CHRIST OUR SAVIOR
Roman Catholic Parish
MANCHESTER, VERMONT

 
 

August 4 , 2019

Dear All,

That God loves is a concept not missing from the Old Testament. But that God IS love arrives in human thought only when someone arrives who claims to the Son of God - begotten not made. We explored that truth a little bit last week, discovering such concepts as mutuality, interdependence and eternal oneness.

What happens when the Father loves someone else, too? When God loves us? That love is also poured out into the being of the Son - the Father holds nothing back in his self-gift to the Son. Thus, the Son begins to love us with the same love that arises in the Father, but now it is with a Son's love, the love of one who loves as a brother loves.

So profound is the love of the Son for the Father's creation that he wishes to possess it as his own. To do this, he must take this creation to himself. Saint Paul tells us that he does this by emptying himself of his equality with the Father and takes on the life of a slave, obedient to even the law of death, death on a cross. If we forget that we are sinners and mortal, we will begin to think that God loves us because of some intrinsic lovability in us. But if we remember our mortality and our guilt, we begin to realize that Christ loves us because of his love for the Father and because of the Father's love for us. We begin to realize that the crucifixion is not some arbitrary event, but the perfect expression of love for those who are worthy of death because of sin and are sinners because they are murderers (starting with Cain). We realize that the Crucified Christ is what it looks like to take humanity as one's own; that in Christ the Father sees and loves what he sees in us - mortality and a life lived without love, or a partial love at best.

John Wesley, one of the finest hymnographers of all time speaks of Christ on the cross as emptied of everything but love. I discovered that phrase just a few days ago; it is a perfect summary of the how that we are saved: by love, for love, to love and for love's sake only.

A philosophical understanding of God as a necessary element in a logical universe is not enough to beget a religion. Nor does the notion of God as Creator/Covenanter succeed in producing a new vision of what it means to be human. But the notion that God is Father - and, so, that God is Love, as is the Son - allows us to see ourselves as we are - pretty vile - and, so, to understand enough about the love God is for us, that we begin to understand how little we have known of ourselves, of God, of love and of salvation.

We must back up a bit to account for the Holy Spirit in the life of the God who is Love. But we will never understand his work in our lives until we have begun to contemplate the mysterious depths of the crucifixion of Love.

Really and truly and sometimes crossly yours,

tm

 

     



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