With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on. -- William Morris

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mystical Death and Resurrection

In my attempts to integrate the practice of lectio divina into my prayer life, I've begun writing down some of my reflections following spiritual reading. So, when time provides, I thought I'd post some of these reflections both to offer a window into how these holy writings are currently affecting me, and to perhaps open up discussion of an exegetical nature. The following is a reflection after meditating on the Letter to the Colossians...

Lectio: (Col 3:1-4)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in Glory.

I have "died with Christ to the elemental powers of the world" (Col 2:20), and when He was raised by the Father, I too was raised. Mystical death and mystical rising. The mystical for Paul is about "hiddenness:" "but we speak God's Wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages for our glory" (1 Cor 2:7; cf. Col 1:26). That which is mystical (musterion) is hidden in God, only visible "above" but not on the level of the "earth." I die and rise in a hidden way, a manner inaccessible to me in this flesh on this earth; but it happens just as truly as Christ Himself died and was raised nearly 2,000 years ago, in history, in this world. He died and was raised visibly; and with Him I die and rise in a hidden way known only at the right hand of God. I am mysteriously bound to Him. I, by my Baptism, am born of Spirit from above (Jn 3:5). And I am now a slave to Christ (Rom 1:1). He is the master I serve, He is my all. "He must increase; I must decrease"(Jn 3:30). The "I" that I am is no longer its own. In my slavery to Christ, I am entirely His in all that I do: whether I live or die, I am the Lord's (Rom 14:8). In a secret way, I have died not only for my Lord, but with my Lord. For as I am His servant, bound to Him in chains, even on the cross: "where I am, there my servant will be also" (Jn 12:26). With that death, with the world mysteriously crucified to me and I to the world (Ga 6:14), what life could I have after this? That death ended all that was "life" in me. For I gave up all that was "I" to my master, such that my life was His: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Ga 2:20). Christ Himself became all that I could call my life ("Christ your life:" Col 3:4). and when He died, my life went with Him- for he was it.

But He was raised! My life which had been nailed to a cross and descended to the dead, was raised on High, all the way to the right hand of our Father. My life is still not my own (1 Cor 6:19): it is still Christ Himself, only now He is "above," face-to-face with the Father from whom He came ("the "One from Heaven"). Truly then, I have been raised in a hidden way as he has been raised, and my life is now "hidden with Christ in God." Therefore, If I am at all alive, it is in the Kingdom above. That is where I am alive. Every breath spent on this earth must be in "seeking" to live that life that sits beside the Father ("seek, and you will find:" Mt 7:7). I must think only of what is above, not of what is on earth. For I gave myself so totally that Christ became my master and my everything. If my everything is above, there is nothing below. He gave Himself for me because to Him I was (am) everything; I give myself to Him because to me He is my everything. That is all. And now the "life" which "I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Ga 2:20). Faith, because that life which I live is still hidden. Only when Christ appears will I truly appear- with Him, as His servant, in His glory.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam


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