"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

19 March 2007

Neuhaus on Suffering

Some quotes from Chapter 5 of Death on a Friday Afternoon (on "I thirst"):

"The way of the Christian life is cruciform. Jesus did not suffer and die in order that we need not suffer and die, but in order that our suffering and death might be joined to His in redemptive victory."

"The Christian way is not one of avoidance but of participation in the suffering of Christ, which encompasses not only our own suffering, but the suffering of the whole world."

He quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "When Jesus calls a man, He calls him to come and die."

And Neuhaus again: "Avoiding the cross makes very good sense, if we do not know the One whom we join, the One who joins us, on the cross that is the world's redemption. The victory of Christ is not a way of avoidance but the way of solidarity in suffering. [. . .] We will die anyway. The question is whether we will die senselessly or as companions and coworkers of the crucified and risen Lord."


St. Kevin & the Blackbird said...

There is a fatalism to the "we die anyway" line I find troubling, partly because I share it. If the ship is going down, then we need to know and love what we are going down with and for. Is the ship going down? As a culture, has Christianity reached its zenith? What would/will the world look like when Xty has to go underground again?

alaiyo said...

Hmm . . . Neuhaus is not talking about Christianity when he says "we die anyway" -- he is talking about the individual, since only the generation alive at Christ's return will not die before meeting Him face-to-face. So it's just a fact -- and he's opposing the philosophy of seeing life as meaningless because of that fact . . . Rather, should we not live lives of wondrous meaning in Christ since He died to redeem us from meaninglessness?

It could be that the church is in for another era of tremendous persecution, of course -- it certainly looks that way! -- but that ship isn't really going down because the victory is Christ's in the end. Or at least that's how I see it . . . I only pray that I would have the trust in Him to *truly* suffer for Him if it came down to it, to be a witness to Him in the *apparent* sinking of the ship . . .

Interesting thoughts . . .