Faith is communion with Jesus and thus liberation from the repression that is opposed to the truth, liberation of my ego from its going against the grain of its being, so as to respond to the Father and say ‘yes’ to love, ‘yes’ to being, to say that ‘yes’ that is our redemption and that overcomes the world… it is a breaking out of the isolation of my ego that is its own illness.
To Look on Christ, 37
Reflection – This lovely little passage lends itself to prolonged meditation. The vision Ratzinger gives here is so simple, and so simply expressed, yet possesses the key to happiness, to freedom, to joy.
So often we think in terms of ‘if onlys.’ If only this hadn’t happened. If only I hadn’t made that mistake. If only my community wasn’t like this, my spouse like that, my family like this, my job such and such. If only the economy were doing better. If only society was more Christian, less brutal.
If only, if only, if only… then I would be happy, then I would be free. Ratzinger opens up in this brief passage the reality of our happiness and freedom. Yes, outward events affect us and cause us grief and pain. But it is in the heart that redemption comes to us, not in the miraculous resolving of all our problems and ills. It is within ourselves that we overcome the world, and this overcoming of the world only comes through faith in Jesus.
The bottom line is we cannot do it alone. In fact, we cannot break out of our aloneness alone, by our own power or even by our collective wisdom and goodness. It is this power and presence of Christ in our hearts by faith and by the gift of the Holy Spirit that works to break us free from this terrible isolation that locks us up and makes us so terribly unhappy. And it is this same power and presence that empowers us then to move out in love and hope towards the world, our brothers and sisters, and all especially the poor, the little ones, the ones who most desperately need our help.For 2000 years this has, factually, been the Christian experience. It is the saint, the one who knows Christ and has been interiorly transformed by his presence and power, who truly overcomes the world and transforms society, the Church—everything. We are living in a time that badly needs transformation. The only path to that transformation is to open the doors of our hearts and minds to Christ and thus become the saints he made us to be.