A Light Burden


I recently came across this lovely passage from Rahner’s book, The Practice of Faith:

The cross and resurrection belong together in any authentic faith in Jesus. The cross means the no longer obscured requirement that human beings must surrender completely before the mystery of existence, which human beings can no longer bring under their control because they are finite and sinful. The resurrection means the content of the absolute hope that in this surrender there takes place the forgiving and blissful and final acceptance of a human being by this mystery, that when we let go completely we do not fall.

and again:

Christianity … embodies the single totality of existence, plunges this totality calmly and hopefully with the dying Jesus into God’s incomprehensibility and leaves all the details of life to us as they are, but without giving us a formula.

Needless to say, such a simplicity is not easy, leaving with us the full responsibility of living such a life. But I am moved by Rahner’s image of finding that ‘when we let go completely we do not fall.’ The letting go includes a letting go of any notion of God’s comprehensibility, of our competence, of theories of reality, of religious tidiness, of the magnificent yet fragile certainties of systems of thought (theistic or atheistic). What we take with us into this self-forgetting plunge is nothing less than the totality of all that we are. Ultimately, it is a plunge into death with the dying Jesus. And yet we do not fall. That is why it is a light burden.


quotations are from pp.10,11 The Practice of Faith, Crossroads, New York, 1992

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