Sunday, 27 February 2011

Christ-Church and Christ-life

The "Meditation of the Day" in Magnificat for Friday 18th February was taken from Madeleine Delbrel:
The work of the Christ-Church is that "the world be saved" - through the cross, which makes us children of God in Christ, and through the Gospel, which teaches us how to live as children of God in Christ.

The cross is not something optional, neither for the world, nor for us. Accepting the cross and taking it up is the lion's share of our work....

Christ does not provide his followeres with a set of wings to flee into heaven, but with a weight to drag them into the deepest corners of the earth... Despite any apparent contradiction, we diminish and falsify our love for Christ and the Church wherever we diminish that which draws us to the world and enables us to plunge ourselves into it. This is what the love of the world means, a love that is not an identification with the world, but a gift to it.
It is worth appreciating that Madeleine Delbrel's mission was that of living in a small community being a presence of Christ in a poverty stricken social/political miliieu.

By a curious conjunction, the "Meditation of the Day" for Friday 25th February was taken from the writings of Caryll Houselander.
As to our love, it cannot fail to be creative love it if is Christ's. Loves that we had supposed to ahve no importance but for ourselves - love between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers, the love of friends - all these natural loves, if we love with Christ's heart, increase the life of the world, and build up the kingdom of heaven here on earth. That harder love to achieve, the love of our enemies, of those who hate us and persecute us, does not merely bring us pardon in our own sins, but is redemptive; it has a reach as wide as the cross, and not only brings mercy to those who are its object, but to the whole world.

Everyone who lives the Christ-life, and therefore loves with the heart of Christ, is adding to the divine love in the world, which is the only force opposed to hate. Whether they love their betrothed, their wife, or children, or their enemy, whether their love is happy and fulfilled or is one that they must forego and seem to frustrate, they are adding to the sum total of the love that is redeeming the world.
The conjunction of the themes between the two passages is quite striking, though perhaps it is not unexpected when you consider the backgrounds of the two writers. But I was also struck by the conjunction of their terms "Christ-Church" and "Christ-life", and what that conjunction suggests about the unity of ecclesial and Christian existence.

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