Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Admiring the Kingdom of God

In our daily lives, especially for those of us who work in the social science field, it is crucial to maintain our strength through remaining as close as we can, daily if possible, to the inexhaustible source of strength and peace available to Catholics—the Eucharist, so as to be able to have as much support for living a life seeking perfection, rather than admiring it from afar.

This marvelous book by Robert Barron, And Now I See: A Theology of Transformation, marks that, in this excerpt.

“Now the Gospel writers agree that the Kingdom of God, the enfleshment of the divine life in human form, the Incarnation, is not something to be admired from the outside, but rather an energy in which to participate. This is, tragically, one of the most overlooked dimensions of Christian thought and experience. If we open our eyes and see the light, we too often stop at the point of admiration and worship, lost in wonder at the strange work that God has accomplished uniquely in Jesus of Nazareth. But Jesus nowhere in the Gospels urges his followers to worship him, though he insistently calls them to follow him. One of the surest ways to avoid the challenge of the Incarnation, one of the most effective means of closing our eyes, is to engage in just this sort of pseudo-pious distantiation. But the Gospels want us, not outside the energy of Christ, but in it, not wondering at it, but swimming in it. In St. John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of himself as the vine onto which we are grafted like branches, and he compares himself to food which we are to take unto ourselves. These beautifully organic images are meant to highlight our participation in the event of the Incarnation, our concrete citizenship in the Kingdom of God. It was the great medieval mystic Meister Eckhart who commented that the Incarnation of the Word in Jesus of Nazareth long ago is of no interest and importance unless that same word becomes incarnate in us today.” (italics in original pp.3-4)