Posted May 1, 2012
Book: Jesus Christus: A classic meditation on Christ by the author of The Lord
Author: Romano Guardini
Ave Maria Press. Notre Dame, IN. 2012. pp. 113
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
Romano Guardini, widely recognized as the theological mentor of Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), presents a series of meditations on the life of Christ that will remind readers of the pope's Jesus of Nazareth series. Delivered while Guardini was writing his bestselling masterwork The Lord, these reflections inspire the reader to contemplate the presence of Jesus Christ manifested to the world.
An Excerpt from the Book:
As long as I am in the world . . . (John 9:5)
A man's life is a weft of happenings of every sort. People and things are there --- friendly and hostile, close and alien. They work their influence, they hinder or further. Man comes to grips with the realities of the world: he has dealings, he acts, creates, experiences his destiny. This plethora of elements is all drawn together by what we call his personality. Here is something very important: what is the total impression this man makes?
There are different ways of looking at this. One man's career appears to us like the life-span of a tree, at first visibly growing out of the ground, then gently unfolding itself, gradually reaching its full growth and dying. In such a person there is a hardy contemporaneousness drawn from the outside world: he finds himself at home there. Another gives us the impression that he is looking for his mission in life, finds and occupies his post, works, struggles, and after he has done his duty, he drops away. And again there is the restless type, ever seeking, ever in transit, incapable of living any other way but through danger and discovery. There is the man of destiny, in close touch with whatever moves in the very womb of being; such one waits, makes his encounter, grows to great stature or shatters, perseveres and bears his burden.
The ultimate figure cut by the life of Our Lord does not belong in any of these categories. If we read the Gospels in a connected way and look for the reverberation of His person in the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, and then ask ourselves "Just what was He like?" we sense something quite special, something that eludes classification. Perhaps we may best express it with the words "He passed by." The shape and form of Jesus' Being is a passage.
This fact is expressed right off by how very little we know about Him. St. John says at the end of his Gospel that if all He had said and done were to be written, the world itself would not contain the books that would thus be filled. Thus the apostle must have been aware of an awesome abundance of Being within Jesus. Behind every moment, every word, every act of this Being there stood infinite intensity, measureless content. But what has been passed on concerning Him is not very much. If we draw together the accounts in the Synoptic Gospels --- the first three evangelists, who give a simultaneously witnessed report of Christ --- with whatever else said that is new; if we take the very special things St. John says, and the little that can be found in the Acts of the Apostles --- all this put together is really not very much! Of the first years of His life we learn a few youthful episodes. Then eighteen years are wrapped in silence. His effectiveness in public is presented under a very bright light; but it only last three years --- some say very little more than one year. Then it is all over. This life comes out of the silent unknown, shines briefly and mightily, then returns to the unknown reaches of Heaven.
. . . This was the figure Our Lord cut during his earthly life, the character of His "passage." When we come up close to someone, we look at him. And we not only look over his exterior, to see what he looks like, what his name or identity might be, where he comes from, from what walk of life, but we probe also with an interior glance: "Who are you?" --- to know what to expect of him; but the more searching, "Who are you?" --- to know him truly, come close to him in an interior way, to meet him face to face, eye to eye.
In the same way we are to ask the Lord: Who art Thou? We do not know very much if we only know the words and the episodes handed down to us concerning Him. We do not know very much if we carry a picture of Him in our mind as a ceremonial, somewhat unreal, indefinite figure with long hair and a robe with many folds. All that is only a phantom, a delusion. His whole Being must ring in our hears with blood and bone. We must follow Him. We must strive to penetrate into the heart of His mystery, to what He really is. Then things become plain to us, as we have found them here.
Table of Contents:
The sacred authority
Christ the healer
Jesus and faith
The will of the Father
The nearness of the Father
Time and eternity
The love of Jesus
The risen Christ