Saturday, June 10, 2006

For HIM

I wrote a few days ago that I experienced in the Pentecost Liturgy an awareness that the whole universe was created to sing blessings to Christ. Now, being in a somewhat less exalted state of mind and spirit—I simply have to reaffirm it all the more! If it were not so, then Christ isn’t who He, the Scriptures, and the Church say He is.

Let’s decide once and for all to do away with all lowest-common-denominator-comparative-religion versions of Jesus. If we don’t have a thoroughly Christian one, with all its scandalously absolute and unique claims, we have a false one, or at least a distorted or inadequate one.

St Paul (whom no one can accuse of not being thoroughly Christian) has this to say about Christ and the universe: “…all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). I want to focus here on the “for Him.” Think about it: all things—that is, the whole universe—were created for Christ. An earthly papa might build a little swingset or backyard playground for his son, but God the Father created the whole universe for his!

We saw a few posts back, in the series on the Book of Revelation, how all creation, heaven, earth, sea, etc, joined in a chorus of praise and adoration of Him who sat on the throne and the Lamb. This is simply an expression of what is, that is, what is the mind of God and what the final restoration of all things will look like. It’s what the angels and saints are doing as you read this. It’s a vision of what everything, if unfallen and hence unblinded, would always spontaneously do. St Cyril of Jerusalem says that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to be able to see things we’ve never seen before, that is, to recognize hitherto hidden mysteries of God, the reality of which has always been there but opaque to our spiritual perception.

Perhaps few people today believe that the Son of God is the center of the universe—the beginning of it, the sustainer of it, the meaning of it, the destiny of it. Perhaps many do not want to believe it. Why? Because then the whole phony edifice of selfish, materialistic, hedonistic, avaricious, lustful, godless pursuits that they call “life” will have to come crashing down, that’s why! They try to save this life only to lose it, while refusing to take up their crosses and follow Jesus, losing that worthless life in order to find true life, joyous and eternal. When you finally see the truth, you can no longer live a lie, unless you choose to do so, in violation of conscience and right reason.

And when you have “once been enlightened, have tasted the heavenly gift, and have partaken of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come” (Hebrews 6:4-5), all that the world and its vulgar media have to offer looks base and tawdry and unworthy of even passing attention. Yet for all this, the vision of Christ-All-in-all remains a vision of faith. It will not force itself on us, and it may even seem to hide from us. What we have seen and heard in the moments of clarity and light that God occasionally grants us must be sustained by prayer and sacraments and meditation on the word of God, and thus we attain the higher ground where the flood of filth and deception cannot easily reach us.

Know then, that the glory of God is all around you. The heavens tell it, as the psalmist says, and the birds sing it (did you ever notice that songbirds never sing off-key, that even if fifty species are singing their different notes all at once, they are always in harmony?—no accident!). Everything was made for Christ; to deny Him is to deny reality. He holds the universe in existence, and his joy reaches from one end of it to the other. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, we feel the Heartbeat of Heaven, and his precious blood pulses through our bodies as our own. It’s all for Him, and He would like nothing better than to share it all with us!

Pray, then, to the Holy Spirit, that you may be granted to see things you haven’t seen before, that the veil may be lifted—at least a little, at least for a while, so that you can be assured that everything exists for Him, that everything is designed to point and move toward Him, and that it is a horrible aberration and departure from what is and what is meant to be, if we set out upon a path in any other direction. So find Christ everywhere; you won’t be seeing what’s not there; rather, you’ll be seeing reflections of Him Who Is.