The dance between God and man (3)

He was in no accepted human sense an important person… For though it is quite true that He is the King and Lord of all, the conqueror of death, the judge of the living and of the dead, the Pantokrator, yet He is also still the Son of Man, the hidden one, unknown, unremarkable, vulnerable.

He can be killed. And when the Son of Man was put to death, He rose again from the dead, and was again with us, for He said: “Kill me, it does not matter.” Having died, He dies no more in His own Person.

But because He became man and united man’s nature to Himself, and died for man, and rose as man from the dead, He brought it about that the sufferings of all men became His own sufferings; their weakness and defenselessness became His weakness and defenselessness; their insignificance became His. But at the same time His own power, immortality, glory and happiness were given to them and could become theirs.

So if the God-Man is still great, it is rather for our sakes than for His own that He wishes to be great and strong. For to Him, strength and weakness, life and death are dualities with which He is not concerned, being above them in His transcendent unity.

Yet He would raise us also above these dualities by making us one with Him. For though evil and death can touch the evanescent, outer self in which we dwell estranged from Him, in which we are alienated and exiled in unreality, it can never touch the real inner self in which we have been made one with Him.

For in becoming man, God became not only Jesus Christ but also potentially every man and woman that ever existed. In Christ, God became not only “this” man, but also, in a broader and more mystical sense, yet no less truly, “every man.”

From Thomas Merton, “The General Dance” in “New Seeds of Contemplation”

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