Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The New Jerusalem is Not the Old Eden

From John Paul II's Theology of the Body ...

It can be said that St. Paul sees the reality of the future resurrection as a certain restitutio in integrum, that is, as the reintegration and at the same time as the attaining of the fullness of humanity. It is not truly a restitution, because in that case the resurrection would be, in a certain sense, a return to the state which the soul enjoyed before sin, apart from the knowledge of good and evil (cf. Gn 1-2). But such a return does not correspond to the internal logic of the whole economy of salvation, to the most profound meaning of the mystery of the redemption. Restitutio in integrum, linked with the resurrection and the reality of the other world, can only be an introduction to a new fullness. This will be a fullness that presupposes the whole of human history, formed by the drama of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (cf. Gn 3) and at the same time permeated by the text of the First Letter to the Corinthians.

This is another way of saying that the Risen Christ bears the wounds of Good Friday, as I wrote on Easter Sunday.  Nothing that we have suffered, or caused others to suffer, is lost.  Even our pains are transformed into glories.

The perfection Christ is calling us to, which includes what I sometimes call mature love, is not, therefore, a Pollyanna thing.  It's not glib or superficial.  It is borne not by denying our sins or our sufferings, but by repenting of the one and embracing the other.

Suffering is not only redemptive.  It is transformative.  Everything awful that's happened to you, everything terrible you've done to others, is the very material for the new creation God wants you to become.

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