23 Jun

A liturgically ordered (and Christ-formed) cosmos

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Ken Myers
Published: 06/23/16

David L. Schindler on how the renewing of our minds requires the recognition of love in the order of Creation

“Jesus’ expression of ‘Abba’ is revelatory of his being. As Son, he receives all that he is from the Father. Prayer and obedience . . . thus express what is deepest in Jesus. These are not so much moral acts as the very form of his being. Hence we see the coincidence in Jesus of the Way and the Truth (‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ [Jn. 14:6]): the prayer and obedience of Jesus are not only his (subjective) way to the Father; they are the very (objective) truth or content of his relation to the Father. In sum, what Jesus, as the incarnate Word (hence from the Father, as the logos of his love), literally is, is the relation of love that is expressed exactly in prayer and obedience — in a word, service — to the Father.

“This relation of love which Jesus shares with the Father is not exclusive but opens onto the cosmos the Father has created in and with and through Jesus (‘That they all may be one, Father, even as you and I are one' [Jn. 17:21]). That is, all of creation is dynamically ordered from and toward the love revealed by God in Jesus Christ; and this means toward the prayer, obedience, and service to the Father which are incarnate in Jesus. This dynamic ordering is greatly weakened but not essentially destroyed by the sin of Adam. All created entities are thus understood most truly when and insofar as they are brought into this relation of prayer, obedience, and service to God in Christ: when and insofar as they are thereby taken up into a cosmic liturgy.

“Clearly prayer, obedience, and service assume their truest meaning when they are exercised by Christians. They are activities in any case that are ascribed most properly and directly to human beings, with their spiritual capacities of intelligence and freedom. Nevertheless — because everything, and not just man, is created in the Word (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17) — there is a truly analogous sense in which even nonhuman beings exercise these activities: that is, exhibit in the depths of their being the relational activities of obedience to and glorification of God.

“In a word, prayer and obedience are most properly Christian-anthropological activities, but they are activities that in some analogous sense have an ontological and cosmological meaning as well: when and insofar as we — correctly — understand being as gift, as created and renewed in and through the trinitarian love of God in Jesus Christ.

“Thus . . . giving glory to God is a comprehensive task for Christians, occupying not only all of their time but also all of their faculties, their mind as well as their will. Giving glory to God is a matter that pertains not only to time in the chapel or in private prayer, or to the good will necessary for using creatures properly. It is a matter also pertaining to ‘logos’ and thus to the inherent ‘logic’ of things. Only insofar as we recognize this can we begin to undertake with full seriousness the task of ‘finding God in all things.’”

—from David L. Schindler, “Sanctity and the Intellectual Life,” in Heart of the World, Center of the Church (Eerdmans, 1996)

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