Saturday, November 23, 2013

"To thee do we come poor, banished children of Eve"

Contrary to something that seems to be growing in popularity, we're not saved by an abstraction, even an "objective" one, but by a Person, who works by loving us to our destiny. I remember reading in one of his Assemblies with Memores aspirants, in a volume of Is It Possible to Live This Way?, Don Giussani saying it is not enough to know that Jesus died for world, which can easily be and usually is an abstraction, I must know He died for me!

I think only that can make me fall on my face.

With this, as November winds down and we approach (tomorrow) the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, I am able to synthesize, at least somewhat, what I have written on sin, Purgatory, and indulgences throughout this month. In my first post I cited then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who, addressing the topic of Purgatory, concluded: "The encounter with the Lord is the transformation, the fire, that fashions us into the unsullied being that can be the vessel of eternal joy."

It is with these pieces, and only with them, that I can begin to grasp what Pope Paul VI wrote in Indulgentiarum Doctrina:
Every sin in fact causes a perturbation in the universal order established by God in His ineffable wisdom and infinite charity, and the destruction of immense values with respect to the sinner himself and to the human community. Christians throughout history have always regarded sin not only as a transgression of divine law but also—though not always in a direct and evident way—as contempt for or disregard of the friendship between God and man, just as they have regarded it as a real and unfathomable offense against God and indeed an ungrateful rejection of the love of God shown us through Jesus Christ, who called his disciples friends and not servants (par 2)

If I am following Pope Paul, he insisted that we must regard sin "in a direct and evident way" precisely "as contempt for or disregard of the friendship between" us and God, which Jesus Christ came to establish, calling us friends and not servants (John 15:15). In confession when I say my Act of Contrition, I acknowledge this: "In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things."

For many it seems to be all about the tired old objectivity vs subjectivity (realism vs idealism) debates of the early 20th century. As I see it, it is really about how the infinite breaks into the finite, how the Holy Spirit pours the love of God into our hearts (Rom 5:3-5).

And so on this Saturday, the day between our weekly day of penance and our celebration of your Son's resurrection, we turn to you O Most Blessed Virgin Mary- "to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears."

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