The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Anchored to heaven

In my Biblical Foundations of Spirituality class (part of the graduate certificate in spiritual direction program), we have been discussing various metaphors and analogies for God which are related to us in Scripture. For example: Father, Shepherd, and Rock--to name only a few. All these point toward some aspect of God, but of course, all ultimately fall short because God cannot be named or defined. God is pure Spirit and Mystery, and such images only serve to draw us toward him in various ways. Different metaphors speak to different people at different points in their lives, but they are far from being exhaustive.

I mention this because this morning at Vigils and Lauds, our commentary reading mentioned another image which has always intrigued me--that of anchor. Specifically, the reading makes reference to Hebrews 6:19-20: "We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered." The commentary was intended to reflect upon our first reading (1Corinthians 15:12-34) dealing with the subject of resurrection, and I thought part of it was worth sharing (as you may recall, I posted part of it here back in August under the title Anchor of Hope. In any event, here is the excerpt from today's commentary:
In Christ God comes down to us, takes our carnal nature, and raises it above itself in order to carry it into the intimate presence of the Father, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. The resurrection of Christ constitutes the firstfruits of our own resurrection. With Christ, part of our humanity is already taken up into the abyss of the Godhead.

According to the metaphor employed by the writer to the Hebrews, Christ is like an anchor, which instead of being let down into the depths of the sea is cast up in the heights of heaven. He is the guarantee of our hope, because that hope has already been fulfilled in him. What is more, in virtue of a mysterious force of gravity, the glorified Christ draws the whole of humanity upward. "When I am lifted up from the earth," Jesus said, "I shall draw all things to myself" (John 12:32).

But our soul experiences the power of the resurrection even now. When we are dead through the sin that deprives us of the divine life, our souls are touched by the risen life of Christ, who revives the life of the Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit converts and strengthens our minds and hearts, filling them with his own life and empowering them to know and love the things of God.
-- Jean Danielou, The Resurrection

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