Sunday, 19 August 2012

43: The unavoidable mystical dimension of Christianity 2

(Continuation of "Spirituality 16a")
In John chapter 6, when Jesus starts to say that He is “the Bread” and that that Bread is his own flesh (not “body” but “flesh”) and his own blood, people were shocked.
And the good thing is that John, the Apostle, is underlining the fact that people were shocked. John is not avoiding the difficulty inherent to the “mystical dimension” that Jesus is offering: eating his flesh and drinking his blood.

“- Too close!” “- Too intimate!” The least you can say.

John gives us the spontaneous reaction of some people: "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"

Did Jesus drop it? John doesn’t seem to say that, on the contrary.
Did Jesus say to himself: “ok, this is too difficult for them, I will then stop speaking about this difficult topic, let change the subject”, or “let us dilute it a bit and make it milder”? No, He didn’t. Seriously, we should be surprised by the fact that Jesus kept going on.

He just simply continued on His track. He even emphasised the difficulty, and, to a degree, He made it more difficult. He tried to explain, develop, expand:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6)

Later, in that same text of John 6, John will say that, at this junction, some stopped following Jesus.

Facing the "Mystical Dimension" of our own faith

Each Christian has one day to face the “mystical dimension” of his/her faith, responsibly, as an adult, and decide which side he/she wants to take. To enter deeply in this mystical dimension, or just trop his Christian faith.

Jesus won’t change his plan just because “we don’t like it”, or “we have some difficulty to grasp it”. He is ready to help though, if we are opened, if we ask for His help. But he won’t avoid the “mystical dimension”.

- What is mystical? - “Mystical” can be surprisingly confusing. But it is real, and it is deeply the core of becoming a Christian. When Jesus invites us to “eat his Flesh” (John 6), to “dwell in Him” (John 15), when saint Paul says: “it is not me who lives but Jesus who lives in me”, we are simply in the “mystical” dimension.

We have the three-dimensional world space: 3D. We can add “time” as a fourth dimension. I don’t want to go into a mathematical marathon to add more dimensions, I am just pointing out to the "normal" human being that we already can easily grasp the existence of 4 dimensions. The 2D is simply a photo you are watching. A 3D, is a body, in 3D. If the body moves, we have 3D + time (motion).

The “mystical dimension” is one more dimension that is totally necessary for Christian life.

In order to understand the “mystical dimension”, let me use an analogy, just to open the way to this “new dimension”:
Did you ever watch any episode of “Drop Dead Diva”? It is the story of a 24 years old girl, Deb, who is an aspiring model (you can imagine the body), who has a car accident, reaches heaven, and then comes back to earth but in the body of a 32 years old big girl, Jane, who is a lawyer, and who just died.
The soul (and spirit) of a person, Deb, falls into the body (and the brain) of another person: Jane.

Note: Of course I am not at all going to address the issue of "is this possible or not". For Christianity it is simply not acceptable, for one body is for one soul, numerically this body is for this soul, in a unique and definitive way. I am just taking this TV series case as an analogy. Many people accept that "mystical" game, even if it is not possible to have it in real life, so I just hope it may helps us to get closer to the daily Christian "mystical dimension".

"Transformed", "not "lost"

When Paul says: I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Ga 2:20), of course it is not at all identical to Jane’s case in “Drop Dead Diva”, but it has a sort of a remote similarity that opens the way to the real things.

When Jesus grows in us, and becomes more alive (remember the "Spiritual Marriage" or "union with Jesus-God" we saw previously), we still have all our being (our soul is not lost or replaced by Jesus' one like in Jane's case). We still have our body, our soul, and our spirit. We don't loose any part of our being. They are renewed, purified, elevated. We are just "inserted", "rooted" in Jesus' humanity and transformed in it but not lost. "Improved", but not lost.
Our body is in Jesus’ body, our soul, is in Jesus’ soul, our spirit is in Jesus’ spirit. All our human nature (body, soul and spirit) is in His human nature. All our human nature - dwelling in His human nature - is united to his divinity as well. Remember that His human Nature is united to the Divine Nature of the Second Divine Person of the Trinity.
The following diagram helps us "visualise" the "new life" "in Jesus":

The "human being" on the right (each one of us) is invited to enter in the humanity of Jesus (on the left). Saint Augustine says about Communion: we think we eat Him, but in fact He eats us. The three arrows show us that our body enters (is rooted) in Jesus' body; the same for our soul and for our spirit.
"entering" in fact is a very weak word. We should say that we are transformed in Him. Transformation, again, doesn't mean we loose our humanity, our body, our soul, our spirit. They are enriched, Christ grows in them, and starts to take more and more a greater "space" in us, and moves us, acts through us. We don't loose our will, but our will is transformed in His.
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus says that when she does good things to her sisters, in fact Jesus in her is acting and doing them. She didn't mean that her personality is lost, but she means that Jesus is alive in her, and has a greater influence, and moves her in a higher and new way. Again: she doesn't loose her will, her freedom.
As you can notice on the diagram, Jesus' humanity (the square that includes His body, soul and spirit) is placed in the Divine Person of the Logos (the large rectangle), the Second Person of the Trinity, and is united to it.

It is like as if you uproot a plant, “our humanity” (body, soul and spirit), and root it in Jesus’ Person (the Logos Incarnate).
Rooted in Jesus, it is like we acquire a mystical person.

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