Sunday, March 21, 2010

We are early Christians . . .

Romano Guardini:
It really should be self-evident that an existence of such unthinkable depths and immeasurable proportions could never be completely portrayed by any one artist, not even by the greatest genius. It must take shape gradually. Little by little the eye penetrates the darkness of the mystery, uncovering increasingly richer treasure. The longer Christian experience lasts, the more complete Christ's image will become. The more practiced the mind and the better trained by attacks of the enemy, the broader, bolder, clearer its recognition will be.
This, of course, is no recipe for pride and the neglect of tradition. Quite the contrary, it is the ultimate reason why the Christian canon is necessarily closed, so that the journey into its mystery might be sustained. I have often said that, if you are genuinely thirsty and not just out to test your skills as a water-witch, it's better to drill one well a hundred feet deep than to drill ten, ten feet deep each. The closed canon and the tradition to which it has given rise -- preserved in the magisterium of the Church -- is what guarantees and underwrites the ongoing exploration into the mystery of Christ which is the work of faith.

As Hans Urs von Balthasar puts it:
The sacraments are there only to ensure that the act of redemption — the cross, Resurrection, and Pentecost — remains ever-present and never sinks to the level of a mere memory.  Authority is there lest the Christian content himself with mediocre ideals … Dogma is there only to prevent faith veering to right or left of the mysterium.

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