Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Christ of Our Life in Faith

Occasionally, the words of an author leap off the page and strike a chord in the depths of our souls. Such was the case today when I came across the passage below written by H. Richard Niebuhr. Somehow, Niebuhr's words go to the heart of the reason why - even during those parts of my life when I was most distant from and even hostile towards the Church - I could never entirely turn my back. And perhaps, too, why I eventually heard a call to the priesthood.

Here's the passage:

The Christ of our life in faith is not simply the historic individual Jesus, though he is that too, but he is the inner personal companion who as person is present in the memory and expectation of the believer. He is acknowledged as person. The Christian who can say, "It is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20), may be few and far between, but those Christians are numerous who can make the second part of the statement in some such form as this: "Christ is the personal companion who has been engrafted into my personal existence so that I cannot and do not live except in this companionship. I am untrue to him, I deny him, but he does not let me go and I cannot let him go."

H. Richard Niebuhr, Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith, edited by Richard R. Niebuhr (Yale University Press, 1989), pp. 104-105.

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