Sunday, October 17, 2010

If any man serves me, let him follow me

Two Sisters in the Spirit In response to modern misunderstandings of the contemplative life, which place undue emphasis on “action” and “dialogue” with the world to the exclusion of the hidden life, Balthasar explains how these two holy women understood their lives of total surrender to God in prayer as the most powerful service they could offer for the salvation of mankind.

Time and Eternity

The concept of one's state of life answers the question of where one is, spatially or spiritually; it presupposes a position or point of view.  But for each Christian, whatever his state of life, this position can only be that of the Lord: "If any man serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my servant be: (Jn 12:26).  "Father, I will that where I am they also whom you have given me may be with me: (Jn 17:24)... 

In truth he (the Christian) lives in heaven and is a stranger here below.  But so as to be able to bear this heavenly life without dying, without losing his earthly mission in the abyss of God's mystery, his own life has, so to speak, to be withdrawn from him until his earthly mission is complete: "you have undergone death, and your life is hidden away now with Christ in God." (Col 3"3).  The true saints are those whose ardor in their earthly mission is fed solely by the eternal, heavenly life that they have tasted but that has been so painfully withdrawn.  They do not turn their backs on the world in order to enjoy the rest of heaven in advance.  Rather, they live a life of intense longing and move the world by the strength of that heaven that has first been granted to them and then closed to them.  They hang crucified between this world and the beyond; exiles from earth but not yet in their heavenly home, their position serves as a kind of pulpit, and their whole life is a sermon.  It does not matter whether the preaching takes the form of action or of contemplation - this decision is left to God; in both cases, their position is the same, stretched between earth and heaven. 

- Hans Urs von Balthasar

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