Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Something to Make You Think

Often I am asked or come to ponder some of the differences between Catholics and nonCatholics. One of the more interesting aspects is the traditional Protestant denial of having crosses of any kind or more recently a bare cross versus the Corpus Christi displayed in Catholic Churches. The protestant will contend that the Corpus Christi on the cross is gloomy and that it should not be there. The contention of no cross or a bare cross is focused upon the resurrection and Christ enthroned now in heaven. The Catholic would point out that the crucifix is an important symbol and fixture of the paschal mystery.

However, the key idea there is "now". For what is "now" to God, the divine now as it were? Though Christ died on the cross, His divine nature, being eternal did not. Given the divine nature, would not every moment be the now for the divine? The crucifixtion is as much now to the divine at our current moment than it was 2,000 or so years ago. Same goes for the resurrection. So there really shouldn't be a problem between Catholics and traditional protestants over the crucifix or the bare cross (or no cross), all are part of the divine now, just viewed from a dfferent aspect of the human concept of time.

It is also this divine now that brings together the whole Catholic understanding of the sacrament of communion. It is how Christ can proclaim the bread and wine as His body and blood even though He has not, in human time, been put to death. It is a divine happening and at the moment of the Last Supper and the consecration, the sacrifice of the cross and the resurrection and even His whole life are as much a part of the moment as what is occurring and visible to the human's at the table. It is also that divine now that allows that sacrifice to re-presented in communion today as validly as it was then. It is not a re-crucifixition of Christ, because to the divine nature it is still then, now.

So when will then be now? Soon. Because we're at now, now. Hmmm, the Theology of Spaceballs...might be a good selling book?


Alan said...

When I read "...to the divine nature it is still then, now," I immediately thought of Spaceballs. Then I read your last paragraph, and laughed. :-)

I was vaguely aware that crosses in Catholic churches usually portray Christ's body and ones in Protestant churches do not, and it makes sense that there should be some doctrinal disagreement behind this, but I've never heard anyone debate or make a fuss about it. Is this really a divisive issue?

Ed said...

In some circles it's an issue. I wouldn't call it divisive, but certain folks see the Corpus as an idol and a graven image. Then again many of those same folks view Mel's Passion movvie as something sinful becuase it's a graven image. We're talking really legalistic folks. For the most part though, I find it to be something that folks like to throw around, it's not a big deal, but it makes for good conversation.

By the way, I have my title: The Theology of Spaceballs: When is then now? Note: best if read with Mr. Coffee.