Saturday, December 15, 2012
Christ, The Truth, Knows Me From Within: BXVI Schulerkreis 9/2/12
If we read today, for example, in the Letter of James: “You were made in the word and in the truth”, which of us would dare to rejoice in the truth that we have been given? The question immediately arises: but how can one have the truth? This is intolerance! Today the idea of truth and that of intolerance are almost completely fused, and so we no longer dare to believe in the truth or to speak of the truth. It seems to be far away, it seems something better not to refer to. No one can say: I have the truth — this is the objection raised — and, rightly so, no one can have the truth. It is the truth that possesses us, it is a living thing! We do not possess it but are held by it. Only if we allow ourselves to be guided and moved by the truth, do we remain in it. Only if we are, with it and in it, pilgrims of truth, then it is in us and for us. I think that we need to learn anew about “not-having-the-truth”. Just as no one can say: I have children — they are not our possession, they are a gift, and as a gift from God, they are given to us as a responsibility — so we cannot say: I have the truth, but the truth came to us and impels us. We must learn to be moved and led by it. And then it will shine again: if the truth itself leads us and penetrates us.
Dear friends, let us ask the Lord to give us this gift. St James tells us today in the Reading: you must not limit yourselves to hearing the Word, you must put it into practice. This is a warning about the intellectualization of the faith and of theology. It is one of my fears at this time, when I read so many intellectual things: they become an intellectual game in which “we pass each other the ball”, in which everything is an intellectual sphere that does not penetrate and form our lives, and, thus, does not lead us to the truth. I think that these words of St James are directed to us theologians: do not just listen, do not just intellectualize — be doers, let yourself be formed by the truth, let yourself be led by it! Let us pray to the Lord that this may happen, and that like this the truth may have power over us, and acquire power in the world through us.
The Church has set the words of Deuteronomy — “Where is there a people to whom God is so close as our God is close to us, every time we invoke him?” — at the centre of the Divine Office ofCorpus Christi, and gave it new meaning: where is there a people to whom God is as close as our God is to us? In the Eucharist this has become the full reality. It is of course not merely an exterior aspect: someone can stand near the tabernacle and, at the same time, be far from the living God. What matters is inner closeness! God came so close to us that he himself became a man: this should disconcert and surprise us again and again! He is so close that he is one of us. He knows the human being, he knows the “feeling” of the human being, he knows it from within; he has experienced all its joys and all its suffering. As a man, he is close to me, close “within earshot” — so close that he hears me and I am aware: He hears me and answers me, even though perhaps not quite as I imagined.
Let us be filled again with this joy: where is there a people to whom God is so close as our God is to us? So close that he is one of us, touches me from within. Yes, he enters me in the holy Eucharist. A bewildering thought. On this process, St Bonaventure once used in his communion prayers a formula that shakes, almost frightens, one. He said: my Lord, how did you ever think of entering the dirty latrine of my body? Yes, he enters into our misery, he does it knowingly and in order to penetrate us, to clean us and to renew us, so that, through us, in us, the truth may be in the world and bring salvation. Let us ask the Lord forgiveness for our indifference, for our misery that makes us think only of ourselves, for our selfishness that does not seek the truth but follows habit, and that perhaps often makes Christianity resemble a mere system of habits. Let us ask that he come with power into our souls, that he be present in us and through us — and that in this way joy may be born in us again: God is here, and loves me. He is our salvation! Amen.