Our human existence is not something static, an accomplished fact; every moment--and particularly at moments of major moral decision--our humanity is in formation. Those who accept and bear their human lot conscientiously, with patient awareness that it is bounded and finite, who constantly seek meaning, particularly in love toward and solidarity with others, also connect with the mystery of the Incarnation through that existential acceptance of their humanity, even if they have never heard of the Incarnation or concurred with it by an explicit act of faith.
And because Christian faith, as we have said on many occasions already, is not a mere "conviction," the espousal of certain opinions, but is people's existential participation in the life of God by following Jesus Christ, we can hope that this participation stems from an authentic human life and anticipates (and possibly implicitly consists of) explicit agreement with and assertion of that mysterious linkage of human life and the life of God. Because there are those who have not come to know Christ or have not encountered him in such a way that would allow them to sincerely accept him subjectively--assuming that they do not explicitly and freely reject him--are in their conscientious humanity "on the same boat" as the community of Christ's followers. Christians can hope for the salvation of such people, even if "through no fault of their own" they are not baptized and are considered (or consider themselves) "nonbelievers" in the Christian sense of the word, or are devotees of other religions. We can call them "anonymous Christians"; they are with us; they belong to us without knowing it. Moreover, Jesus himself said: "Who is not against us is with us," and in his description of the Last Judgment he hints that those who will take a seat at his right hand because they have shown love to the needy will be surprised that he was present in the suffering, because they clearly did not belong to his visible family of devotees on earth, who called him "Lord, Lord."
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Well Said: Our Humanity is in Formation
More from Night of the Confessor (read more about that book here). Halik's point seems obvious to me but I have wound up in arguments about it with others. I like how he states it and hope to remember his points if I find myself in such discussions again.