Friday, June 30, 2006

Something good

This is a great excerpt from Henri de Lubac's book, Christian Faith. In this book he presents a catechsim of the faith through the Apostle's Creed. I am growing to really appreciate the way he articulates Christian faith. I hope others find in him the same thing.

"What this creed teaches us before all else is the mystery of the divine Trinity. In this mystery our whole faith consists. It is ‘the central axis on which the Church’s preaching rests down the ages’. It is light and life for us […]

The revelation of the Trinitarian mystery has turned the world upside down – not in the manner of human political and social revolutions, or, as people also call them today, ‘cultural’ ones, which mark out periods of history, but by forming within humankind a new, definitive, depth which we will never cease from exploring. By a complete refashioning of our idea of divinity, this revelation has at the same time transformed the understanding which we have of our own selves. Or rather, it has revealed it to us and transformed it. It is a mystery of total transcendence, and that is why its light can penetrate us totally, If I speak as a believer about the Most Holy Trinity, then ‘I do not speak of it as I should speak of a constellation somewhere in space, but I see in it the first principle of the last end of my existence, and faith in this supreme mystery embraces me also’. It embraces me, it embraces us all. It is by this faith that the Church of Jesus Christ lives. If, instead of letting themselves be caught up in the wretched masochism into which so many prophets are intent on plunging them, Christians decide to believe – I mean, to put confidence in their faith – their faith would make of them this very day, in truth, the soul of the world.

Our God is a living God. He is a God who is sufficient to himself. Karl Barth has written: ‘Nothing is lacking to him, neither unity nor otherness, neither movement nor rest, neither opposition, nor peace’. There is no solitude in him and no egoism. At the heart of Being, there is ecstasy, a going-out from self. This is, ‘in unity of the Holy Spirit’, the perfect circumincession of Love. So we can glimpse the depth of truth in St. John’s words (the converse of which is not true): ‘God is charity’. Our existence is not the result of ‘chance’ or blind necessity nor the work of a brutal and tyrannical omnipotence: it is the fruit of Love’s omnipotence. It we can recognize the God who speaks to us and wills to bind our destiny to him, it is because there is in him an eternal knowledge of himself; there is in him a dialogue which can spread out beyond him; he is animated by a vital movement and can associate us with it. If, even without a philosophical education, we can stand up to those who tell us that the basis of being matter, and if we instinctively pass beyond the over-abstract view of those who tell us that the basis of being is mind, or the One, it is because this mystery of the Trinity has opened for us a completely new persepctive: the basis of being is communion. If we can surmount all the predicaments which lead us to despair of the human adventure, it is because, through the revelation of this mystery, we know that we are loved. Loved by the thrice-holy God! And at the same time we learn what the most far-seeing have been led to doubt: we learn that we ourselves can love – we have been made capable of it by the communication of the divine life, the life which itself is love. So finally we understand also how ‘the plentitude of personal existence coincides with the plentitude of giving’, how self-realization is delusory apart from self-giving and how, on the other hand, that self-giving may be dissipated in an unfruitful activism if it is not the overflow of an interior life… We know, finally, that we must consent to this desire for beatitude, which no theorizing or refusal or despair can tear from the human heart, because, far from being the pursuit of one’s own interest, it expands, under the action of God’s Spirit, into the hope of loving even as God himself loves."

Henry de Lubac (Christian Faith, ix-x)

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