Saturday, December 27, 2008

Get a Life

Today is the feast of St. John the Evangelist, and the Christmas season liturgy uses the occasion to introduce a whole series of readings from the letters of John. Today's is probably the most profoundly fabulous. It's the secret of life--only "life" is not what we assume it is. This reading sent me back to Paul's equally fabulous passage from Philippians about the self-emptying of Christ, who then received everything back (and more) in being given the name and glory of God the Father.
Turns out, life isn't something you can "get" or grasp or claim or even define for yourself. Life is what God is and how God is: self-gift to the point of emptiness, and a receptivity that awaits everything from the other. That is Trinitarian life, and if we are "in Christ" (Paul loved to say that), then we participate in this life. We, for whose sake the Second Person of the Trinity "emptied himself and took the form of a slave," participate with him in giving "glory to God the Father," glory the Father poured completely and self-emptyingly into the Son. And our life in time, here and now, is meant to mirror this Trinitarian life, because even now we are the image of God.

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