Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Scandal of the Ascension of Our Lord

Guardini: “Who is God? The supreme Spirit, and so pure, that the angels by contrast are ‘flesh’! He is the Endless, Omnipotent, Eternal, All-inclusive One in the simplicity of his pure reality. The Unchanging One, living in himself, sufficient unto himself. What possible use could he have for a human body in heaven? The Incarnation is already incomprehensible enough; it we accept it as an act of unfathomable love, this life and death, isn’t that sufficient? Why must we also believe that this piece of creation is assimilated into the eternity of God’s existence? What for? A bit of earthliness lost and caught up into the tremendousness of eternity? Why doesn’t the Logos shake the dust from him and return to the pure clarity of this free divinity?,,, Revelation defines such ideas as philosophy or worldly religion, to which Christian thought is by nature and definition diametrically opposed. But then what manner of God is this, with whom Resurrection, Ascension and throning on his right hand are possible? Precisely the kind of God who makes such things possible! He is the God of the Resurrection, and we must learn that it is not the Resurrection that is irreconcilable to him, but part of our thinking that is irreconcilable to the Resurrection, for its false.
“If we take Christ’s figure as our point of departure, trying to understand from there, we find ourselves faced with the choice between a completely new conception of God and our relation to him, and utter rejection of everything that surpasses the limitations of a ‘great man’… We must also completely reform our idea of humanity, if it is to fit the mould Christ has indicated. We can no longer say: man is as the world supposes him to be; therefore it is impossible that he throne at God’s right, but: since Revelation has revealed that the Son of Man does throne at God’s right, man must be other  than the world supposes him. We must learn that God is not only ‘supreme Being,’ but supremely divine and human Being; we must realize that man is not only human, but that the tip of his essence reaches into the unknown, and receives tis fulfillment in his Resurrection.
“It is the Resurrection that brings ultimate clarity to that which is known as salvation. Not only does it reveal who God is, who we are, what sin really means; not only does it indicate the way to new accomplishment fort the children of God; we cannot even say that it “only” propitiates sin, anchoring the superabundance of divine pardon in justice and love – but something greater, more vital, in the concrete sense of the word; resurrection consists of the transformation of the totality of our being, spirit and flesh, by the recreative power of God’s love. Living reality, not only idea, attitude or orientation. It is the second divine Beginning – comparable only to the first, the tremendous act of creation. To the question: What is salvation; what does it mean to =save, to have saved, to be saved – no full answer can be given without the words ‘the resurrected Christ.”

“The Lord” R. Guardini H. Regnery (1954) 412-413.

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