Tuesday, January 17, 2017

If God is With Us, Why is Life So Full of Darkness?

I have been reflecting recently on the theme of "epiphany," which indicates that the Mystery--the infinite, inexhaustible fulfillment of meaning, goodness, justice, beauty, and happiness that our hearts are made for and that all reality points toward--that this Mystery beyond our understanding, beyond the reach of all our striving, has become manifest, has appeared in the world.

He has indeed revealed himself by taking flesh and dwelling among us, by becoming fully human: Jesus of Nazareth. In the coming months we will reflect upon the whole unfolding of God's revelation and communication of himself to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

In these events, God, without ceasing to be the Mystery, enters into the depths of human history for the salvation of a world that not only does not fathom him, but that also fears him and rebels against him. God has redeemed the world.

Because of all this, we proclaim that Jesus is Lord. He has all things. He is the meaning of the universe, the meaning of history, the meaning of today, this day, this moment, now.

But that doesn't mean all our problems "go away." The redemption is not magic. It's not a formula for worldly success. It's not a way of escaping the struggles of being human. It's not about protecting us from suffering.

It's about love. God's love, which is the real truth, the real meaning of history, of this moment, this "now."

Jesus's death happens in a moment in time; his resurrection reveals that he has encompassed all of time and embraced the life of every person in his redeeming love. Jesus enters into our "now" and transforms it into an invitation to respond in love to the mystery of his love. His presence empowers our hearts and draws us to respond more and more in love to his love, to abandon ourselves to his love.

The Source of all things, who sustains all things and "saves them from nothingness," is here. He is with us. His presence and his promise touch our hearts. Yet he remains the Mystery and our lives remain mysterious, full of perplexities, tensions and changes, the foretaste of eternal joy, but also (in what can seem contrary to it) our own insoluble problems, our own pain and suffering.

Human beings live in fear of the mystery of life; they flee from it because it appears to them to be a gaping abyss of darkness. The Christian proposal for our lives does not deny this mysterious abyss, or seek to replace it with some ideology or cheap sentiment. True Christian faith lives the mystery of being human all the way to the abyss and suffers its darkness. Christian faith knows that Jesus is here too, and above all.

Jesus has fathomed the abyss of our own mystery, and calls upon us to trust in him because he encompasses it all in the Mystery itself, in the greater abyss that is Eternal Love. This abyss is an infinite Mercy that will finally take us beyond yearning and longing, beyond ourselves and our limits and into the fulfillment for which we have been made.

He is here and we will be saved if we adhere to him and hold onto him and never let go.