Posted on: December 3rd, 2007 _Catholicism_ (VI): The Hope of Christ

If it is true, as I have summarized de Lubac’s argument in my last post on his book Catholicism, that the beatific vision will be enjoyed only by the community as a whole, then this has implications for Christ himself, who, after all, is a member of this community. (He is the head of the body, and the chief cornerstone of the temple of living stones, and our elder brother.) This is de Lubac’s point in this section.

Writes Origen (de Lubac’s primary theological mentor), commenting on Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones:

When shall come the resurrection of the real, whole body of Christ, then the members of Christ shall be knitted together, joint to joint, each one in its place, and the multitude of members will form at last, completely and in one full reality, one single body.”

Until that time, argues de Lubac, there is a certain sense in which Christ remains imcomplete. De Lubac quotes from a 1934 article in Revue Nouvelle theologique:

Christ, the Word Incarnate, was not our Redeemer by a sort of accident; it was his sole office, it governed everything else. Can it be allowed that the Redeemer’s hope is fully satisfied, independently of the outcome of his work? Has the hope of the Shepherd nothing to do with the fate of his flock? Is it enough for him to have kept clear of the wolf’s jaws that he may peacefully contemplate his sheep from afar, watching over them merely with pity as if they were not his own? As long as God’s work is not complete, as long as there are petitions of the Pater unfulfilled, can it be admitted that hope has not room in heaven, that its object is found wanting? The happiness of the individual is not substitute for that of the community. The same steadfast longing, the same desire, the same rhythm of life run through both the church militant and the church triumphant until that day when Christ shall be complete, that is, until he shall come again in glory.”

We may, writes de Lubac, conclude with Bossuet: “Jesus Christ will not be whole until the number of saints in complete. Our gaze must ever be fixed on the consummation of God’s work.” (133)

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