Friday, November 10, 2006

Whence redemption?

In the spirit of trying to uncover as much of the theology of Pope Benedict as possible, that we all may be enlightened by a mind as brilliant as his, I give you another snip from What It Means to Be a Christian. This is almost it, I promise. Then it's on to other works, and we all know how many there are left. Lots. In this, Benedict approaches the question of redemption, of exactly how our salvation intersects with our temporal timeline. The approach is, I think, quite intriguing. [emphasis mine.]

No one can say of himself, "I am completely saved." In the era of this world, there is no redemption as a past action, already completed; nor does it exist as a complete and final present reality; redemption exists only in the mode of hope. The light of God does not shine in this world except in the lamps of hope that his loving-kindness has set up on our way. How often that distresses us: we would like more; we would like the whole thing, round, unassailably present. Yet basically we have to say: Couuld there be any more human way of redeeming us than that which declares us to be beings in the course of development, on our way, that tells us we may hope? Could there be a better light for us, as nomadic beings, than the one that sets us free to go forward without fear, because we know that the light of eternal love stands at the end of the road?
His approach again that God intends to work the salvation of humans in human forms and by human-accessible means. When seen from this direction, the design and implementation of the sacraments makes even more sense, at least to me. After all, if God truly does love His creation, wouldn't he utilize as much of His creation as possible in the salvation of it? It would seem contradictory to say, "I love this creation completely and it is good, very good, but for helping in the path to salvation it is useless." No, God so loves the world He will use every bit of it that He can to aid us in our path to Him.