Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Secularity of the Post-Resurrection

By this title, I mean: Why no triumphalism after the greatest event - the resurrection of the God-man - that could be experienced in the universe? Why did Christ not appear before the Sanhedrin and Jewish/Roman world showing Himself alive with the scars death, and prove His divinity and power?

Romano Guardini proposed this obvious thought in his "The Lord" Part VI, chpt. III: "Between Time and Eternity" (Gateway-Regnery [1996] 492. He wrote: "It might be asked: Why this mysterious lingering on earth after the Resurrection? Why didn't the Lord return home directly? What was happening during those forty days?" We would expect that "the hunted one, now omnipotent, would have shattered his enemies; he would have blazed from temple altars, would have covered his followers with honors, and in these and other ways, have fulfilled the longings of the oppressed. He would also have inititated the disciples into the wonderful mysteries of heaven, would have revealed the future, the beginning and end of all things" [492].

The answer? "Nothing of all this occurs. No mysteries are revealed; no one is initiated into the secrets of the unknown. Not one miracle save that of Christ's own transfigured existence and the wonderful fish-catch which is only a repetition of an earlier event. What does happen? Something completely unspectacular exquisitely still: the past is confirmed. The reality of the life that has been [the ordinary and the secular] crosses over into eternity. These are the period of that transition. And we need them for our faith" [492].

The big point is this ordinariness of life after the "evolutionary leap" (BXVI, "Jesus of Nazareth" II p. 244) of the Resurrection that is with us now. The secular world continues to be the secular world. There is no triumphalism in Christ. He reveals himself only to love, not to curiosity. He is not a resurrected corpse like Lazarus and the son of the widow of Naim. It is another dimension of existence, yet He is physical. Divinity is present in the enfleshed secular. The kingdon is the transition that takes place in the human person. How does it show? "The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who taks no offense at me!" (Lk. 7, 22-23). The reality: Christ will reveal Himself only to those whom he will be able to entrust a mission. He builds up faith in the resurrection only by personal testimony quietly and with freedom. He sends them out two by two to give testimony to the resurrected divinity within human dealings and friendship.

The large insight that awaits us here is the preaching of St. Josemaria Escriva: “There is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it” (Passionately Loving the Word October 8, 1967).It is discovered in the exercise of ordinary work where by self-mastery and self-gift, one becomes Christ passing by in the world after the Resurrection. The Christian anthropology of work is the same as the act of faith. It is act of obedience of receiving the Word by the self and investing the Word with one’s entire self (which is to work well), much as our Lady heard the Word and did it. There is no triumphalism or fireworks, but the human person is being transformed into Ipse Christus, Christ Himself. Secularity and ordinariness is increased as the human person exercises the freedom of self-mastery and self gift and therefore becomes more and more Christ "passing by" in the small secular realities. The Stone that is Christ freely and quietly fills the world (Daniel 2, 34).

Benedict XVI: "Why only to Abraham and not to the mighty of the world? Why only to Israel and not irrefutably to all the peoples of the earth?

“It is part of the mystery of God that he acts so gently, that he only gradually builds up his history within the great history of mankind, that he becomes man and so can be overlooked b y his contemporaries and by the decisive forces within history; that he suffers and dies and that, having risen again, he chooses to come to mankind only through the faith of the disciples to whom he reveals him elf; that he continues to knock gently at the doors of our hearts and slowly opens our eyes if we open our doors to him.

“And yet – is not this the truly divine way? Not to overwhelm with external power, but to give freedom to offer and elicit love. And if we really think about it, is it not what seems so small that is truly great? Does not a ray of light issue from Jesus, growing brighter across the centuries that could not come from any mere man and through which the light of God truly shines into the world? Could the apostolic preaching have found faith and built up a worldwide community unless the power to truth had been at work within it?

[1] Benedict XVI, “Jesus of Nazareth” II, (2011) 276-277.

No comments: