Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ponder: the majesty of the God of the immaculate present

"The modern no longer knows what a throne is, how one sits on a throne, how one thrones.  Looking back, we encounter the mighty throning depicted in Egyptian sculpture.  We find it again in early Greek art, and (Christianized) in the mosaics of the first Christian centuries and in the stone figures of the opening middle ages.  Then it vanishes.  Personages no longer throne--they merely sit.  And even the sitting becomes more and more restless.  The ancient throning was not stiff--its movement lay in the potential power of the figure, in its stillness, intensity...Sitting has become careless, a flighty interim between coming and going.  Something at the root of our lives has changed.
When we ask a man today what he considers life, the answer will always be more or less the same: Life is tension, flinging oneself toward a goal; it is creation and destruction and new creation.  It is that which rushes and foments, streams and storms.  Thus the modern finds it difficult to realize that also the omnipresent present is life; intensity of gathered forces; powers that vibrate in stillness.
When he considers God, he thinks of the restlessly creative one.  Indeed, he is inclined to see the Maker himself in an unending process of becoming that arches from an infinitely distant past to an infinitely distant future.  The God of the pure present, immutable, realizing himself in the reality of his existence, does not appeal to him.  And when he hears of an eternal life in which all meaning is to fulfill itself, he is likely to grow uncomfortable: what does one do with an existence in which 'nothing happens'?  The throne stands for the majesty of the God of the immaculate present.  It stands for him who lives in eternal stillness, who in all the timeless simplicity of his will created, sustains, and reigns over all things.  Before his countenance, earthly toil and struggle is but passageway, and their claim to be genuine life superlative nonsense."

Romano Guardini, The Lord (1954), 487-488

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