28 June 2013
Memorial of St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
by Jacob Boddicker, S.J.
St. Irenaeus’s most well-known quote is likely, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” How often do we look out at the world and see hordes of people only half-alive or basically “dead?” How often are we ourselves only half-alive? We look upon the examples of the saints-those fully alive!-with awe, at the great deeds accomplished by people who often were challenged in ways we can hardly imagine and yet bore abundant fruit in their Christian life. St. Joan of Arc, for instance, was an illiterate peasant girl and around the age of sixteen led a highly-successful campaign against one of the greatest military powers in the world until her eventual betrayal, capture and execution. What did we do by the age of sixteen?
This week we have been learning what it is to be a Christian: it is to know Christ, to be a sinner yet called to be with Him. We are to spread knowledge of Christ throughout the world, to walk courageously, to rely on God’s promise and to bear fruit, to do the Father’s will and build our whole lives upon the Truth He reveals to us in Christ; we haven’t even gotten out the door! Before we do it’s as though Jesus is telling us, “Now I know we’ve talked about a lot, but here’s one last thing to bear in mind: Christianity isn’t a task or a set of rules, but it is a way of life. Live it.”
“Blessed are you who fear the Lord,” our psalm says today, “who walk in His ways. For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored.” As we renew our commitment to live out the faith we received at baptism, let us keep in mind those words of St. Irenaeus; let’s not live half a Christian life and let’s not permit that life ever to die in us. Rather, let us live as other Christ’s in the world, for there is no man more fully alive than One risen from the dead.