Friday, August 12, 2011

Essence precedes existence, not the other way 'round

It seems to me that, at root, the riots in the U.K. have an existential cause that has to be considered by Christians before we start in about the decline of civilization, for which I agree these riots do not bode well, or blather on about race, economic policies, politics, etc. After all, civilization, especially Western civilization, did not arise in a vacuum, but was built on a solidly Christian foundation, which is a rather petrified way stating what I want to say. It does bring up the questions that I very much look forward to Peter Hitchens addressing in his Mail on Sunday column. As with the events in Norway, these riots bring up the question, once again, of civilizational suicide rooted in an existential cause, namely the loss of the transcendent aspect of being human ("Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor" Psalm 8:6), not grasping the mystery of our I.

I know Morrissey stepped in it when in Poland he linked the killings in Norway with KFC (remember Meat is Murder? He was serious then and is now), but this old, lovely Smith's song gets at it. I ask, when will the Church stop its collaboration with government, schools, business in flattening desire? This can be overcome in no other way than by the Church being the Church, not another bureaucracy, or social welfare agency, which are what I think people refer to when they express disdain for "organized religion," but truly Christ's Body, which means living in fidelity to the truth (the journey to which is experience), giving witness and telling others what we have seen, heard, touched and tasted.

With Von Balthasar, I believe the center of the Church is Marian. So, it is to her we turn, poor banished children of Eve that we are, asking her to help us understand that "the nature of the Christian experience is seen by the fact that it is able to awaken the sense of mystery in the 'I'" helping us ask the human question ("Whoever Is In Christ Is A New Creation", pg. 6).

And, startlingly, the voice of Jesus also says to you: 'what are you looking for?' [John 1:35-39] Jesus speaks to you today, through the Gospel and his Holy Spirit. He is your contemporary! He seeks you even before you seek him! While fully respecting your freedom, he approaches each one of you and offers himself as the authentic and decisive response to the longing deep within your hearts, to your desire for a life worth living- PP Benedictus from his Apostolic Vistit to Croatia in June

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