: “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover meal for us, that we may eat it. . . .” They went . . . and prepared the passover.
And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”. . . . And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.”(Lk 22:7-20; Mt 26:17-29; Mk 14:12-25; 1 Cor 11:23-26)
1340 By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus’ passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom.
1363 In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men.(Ex 13:3) In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.
1364 In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.(Heb 7:25-27) “As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch [Greek for Passover, pasxa] has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out.”(1 Cor 5:7)
WHY WE CALL OUR PLACE CHUBB LAKE
The sun is setting on the second day of Holy Week. I have just shared with you all the Easter teachings Catholics are given to learn to enable their faith to grow. We cannot just hear this and become a member by accepting it as true, and making a public profession of faith. But by making the personal, heartfelt choice to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, you are saved.
Chubb Lake is our homeplace in North Alabama, God’s country! We manage to care for an acre of land among the beautiful Loblolly pines. It’s a place we can boldly sing camp songs where no man or boy or girl has sung before. The old camp is now called Marin-Sierra Camp. Society and culture have invaded my memories, but it was a heavenly place for me 66 years ago.
If you remember anything about Chubb Lake, please comment here, like my Facebook post, or tweet me @wordlifejournal.
May the Lord bless and keep you in your Easter Holiday festivities.
[Note: Permission to publish portions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was granted to me by the Secretary Director of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana in writing, January 3, 2017, and so linked.]