Thursday, November 15, 2018

What Would I Be Without Jesus Christ?

Is it "worth it" to follow Jesus Christ?

The answer would seem obvious for a Christian, and yet we often feel the rub of questions like these. We are always in need of deeper conversion to the Lord, and a richer, more full adherence to Him.

What can I say? Following Christ is worth it to me because He is the One I have been made for. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the fulfillment of all things, and my person exists to be in relationship with Him and the Father and the Holy Spirit: the One God who is Love beyond all imagining, who has created me for a participation in the communion of His trinitarian life. In the deepest sense, this relationship is the meaning of "me"—it's why I exist.

But this is not just theology.

Life is teaching me, slowly, that this is true for everything, even in this world. Sure, He gives meaning to all my aches and pains and neuro-wackiness, my illnesses, my problems, my feeling overwhelmed and exhausted - I say enough about all that in other posts on this blog.

But, really, what would I even be without Christ?

He has given me a beautiful life, and the people I love—my wife, my children, my family, my friends—as well as my desire to go further beyond myself to find the good in others and connect with their humanity because of His love that saves humanity.

All the good belongs to Him: the sky and the air, philosophy, poetry, and music, the stars, peoples, cultures, food, everything that is good is from Him and for Him and redeemed by Him.

Without Him I have nothing. Without Him I don't know the meaning or value of anything; without Him I am lost.

But it's not just "good for me." It matters because it's true. But let's remember that "truth" is not the same thing as ideology. Ideology demands a stubborn self-willed adherence to something we make up on our own, a humanly contrived scheme that we think will fix the world if we can sell it to enough people or force them to accept it. The "tl;dr" of twentieth century history should be: "The imposition of ideology does not work. Even if it begins with noble aspirations, it ends badly: with concentration camps, gulags, killing fields, starvation, war..." If only we could just learn this, even a little bit.

But the real truth is not like ideology. It's not about grasping for power and manipulating or suppressing other human persons. The real truth makes us free.

Ideology only makes us partisans of a program, and we become narrow and contentious and blind to our own flaws. We have to be careful not to turn Jesus Christ into an ideology. Certainly He leads us to see the world in particular ways, but they are His ways. He is the truth. He opens us up to reality, to the adventure of really living and the risk of really loving.

Jesus is the Truth in Person, the Truth who has given Himself for the salvation and transfiguration of the world. And we know that everyone in the world lives by seeking Him (whether they know it or not). We who are Christians, who are blessed—by grace—to know Him, are called to share Him and to continue to seek to know Him more.

Because He is Infinite Love, we must never think we have "enough" with Him, or that we have anything more than the beginning, the foretaste, the first fruits that should just deepen our desire to seek more and to love more.

What else is there?

As St Peter says, "Lord, where else could we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God" (see John 6).