Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Ordinary Christians"

From rather arid, parched Protestant familial Indiana, I, Athos, am enjoying a pre-sacramental fast before the sun rises this 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. I am reading from Tolkien – A Celebration, edited by Joseph Pearce. In one of the essays, Tolkien is quoted from an essay he presented in honor of Charles Williams. His words, I think, counter one of the greatest criticisms I hear leveled at the Catholic Church; namely, the old saw about "old men who won't relinquish power." Tolkien, for all of his scholarly awards and fiction notoriety, always considered himself only an "ordinary Christian." Perhaps this is the reason why: God's Kingdom the presence of the greatest does not depress the small. Redeemed Man is still man. Story, fantasy, still goes on, and should go on. The Evangelium has not abrogated the legends; it has hallowed them, especially the "happy ending". The Christian has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope, and die; but he may now perceive that all his bents and faculties have a purpose which can be redeemed. [71]
And so, we see that in God's οικονομ1α those of us who still struggle in this deathly realm of being gauged by who we know, who knows us, our wealth, status, doxa (glory) and fama (fame), we are not so judged in the life-giving realm of God's Kingdom. In the Kingdom of God and, by grace infused extenstion, in the Church, we all stand on level ground at the foot of the Cross and before the eternal sacrifice of the Mass. We simply have differing rôles to play in the divine theodrama (von Balthasar), whether we are elves, dwarves, men, or hobbits ...

Our "ontological substantiation" comes from participating and assisting in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It is the "source and summit" of the Catholic Church; it is the headwaters of all grace to the many Christianities downstream of Her; it is the greatest treasure for all who cherish the Church that Jesus Christ founded for us and our salvation.

"Ordinary Christians" is a noble title. There is none nobler in the realm of God's Kingdom of light and life.


Gil Bailie said...

The quote from Tolkien is fantastic. Thanks for it, and thanks for all the fine things you and your chums are doing at The Three Mass'keteers. Great stuff.
Gil Bailie

Athos said...

We appreciate the good word of encouragement, Gil. For our readers, keep an eye peeled for a session of the Emmaus Road Initiative at which you can participate in a conference with Gil Bailie yourself.