Humility and Life in the Resurrection

On Friday, we considered the position of the “modern” man (who is a re-dressed version of the prideful, obstinate man of history).

For this man, there is one authority. The self. There is one master. The self. There will be no acceptance of an Other. So it is that man degenerated by his own sinfulness, cannot bear to stand in front of the truth, in front of existential truth, in front of reality, because it means acknowledging his littleness – that he is not God. In his pride, he would much prefer to crucify the Truth and keep it tightly concealed in a tiny tomb.

But the Truth, which is Life and Love cannot remain contained by the harsh coldness of the tomb. Much the same, that Life and Love wishes to break the hardness of our stony hearts.

I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you back to your own soil. I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them. (Ez. 36:24-27)

This, in truth, we celebrate on this Easter Sunday, the God who in an act of pure kenosis takes flesh and enters utterly into the human experience – like us in all things except sin – and suffers to the nth degree the full brunt and effect of sin. He penetrates to the core of the human person and is a presence in the midst of our harsh coldness. And if, if man in an act of humility that is simultaneously an act of faith acknowledges that at the core of His existence he is a being-in-relation (or perhaps better said, a being-in-constant-need-of-relation), this man freely allows that Life and Love to break through his hardness, ushering in new life carried forth by an Other. This is the Christian event accessible to the humble man who does not deny, but who accepts the full weight of His need and the Answer to that need. This loving acceptance and humility makes resurrected life, though not perfected, possible even now.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. (Jn. 1:12-13)

Holy Saturday

“Holy Saturday is the day of the ‘death of God,’ the day which expresses the unparalleled experience of our age, anticipating the fact that God is simply absent, that the grave hides him, that he no longer awakes, no longer speaks, so that one no longer needs to gainsay him but can simply overlook him…. Christ strode through the gate of our final loneliness; in his Passion he went down into the abyss of our abandonment. Where no voice can reach us any longer, there is he. Hell is thereby overcome, or, to be more accurate, death, which was previously hell, is hell no longer. Neither is the same any longer because there is life in the midst of death, because love dwells in it.” (Pope Benedict XVI)guercino_theentombmentofchrist

Crucifying the Truth

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“I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus. (John 18:20-22)

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)

They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. (Jn. 19:15-16)

The Truth – a threat to the mirage of personal license, a threat to the ideologies of the epoch, a threat to the ways of the state –  was crucified. Good Friday tragically marks this activity which has seemingly been the case throughout the course of human history. In the myriad of epochs, truth, perpetually stands as a challenge for man whose fallen and disordered desires recoil before its reality.

Simply to look at the irony of what has befallen mankind since the Enlightenment. The age of reason that “freed” man from the confines of religion and officially named him the arbiter and measure of all things has resulted in the bloodiest century of all human history, a programme of secularism that has removed the possibility of objective truth, a nihilism that diminishes the desire to search for the answers to the deepest questions, and a West that touts tolerance for all – which ultimately translates to tolerance for those granted such by the powers-that-be. Is it not ironic that the age of reason has resulted promoting behavior in radical opposition to nature, and impassioned and emotional displays of outrage, supplemented with little dialogue? Indeed, little dialogue is possible when void of common ground, when there is no affirmation of objective truth, natural law, and authentic goods.

“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.” (Jn.1:9-11)

For man, there is one authority. The self. There is one master. The self. There will be no acceptance of an Other. Today is the day when atheism, materialism, relativism, hedonism, and secularism stand triumphant.

So it is that man degenerated by his own sinfulness, cannot bear to stand in front of the truth, in front of reality, because it means acknowledging his littleness – that he is not God. In his pride, he would much prefer to crucify the Truth and keep it tightly concealed in a tiny tomb.