St. Mary of the Angels
October 22, 2021
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Normally, we think of “the way” as a process or a path. “The way” of the pilgrim, for example, refers to his literal path to a religious pilgrimage site, but also to the internal spiritual work he undertakes to open his soul to Christ Jesus. For the spiritual pilgrim, “the way” is something he is doing. It is an idea best expressed as a present participle. But with Christ Jesus the verb used is “I am.” For Him, “the way” is not a process or a path. It is who He is. He is walking that path with us (the humanity of Christ Jesus), but He is also that path (the divinity of Christ Jesus), so therefore in Him that path may be walked to its completion. It is said that what matters is the journey, not the destination, but if we are journeying in and with Christ Jesus, then the journey and the destination are one and the same. To know God, to be with God, is also simultaneously to be moving further into God, and allowing God to move further into us.
Boethius, the early sixth century Roman Senator and Philosopher, in his seminal Consolation of Philosophy: “Thence, as men become just through the possession of justice, or wise through the possession of wisdom, so those who possess divinity necessarily become divine. While only God is so by nature, as many as you like may become so by participation [in Christ Jesus].” For a man redeemed in Christ Jesus, becoming like God is to be with God, and vice versa. For that man, to be like God is to be in a participatory relationship with Christ Jesus. God is, but God is also as He is in Himself dynamic (the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, the Holy Spirit is their love one for another), so for a man to be like God is to be and also to be becoming. Christ Jesus allows for us to be on this eternal pilgrimage ever deeper into the Father (See Psalm 18:30: “As for God, His way is blameless…He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”). As indicated in the Psalm, to be on a pilgrimage ever deeper into the Father is to be taking refuge in Him. It is what we may call the forever path into the Tabernacle with Christ Jesus both our Tabernacle (which is to say our destination) and our fellow Pilgrim (which is to say the One who journeys with us).
Truth is defined as being in accord with fact and reality. For man, that is as far as truth can be. For God, truth is the creative and sustaining power of God in fact and in reality. Like with how “the way” in God is (I am) and is also becoming (present participle), so “the truth” in God is (I am) and also is creating or sustaining (present participle). When we know the truth as God is, then the truth is not just a static assertion that tests the time. It is so much more: It is namely the power to be righteous, to be creatures of love and light, to be citizens in the Kingdom our Father has made for us. For the man redeemed in Christ Jesus, to know the truth is to be able and willing to act truthfully, powerfully, lovingly, for God and for his neighbor.
James 1:18: “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth.” Truth creates, for in God “being in accord with fact and reality” is creating and sustaining that same fact and reality.
Truth also is being in a relationship with God, for “being in accord with fact and reality” is the same as “being in a relationship with God.” So we cannot know the truth of our faith unless we are in a relationship with Christ Jesus. We cannot know the truth of Holy Scriptures except we live in faithfulness to and in prayer with Christ Jesus. (See Psalm 145:18: “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”). This underlies lex orandi, lex credendi, which means “the law of what is prayed is the law of what is believed.” So being in a relationship with God (the law of what is prayed) is knowing the truth of God (the law of what is believed). For a Christian, a living faith, what is believed, is integral to knowing the truth. This is the opposite of the modernist idea that knowing the truth must precede having faith or belief in what is true.
Without Christ Jesus, life is not having enough life for eternity. Life is coming to terms with the fact that we cannot but fail to live fully and forever as we were meant to life. Life is the Cross at Golgotha without Easter morning. With Christ Jesus, life is having enough life for eternity. With Christ Jesus, life is Easter morning, and the sting of the Cross at Golgotha is forever falling away.
Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” So no man may go to the Father but through Christ Jesus because without Christ Jesus man’s flesh and heart will fail. But God is His strength, and so the Incarnate God, therefore, is God’s strength in the flesh and living among us. There is no other way for man back to God but the Incarnate God being his strength when his flesh and his heart fail him.
Proverbs 14:27: “The fear of the Lord is the fountain of life…” To fear the Lord is to subject ourselves to His loving guidance, to worship Him as He commands, and finally to be in a true and loving relationship with Him. This is what eternal life is. Christ Jesus is eternal life, for He alone subjects Himself totally to the Father, worships the Father in holiness and righteousness, and is in a loving relationship with Him. In Christ Jesus, we too can learn how to do this as well. In Christ Jesus, we too can live how to be fully and finally alive.