Saturday 30 May 2015

An ethics of watching

Rossi de Gasperis has a powerful reflection on John the Baptist and Jesus at the beginning of his Sentieri di Vita, 2.2. He makes a contrast between 'natural ethics' and Christian ethics:


“As far as a natural ethic is concerned, at night one sleeps, with the door locked. In the case of Christian ethics, which is an ethic of waiting [advent], one watches: a friend might arrive in the night to ask for bread (Lk 11,5-8). [Cf. Ap 3,20.] Christian ethics is not just any ethics whatever: it is a horizon of desire, of watching and waiting for the Lord to return. Any hour will do, provided he returns. The last word of the New Testament revelation is: ‘Marana tha (= Come, Lord)’ (1 Cor 16,22). [Cf. Phil 4,5; James 5,8; 1 Pet 1,5-7; 4,7; Ap 1,1.3.7; 3,11; 22,6-7.10.12.20.] In the time between the first and the second coming, the Church makes itself beautiful for the coming of her Spouse. [Cf. Eph 5,22-33.]”

Natural ethics: one sleeps at night, with the door locked. Christian ethics: one watches and waits. A friend might arrive and ask for bread. Above all, the Lord will arrive, at any time. Any hour will do, provided he comes. There is here a Longing, a Watching, a Waiting. All the personal dimension pours into Christian ethics and transforms it. And in the Person are included all persons, in obedience to the Great Command. And all this is the Church makes itself beautiful for the coming of the Spouse. 

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