Past, Present, Future

In 08 Book Corner on 2012/05/15 at 11:09 AM

“Psalm 22 is Israel’s great cry of anguish. This psalm pervades the whole Passion story and points beyond it….the whole Passion is, as it were, anticipated in the psalm.

In recent theology, there have been many serious attempts, based on Jesus;’ cry of anguish, to gaze into the depths of His soul and to try to understand the mystery of his person in that final agony.  Ultimately, all these efforts are hampered by too narrowly individualistic an approach

I think the Church Fathers’ way of understanding Jesus’ prayer was much closer to the truth.  Even in the days of the Old Covenant, those who prayed the Psalms were not just individual subjects, closed in on themselves.  To be sure, the Psalms are deeply personal prayers, formed while wrestling with God, yet at the same time they are uttered in union with all who suffer unjustly, with the whole of Israel, indeed with the whole of struggling humanity, and so this Psalm always span past, present and future.  They are prayed in the presence of suffering, and yet they already contain within themselves the girt of an answer to prayer, the gift of transformation.

On the basis of their belief in Christ, the Fathers took up and developed this fundamental theme, which modern scholarship calls ‘corporate personality’: in the the Psalms, so Augustine tells us, Christ prays both as head and as body. (Ps. 60)  He prays as ‘head’, as the one who unties us all into a single common subject and incorporates us all into himself.  And he prays as a ‘body’, that is to say, all of our struggles, our voice , our anguish, and our hopes are present in his praying.  We ourselves are the ones praying this palms, but now in a new way, in fellowship with Christ.  And in him, past, present, and future are untied.”

Ratzinger, Joseph JESUS OF NAZARETH.  Part II, pp 214-215.  Ignatius Press.



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