Friday, June 14, 2013

It's the End of the World, As I Know It

You alone remain. You are all in all. Even if your love desires us in order to delight in two ones and in order to celebrate with us the mystery of begetting and conceiving, nevertheless it is always your love in both instances, your love which both gives and is given, at once seed and womb, and, again, the child begotten is none other than you. If love needs two feet in order to walk, still the walker is but one person, and the one is you. And if love needs two lovers, a lover and a beloved, still the love is only one, and that one is you.

Everything hearkens back to your throbbing Heart. Time and the seasons still hammer away and create, and your Heart drives the world and all its happenings forward with great painful blows. It is the unrest of the clock, and your Heart is restless until it rests in me. Your Heart is restless until we rest in you, once time and eternity have become interfused.

But: Be at peace! I have overcome the world. The torment of sin has already been submerged in the stillness of love. The experience of what the world is has made love darker, more fiery, more ardent. The shallower abyss of rebellion has been swallowed up in unfathomable mercy, and throbbing majestically reigns serene the Heart of God.

Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Heart of the World, 218-9

Reflection – So this is the end of the book, and the end of this little series on the Sacred Heart for this month of June. I may return to this book another time (maybe next June!), as I have barely mined a small fraction of its wealth.

But here we are: it’s all about love and union, all about mercy and grace. The whole purpose of God, His divine intent, His divine action, is all ordered towards forging an unbreakable union of love with you, with me, with each human being He created. This is why we were created, why we are here. This is, ultimately, why ‘that thing’ is going on in your life right now that you don’t understand and that causes you such pain. This is why this world is not our home, and we experience it as not our home. The love of God is calling us onward, always onward, to our true home, and until we are there, we are not at rest.

And that home is the heart of God. The images of heaven we use—a golden city, a cloud, a banquet hall—are just that, images, and their usefulness ebbs and rises with the seasons of our life. What is not an image is that Heaven is living in the heart of God, at the very heart of the Trinity, at the very heart of the mystery of that love which fashioned the universe and which fashioned us.

That is heaven, and that is the end not only of the book, the blog series, and this post, but of our whole life and being, and the whole life and being of the world. To put it in terms that the simplest child can understand (and indeed that once upon a time we actually used to teach our children, believe it or not!): Who made me? God made me. Why did God make me? To know, to love, to serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him forever in the next one. Alleluia, and all praise, honor, glory, and worship be to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Heart of the world.

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