Tuesday, September 18, 2007

... man confronted a decision ...

Classical man only lived before that crisis which was the coming of Christ. With the advent of Christ man confronted a decision which placed him on a new level of existence... With the coming of Christ man's existence took on an earnestness which classical antiquity never knew simply because it had no way of knowing it. This earnestness did not spring from a human maturity; it sprang from the call which each person received from God through Christ. With this call the person opened his eyes, he was awakened for the first time in his life. -- Romano Guardini, The Persistence of Christian Signs in a Secularized Society

... man confronted a decision ...

Decision: to decide - from O.Fr. decider, from L. decidere "to decide," lit. "to cut off," from de- "off" + cædere "to cut" -- Meaning that we can't go back; we, that is humanity, have cut ourselves off from our pre-Christ existence; we were called out, we were awaken through Christ to a new being.

The magnetic pull ("negative" mimesis) to fall back to an instinctual self-preservation existence has been unveiled to us by the cross; it is our attraction to the cathartic. Our new being, directed by the Church where grace perfects nature, is instead a total surrender and faith in God coming to life through Christ ("positive" mimesis).

The Church provides daily access to this total surrender -- the Mass. And it is by way of our response to God calling us out to participate through our vocation as He has set before us, in our time and place. There is hardly a more significant act we, the human, participate in then the listening for and responding to our call. (Have you done your listening and responding for today?)

So we must defend, nurture and protect this call (to vocation) for ourselves, for others and for generations to come. How do we do that? SURRENDER! Surrender, putting on the armor of Christ, and become warriors for God during this time of turmoil. If we think we could get around this choice we are wrong for the only alternative is surrendering to the pagan vestiges and the cathartic, re-generating violence of conventional culture and religion, and since the Cross of Christ this works less and less effective, requiring more and more violence.

So the word for today is surrender - and getting your anthropology right is crucial for it is a choice -- we either give ourselves over to Dionysus or surrender to Christ.

Today's meditation of the day featured in the Magnificat seems appropriate.

Meditation of the Day

Why Jesus Tells the Woman Not to Weep

Over and over again we are faced with our inability, incapacity: we struggle to reach God, but in vain. But then, when we are exhausted – precisely in the midst of this exhaustion, this failure – we experience that it is he who has come to us. Exhaustion as the “rustling sound” in which God is to be found (Elijah!)

How could weakness be an obstacle? Weak armies are easily defeated, weak fortresses easily overrun, provided they are smart enough to capitulate. Otherwise they are also stormed, but not before they have been shot to pieces, much to their own detriment. In conclusion: learn how to surrender!

Father Hans Urs Von Balthasar (+ 1988) was an eminent Swiss Catholic theologian who wrote prodigiously.

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