"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

March 11, 2019

ADAM shattered

Filed under: Lent with St. Augustine, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — komonchak @ 10:53 am

The idea of the Fall as the shattering of an original unity was a major theme in Henri de Lubac’s great book Catholicism, whose original subtitle was “The Social Aspects of Dogma.” He wrote it in part to overcome the idea that Christianity was a religion simply for private individuals, for a few blessed souls. The very first words of the book are taken from a criticism of the Christian who is so focused on his own joy that “in his blessedness he passes through the battlefields with a rose in his hand.” De Lubac amassed a host of patristic texts to show sin as a splintering and redemption as the restoration of unity, to demonstrate that “Fundamentally the Gospel is obsessed with the idea of the unity of human society.” John Courtney Murray was inspired by de Lubac’s book when in the early 1940s he delivered two sets of lectures on the contribution that the Church can and ought to make to address what he would a little later call “the spiritual crisis in the temporal order.” This text of Augustine illustrates the theme.

He shall judge the world with equity (Ps 95[96]:13). Not just a part of it, because it was not just a part of it that he bought. He is to judge the whole because he paid the price for the whole. You have heard the Gospel that says that when he comes he will gather his elect from the four winds (Mt 24:31). He gathers all the elect from the four winds, that is, from all around the world. As I once said, the name “Adam” in Greek signifies the whole world. In Greek the four letters A, D, A, M are the first letters of the names for the four parts of the earth: Greeks call the east Anatole, the west Dusis, the north Arktos, and the south Mesembria. So there you have it: ADAM. Adam was strewn all over the world. He once was in a single place, but he fell and was shattered and filled the whole world. But God’s mercy has gathered the broken pieces from all over and fused them together with the fire of charity and made what had been broken one again. That Craftsman knows how to do that. Don’t despair. Yes, It’s a difficult work, but consider who the Craftsman is. It is the one who made it in the first place who re-made it; the one who originally shaped it has reshaped it. He shall judge the world with equity, and the peoples by his truth. (Augustine, EnPs 95, 15; PL 38, 1236)

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