Resurrection is great joy
Milena Kindziuk talks to Fr Stanislaw Jarosz, a Pauline Father, about ears for earrings and for listening, eggs with sausage and resurrection to non-sinning.
Milena Kindziuk: – How many times have you experienced resurrection in your life?
Fr Stanisław Jarosz, OSPPE: – I’m ashamed to say that it has not been many times.
– What kinds of resurrection?
– Very different. My biggest resurrection was the moment I loved myself. I realised that I should not like this fellow I saw in the mirror every day. And that I am ‘in a good version’, and God did not make a mistake when he created me.
– When was it?
– Hard to say. It happened within several years and certainly, it was connected with a series of events, with the fact that Lord God led me out of many sins, e.g. impurity with which I always had problems. It was also the sin of hatred towards the man who killed my brother and I could not forgive him for a long time. It was hard to forgive myself after I had had a car crash in which my colleague – a fellow brother was killed. When I forgave myself it was my biggest resurrection. At that moment I could love myself.
– And the other resurrections?
– They happen slowly. Only Christ rose from the dead at once since his body was ‘crushed’ and additionally, it was obedient. Whereas my body is insubordinate. It rises bit by bit as if in stages. My eyes rise because they are less lustful. My tongue rises since it is less spiteful. My hand rises since it is less greedy. Finally, my ears rise since I can really hear the word of God.
– What does it mean to hear really the word of God?
– One should have big ears!
– Like the grandma in the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood...
–...one can have ears for earrings and one can have ears for listening. I listen to the word of God when I confront the Bible with my life. When I read the Holy Scriptures carefully, the facts of my life form a logical whole and are closely connected with this Word. However, I can notice quickly that I behave like a seal that ‘opens its ears’ for a while. Since the very thought, that the consequence of open listening must be that I should finish like Jesus, causes that I cannot revive this dead body that I am still in.
– Do you wait for other resurrections?
– Very much! For my resurrection, here on the earth. I must still rise many times so that the final resurrection happens. I should rise from what is my biggest inertia.
– And what is the biggest inertia?
– Sin, which means death.
– How should we understand that?
– I have no influence on the number of my years on the earth, which means that life does not flow through me. I have life from God, love from God as well as freedom and good from him. And I should abide in that. But when I cut myself from God like with a guillotine I am spiritually dead. Like an astronaut who cuts the wire and begins to act on his own, and even if he is inside the spaceship he cannot return if some accident happens. But Christianity is not a spaceship. When we cut ourselves from God because we sin we do not die because God does not cut himself from us. He has not stopped loving sinners. He still gives strength so that you can return to him. Therefore, the biggest resurrection is the resurrection from death to non-sinning. And then, at the very end, there will be the final resurrection.
– Are you not afraid of the final resurrection?
– Resurrection will be great joy! Dying is worse. But I comfort myself that death will also not be mine. In the sense that God will lead me through it. And he is more perfect than all my images about him. I will shout like an orphan that is drowning and begging to be rescued. And I believe that God will rescue me. Both through his life and death Christians do not go by their own strength. They would not manage. Today I can say that I know that Christianity does not mean to act by your own strength.
– Have you ever tried to live by your own strength?
– Yes, I have but I have failed. I had a girl-friend and planned to get married but the Lord God dragged me along like dead weight and sent to the religious order! I committed serious sins and he showed me the commandments. Today I understand that the law is that I can see my sin. The commandments show our failures and put us upright.
– Many a time they restrict us; they cause that man does not have what he wants.
– And just as well! If man had what he wanted he would listen to the devil that said, ‘You will be like gods.’ But we will never be like gods. The devil says, ‘if God does not let you do one thing it means that he does not love you. And a teenager thinks so when her parents tell her, ‘Do not come back home late!’ And she shouts, ‘Again I am not allowed to do anything!’ And her parents answer, ‘You can do anything and only do not come back home late.’ So I do not live by my own strength. I know that my conversion and getting out of sins were not because of my own strength. That was possible because I believed that God would do that in me. He would install himself in me through the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit would make my stony heart sensitive and I would be able to stop sinning. That faith that I can stop sinning is also my resurrection.
– Who can be resurrected?
– Nobody can rise from the dead by his/her own strength. Since only the Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead. And this Spirit will raise our mortal bodies. All people will be resurrected, but some will rise to death and some to life.
– To death...?
– It can, unfortunately, happen so that some of us will wake up after the resurrection and the Heavenly Father will hug him and regretfully say, ‘I am sorry but you have chosen another way. Your father is the devil. He invested in you and you let him do that. He has the right to you and I have no rights. The cross shows us distinctly that hell is a threat for us. If Christ paid the price of his death to save each of us it means that something must threaten us. If a fireman risks his life to rescue me from the fire it means that regardless of what I think about it I have been in danger.
– You have just said that God is more perfect than our images about him and even I want salvation for other people, e.g. my closest ones.
– You can pray for them. You can say, ‘Lord Jesus, use my prayer, my suffering; I want to do the lesson for them and you give them the reward. This is the mission of the Church to be the sacrament of salvation so that what Jesus did two thousand years ago he can do in us today. We also carry his dying, scourging, death and resurrection in us. If we are one people of God we can give our lives for others.
– Does the perspective of resurrection give you hope?
– Yes, and the hope is so big! If Jesus-man rose from the dead, the man Stanislaw Jarosz will also rise from the dead. In a transfigured body: such as the body Jesus showed on Mount Tabor. I do not die whole. I have an immortal soul and this is joyful news for me. Additionally, I can rise from the dead in everyday life, from the deaths that need not have to be real deaths: from sins and the consequences of sins. For me the perspective of resurrection is also revealed in the fact that I am more peaceful and more humble in bearing my suffering. Since resurrection is inseparably connected with the cross. There is no way to resurrection except through the cross. I can curse this cross but I will not run away from it. You cannot avoid it. But the cross can be tamed.
– What does it mean?
– It means that I can take this cross every day since I know that Christ will give me the strength to carry it. And I will be able to say like Mary, ‘let it be done according to your will.’
– How many times in your life can you be resurrected?
– I think that you must rise from the dead all your life. Here and now, on the earth, we must rise and begin anew. What does it mean concretely? For instance, accepting Jesus’ views concerning social life, marriage family, law, and economy. To change life around us. Finally, every Holy Mass constitutes part of resurrection. If the Body of Jesus appears in my life and his blood in my blood this is a part of eternity.
– Do you like Easter?
– Yes, even very much!
– When I was a small boy and was hungry there were eggs and sausages for breakfast.
– And now?
– For me Easter constitutes the beginning of all feasts. I feel as if a part of me rises from the dead in some way. An I rejoice that there is no death, that death was overcome. Resurrection gives me a completely different perspective. And it carries much hope. But my dear friend, we must end…
– I am glad that you could find this time for me.
– And is it my time? This time belongs to Lord God!