June 18, 2017
There is one last thing I want to say about I am because of you.
Not only does it express the intrinsically communal nature of being, it evokes a fundamentally ecstatic character to being, as well.
Ec-stasy is from two Latin words meaning to stand outside — outside of one’s comfort zone, outside of one’s known boundaries, outside of one’s accumulated experience, outside of one’s own expectations, outside of one’s own self.
Ecstasy, of whatever sort, happens only when one let’s down one’s guard and accepts a promise of joy undiscovered in some one not the self. Ecstasy happens when the you becomes more real than the I than itself.
One of the differences between Christian prayer and discipline and all others lies in the Christian presumption that the Other one prays to is the very You that is the cause of the Christian’s being. To surrender to this Other is to find and know oneself as created, loved, chosen and destined for life beyond the seeming loss of self (death).
‘Spirituality without religion’ does not promise this life after life; the religious disciplines of the East offer the extinction of the self and its clamorous desires, but not a renewal of the self in an encounter with the cause of the I;aboriginal religious or spiritual practices take one past the appearance of the mundane to experience the deep-down of the mundane, but the experience is temporary and the price of return is usually some sort of messing with one’s metabolism.
The ecstatic Christian is never more or less than himself, but he is more intensely aware than ever of the immediate presence of the You who is at once the original cause and the final cause of the individual.
These are really useful thoughts on Trinity Sunday, because they fit so nicely in with what we understand as the inner life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.In that life Each knows himself as wholly and only the giftedness of the Other and, in this knowing, affirms the Giver’s existence as such. Each lives in a permanent state of ec-stacy and interiority at the same time.
One of the big mistakes that we make in raising kids is to tell them that they will feel better (whatever that means) about themselves (whoever they are) if they are good to others (whoever they are).In this scenario there is no because of you; it is all because of me. No wonder that they feel no ecstasy in being kind.
I really don’t want to go on and on about this one phrase; but I am amazed at how beautifully it captures so much of what Christianity is all about. Maybe I will have to read the book after all!
Really and truly and ecstatically yours,