17 June 2009

The believer and the unbeliever

One of my favourite cartoonists is Johnny Hart (1934-2007). He is the creator of the BC comic strip and the co-creator, with Brant Parker of The Wizard of ID comic strip.

I keep the BC strip above in my breviary on the Good Friday pages. Johnny Hart was a Presbyterian and often used overtly Christian themes in BC, sometimes causing controversy. When I read today's entry from Tradition Day by Day I immediately thought of it. You'll find it below.

A Trappist friend of mine who died a couple of years ago at a venerable age, Father Brendan, once said to me that cartoonists are today's court jesters. They can speak the truth sometimes when other can't or they can help us see things in a different way.

Johnny Hart (1934-2007)

The believer and the unbeliever

When I hear that Christ was crucified I am filled with amazement at his love for us, but to the unbeliever this shows weakness. When I hear that Christ became a servant I am astonished at his solicitude for us, but to the unbeliever this is a disgrace. When I hear that Christ died I marvel at his power, since he was not conquered by death, but instead put an end to death. The unbeliever, however, sees Christ's death as a sign of helplessness.

The unbeliever regards the resurrection as pure fiction, but I accept the proven facts and venerate God's saving plan. In baptism the unbeliever sees only water, but I perceive not only what meets the eye, but also the purification of the soul by the Holy Spirit. The unbeliever thinks only the body is cleansed, but I believe that the soul also is made pure and holy, and I am reminded of the tomb, the resurrection, our sanctification, justification, redemption, adoption, and inheritance, of the kingdom of heaven and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I judge outward appearances not by what I see but by the eyes of the mind. When the body of Christ is mentioned, the words have one meaning for me, another for the unbeliever.

St John Chrysostom (347-407)

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