MEDITATION OF THE DAY
The Thrill of Being God’s Tenants
The real question is how the Christian is to strive towards that blossoming of the realities of his faith which are only given to him in this life under the veil of the sacraments. In other words, what are the implications here and now of that loyalty to Christ which, for us, is the sine qua non of eternal life?
First of all, does it involve even the slightest devaluation of this life, and in particular of the purely human tasks which it imposes upon us? Nothing could be further from the truth…. The Christian will be judged, not by his ability to escape from his human tasks and responsibilities, but, on the contrary, according to the fresh meaning which he has discovered in them and the renewed devotion with which he has discharged them. If eternal life were independent of this life, then the latter would become worthless and unimportant. But that is not the case at all; Christianity knows no other eternal life but the one we prepare for, and even to some extent enact, during the course of this life. Such a view of eternal life, far from nullifying this one, gives it infinite value. If this present life were due to stop tomorrow, with no hope of an after-life, it could never have the importance conferred on every minute of it by the Christian prospect, not just of eternity, but of eternal judgment and resurrection.
Without any doubt, for the Christian, everything hinges on the imminence of Christ’s return. Every Christian must, or ought to, live every moment with a lively consciousness that Christ may call him the very next moment to appear before him and be judged for eternity according to what he has done with his life up to then. Every hour of every day the whole Church repeats: “Come, Lord Jesus! Come soon!” And she is always ready to welcome him. What does this really mean? It simply emphasizes the extreme and necessary urgency for every Christian to practice perfect charity. It means that he must constantly try to live in that love which is the love shown to him by God, the love which is the life of God. That love, charity, the agape of the gospels, is, it should be recalled, a creative love, a love that gives and therefore gives itself…. That is the sort of life the Christian must lead in this world after participating in the Eucharistic banquet…. The sacramental world is essentially a link between two other worlds, the world of eternity, in which the risen Christ lives, and the world of today, in which we have to live and attain in ourselves the life of the Risen One.
Father Louis Bouyer
Father Bouyer († 2004) was a French priest, theologian, author, and convert. He was a member of the Congregation of the Oratory of Jesus and Mary Immaculate. [From Christian Initiation, J.R. Foster, Tr., Michael Heintz, Ed. © 2018 by Cluny Media, P.O. Box 1664, Providence, RI 02901. Used with permission.]