Meditations on the Christ
Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition. (2014-09-22).
Well, I found another Guardini treasure trove! These quieter Holy Week and Easter days, with a longer car ride and a train trip, gave me time to read through this important work by one of last century's German speaking giants, who also fortunately has been translated into English, or at least some of his greater works have been.
This particular chapter and quote got me thinking about some of the more heatedly discussed issues of our own day and especially about a little Lutheran puppet video I watched recently (somehow I failed to give it a "like") which entered playfully into the possible reasons for falling church membership and came up with love for Jesus as the decisive factor:
"In the farewell, Jesus told His disciples that He was going away, and that they knew the path He would travel. Thomas said to Him, “But, Lord, we do not know where Thou art going; how are we to know the way there?” And Jesus said to him, “I am the way; I am truth and life. Nobody can come to the Father except through me.” Once again we must weigh these words. Jesus does not say, “I will show you the way,” but rather “I am the way”; not “I will teach you the truth,” but rather “I am the truth”; not “I bring you life,” but “I am life.” This is not said by way of rhetorical exaggeration, but rather with intense awareness of exactly what is involved. There was no path already there, which Jesus simply pointed out; or a general truth already in existence, to which He merely called attention; or a wellspring of the abundant life, which He made to gush forth. Nor was it a matter of there being already present a living relationship with God, plain for all to see, with His mission nothing more than to make it easier of access. The way, the truth, and the life, union with the living God: these are He. No one comes to the Father except through Him.
"If someone should ask, “How do I come to God? What kind of being is God?” this would be the answer: God is just as He manifested Himself in Jesus. Whoever looks upon Jesus, whoever takes into account who Jesus is, how He speaks, how He conducts Himself, what His attitudes are — such a one is perceiving God Himself. And he will get to God by going in Jesus’ company, allowing himself to be instructed by Him, and allowing himself to become centered in that identity with which he makes his approach to Jesus. Then he is indeed on the way, in truth, and he partakes of life. "(Kindle Locations 821-834).
Regardless of whether or not you find it challenging to give Jesus the first place in your life, you cannot help but gain by reading Guardini. Put this little book on your wish list!