Salvador Dali "Christ of St. John of the Cross"
Tolstoy On The Gospels
An idea becomes close to you only when you are aware of it in your soul, when in reading about it it seems that it has already occurred to you, that you know it and you are simply recalling it. That’s how it was when I read the Gospel. In the Gospels I discovered a new world: I had not yet supposed that there was such a depth of thought in them. Yet it all seemed so familiar; it seemed that I had known it all long ago, that I had only forgotten it.
Tolstoy, As recorded in Bulgakov’s Diary 18 April 1910
The Revelation’s Impetus
..the revelation Jesus provided, in his teaching, and in the drama of his life, death, and Resurrection, of the true purpose and destination of our earthly existence, seems to me, even by comparison with other such revelations, to be of unique value and everlasting validity. The fact hat I happen to have come into the world myself at a time when the revelation’s impetus in history gives every sign of being almost spent, and when western Man is increasingly inclined to reject and despise the inheritance it has brought him, only serves to make me the more appreciative of it and awed by it. In the same sort of way the last notes of the Missa Solemnis seem to contain the whole beauty of what has gone before, or the light of a June evening to hold all the glory of the day that is ending.
The key to this seeming disparity between Pascal the scientist, scrupulously observing facts and weighing their relevance, and Pascal the Christian, bowing his head, bending his knees, humbling his proud mind, before the Virgin Mother of Jesus, lies in the one word “faith”…”the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”[Paul, Epistle to the Hebrews] Faith that bridges the chasm between what our minds can know and what our souls aspire after; faith which so dwarfs whatever we may consider ourselves to have achieved, or been, that it makes all men —- the humblest, the simplest, the most, in worldly terms –foolish — our equal, our brothers; faith which so irradiates our inner being and outward circumstances that the ostensible exactitudes of time and measure, of proof and disproof, lose their precision, existing only in relation to eternal absolutes which everything in the universe proclaims, and in which all life has its being – the stones and the creatures, the pigs grunt and the nightingale’s song, the trees and the mountains, the wind and the clouds, height and depth, darkness and light, everything that ever has been, or ever will be, attempted, or done, till the end of time — all swelling the chorus of faith.
Fantasy, Truth And The Eye
I want to cry out with the blind man to whom Jesus restored his sight: One thing that I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. How, I ask myself, could I have missed it before? How not have understood that the grey–silver light across the water, the cry of the seagulls and the sweep of their wings, everything on which my eyes rest and my ears hear is telling me about God.
This life’s dim Windows of the Soul
Distorts the Heavens from Pole to Pole
And leads you to believe a Lie
When you see with, not thro’, the Eye.
Thus Blake distinguishes between the fantasy that is seen with the eye and truth that is seen though it. There are two clearly demarcated kingdoms; and passing from one to the other, from the kingdom of fantasy to the kingdom of reality, gives inexpressible delight. As when the sun comes out, and a dark landscape is suddenly glorified, all that was obscure becoming clear, all that was incomprehensible, comprehensible. Fantasy’s joys and desires dissolve away and in their place is one joy, one desire; one Oneness — God.
In this kingdom of reality, Simone Weil tells us, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstasy as goodness; no desert so dreary, monotonous and boring as evil. There we may understand what St. Augustine meant when he insisted that ‘though the higher things are better than the lower, the sum of all creation is better than the higher things alone, and how, in the light of this realization, all human progress, human morality, human law, based, as they are, on the opposite proposition — of the intrinsic superiority of the higher over the lower — is seen as written on water, scribbled on dust; like Jesus’ scribble while he was waiting for the accusers of he woman taken in adultery to disperse.
Approaching Jesus Through Art
Jesus’ story is a drama, not documentation, and the word whose flesh he became is every true word ever written or spoken; every true note ever sounded, every true stone ever laid on another, every true shape molded, or true color mixed. The whole creative achievement of Man is comprehended in it. Look for it in the light shining in El Greco’s faces; listen for it in the notes of Plainsong; marvel at it in the spire of Salisbury Cathedral rising so exquisitely into the sky; read it in Blake’s Song of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Hold it in your hand in a grain of sand; in your mind in the universe, with all its planetary systems within systems and ultimate vistas of everlasting space; in your soul in the contemplation of the creator of it all, the spirit which animates it all the beginning and the end of what has not beginning and no end — God. Then pinpoint it all, bring it all to a focus, concentrate it all in a Man and that Man – Jesus
The Meaning of The Incarnation
The perfection of Jesus’ divinity was expressed in the perfection of his humanity, and vice versa. He was God because he was so sublimely a man, and Man because, in all his sayings and doings, the grace of his person and words, in the love and compassion that shone out of him he walked so closely with God. As Man alone Jesus could not have saved us; as God alone, he would not. Incarnate, he could and did.
If, I remember reflecting as a child, and perhaps asking some unfortunate teacher, this or that had to be done to fulfill a prophecy, how was it a prophecy at all? Surely, prophesying meant foreseeing something that was going to happen, not so arranging things that it happened. Subsequent experience of life, and brooding thereon, made me understand that two parallel processes are at work – prophesying, and surrendering to the logic of events whereby the prophecy comes to pass. Built into our mortal circumstances here is what Blake called a Fearful Symmetry –
Tyger Tyger buring bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Western Man Has Decided To Abolish Himself
It has become abundantly clear in the second half of the twentieth century that Western Man has decided to abolish himself. Having wearied of the struggle to be himself, he has created his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, his own vulnerability out of his own strength; himself blowing the trumpet that brings the walls of his own city tumbling down, and, in the process of auto–genocide, convincing himself that he is too numerous, and laboring accordingly with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer in order to be an easier prey for his enemies; until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keels over, a weary, battered old brontosaurus, and becomes extinct.
Determinism, Freedom And Prophecy
In their exposition of the fulfillment of the prophecy the Gospels faithfully reflect the mysterious blend of determinism and freedom which governs our lives. What happens, they tell us, has to happen, but still need not; we must bend our knees and bow our heads and say Thy will be done, while none the less knowing, as Jesus did in his darkest hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, that it is open to us to follow our own wills. The demons of the ego are allowed to enter into us, as they were allowed to enter into the Gadarene swine, and can send us similarly leaping to destruction…
The imagination can relate these two seeming opposites — determinism and freedom — into a wholeness which partakes of both and is greater than either. Hence art. Watching a performance of Macbeth, we know perfectly well that Macbeth will murder Duncan, and all the tragic consequences will ensue, and yet hang breathlessly on Macbeth’s words as he summons up his resolution to fulfill the witches’ prediction…
Prophecy belongs to the domain of the imagination, not of the intellect; its truth lies in the inescapable necessity to fulfill it; its strength, in our sense that we are free to fulfill or not as we think fit. This is why, especially at moments of great crisis in our individual lives or in history, we often seem to be following a preordained course, and yet choosing, whether grudgingly, heroically, or in desperation, to follow it.
Where Shall Wisdom Be Found
Where shall wisdom be found and where is the place of understanding? [Job 28:12] Not, certainly, in what passes for being the documentation of this or any other age, whether recorded by a Josephus, elegantly recorded by a Gibbon, laboriously assembled by a Namier, dispersed in clouds of rhetoric by a Churchill, or reflected in the fabulous distorting mirror twentieth — century technology has devised to take in every detail and aspect of our contemporary scene — the television screen. This last, least of all; nothing is less actual that its actualites.
Only mystics, clowns and artists, in my experience, speak the truth, which, as Blake was always insisting, is perceptible to the imagination rather than the mind. Thus an animist groveling naked in the African bush before a painted stone may well be nearer to the heart of things than any Einstein or Bertrand Russell, and a painted clown riding a bicycle round and round a circus ring more attuned to the reality of life than a Talleyrand or a Bismark can hope to be. Jesus was making the same point when he insisted that God has revealed to the foolish what is hidden from the wise.
A Religion Of Slaves
Simone Weil describes…There was a full moon, and the wives of the fishermen were going in procession form ship to ship, carrying candles and singing ancient hymns of a heart — rending sadness. As she listened to them, here own sadness lifted, and she suddenly had a joyous conviction ‘that Christianity is preeminently a religion of slaves, that slaves cannot help belonging to it, and I among others.’
Sinners’s Knowledge, Garnered In Sinlessness
This is like asking why the Word needed to become flesh in the first place; why it did not suffice just as Word. The point is that, to exist for us in time, the Word had to be spoken, and that the Incarnation was God’s way of speaking it. Or, as it is put in the Fourth Gospel in becoming flesh in the person of Jesus, the Word dwelt among us. Thus though Jesus’ coming into the world was divinely ordained, and represented God’s deliberate intervention in history, it was still the case that he had to live in the world as a man among other men. In this capacity, he heard and heeded John’s call to repentance and accepted John’s hands, just as later, he accepted crucifixion at Pilate’s.
In this capacity too, he understood, fully and perfectly, the nature and driving force of sin. How otherwise could he have insisted that just to look after woman to lust after her is to commit adultery? This is sinner’s knowledge, as all sinners at once recognize. How otherwise would he know that the insatiable ego ever raising its cobra head will not be coaxed or persuaded or indulged into quiescence, but must be struck down once and for all? That to live we must die, experiencing the ultimate sweetness of life, the final fragrance and music of it, only in its final rejection. That when we at last know that life is worthless, then only do we truly live; that when we have absolutely nothing more to hope for —- no dream, however exalted, of delighting or uplifting our fellows, no vista of fulfilled love or of silver evening light falling serenely across our last days – then, at last, we can hope? That when the heart is empty, the mind dry, the soul blown away in dust, and the sheet of white paper that has to be covered stares back at us glassy-eyed, then, and only then, a flame leaps up of certainty, absolute and everlasting, that God awaits with outstretched arms to welcome us into the eternity whence we came? This is what Jesus knew — sinners’s knowledge, garnered in sinlessness.
Salvation For Individuals No Collective Cures
Jesus never used his miraculous powers to promote any general or collective purpose. The salvation he offered was for individuals not collectivities; for a person, not for an idea. Though the sick crowded around him there were no collective cures or blanket dispensations.
Fulfilling His Mission While Accepting Mortal Existence
…While he was incarnate he insisted on being regarded in every respect as a mortal man. Had he done otherwise, the focus and climax of all his teaching, the Cross, would have lost its point. For a man to die on the Cross for other men was sublime, where for God to be crucified would be nothing – like someone who is immortal serving a prison sentence. If the Devil had succeeded in persuading Jesus to exploit his miraculous powers to his own greater glory in the eyes of the world, his mission would have been emptied of its content. To fulfill his mission he had to accept all the limitations, fallibilities and inadequacies of our mortal existence and relate these to our immortal destiny, thereby enabling men to draw near to God, and God to make Himself accessible to men….
After his colloquy with the Devil it was to be abundantly clear to him that always and in all circumstances he must eschew the three pillars of earthly authority – marvels, affluence and the exercise of power. It was not for him to turn stones into bread, however plentiful the stones and scarce the bread, but rather to sacramentalize bodily into spiritual sustenance; not for him to draw men to him by calling on God for a sign, but rather to light with his truth their way to God and God’s way to them. Above all it was not for Him to look for help or support to any Caesar, actual or aspiring; still less to become one. He was to be no Fuhrer, no mythical resistance leader; there was poetry , but no rhetoric, in the words wherewith he would reveal to men how God would have them live together and do His will.
Adam And Jesus
As one man, Adam, had estranged men for God, so another man, Jesus, would reconcile them to God; as Adam’s disobedience necessitated Moses’ Law, so Jesus’ obedience opened up a new dispensation of love transcending Moses’ Law in relations between man and man, and between men and God…Jesus’ sacrifice undoes Adam’s sin; the Old Man with his deeds is put off, and the New Man, reborn in the spirit is put on; and all mankind, Jew and gentile, bond and free, conjoined together in one body, in one fellowship, with, and in, Christ. This was the new heaven and the new earth prophesied in the Scriptures…
C.H.Dodd On Truth In The Gospels
There are particular moments in the lives of men and in the history of mankind when what is permanently true (if largely unrecognized) becomes manifestly and effectively true. Such a moment in history is reflected in the Gospels. The presence of God with men, a truth for all times and all places, becomes an effective truth. It became such (we must conclude) because of the impact Jesus made; because in his words and actions it was presented with exceptional clarity and operative with exceptional power. Jesus himself pointed out the effects of his work as signs of the coming of the kingdom: If by the finger of God I drive out devils, then be sure the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
The Messiah Of The Prophecy And Jesus
The Messiah of the prophecy was for the Jews exclusively, and his Kingdom an Israel restored to a greatness and glory; the messiah in the person of Jesus is not for a Chosen People, but for all who will accept Him, and His Kingdom is not of this world at all. It is, at once, within us, and located beyond the confines of space and time and mortality.
We carry about it with us in our inner being, infinitely precious, as it might be some locket containing he likeness of a beloved face. At the same time, like Augustine’s City of God, it is high above us out of our reach — Isaiah’s land that is very far off; but still, for those who have eyes to see, discernible from our earthly city and the destination of our earthly pilgrimage.
It is both here and now, available to everyone for the asking, and to be vigilantly expected — as the wise virgins awaited the coming of the bridegroom, with their lamps full of oil, unlike the foolish ones who had used up their oil and then, when the bridegroom came , had no means of replenishing their lamps.
The Christian Life: Tasting Eternity In Time
As Shakespeare put it in his famous seven stages of man, we come into the world as babies mewling and puking in our nurse’s arms; then pass from childhood to youth, to mature manhood, until finally we peter out in second childishness and mere oblivion. Where in this process is there a place for being reborn? Yet it happens. Out of the dark womb of our own willfulness and carnality some force of spiritual creativity can push us into another birth. We emerge into the same world we have grown accustomed to, to find it now made new; its colors shining and translucent, its shapes sharpened and wonderful in their grace, its men and women moving like angels, and all its creatures disclosing a beauty hitherto secret.
So, seeing with new eyes, I see a new world; understanding with heart and mind and soul, truth breaks upon me, not thought or sensation or realization but in one comprehensive enlightenment. As a child with its first yawn or smile measures up to Time, I, reborn, and become a child again, measure up to Eternity. Who can doubt that this is the everlasting life Jesus promised – what is eternal in life becoming manifest eternally; each joy forever in its joyfulness, each woe likewise in its woefulness, and the two inextricably intertwined; in Blake’s words ‘woven fine, a clothing for the soul divine.’…
[Jesus’ Kingdom] offered salvation to men and women living in the world; holding out to them the possibility of a way of life on quite different terms from any hitherto envisaged. Tasting eternity in time; experiencing heavenly ecstasies while still walking the earth; carrying love, not just to the ultimate requirements of the Law, of morality, of human affections, but far, far beyond that — into the crazy extravagancies of God’s love, which knows no limits; which is poured out indiscriminately on all His creation, flooding it all in beauty, and making all its sounds — the grunts, the cries, the songs, the screeches – somehow melodious, not to mention words, which fill and billow like a sail to his Breath, and glow with his translucence. …
[Imagine] Paul breaking into song while living in and for Christ in Nero’s world…The joy and wonder were to continue unabated through all the troubles and pitfalls that lay ahead. In the world ye shall have tribulations: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world – how often I have said over to myself with feelings of inexpressible comfort these words Jesus spoke to his disciples, knowing that when the test came they would scatter and lose heart, and regret ever having been associated with him . Jesus had indeed overcome the world, and forever…He had overcome the world by revealing its true nature, its reality contrasting with the layer upon layer of fantasy which the human ego is endlessly constructing out of itself, like a monstrous coral reef. The revelation was Jesus’ good news, the kingdom he came to proclaim. In its light, we may know ourselves to be displaced persons, who yet are given eyes, if we care to use them, capable of seeing here on earth, all the contours and of our true habitat and dwelling–place–to–be. Thus St Augustine’s preaching…after hearing the news of the sack of Rome:
You are surprised that the world is losing its grip? That the world is grown old and full of pressing tribulations? Do not hold on to the old man, the world; do not refuse to regain your youth in Christ, who says to you: the world is passing away, the world is losing its grip, the world is short of breath. Do not fear, thy youth shall be renewed as an eagle.
Christianity Is An Experience
The war goes on; and suddenly in the most unlikely theater of all, a Solzhenitsyn raises his voice, while in the dismal slums of Calcutta a Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity go about Jesus’ work of love with incomparable dedication. When I think of them, as I have seen them at their work and at their devotions, I want to put away all the books, tear up all the scribbled notes. There are no more doubts or dilemmas; everything is perfectly clear.
What commentary or exposition, however eloquent, lucid, perceptive, inspired even, can equal in elucidation and illumination the effect of these dedicated lives? What mind has conceived a discourse, or tongue spoken in it, which conveys even to a minute degree eh light they shine before men? I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me – the words come alive, as no study or meditation could possibly make them, in the fulfillment in the most literal sense of Jesus’ behest to see in the suffering faces of humanity his suffering face, and in their broken bodies, his.
The religion Jesus gave the world is an experience, not a body of ideas or principles. It is being lived that it lives, as it is in loving that the love which it discloses at the heart of all creation becomes manifest. It belongs to the world of a Cervantes rather than a Wittgenstein; to Rabelais and Tolstoy rather than to Bultmann and Barth.
Our Transformation At Death
So at last I may understand, and understanding believe; see my ancient carcass, prone between the sheets, stained and worn like a scrap of paper dropped in the gutter, muddy and marred with being trodden underfoot, and hover over it, myself, like a butterfly released from its chrysalis stage and ready to fly away. Are caterpillars told of their impending resurrection? How in dying they will be transformed from poor earth — crawlers into creatures of the air, with exquisitely pained wings? If told, do they believe it?
Is it conceivable to them that so constricted an existence as this should burgeon into so gay and lightsome a one as a butterfly’s? I imagine the wise old caterpillars shaking their heads — no, it can’t be; it’s a fantasy, self–deception, a dream. Similarly, our wise ones. Yet in the limbo between living and dying, as the night clocks tick remorselessly on, and the black sky implacably shows not one single streak or scratch of grey, I hear those words; I am the resurrection, and the life, and feel myself to be carried along on a great tide of joy and peace.
Two Great Propositions
Jesus summarized all his teaching for us in two great propositions which have provided Christendom with, as it were, its moral and spiritual axis. The first and great commandment, he said , was: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and the second , like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these commandments, he insisted, hang all the law and the prophets. His manner of presenting them indicates their interdependence; unless we love God we cannot love our neighbor, and correspondingly, unless we love our neighbor we cannot love God.. Once again , there has to be a balance; Christianity is a system of such balanced obligations –To God and Caesar, to flesh and spirit; to God and our neighbor, and so on. Happy the man who strikes the balance justly; to its imbalance are due most of our miseries and misfortunes, individual as well as collective.
What Does Loving God Mean?
We can love the world he created and the universe which is its setting…All this we can love; but still it is not loving God…We may love the godly works of man…all this can be loved as emanating from God, and yet not even this is God. Yet again there are Man’s own particular and private loves, all of which pertaining to love partake in some degree of God’s love…how beautiful in old age to note in the grandchild newly born some trait remembered form long ago …like the echo of a distant bell…yet this is still not God…How is God to be found and loved? Not as philosophically conceived as a first cause or Categorical Imperative…still less are we capable of loving God as scientifically conceived…the life force which has triumphantly carried our species form primeval slime to Professor Ayer…the simple fact is that to be truly loved God has to become a Man without thereby ceasing to be God. Hence Jesus who provides the possibility of loving God through and in him.
Thus the two commandments become one; to be celebrated in a Man – Jesus —- who died and sanctified in a Man — also Jesus — who goes on living.. As out of Jesus’ affliction came a new sense of God’s love, and a new basis for love between men, so out of our affliction we may grasp a the splendor of God’s love and how to love one another. Thus the consummation of the two commandments was on Golgotha; and the cross is at once their image and their fulfillment. “It is affliction itself.”
Simone Weil writes, ‘that the splendor of God’s mercy shines; from its very depths, in the heart of its inconsolable bitterness.’ We feel ourselves to be forsaken, as Jesus momentarily did on the Cross; and if then we persevere in our love, we end by coming into contact with something which is neither joy nor sorrow, something necessary, pure and essential; something apart form the senses, partaking of both joy and sorrow. Then, at last , triumphantly, we know what it is to love God and looking outwards from within this love, we see our fellow men, all of them, the sick and the well, the beautiful and the plain, the stupid and the clever, mongols and beauty queens, and imbeciles and athletes, every variety and category of humankind; see them all as brothers and sisters, members of one family, at once enfolded in God’s love and chained together by it, as though they were His galley–slaves, and this servitude their perfect freedom.
Jesus And Jerusalem
In his [Jesus’] only recorded personal outburst, he cried out at his first glimpse of Jerusalem in the distance, set amidst the hills, so strangely and beautifully aloof, as though floating in the sky, and more like a visionary city than an actual one: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
The Cloud Of Unknowing: Quotation
Love is such a great power that it maketh all things to be shared. Therefore love Jesus, and all things that he hath, it is thine. He by his Godhead is maker and giver of time. He by his Manhood is the true heeder of time. And he by his Godhead and Manhood together, is the truest judge and the asker of account of the spending of time. Knit thee therefore to him, by love and by belief.
And Judas?…Was he the most skeptical of them all about Jesus’ Messianic pretensions and the powers that went therewith, and so the readier to be a paid renegade? Or was he the most understanding of them all, the one with the greatest certainty that Jesus was indeed all he claimed to be, Incarnate God, which made Judas feel he must at all costs get rid of him The method he chose suggests as much – betraying Jesus to the Sanhedrin gang for a paltry sum of money, thirty pieces of silver, which at the then market rate was less than the cost of a mediocre slave.
As does also the manner he chose to identify Jesus — with a kiss. After all there were plenty of other means of identification than a kiss; such as pointing Jesus out and pronouncing a Devil’s version of Ecce Homo—Behold the Man! Surely that kiss was an indication that Judas betrayed Jesus, not because he hated him, but because he loved him.
A Stupendous Riddle
They call him Master and rightly so, but in washing their feet the Master deliberately abases himself in order to demonstrate that greatness lies not in self–assertion, but in self–abnegation. Earthly authority displays itself in giving orders, in magnificent apparel, in hordes of servitors, in sycophantic addresses; the authority Jesus disposes of is, by contrast, spiritual, and expresses itself in serving, not in being served, in seeking to be the least instead of the greatest, the last instead of the first, in finding wisdom in the innocence of children and truth in the foolishness of men rather than in those who pass for being sagacious and experienced in the world’s ways. When we want to adulate men, we say they are godlike; but when God became Man, it was in the lineaments of the least of men…
If the greatest of all, Incarnate God, chooses to be the servant of all, who will wish to be the master? If he receives orders, who will venture to give them? If those who climb are descending, and those who descend, climbing, who will aspire after eminence? These are the questions Jesus leaves with us; not to answer — because they have no answer — but to live with and by. Christianity is a stupendous riddle without a solution; a stupendous joke without a point; a stupendous song without a tune; a stupendous waking dream that we lose in sleeping; a death in life and a life in death.
The Way, The Truth, The Life
Thomas, the doubter, asked, not unreasonably, how, if they did not know where Jesus was going, they could possibly be expected to follow after him. It was then that Jesus came out with one of his greatest sayings — that he was himself the way, the truth, and the life. For his followers, to know him is to know where they’re going, and why they are going there, and to be vouchsafed the strength to follow the way to the end where Jesus awaits them. There are many signposts, but he is the way. There are many words and meanings, but he is the truth; there are many ways of living and dying, but He is life itself.
First God the Father who is everywhere and nowhere; the oneness of all things rather than any particular thing. It is material or temporal beauty? Surely not. Not the brilliance of earthly light, the sweet melody of harmony and song, the fragrance of the flowers, and perfumes; not manna or honey or limbs such as the body delights to embrace. It is none of these he loves when he loves his God. Yet, in loving God he also loves them; but in his inner self, when the soul is bathed in illimitable light, when it breathes fragrance not borne away on the wind, listens to sounds that never die away, clings to an embrace not severed by desire’s fulfillment.
What then is his God? He asks the earth, and it answers: I am not God. Likewise he asks the sea, the winds that blow, the sky , the sun, the moon and the stars, all things that can be admitted by the door of the senses, and the answer is of one and all is the same – they are not God. Where then is God And the answer is at the very core of creation, and in all its parts God is creation’s soul, and because we have souls which are components of His as the tiniest particle of moisture in sea spray is a component of the ocean, we are one with God and God is one with us.
So Augustine triumphantly concludes: ‘He is the life of the life of my soul.’ …Between the earthly city and the heavenly city there is a deep impassable chasm ….Jesus is the suspension bridge to God the Father. Through him we may know God truly as a Father; through him the universal becomes the particular, the immanent becomes the transcendent, the implicit becomes the explicit. Always becomes now. The pure of heart are blessed because thy may know God the Father; but thanks to God the Son, so may the impure of heart through knowing Jesus.
It was for this purpose – to open up a way for sinners to know God – that Jesus came amongst us. By the same token, this was the offense for which he was crucified. God the Son is God the Father’s probation officer to a fallen world, who, by his death on the Cross, expiated Adam’s sin, and reversed the fall. Under the dispensation of God the Father, Adam brought death into the world; under the dispensation of God the Son, Jesus abolished death….
Then there is the Holy Spirit…this is the conception the most nebulous, but in terms of experience, the most actual. The Holy Spirit first descended upon the disciples in the Acts of Apostles, on the first Pentecost, fifty days after Passover, on what is celebrated by Christians as Whit Sunday…Whatever may have been the precise intimations and nature of the experience, it s certainly the case that thenceforth these hitherto easily scared, rather quarrelsome and confused men became worthy and effective servants of their Master; propagandists of genius and martyrs of indomitable heroism…