February 1978 talk, Serial No. 00550

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Vina Retreat

AI Summary: 





The first three minutes of this tape are extremely weak.
Another story that I'll read to you has to do with the history of the planet for 400-500 years or so,
since the time of the Renaissance and Reformation.
There's something about a draft that just happens to rip from hand to hand.
Everybody knows it. We've all experienced it.
Yet even when we're aware of it, we may not understand it.
And it's very difficult, really, to find out exactly what it is.
Being inside this phenomenon, or it being inside us,
it's rather difficult to look at it from outside,
to be able to place it into the whole context of history.
Griffith is talking about a kind of alienation of modern man,
a kind of separation from himself.
Modern man has experienced this isolation, this alienation, more than any man in history.
When he talks about the ancient cultures,
it's tended, the Sinica cultures, but also the higher religious cultures,
it's tended to preserve the integrity of man,
and to keep him in touch with an eternal reality.
When he talks about the Greeks,
he's sort of the first to emancipate themselves from this kind of divine order
by easing the rational mind in a way it hadn't been used before.
By beginning to reflect, especially about nature,
in a way it hadn't been done before.
So that reason and man began to become the measure of all things.
It was only at the Renaissance
that the movement towards the emancipation of man from the universal law,
from the sacred order of truth and morality, really took hold.
Then the reflective consciousness turned away from the eternal light of truth
and began to concentrate on man and on nature.
Reason turned away from the inner world,
where the inner reality, the light of truth,
which medieval man, medieval Christian man,
had believed was at the core of man's being,
that which interdependence wasn't about at this point.
Turned away from that and turned toward the outside,
turned toward nature.
And so from that time on,
man's life began to be a reflection of what was outside,
rather than a reflection of what was within him,
and would be his center.
And so he began to lose the sense of having a center.
And so the drama of the past 400-500 years
is this drama of man's exteriorization,
his isolation, his progressive alienation from his own core,
is something that Thomas Newton has written about,
very frequently.
It's kind of a central thread in the reflection of his head.
The marvels of modern science and technology,
the transformation of the world and human society
which we have witnessed,
are the fruit of this reflective consciousness centered on man and nature.
But the cost of it has been the alienation of man from his true Self.
True Self is a word which is delivered to man.
And if I catch it, it may be worth it.
We see the goal of the spiritual life,
of the monastic life really,
is finding one's true Self,
which is one's Self existing not on the level of the ego,
not on the level of possession,
or of human reason,
or even of experience,
but on the level of the transcendent,
that is on the level of God.
So one's true Self is one's Self in Christ,
in the Word.
We'll return to that.
The cost of it has been the alienation of man from his true Self,
from the ground of being,
of truth and morality.
And now he is exposed to all the destructive forces which this has released.
Today we begin to see those destructive forces before us,
in the events of the last 50 years.
The things that have arisen there.
Two Great World Wars,
things like Nazism and Communism.
And man's sense of an inner emptiness itself.
Another sort of historian and philosopher who has written about this
is a man named Nicholas Berdyev,
whom some of you no doubt have heard of.
And he's not balanced in everything he says about it,
but I think he's described it as forcefully and clearly as anybody.
Now he's talking about the sort of inner emptiness that's come gradually
during this period of four or five hundred years since the Renaissance.
And in reading these quotations,
I don't intend to damn everything that's a consequence of the Renaissance.
Of course not.
There was plenty of positivity there.
In a way it was a necessary historical event.
In a way it was a liberation.
But as we see it's very ambiguous.
And it's the other side today that's staring us in the face,
the negative aspect.
The exhaustion of man's creative forces,
which was the direct result of his rupture with the spiritual center of life
and his exclusive preoccupation with its periphery,
is accompanied by the bankruptcy of humanism.
He's talking about the kind of secular humanism
that began with the Renaissance
and became less and less Christian and more and more secular.
That is, man, the center of his own universe,
an existing for nothing beyond himself.
And all of the world around him ordered to that,
and no more than that.
That is, to man,
insofar as he understands himself.
The Christian image of man and his personality
forged by the Middle Ages
now began to be shattered and disintegrated.
The disintegration of the image of man.
This is a thing which we find, for instance,
psychologists writing a lot about today.
Disintegration of the image of man
in the sense, first of all,
that psychologists can't agree on what man is
because as long as you try to define man
merely in terms of himself,
in terms of his own experience in his own life,
you can't do it.
You find an emptiness.
And so you turn him into a computer.
You turn him into a set of reflexes.
You turn him into a compilation of needs
or something like that,
but you can't really find out what's inside that.
Because in order to explain man,
in order to answer the question,
what is man,
you have to go beyond man.
Man is only explicable
in terms of what transcends his self,
in terms of what transcends his own ego.
So starting from there,
and not looking beyond there,
you end up with a zero.
And the zero is what we find
staring ourselves in the face today.
The zero that man discovers himself to be.
And so we hear about
the emptiness of man today.
We hear about the anxiety of man today,
and so on.
I don't want to go through the whole catalog of woes,
nor the hundred schools of psychotherapy
that are growing up
to try and fill that inner emptiness.
Somebody described a lot of therapy
as being really fender repairs.
Psychiatrists very often
as being fender repairmen,
in the sense that they repair,
they adjust us to the social requirements around us.
They adjust us to our context,
but they don't touch the inside.
They don't touch the core.
They don't know what to do about the engine, really.
They don't know where it is, very often.
We've lost the sense of what and who man really is.
And paradoxically,
we can't find it by just looking at man.
It's only the revealing Word of God that tells us.
And ultimately, of course,
that Word of God is itself a man.
It is itself Christ Jesus.
And so our transfiguration commemorated today,
that's really the lesson of it,
is what is man.
Here is what man is.
We'll go into that a little further.
The early Renaissance had encouraged spiritual creativeness.
There was still a link with that inner source,
that inner core,
at the beginning of the Renaissance.
But in the period that followed,
natural man, becoming more and more isolated
from his spiritual self,
lost control of his personality
and thus of an inexhaustible creative source.
So he'd moved away from the sort of infinite core,
the infinite emptiness, we could say, that's within him.
That point, whatever it is,
that place, that organism that's connected with God,
that still is united to God's creative hand.
Man transferred his activities to the periphery of life
and devoted his energies to establish the reign of the machine.
The whole strength of man's creative forces
had lain in the discovery of a deep superhuman and divine principle
animating his life.
But once he had repudiated this principle
and severed all connection with it,
he shattered his own image
and increasingly emptied himself of content
and his will of purpose.
So we get a kind of historical or social parallel
of the parable of the prodigal son
who wakes up some years after having left the father
and finds an inner emptiness
and that's all that he knows at that point.
He doesn't know his way back
until he comes to himself in some way,
until he returns to himself.
But he can't return to himself
unless somehow he's admitted into that inner place
by the God who really is the center of his life,
by the God who really is his own center.
I think Saint John of the Cross says somewhere
that God is the center of the soul.
God is not just in the place which is the center of the soul,
but God is the center of man.
God is the core of man.
So when we speak about man as being the image of God,
it's not just that he reflects God,
it's not just on the level of cognition,
it's on the ontological level.
Man is the image of God
who is at once united with the archetype.
The image of God which not only reflects the Source,
but is capable of containing the Source,
and somehow can't be separated from the Source.
As long as the image exists,
somehow it contains the Source,
it contains the archetype.
As long as man exists,
somehow he's related to God
in the deepest core of his being.
And once a person forgets that,
once a culture forgets that,
it's doomed.
So that's enough prophecies of woe, perhaps.
This crisis of man,
this anthropological crisis,
is a practical question also for monasticism.
Returning once again to Thomas Merton,
simply because he is the one who has written
most clearly, most voluminously,
and most luminously about these things.
He saw this and he was very concerned with it.
He wrote about it especially,
and remember those articles
in Contemplation and World of Action,
one on vocation and modern thought,
another one on the identity problem.
But the problem of man starting out
alienated from himself,
and coming to the monastery to find meaning,
and then perhaps being confronted
by some kind of an institution
that further alienates him.
That was the paradox that Merton
was trying to solve,
trying to shed light on.
And of course, subsequent years,
the renewal of subsequent years
has done a lot to remedy that,
for all of us.
But we have to face the fact
of where man starts from
when he comes to the monastic life today.
Here's a quotation from some of his,
something he wrote late in life.
The monastic life as it exists today
often presupposes too much
in the young postulant who seeks admission.
It presupposes that he knows his own mind,
that he is capable of making a mature decision,
that he has grown up,
that he has received a liberal education.
It's often discovered too late
that such things cannot be taken for granted.
Before the average youth of today
is ready for the monastic life,
his senses, feelings, and imagination
need to be reformed and educated
along normal natural lines.
In other words, he needs to learn to be human,
because we live in a dehumanizing culture.
Before he can learn to make that renunciation,
that sort of paradox of the monastic renunciation,
of going beyond self,
he has to find his self first.
Before he can leave his place,
he has to find a place.
Before he can die to himself,
give up himself,
he has to find himself.
Which presents monasticism
with a real problem, of course.
The term alienation is often used for this sort of thing.
And Merton defines this in a couple of places.
The term alienation, he says,
is used of a human being
who is systematically kept,
or who allows himself to be kept,
in a social situation
in which he exists purely and simply for someone else.
It's a Marxist term in the first place, of course,
and refers to the lower class,
the proletariat, being alienated
because they live in function of somebody else,
because they live for the sake of the capitalist, and so on.
But it has wider significance for us.
Because we find that man, somehow,
because of what he has made of the world,
has almost universally become alienated in the West today.
That is, we live in an alienating society,
which makes man live in function
of something outside of himself.
Now, this is sort of a long-range result
of what we were talking about before,
of this turning away of man from his inner center
and turning towards the outside.
And then he begins to create outside of himself.
He begins to create an artificial world
inside the natural world,
which separates him from the natural world,
and at the same time,
draws him away from his own center,
and very subtly separates him from himself.
So, pretty soon, he finds himself
living not in function of himself,
he doesn't know himself any longer,
but living in function of this sort of artificial veil
that he's constructed around himself.
I'll read a few words of Martin
about this phenomenon of alienation.
This is from Faith and Violence.
It's an article about the prison meditations of Father Delp.
I don't know if that was a review of the book
or an introduction to it.
I think it was an introduction.
What did Father Delp mean by conditions fatal to mankind?
Remember, this was a Jesuit priest
who was killed by the Nazis.
And he lived in prison for some time before that
and wrote rather deeply about the realities of his time
around himself.
Significant not only for Germany at that time,
but for our own day, for us.
His prison meditations are a penetrating diagnosis
of a devastated, gutted, faithless society
in which man is rapidly losing his humanity
because he has become practically incapable of belief.
Man's only hope in this wilderness which he has become
is to respond to his inner need for truth
with a struggle to recover his spiritual freedom.
But this he is unable to do
unless he first recovers his ability to hear the voice
that cries to him in the wilderness.
In other words, he must become aware
of his devastated and desperate condition
before it's too late.
The Church's mission in the world today
is a desperate one of helping create conditions
in which man can return to himself,
recover something of his lost humanity
as a necessary preparation for his ultimate return to God.
But as he is now, alienated, void, internally dead,
modern man has in effect no capacity for God.
Here he is sort of paraphrasing Fr. Delph,
and what he says is very pessimistic,
as might be expected from somebody
in this Jesuit situation,
with the examples of humanity around him
largely as Nazi guards and so on.
Modern man has surrendered himself
to be used more and more as an instrument,
as a means, as a means for certain economic goals
which he himself doesn't grasp.
And in consequence, his spiritual creativity
has dried up at its source.
No longer alive with passionate convictions,
but centered on his own empty and alienated self,
man becomes destructive, negative and violent, and so on.
So that sounds highly pessimistic.
Of course, he's talking about...
That's pathology he's talking about.
That's the trouble.
And he's not talking about the positive signs.
He's not talking about the presence of God,
or the life of God,
or the spark of hope that's in men,
which is very much present.
He wrote about that at other times.
We have to be aware of the trouble.
So this is all sort of still on the question of where we are.
Fr. Merton's interpretation of this
is in terms of what we referred to as the true self.
The true self and the false self.
And this perennial kind of alienation,
which is man's trap in every century,
and not just in our own kind,
consists in being separated from one's true self.
And somehow caught up in a substitute for that true self.
A kind of self we construct without even being aware of it.
This is from No Seeds of Contemplation.
He's talking about detachment here.
He's talking about a misunderstanding of detachment.
He says,
We do not detach ourselves from things
in order to attach ourselves to God.
It's not a matter of rejecting things in order to find God.
Sometimes the spiritual writers have oversimplified
in expressing things in that way.
But rather we become detached from ourselves
in order to see and use all things in and for God.
The obstacle to our union with God is in our self.
That's to say in the tenacious need
to maintain our separate external egotistic will.
It is when we refer all things to this outward and false self
that we alienate ourselves from reality and from God.
It is then the false self that is our God
and we love everything for the sake of this self.
We'll talk more about that false self later on.
I think that's an accurate description of where we are in a sense.
This is something that's not only pathology in a sense.
It's not only true of neurotic people,
but it's true to some degree in all of us.
In fact, Father Martin says that the empirical ego itself,
as we know it, is a false self.
It's not what we're made to be.
It's not the true center of our being.
And if we want to find who we really are and what we really are,
we have to go beyond it.
And it takes us a long while even to wake up to this fact
that there is something beyond what we've considered
to be the center of our self up to now.
Another quote from New Seeds.
That is precisely one of the main effects of the fall,
that is of the first sin.
That man has become alienated from his inner self,
which is the image of God.
So the inner self is the image of God.
Man has been turned spiritually inside out
so that his ego plays the part of the person,
a role which it actually has no right to assume.
In returning to God and to ourselves,
things which he very often associates like that,
we have to begin with what we actually are.
We have to start from our alienated condition.
We are prodigals in a distant country,
the region of unlikeness.
And we must seem to travel far in that region
before we seem to reach our own land.
And yet he says parenthetically,
secretly we're in our own land all the time.
So we're trapped in some kind of illusion
which separates us from what really is,
from what really is right before us.
And here we get sort of an inkling
of Merton's Zen type of intuition.
The reality is really right before our eyes
and there's just some kind of a screen of illusion
that's keeping us from seeing.
Something that keeps the doors of perception closed,
I guess that's Blake's phrase.
It's right there, it's right there before us.
That understanding, that wisdom
really is simplicity itself.
And our ignorance is not a negative ignorance,
a lack of knowledge, but it's a positive ignorance.
That is, it's something in our way.
It's something that we think we know.
It's our manner of knowing.
It's our mode of consciousness
that keeps us from seeing the truth,
that keeps us from being in touch with reality.
He used that expression,
we are prodigals in a distant country,
the region of unlikeness.
He's referring now to the parable of the prodigal son,
of course, who was far off, remember?
Far off in an alien land.
The land of unlikeness.
That's a very fertile phrase.
I just came across it again a little while ago
and been thinking about it since.
And Elrod Squire has a book called
Asking the Father.
Probably some of you know that, no doubt.
He's got a chapter in it on that,
The Land of Unlikeness,
in which he tracks it down to its origin.
Jill Son does also in his book on St. Bernard.
And it comes from St. Augustine, really.
The Land of Unlikeness.
There's a famous chapter in the Confessions of St. Augustine.
Book 7, Chapter 10.
He's speaking to God.
I discovered I was a long way from you
in the land of unlikeness.
He's uniting two notions there.
He's uniting the notion of being far away from God,
of separation from God,
and the notion of being unlike God.
And this now brings up the question of
man, once again, being the image of God.
Man being like God or unlike God.
So, let's go back for a moment
to that idea of the image of God.
Where does that come from?
It comes from Genesis.
Genesis, Chapter 1.
Then God said,
Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness,
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea
and the birds of the air,
and over the cattle,
and over all the earth, etc.
So, God created man in his own image.
In the image of God, he created them.
Male and female, he created them.
Now, the Fathers have made all kinds of exegesis
of this passage,
speculating about what the image of God is, and so on.
And many of them have made something
of the difference between the two words,
image and likeness.
In fact, they've developed a pretty solid theology about that.
That the image is that which is indestructible,
which we retain within us no matter what happens.
The likeness is that which is lost.
So, we've retained the image of God
very, perhaps invisibly, somewhere within us,
perhaps visible.
But through sin, we've lost the likeness to God.
So, Saint Augustine is able to say that
I've found myself far from you
in regione dissimilitudinus,
in the region of unlikeness,
the land of unlikeness.
It's a fertile phrase,
because it suggests
a lot of other thoughts.
First of all, the idea of the image of God
is sort of the key, I think,
to the spiritual theology of many of the Fathers.
You find it in the Greek Fathers,
and you find it also, very much,
in your Cistercians, St. Bernard and William of St. Thierry.
And what I very deeply feel.
The notion of the land of unlikeness is a synonym,
it's a metaphor for alienation.
For alienation from God,
but not only from God.
What does it mean, land of unlikeness?
It means, first of all,
that the image has become unlike the archetype.
The image has lost the likeness to the original.
Man has lost his likeness to God.
But at the same time,
if man has become unlike,
he's also become unlike himself.
In losing the likeness to God,
he's lost the likeness to himself.
That's alienation, to be separated from oneself.
But to be in a land of unlikeness
is to be in a place where
nothing is like anything else, in a sense.
It's to be in a place where everything is alienated,
at least to the eye.
It's to be in a place where signs don't stand
for what they seem to mean.
Where the appearance does not manifest
the reality lying underneath.
It's to be in a place of deception,
a place of illusion, for one thing.
But also a place of separation.
And most deeply,
where man is unlike God,
and man is unlike himself.
Unlike himself.
Here we get sort of beyond conceptual thought,
and we get beyond the kind of knowledge
which we call subject-object knowledge.
And we're talking about being unlike oneself,
or like oneself.
Remember the Zen question,
what was your original face before you were born?
That sort of thing.
This is the area where we get beyond
the area that Thomas Merton got into in his later years.
Where a kind of meaningless expression
like being like oneself or unlike oneself
begins to open up and to have meaning.
And we begin to find out that knowledge
is not just in comparing two terms,
but in having one term, perhaps,
one notion open up to you,
and then inside of that one notion
finding everything all over again.
And that's where the meaning of solitude
takes on a new depth.
Where the meaning of the true self
begins to emerge,
when one can have a sense of being like himself
or unlike himself.
And then we remember, of course,
that God is Trinity.
And fundamentally this notion of likeness or image
leads us back to the theology of the Holy Trinity,
actually, because the basic image
is the image of the Father, which is the Son.
Rahner talks about all being as being symbolic
in this sense.
That being has a tendency to manifest itself.
To manifest itself.
So that all being has a side which is dark, as it were,
and a side which is bright.
A side which is hidden.
The side of mystery.
And so it is with the Father.
And the side which is seen,
the side which is expressed,
which is the manifestation of the hidden side,
which is the Son, which is the image,
which is the Word.
And that we ourselves are that way.
That we ourselves, and all beings,
in some way, which carry at least a vestige,
if not the image of God,
are of that kind.
That all being in some way is Trinitarian.
It's a deep notion, isn't it?
Turn the tape over now
and continue on the other side.
Hearing about this land of unlikeness,
we remember also the story of the Tower of Babel.
And the division of tongues,
which was the entering of unlikeness,
as it were, into the unity of man
with a new force.
So that men became unlike one another in their language
and they were dispersed at the same moment.
They tried to make that tower,
the scriptures say, to reach up to heaven.
But God decided to frustrate their plan,
to frustrate this kind of manifestation of human power.
And so he separated, divided their tongues
and dispersed them.
And so they went far off in a region of unlikeness.
And what's the event in the New Testament
that corresponds to that dispersion
of the Tower of Babel in the Old Testament?
I think it's the moment of Pentecost.
When the Spirit comes down and reunites
the separate tongues of men
in one flame, as it were,
and begins to gather them back again,
as God had promised through the prophets,
into the land of likeness.
A land of likeness which, first of all,
is the likeness between God and man, once again,
because the Spirit has come in
to enkindle the image and to bring it back,
bring back the likeness of the archetype.
But also the land of likeness
where one man is united with another.
Where all men speak the same language,
not on the verbal level, but in a deeper sense.
Where men understand themselves
as being the same man,
as being all one.
Where men find themselves together in Christ, really.
That's the meaning of the land of likeness, in the end.
The land of likeness, the land of the image,
of the true reflection of God,
is the land where all men are one.
Which can only, of course, be the body of Christ.
Which is what the event
of the descent of the Spirit brings about.
One more thing about this.
This world that man has created himself,
the artificial world of technology,
is, in a certain way,
a world, a new world of unlikeness.
A new land of unlikeness.
In some way, it reflects the image of man,
but it reflects the lower part
of the image of man only.
If you look at the billboards along the road,
as you drive down the highway,
you can make sure of that.
Mostly whiskey ads and cigarette ads, and so on.
An occasional sign for some nightclub in Reno,
and things like that.
That's accidental, and perhaps not fair.
But the artificial world that man has created
has removed the likeness, as it were,
from God's creation,
so that it's no longer transparent to man.
So that it no longer manifests God.
Notice how man's innovations,
very often in the world,
not all of them, some things are beautiful,
man can create beauty too,
that's what he's supposed to do.
But very many of them make an opaqueness
so that no longer does the creation
manifest God, but it stops at a certain point.
It's interpreted at a certain point.
You see a beautiful landscape,
and in the center of it, a Coca-Cola sign,
or something like that.
And immediately, the landscape
is no longer transparent to God,
because man has expressed a trivial word there.
He's interpreted the whole thing,
and it collapses like a house of cards.
All of that beauty disappears,
all of that transparency disappears,
and man has said his little word.
So the artificial world that man creates
is very often simply a new land of unlikeness,
of further estrangement.
Man, by making a world in his own image,
has somehow made opaque the world
which is created to manifest God,
because he hasn't made it in his own true image.
When man makes the world in his own true image,
then he really helps in the recreation of the world.
And then he creates beauty,
which harmonizes perfectly with the beauty
that's already there, with God's creation.
Then the creation of God
and the creativity of man walk hand in hand.
I shouldn't go so long on this.
So much for the land of unlikeness.
So our two connections are really connected.
Man doesn't know who he is because of where he is.
The question of what is man
and the question of where are we, of where am I.
In a land of unlikeness, where we begin at least,
appearances don't express the underlying realities,
but they deceive us.
The images of things are not reliable.
So once again we find that a two-fold movement is called for.
First of all, a return to self,
to be able to go further and find God.
And secondly, a return to God.
But the two are intermingled,
so that we can't even find ourselves, in some sense,
without finding God.
We have to be led back to ourselves by the Spirit of God.
The Vatican II document on the Church in the modern world
has taken up this notion of man as the image of God
and really made it the foundation stone
of its treatise, sort of, on man's role in the world.
If you read that document,
you'll find that's how the dignity of man is expressed.
And there seems to be no higher way
to express the meaning of man
than to say that he is the image of God.
Quoting from Gaudium et spes.
In reality, it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh
that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.
For Adam, the first man, was a type of him who was to come.
This is familiar to us from St. Paul.
Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam,
in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father
and of his love,
fully reveals man to himself
and brings to light his most high calling.
He who is the image of the invisible God
is himself the perfect man
who is restored to the children of Adam
that likeness to God
which had been disfigured ever since the first sin.
So we only know what man is, really,
by looking at Christ.
That's been expressed in these terms.
man is the image of God, as it were,
with a small I.
And Christ is the image of God with a capital I.
Christ is the only true, perfect image of God.
We are the sort of secondary image of God
who have lost the likeness.
And in order to recover the likeness,
in order to discover who we are,
in order to find our way back,
we have to be somehow enlightened and enkindled
by this one great image,
still luminous,
with the light of God.
And here we move close to the mystery of the Transfiguration.
We have to be enkindled by this image
who contains the pneuma,
who contains the Spirit,
therefore who is really alive still
with the light and the fire of God.
And then the image that is in us comes awake,
comes alive.
And we discover for the first time who we are and what we are.
A thing which can't be expressed in words
but can only be expressed in the experience,
can only be experienced.
And even then not fully.
Because that reality of the image is always beyond us.
Always beyond anything that we can grasp
or can possess,
can experience,
can recall.
But nevertheless it's a fact of experience.
The starting point of any inquiry that we make
into the question of who man is
must be Christology.
I think very often we forget this.
That if our theology is really Christian
we have to start with Christ
when we ask who man is
because Christ is the archetype.
And Christ is the Word.
It is the Word of explanation,
the Word of exegesis, as it were,
of what man is.
Our idea of who man is
must derive ultimately from our idea of who Christ is.
And so it's so extremely important
that we understand who Christ is properly.
The union of divinity and humanity
in the one Christ.
Not only for, what would you call it,
reasons of having an integral dogmatic theology
but for very personal existential reasons
or otherwise we mistake what we are supposed to be.
Otherwise we mistake our own goal,
our own being,
our own true nature.
Because we too have the Father,
we too have God at our core.
Christianity as a religion
stands or falls by its recognition
of the divine humanity of Christ,
of his divine human complexity.
This is someone who is writing
from the orthodox point of view.
Without this recognition
Christianity is meaningless.
So as soon as you've let go
of the divinity of Christ,
you've also let go of the divinity of man
and Christianity falls apart in several ways.
As very often happened
in liberal Christian theology in recent years.
There's nothing left of it really.
It becomes a social doctrine.
And it is this divine humanity
that is the norm for man.
It is the model given in Revelation
by reference to which we can answer the question
about who we are.
Moreover, this divine humanity
is not something that Christ acquires
by virtue of the historical incarnation alone.
From eternity he is the man,
the archetype of which every man
is meant to be the image,
the firstborn of every creature,
as St. Paul says.
We've become so used to regarding Christ
as a kind of unique exception,
of putting Christ on a pedestal,
rightly so in a sense,
but not in so far as it separates him
from us in this way.
Someone who appeared
in an inimitable once and for all event
that we've forgotten.
I guess I can't follow that one.
That we've forgotten what he means to us really.
That what we see in Christ,
what we see in Christ at the Transfiguration
is really the secret of our being.
It's really the answer to the question
of who we are.
We have separated Christ from ourselves
too much in that sense.
Because what is in Christ
is meant to be ours.
Remember, that's what Tom Armian
was talking about in that reading
from Christ in his life.