Mexico City, 6 June 1997
A foretaste of a new world in Jesus Forsaken and the Eucharist
In Hebrew-Christian revelation the world is seen as the creation of God, of a personal God, and therefore destined to have a lasting relationship with him.
Thus, the world has a value in and of itself as well as its own autonomy, which becomes effective in the history of that personal subject which is the human being who has been endowed with the gift of dialoguing directly with God and with other human beings. What is more, the world finds its eschatological fulfillment in the person of the Word incarnate and risen, the only You of the Father, who recapitulates all in himself.
Then, according to Revelation, the world should be seen as filled with the presence of God in his Word, through the Spirit.
In the history of Western society, this Christian concept of the world has gradually replaced the mythological vision. In the process, however, the Christian conception has been marked by a cultural crisis that in these times has given rise to various phenomena such as secularism, post-modernism, and the loss of the sacred.
Consequently, we no longer understand how God can fill the world with himself. For people of Western societies, the world has gradually become empty of meaning. And the same holds true, according to some schools of thought, for time and history.
Gone is the intelligence of love capable of grasping the truth and beauty of creation from its origins, from God who contains it and nourishes it with himself. Instead, it has been replaced by a skeptical and cold rationality that moves among things without penetrating into their deepest roots.
The groaning of creation, of which St. Paul speaks (Rm 8:22), seems no longer to be heard. It has been covered by what Heidegger called the “idle chatter of existence,” and therefore of an “inauthentic” culture.1
Are we up against an irreversible crisis?
Or rather the slow coming to birth of a new world?
Here, too, Jesus forsaken provides a light for understanding and living the meaning of this drama.
Jesus forsaken experienced in himself and took upon himself the non-being of all those separated from the source of being: he took upon himself the “vanity of vanities” (Eccl 1:2).
Out of love, he made his own this non-being that we can call negative and transformed it into himself, into the positive non-being that is love, as revealed in the resurrection. Jesus forsaken made the Holy Spirit overflow into creation, thus becoming “mother” of the new creation.
Certainly, this event is still in the process of developing: but in the risen Christ, and in Mary assumed into heaven with him, it is already accomplished. In a certain sense, it is already a reality for the Church, his Mystical Body.
If we live in mutual love, which brings Christ among us, and we are nourished by the Eucharist, which makes us become Christ as a community and as individuals, and therefore Church, we can perceive the penetration of the Spirit of God into the heart of all beings, into each one and into the entire cosmos.
And through the Holy Spirit we intuit the existence of a nuptial relationship between the Uncreated and created because in becoming incarnate, the Word aligned himself with creation thereby divinizing it and recapitulating it in himself.
This wide and majestic vision makes us think of the entrance of all creation one day into the bosom of the Father.
And we can already see several signs.
For example, when we die and our body is consigned to the earth, if it has been nourished by the Eucharist and therefore Christified, can it not be considered Eucharist for nature? This being the case, our body, although apparently transformed into earth, in reality acts mysteriously as a seed for the transfiguration of the cosmos into “new heavens and new earth” (Is 66:22; 2 Pt 3:13).
Certainly, these new heavens and new earth are still far from their full realization, but we can already see them developing in the heart of creation if we look at it with the eyes of the Risen Jesus who lives in us and among us.
This sheds a new light upon and opens up the relationship between people and the world, of which the capacity to transform things through work and technology is just one aspect.
As a result of our experience we feel confident in affirming that the most profound intuitions (whether in the fields of thought, art, science, or of practical projects), when understood in the light of that unity among us by which the presence of the Risen Jesus in our midst makes us participate in his thought (see 1 Cor 2:16), can offer a glimpse into this overflowing of the Spirit of God into all things.
1 Cf. M. HEIDEGGER, Essere e tempo, Milano 1982, cit. in G. REALE - D. ANTISERI, Il pensiero occidentale dalle origini a oggi/3, Brescia 1983, p. 449.
[published in Essential Writings, New City Press, New York 2007, pp. 212-214.]
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