A little while back we were having an unremarkable chat with a friend of the Gazette during which we remarked that Pope Benedict's definition of faith (Spe Salvi) seemed to us to define faith as a social committment by us to live as we would like our reality to be. Our friend immediately interjected a protest. "No, not just that!" Detecting the essential unilateralism of such a definition, he insisted that, "God is really communicating to us from the Cross."
Communicate? What a goddamn piss-poor way to “communicate”. Was He some sort of Cosmic Imbecile or what?
We rolled our eyes and let it slide; but in truth such palaver rubs us the wrong way. If God is so damn eager to “communicate” with us, why doesn’t he shower us with iPods from Heaven? I’m sure He could cut a favorable licensing deal with Steve Jobs. Why He could then keep in personal touch with each and all of us, answering our personal questions and tailor-texting us instructions on what we needed to do. But nooo! Instead he pulls a Rockefeller and sends out invites via third class mail. This Wireless Act on Stick was such a dumb and inane way of “communicating” as to leave one wondering if maybe God was that than which nothing more fucked up stupid could be conceived. And not wondering for very long either.
In fact why bother “communicating” at all? Actions speak louder than words, my mom always said. Who cares about messages? What most of us need is food for the tummy, money for operation and maybe a little better luck than getting our arms blown off by some US /Israeli drone or being born a girl sex toy in Thailand. This blathering mantra that “He died on the Cross for our Sins” is decidedly underwhelming. Whoopee dooo. I mean, here’s this ‘Guy’ whose got all the power and goods in the universe and what does he decide to do? To incarnate himself in some filthy, fanatic-filled backwater and then get himself in Big Trouble with the local sheriffs. The whole thing strikes me as nothing more than a Self-indulgent act of Divine Slumming.
And who gives a rat's ass about “God sharing our humanity.” Big deal. In case He hasn’t figured it out, most of us would rather the sharing go the other way... a little co-participation in Heavenly Ease or Seventy Two Virgins... whatever. But it gets worse. When the Beloved Darling ascends back to Daddy and his Heavenly Mansion on Park Place, does he provide any coat-tails for the rest of us? Noooo.... we’re still here in stuck in the muck of things. Looks to me like He’s just another typical Hi-There! One-of-the-fellas, rich boy.
The whole thing pisses me off. With gods like that who needs devils?
Of course I could never have such thoughts in Mexico. Not in a thousand years. The truth is different down there somehow. One doesn’t think about the “message” of the Crucifixion. There really is nothing to “communicate”. It is there. It is a fact. It is overwhelming.
As von Balthasar would say, we are “endowed to be a response” and to the theological drama of Good Friday we respond with horror, first, but thereupon with compassion and renunciation. If we cannot un-nail Jesus from the cross or free him from the lash, we can at least renounce the conducts, attitudes and lusts that lead to a man’s crucifixion and we resolve to do unto others as we would have done for him had we been there. That after all is the greatest whole sacrifice, is it not? (Mark 12:33)
No. The truth appears different down there. In Mexico, the Crucifixion evokes a decided response.
Evokes..... Ex Vocare..... Ah , well, in that case...