Saturday, February 21, 2009

What is the basis of imitating Jesus?

René Girard I See Satan Fall Like Lightning

...It cannot be his ways of being or his personal habits: imitation is never about that in the Gospels. Neither does Jesus propose an ascetic rule of life in the sense of Thomas a Kempis and his celebrated Imitation of Christ, as admirable as that work may be. What Jesus invites us to imitate is his own desire, the spirit that directs him toward the goal on which his intention is fixed: to resemble God the Father as much as possible.

The invitation to imitate the desire of Jesus may seem paradoxical, for Jesus does not claim to possess a desire proper, a desire "of his very own." Contrary to what we ourselves claim, he does not claim to "be himself"; he does not flatter himself that he obeys only his own desires. His goal is to become the perfect image of God. Therefore he commits all his powers to imitating his Father. In inviting us to imitate him, he invites us to imitate his own imitation.

Far from being a paradox, this invitation is more reasonable than that of our modern gurus, who ask their disciples to imitate them as the great man or woman who imitates no one. Jesus, by contrast, invites us to do what he himself does, to become like him a perfect imitator of God the Father. p 13

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