Tuesday, August 28, 2012
A sign of contradiction
"It is the great inversion of method which marks the passage from the religious sense to faith, the surprise at a fact that occurred in the history of mankind. This is the condition–surprise at a fact–without which we cannot even talk about Jesus Christ" (Luigi Giussani).
As Simeon said to the Blessed Virgin Mary when she brought the infant Jesus to the temple: "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted" (Luke 2:34).
Writing of Him who is the living stone, the inspired author of 1 Peter wrote: "Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith:'The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,'and 'A stone that will make people stumble, and a rock that will make them fall.' They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny" (1 Pet. 2:7-8).
In his book, Sign of Contradiction, John Paul II wrote that the "sign of contradiction" might be "a distinctive definition of Christ and of his Church."
If one definition of a sacrament is a visible and tangible sign of Christ's presence in and for the world, then by virtue of our baptism, we are to be a sacrament, that is, a sign of contradiction.
It is the existential perpendicularity of the Christian that gives being a Christian its cruciform shape.