And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.
There’s this movie floating around the internet, and I just can’t find it, but it is so very good: searching for the shape of Christ’s story in the Old Testament. It records how from the Messianic Prophecy to Eve, Noah’s ark, the Binding of Isaac, and the story of Joseph, all in Genesis, to the Cleansing of the Temple in the books of the Maccabees, every important thing in the Scriptures finds its fullest Expression in Jesus, and in the Body of Christ, his Church continuing today. That is what Jesus revealed to his disciples and apostles after the Resurrection: he is the Logos, the very logic, the pattern God has woven into the universe. Anything that is true cannot help but speak of him.
Yesterday (Saturday) after Mass as some friends were gathered over coffee, we were discussing how the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous echo Christian spirituality. And that led us on an excursus of how many other movements echo the same. Really, though, how can they not be: after the coming of the incarnate Logos, the pattern which God has woven into everything, we cannot help but make that pattern over and over again. Even non-Christian religions that come after Christ are, functionally, Christian Heresies because they have to make statements about the Person of Jesus. (Dante puts Mohammed in with the sowers of discord.) Most modern “spiritual movements” are also Christian heresies: usually emphasising “love” and “peace” (at least as they imagine it to be) over the rest of the Tradition.
He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, says St Peter. The very shape of human spirituality has been irrevocably changed by the incarnation of God as one us.
We know that God spoke his fullness in Jesus, and that Jesus emptied himself to become one of us; Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured him forth… it’s that pouring forth, of the Father into the Son, of the Son back to the Father, of the Spirit from the Son poured out on us. We know it is this self-emptying, this pouring forth that is the most Godlike action we can perform. Not mere self-abnegation, nor self-destruction, but self-emptying: the line from the Gospel of John heard at yesterday’s Mass of St Catherine of Sienna, teaching that streams of living water will flow from each believer (John 7:38) that’s our calling to self-emptying as well.
This outpouring of Love is the very pattern of God woven into the fabric of the Universe.