Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Participation in Christ.

Participation in Christ through friendship with Him is the foundation of Christian attitude. It is through an active relationship with Christ that Christian attitude develops.
A mature Christian attitude is one in which the whole of the person's experience is formed by his or her relationship with Christ. Growing in this relationship, making way for this relationship, is the central interior focus of the baptised person. It is here that the moral struggle, the work of conforming one's life to Christ, is embraced. 
For the Christian, the moral struggle is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit, drawing us to the new life of grace, drawing us to the truth of our real identity. For the secular person, the moral struggle is merely a burden - something to be entertained only if the rewards envisaged outweigh the means.
From the outset, Christian attitude is involved with the Church. The enrichment of a person's life by consciousness of Christ and the Redemption is not due to human intervention, resourcefulness or planning, but is an involvement of the person in something greater. It is not I who give form to faith, but that awareness of the Faith (proclaimed by the Church) and a lived experience of Christ (which is the Church), forms my faith and my experience of life - Christ forms the lived experience of my life. As I live my life, it is Christ who I experience, not just myself.
In the secular ascetic exactly the opposite is proposed as the case: my subjective experience forms the way in which I experience life. I am the content of my life.
Having said this we can see that maturing in this foundational aspect of Christian attitude really is the most important dimension of the Christian life. All our encounters with Christ are here seen in relief as necessary and, in some sense, urgent. We need the Sacraments because we need our experience of life to be formed by Christ; we go to Mass to be changed by Christ. We seek Him in prayer to pursue and develop our relationship with Him. We desire an inclusive openness to Him so that our fallen human nature will no longer claim rule over us. And we seek a level of discernment in which our spirits can remain open to the prompting of His Holy Spirit. Christian attitude happens when one allows one's life to be invaded by the power of the Redemption.  

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