Spring-Summer 2012

Introduction: “Keeping the World Awake to God”

D. C. Schindler, in “Ever Ancient, Ever New: Jesus Christ as the Concrete Analogy of Being,” asks the question, “How can an event in history, which as such is a free human act, be not only illustrative, but in some sense truly generative, of the meaning of being?” The premise of this question is the claim, drawn from Gaudium et spes (GS), that “Jesus Christ not only reveals man to himself, but, insofar as man recapitulates and in some sense fulfills the diverse dimensions of reality, he reveals the meaning of being simply.” Schindler explains that this question can only be answered when Jesus Christ is understood to be the concrete analogy of being, meaning that he gives to the relationship between being and beings a personal meaning. Viewed in this manner, that is, as an image of love, the actions of beings do not become a threat to being, but rather enhance their mutual unity.

Adrian J. Walker, in “The Original Best: The ‘Coextensiveness’ of Being and Love in Light of Gaudium et spes, 22,” offers a speculative retrieval of GS, 22’s famous declaration that Christ, in revealing the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to himself. Drawing on the work, among others, of Maximus the Confessor, Walker argues that Christ, as the telos of the divine plan ad extra, is the highest revelation, not only of the Father’s fontal generosity, but also of the original goodness of the creature. In revealing both God and man at their original best, Christ also reveals love—the quintessence of “original bestness”—to be the very meaning of being.

Roch Kereszty, in “Catholicity and the Mission of the Church,” explains that the council documents “have recovered the threefold interconnected meaning of  catholicity in the Fathers and St. Thomas: fullness, universality and authenticity.” Kereszty then draws on this meaning to treat the twofold foundation of the Church’s catholicity in the Triune God and human nature, the Church as universal sacrament of salvation, the Church’s relationship to the world, and finally in the eschatological consummation of the Church and the universe.

Antonio López, in “Vatican II’s Catholicity: A Christological Perspective on Truth, History, and the Human Person,” suggests that the key to the catholicity of the council is its Christology: “Christ embraces everyone (Col 3:11) because he is the truth of God and man in person, the destiny of man’s history.” Because the Incarnation took place at a particular, concrete moment in time, Jesus Christ, who indwells eternally in the Father, can also indwell in man, thus revealing himself as the fulfillment of history because he reveals the truth of God’s love. Applying this Christology, the council Fathers were then free to address history and man’s freedom not as “progress with no transcendent horizon” but instead as “a path in which God educates man to receive his Son and to receive the Spirit.”

Giorgio Buccellati, in “Holiness, World and the Meaning of Work: The Enfleshment of the Holy in a Mesopotamian Perspective,” claims that if Christian “revelation” is rooted in human experience, then approaching it through the eyes of even seemingly remote dimensions of that experience can be enlightening. All the more so if we approach the theme of the “world,” an “outsider” by definition, and seek to see what holiness means within a non-Christian context and how human agency is involved in it. Against the backdrop of a broken tradition that served as the cultural matrix of the Old Testament, namely Mesopotamia, Buccellati seeks to show how the outsider’s sensitivity for these themes can help us to gain an insight in some aspects of the lived Christian experience.