Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Life is Rebellion Against the World

I have been reading today all the posts and comments on the Facebook page of a distant acquaintance.  I did not know him at all.  I met him once.  He was gruff.  I was a twenty-something year old that probably deserved it.  On Wednesday, he committed suicide.  It has been a tremendous shock to his friends and acquaintances.  Everyone posting it seems is trying to make sense of it.  Most are sad, some are angry.  There are screeds, curses, poems, long drawn out explanations, aphorisms, and platitudes and broken plans.  The news is only maybe a day or two days old and yet there are pages and pages and pages of friends, cousins, ex-lovers, family members, anyone who knew him missing him, loving him, memorializing him...  all of this is at least some evidence that this was not the action of someone who was alone or uncared for, but someone who simply stopped wanting to live.  That is is sad.

There are so many places where the the sad things roam.  It seems that everywhere we look there is evidence of our brokenness, of the fall.  It becomes too much to bear.  Everyone has an opinion on how to handle it best.  Some are so convinced that this is real that they refuse to bring children into a world so repleat with suffering.  Some take their own life.  Some see the suffering as inevitable and proof of an absent, uncaring deity.

I suppose the Christian response to all this Veltschmertz is to strive to love they neighbor a little harder or for the melancholy to long for the coming of the Kingdom.  Maybe we will mutter a few more kyrie eleisons.  Maybe you will quit watching the news and reading the paper as I have.

Fr. James Early of St. James' [sic] Kids posted this from Fr. Lawrence Farley not too long ago and I think it is worth sharing:

If our Lord had not founded the Church, if our Lord had lived and taught and died and rose again and there was no Church, then you would not have the salvation that we have today. You would have, not the Church, but you would have Jesus’ words being simply a philosophy. It could take its place among the great philosophies of the world.

You have the philosophy of Socrates, of Plato, of Aristotle, of Buddha, of Confucius. And Jesus would take His place in this philosophical pantheon among all of them, which is to say, “Who cares?” Man doesn’t need philosophy. He doesn’t need to be told what’s right. Our problem is that even when we know what’s right, we can’t do it.
Our problem is not that we’re just uninformed. Our main problem is that we’re dead. Our main problem is that we’re enslaved. And as St. Paul says that even when know what’s right, we delight to do what’s right, we still do the evil that we hate. The problem is not that we’re students needing to be taught. It’s that we are slaves needing to be liberated. We’re dead men needing to be enlivened.
That’s what the Church is. The Church offers us, not a philosophy, but the life of Jesus. The Church offers us the very life that the Son of God had; that is infused into us. That’s what Baptism is about. That’s what Holy Communion is about. Our salvation is not a matter of having a course in miracles, or something like this or some sort of instructional program.
Our salvation consists of incorporation into the Church, because the Church is the Soma Christou, the body of Christ. It is the very life of Jesus here and available for us. Christ came down and united humanity to His divinity in the womb of the Virgin, so that we could have access to that divinity, so that the life of God that is in the Incarnate Christ could flow into us as well. That’s what the Church is about.

The ministry of Jesus finds its fulfillment, if I may put it like this, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which is to say that it finds its fulfillment in the ongoing life of the Church. Because as someone has finally said, what is the Church? The Church is a continual Pentecost. It is the life of Jesus available to us dying children to make us alive, to make us the radiant sons and daughters of God.
Maybe the real rebellion is not the early exit, the whole live-fast-die-young philosophy, or worse: he lived life on his terms (which is perhaps the most damning of all).   Maybe true rebellion against the world is choosing to life.


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