The hope of the resurrection is one that profoundly resonates in all Cubans not only on Easter but throughout the year: every kind of resurrection, material and immaterial, secular and spriritual, even the raising of our dead, if that were possible, but certainly the resurrection of our country as a tribute to them and a debt of honor to future generations of Cubans. Because that other resurrection is always present in our thoughts and occupies so great a part of our lives, it may be said, without vainglory, that Christ's Resurrection is more real to us and more necessary than to other Christians.
The more alone we are, the more forsaken our country is, the closer to Christ we are. Every year we reap a bigger crop of betrayals, our allies are fewer and our enemies more numerous and vent on our destruction. But none of that matters, ultimately, because nobody's responsibility for the well-being of our country is equal to ours even if the blame for its destruction is not ours alone. As Christ shouldered the sins of all other men, so must we carry our own cross, and no one shall be prodded to help us. Fifty years we have borne it with faith and hope and so unto the end.
Cuba is the only Christian nation still under the yoke of Communism. Certainly we reject the suggestion that God would think more of us for being Christians or less of Tibetans for being Buddhists. A God sensible to the suffering of all mankind would not make such a distinction. And, indeed, He does not. It makes no difference to Him whether those who suffer are Christians or Buddhists, Cubans or Tibetans. He is with all of us in spirit. But we must all of us work out our own deliverance with the means available to us and in the manner that best conduces to it. Divine Providence is reserved for heaven. On earth, we are the agents of our own redemption.
Last year's Easter meditation:
Pascua de Resurrección, the Feast of the Resurrection, man's triumph over death and the forces of evil, achieved through Christ's death and the temporal triumph of those forces, is one of those eternal mysteries of the faith, better believed than understood. Therein lies perhaps the greatest achievement of Catholic cosmology: the belief that those who are murdered for their faith, Christ Himself or his apostles in all ages, are the real winners and those who nailed them to crosses, kindled the fires of their pyres, frayed and stoned them are the losers. The Catholic Church is the church of martyrs, martyrdom itself being the highest expression of the faith. Defeat as victory; death as life; earthly injustice as the prelude to Divine Providence.
For the last 48 years no people no earth have suffered a greater martyrdom than the people of Cuba. Indeed, throughout our history, the just among us in all generations have fallen prey to the forces of darkness, including our own secular Christ, José Martí, who said that he would be nailed to a cross if it won our people their (earthly) freedom.
So why, if no people have paid a greater price in blood and suffering, have the Cuban people remained in slavery for 5 decades, with no end in sight to their travails? Is this some sign of divine grace? Are we the new Israelites, God's chosen people, chosen, like the Jews, to endure hecatombs and holocausts in time immemorial because we are especially favored by the Father? I hope not. And that is my Easter wish.
April 5, 2007