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Thursday, December 27, 2007



"The seeing occurs in following after, Following Christ as his disciple is a life lived at the place where Jesus stands, and this place is the Passion. In it, and nowhere else, is his glory present."

In your later post, Michael O'Brien echoes this in his interview, in describing the choices that are before us in times of severe persecution and de-humanizing barbarity;

"The third way is Christ's way—one which is open to all of us, but which is impossible to discover, let alone live fully, without an ever-deepening union with Jesus. It is a way that is neither passive nor aggressive."

That is living in the Passion, the place where Jesus stands.

Cardinal Ratzinger makes it explicit; "Seeing occurs by entering into the Passion of Jesus" and then, "Seeing Jesus, in whom we see the Father at the same time, is a thoroughly existential act."

So then, to understand Michael O'Brien's warnings about the vision he sees of the demise of the west, particularly in his other novels, we must realize what what Cardinal Ratzinger is here saying, that we must live in the Passion of Christ. To save ourselves, to save our nation, to see peace from totalitarian barbarity we must live now in the Passion, and not wait for the test of persecution. That is our existence, that is how we see Christ.

That is the fundamental Catholic mystery for some of us, that has drawn us as moths to a porch-light. We have seen the cleaned-up, sanitized, scrubbed walls of candle-free, statue-free meeting halls and have been presented with a dissociated Christ. Our songs were about me; me and my salvation, highly spiritualized. Even songs and preaching about the blood and sacrifice had safely encased it, like plastic lamination, in the past as we told ourselves that we celebrated the risen Christ. Amen, hallelujah!

But in the Catholic Church, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we are welcomed to the real world. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. We are slammed back through time until there is no time between us and the dying Saviour, in agony, there before us, in the Holy Eucharist, and with his Holy Mother we weep, with St. John the Evangelist we weep, in the realization of the cost of salvation, and our minds reel in awe at the love that was willing to pay it, and is still offering it up to the Father while there is still one sinner unrepentent, one sin un-confessed.

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