Monday, August 06, 2012
The Cruciform Existence
Much of my thinking lately, guided by the ecumenical confession of the hypostatic union, has revolved around how we participate in Christ. Whatever we read of Christ, we read of ourselves: we are to share in Him. That means, at base, an understanding of our "ecclesial existence" (a term I take from Met. John Zizioulas' book Being as Communion) must be a recapitulation, a reliving, of Christ's hypostatic existence. In other words, when we share in Christ through faith and baptism, and continue to share in Him through the fulness of the Eucharist, we are living out -- in intensely practical ways -- His incarnation, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension (and in that order). Most of the time, I suppose, we are sharing in the first three -- our experience of His resurrection in a physical, corporeal way is a future (to us) experience; something tasted only in sacramental terms, but which shall be revealed as the true reality. So, when Christ tells us to "daily take up our cross," He means it. We must, everyday -- in our unceasing prayer (God give us strength) -- die to self, die to our old allegiances, die to the world. These things are already dead in the death of Christ: the Life of the world has died, so they have no hold on us. Rather, being raised (provisionally and sacramentally) in Christ, we can live anew -- but this new life is cruciform, it is lived no longer for self, but for others. Christ is always directed outwards; His Church is to be as well.