by Paul Hourihan, edited by Anna Hourihan 

“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit”

– John 12:24

Easter Lily with CrossEaster and Oneness

As we study the greatest souls, what becomes the paramount theme is the oneness of life. Life is One and sacrifice on our part is the way the oneness is penetrated. But this is an Easter theme foreign to our tendencies.

In the West, in our natural state with our strong emphasis on the creaturely self, we have needed someone to embody dramatically the grand theme of spiritual life and sacrifice. As we get a feeling for Christ’s life, the major thing that comes through is his love and sacrifice for others. Christ’s passion, thought, and his supreme sacrifice, have become stamped psychically, indelibly, upon the inner consciousness of Christendom.

Good Friday, The Key

Christ on Good Friday is the key to Easter. The Lord of the Universe, in one of his most graphic incarnations, offers his own life as an atonement to men and women for their ignorance, showing forth the way we should go to attain our resurrection from the death state. The only way is through sacrifice. The god-man makes this law of sacrifice—the oneness of life—real for us. He embodies it. But he doesn’t create the law. There are other laws too, but this is the law. The law of sacrifice, of oneness, is the Law of Being.

This is the premise of Vedanta, too, which teaches the oneness of the soul with the Divine—the oneness of all life. To the degree that we can sacrifice or to the degree that we are asked to do it, comes illumination.

Christ’s contribution is so unbelievable to the West and to the whole world too. He has made it clear for all time, not only what he did, but what we must do. This is how we must live—not that we should get crucified. We are not asked to do that, but to do something in our modest way, in our modest arenas that is the equivalent of that.

So Good Friday is a great day in the Christian year because spiritual life is all there. Easter is inevitable after there is a Good Friday in our life. With the ascension of consciousness, what we call the resurrection is inevitable. Without the Good Friday there is no Easter, there’s no illumination. Even if you love God and even if God loves you, you have to obey this. This is the chief thing. As we read about these super-incarnations of Buddha, Ramakrishna and Jesus, they all seem to be saying the same thing. Ramakrishna said, “I would be born over and over as a dog if it could help one soul” and many other things like this—the same teaching coming through all of them.

This law means the breaking down of barriers that exist between individuals and the willingness to do anything to help others to become free of those barriers too. Along the way, we get practice in our own Calvary. By serving selflessly, we are heaping up deposits in the spiritual nature until the time comes when we will be asked to sacrifice too.

Little by little we will move towards the day when we will understand what sacrifice means from the inside. That will be a blessed day for all of us and will then be a blessing for others to the degree that we can live for them.

The image of the cross represents the crucifixion, but also Joy, Giving… embracing the whole world. As Christ did on a major scale, we on a minor scale can do the same thing. Belief is only the beginning—but sacrifice—that is the way.

Sacrifice yourself, make of your very life an offering to be laid upon the altar of a common and shared humanity.