RCIA Prompt: “If someone were to ask you about who Jesus was and why he had to become human and die, what would you say to them?”
My first instinct, grounded in years of intellectual thought, is to answer this question creatively — that is, as a reflection of the application of reason to things I have heard or read. I now believe that would be an error. So: Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. He was God and a man. He had to become human and die because that’s who he was. His very existence, including his sacrificial death, was an atonement or reconciliation necessitated by the rupture between God and humanity in the Fall — the abuse of free will in Man’s decision to try to “go it alone” without obedience to God. Jesus’s act of redemption restored the intimate relationship between God and humanity that fragile, fallible human beings would be incapable of restoring on their own.
RCIA Prompt: “The Catholic Faith is filled with ‘mystery’, or things that we cannot fully understand or explain — like Jesus being fully human and fully divine. Does this make you uncomfortable or does it make sense? Why or why not?”
For most of my life, I have acted like there are three kinds of knowledge:
1. Things I can understand with my own intellect; but any conclusions are temporary, because my “superior” intellect might come up with a better answer (sort of the scientific point of view).
2. Mysteries that are beyond the reach of reason, and probably unknowable, even though I’d really like to know them, since I have always suspected these are the most important things.
3. Lots of things I don’t know and don’t really care about.
I’ve changed my attitude in recent years. I’ve experienced my own fallibility with respect to #1. I’ve discerned a pattern of moral failures and punishments. I’ve leaned the importance of humility and surrender. I’ve learned that these are the keys to embracing truths that, while fundamentally mysteries, are absolutely essential to embrace. The mysteries of the Catholic Faith are at the top of this list. That leaves me with a tremendous sense of liberation!
Sin — living out of step with my own deepest identity
The Incarnation overcomes dualism.
Christmas — God condescended to become flesh, to enter our level, that we might participate in his Divinity.