Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Advent of Christ

"To see myself as Christ sees me, to see my neighbor as Christ sees him -this act of faith, genuinely performed, already implies the death of the old man of which Paul speaks; it implies the daily taking up of one's cross that Christ commands, and it is the proof of discipleship, which must lie in deeds, not in mere words or in mere profession of faith. The man who even attempts this -and he will never manage more than an attempt- he, and he alone, will learn what is the dogmatic content of the Faith of Christians. He will learn that Christ is completely man but only by being completely God (for Christ's humanism begins precisely where all human humanism comes to an end). He will learn that he himself is never Christ but a branch of his vine, a member of his body. He will learn that he can never say that he embodies the Spirit of Christ but that there is such a thing as the Church, the cummunio sanctorum, which does possess this Spirit, and that he is integrated, steeped in failure as he is, into her integrity. Finally -to pass over many things- he will experience in a very exact way that all this reality that bears and sustains him, with its aspects of institution and its rootedness in the past, is at the same time always future, always coming to meet him. 'Thy kingdom come.'"

-Hans Urs von Balthasar

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