Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mourning Separation

We see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now we know in part; then we shall understand fully,
even as we have been fully understood.
I Corinthians 13

This morning as I was wandering around the internet, I realized that Richard John Neuhaus the long-time editor of First Things --a religious journal on theology, culture, and politics-- just died. I have from time to time been deeply grateful for the articles and essays published in the journal and on their website. At times it is a bit over my head but, most of the time it is very helpful to see excellent theological-political thinking.

Anyway, I just was touched by the thought of death and these words, "My tears are not for him—for he knew, all his life, that his Redeemer lives, and he has now been gathered by the Lord in whom he trusted." I read the news of his death after I was thinking about the song "O Come and Mourn with Me a While" ...
A broken heart, a fount of tears,
Ask, and they will not be denied;
A broken heart love’s cradle is:
Jesus our Lord is crucified.

And victory remains with love,
Jesus our Lord is crucified!
Love's victory doesn't tell us to not mourn or shed tears even though they are found deeply rooted in hope that one day all things will be made right.

Neuhaus was a Lutheran who became Roman Catholic. In this essay he tells the story of that journey towards converting to Roman Catholicism. It is interesting to come across this today since the question of Catholicism vs Evangelicalism has been very present in my heart in the past months.

I will probably sit down to read his story once again soon but, a couple little things stood out to me: "The great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran." I loved how he ended his story, I love the spirit with which Neuhaus wrote:
As for now, I end where I began—as in my life’s course I began where I have ended by saying again: “To those of you with whom I have traveled in the past, know that we travel together still. In the mystery of Christ and his Church nothing is lost, and the broken will be mended. If, as I am persuaded, my communion with Christ’s Church is now the fuller, then it follows that my unity with all who are in Christ is now the stronger. We travel together still.”

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke