"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

05 April 2009

"It is Finished."

In Chapter Six of Death on a Friday Afternoon, Neuhaus writes on the next-to-last word of Christ on the Cross: "It is finished." I can do no better than give this extended quotation to remind us of what that means:

He created out of nothing -- ex nihilo -- but His love. The Word is both His love and His beloved. "Without Him was not anything made that was made." Through Him God loved us into being. When He formed Adam from the primordial muck, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. He breathes love. Adam inhaled love. Here at the cross point, the new Adam exhales, "It is finished." The first Adam breathes in and the second Adam breathes out, and both breathe love. What began in Genesis is now finished. What began there is that love should give birth to love. So it was that through the Word the first Adam came to be and, because he did not love, the Word became the second Adam, who bore the fault of all the Adams and all the Eves of aborted love. Here at the cross point, that work is definitively finished. Here is the one Person who did and who was what through the centuries and millennia the rest of us had failed to do and be. Quite simply and wondrously, He loved the Father as He was loved by the Father.

It is finished, yet time goes on. It is not over. Through all time, the cross point is the point of entry into His life and love, for that life and that love fill all time. [. . .] What happened at the cross point is what the first Adam was supposed to have done in the beginning. This is the Omega point, the end and the destiny of the love that was to give birth to love. It took the One who is both Alpha and Omega to restore life to love aborted.

It is finished, yet it is not over. It is finished means it is settled, decided, certain, complete and incontestable. Consummatum est. Nothing can happen now to undo it. Now there is absolutely nothing to fear. The worst has already happened. [We do not know why time goes on until all things are brought into subjection to Him, but we do know this:] The human project cannot fail because God has invested Himself in it; the Second Person of the Trinity is truly one of us. God has taken our part by taking our place.


Lutestring said...

That was ... beyond amazing, beyond wondrous. Thank you for giving me hope.

alaiyo said...

Isn't Neuhaus brilliant? I am saddened that he will no longer be giving us more of his insights, but grateful for the much that we do have. God bless you, dear heart.