Saturday 30 March 2013

Dying with Christ

Reading Rossi de Gasperis. Dying with Christ, he explains, is not biological death. It is dying to every egoistic project, to being through having. It is the flight from all vanity, from the desire to appear rather than to be, from the search for empty popularity, from every desire ‘to count’. Jesus did not count. He was publicly repudiated as a useless Messiah, and Barabbas, a recognized terrorist, was preferred to him.

If we ask to know Jesus more intimately, so as to love him, to imitate him and to follow him more closely, we practically ask to experience the humiliation that his name implies among the men and women of this world. 

And when I read this, I find myself shouting to myself: No!

And RdG adds:

We will struggle all our lives to overcome the resistance we feel in asking the disgrace and the humiliation that are part of the following of Christ. 

Worldly and carnal wisdom finds ridiculous and impossible (ostica) the request to be humiliated. Such a request is far from fashionable in our world that is drunk on talk of ‘justice’ and ‘rights’ and self-realization. More easily we love to say that Jesus ‘struggles,’ and that we also should participate in this struggle. Against whom does Jesus fight, however? Against Herod or Pilate? Against the Sadducees or the Pharisees? Against the priest and the notables of his people? More often, for certain Christians of today it is enough to understand this struggle and formulate it in terms of ‘a fight for justice and peace’. In the exercise of the King, instead, Ignatius pushes far further. “Going against one’s sensuality and against every carnal and worldly love.” (ES 97) And in the exercise of the two Banners, we discover that Jesus fights against Satan (ES 136-148).

And RdG goes on: the best weapon against a worldly and carnal love is humiliation, the lack of success of one who is regarded as a failure or as deluded, that of a useless messiah, to be discarded because he is of no use to anyone, because he does not respond to what was expected of him (Lk 19:14; Jn 19:15, 21)…

Jesus followed such a path because he was convinced that this was the way of the Father among the men and women of this world. [Sentieri di vita 2.2:589-91] 

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