Mao and Jesus – Part VII
So again, I ask the question which I asked in Part VI and with which I concluded Part V of Mao and Jesus:
“So why have the overwhelming majority of Christians since the days of Constantine been either lusting to get their mitts on the instrument of the state’s violence or lining up like lemmings to work for, to support, to spiritually validate conservative, liberal or radical politicians who are trying to get their mitts on the instruments of the state’s violence?”
I would venture to try to answer this question further by saying, it is because of chronically inept childhood and adult catechesis in the Churches that the Christian more often than not has little to no idea of the immense importance of the vocation to which he or she is called by Jesus. Perhaps a scholarly word from John L. McKenzie would be appropriate here:
“It is not without interest that in the New Testament the words that signify vocation are used only of vocation to faith, not to any particular state within the Church”
(The Power and The Wisdom, Imprimatur, 1966).
The Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances is the Life, the Spirit and the Way of God in His Son Jesus. That is the truth in the Gospels. Everyone who is chosen by Jesus to have faith in Him, i.e., to be a Christian (Jn 15:16), has, ipso facto, the vocation, the call, to live in that Life, in that Spirit and in that Way as Jesus did and as Jesus commanded His chosen disciple to do. In other words, he or she is “to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19), and is to follow His “new commandment” and “love one another as I have love you” (Jn 13:34) because “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15, 23, 24). Everything else a Christian does, whether it be to be a homemaker, a janitor, a teacher, a carpenter, or a pope, is an undertaking within one’s vocation.
If a Christian carries out his or her work, service to humanity, in accordance with his or her vocation, that is, in conformity with the Life, Spirit and Way of Jesus as made visible in the Gospels, then he or she has lived a life resplendent with acts of eternal significance and has lived the only authentically revolutionary life possible in time. I realize that I am saying without his eloquence what St. Paul says in I Corinthian 13. But, because of the historically chronic ineptitude of childhood and adult catechesis in the Churches, which has resulted in a Christianity turned on its head and against its Head’s explicit teaching, much constant repetition of this truth is required to free Christians from the falsehood that is hardwired into them, namely, that there is some way human beings will be saved other than by Christlike love.
For the Christian, Jesus’ teaching by word and deed of the Way of the Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is, however, not merely another ethical law or option. The Christian knows that his or her Christlike love is the active presence of God in this world and that it is this love and only this love that has the power to save each and all. He or she also knows that if they refuse to love as Jesus loves this particular person, at this place, at this time, they take away from the only place and person to whom they can bring love at that very moment the incarnate presence of God’s love with all its hidden power. He or she also knows that the refusal to love as Jesus loves this person, at this place, at this time means that the Christian has come between his or her neighbor and the saving love of Jesus Christ and all the visible and invisible sequences of causes and effects that would have flowed from it for this particular neighbor and others.
A word of explanation may be helpful at this point. All moral choices in actual human life take place within a unique moment in time, a unique place in space, by a unique person. The consequences, visible and invisible, that flow from a moral choice are unique. They are irrevocable. The person can never go back and recreate the reality of the moment in which he or she made a choice. He or she can repent of the choice or try to do some alteration of its consequences as far as they can be known by human observation, but he or she can never make that choice in that moment of time and space again. Now, that unique moment in time and space is universal, not just immediate to the person, so that visible and invisible consequences go out or don’t go out over a unique path that will never exist again in history, since the entire universe is in constant zeptosecond change until the end of time.
What is at stake for Christians, who were specifically chosen by Jesus Christ to be His disciples, when they become instead agents for the violence of the state, when they become mini-Maos, mini-Trumps, mini-Bidens etc., is not whether war, capital punishment and all the other overt and clandestine violence in which the state engages can be logically justified for the Christian by the teachings of Jesus. It absolutely cannot! But that is not the primal issue here. The dreadful tragedy that plays out hourly, daily, monthly, yearly, century in and century out occurs when a Christian substitutes violence for Christlike love and the human being who intersects with that Christian’s path at the moment encounters the Reign of the satanic to which violence, state violence or otherwise, belongs, rather than encountering the saving love of the Resurrected Christ made visible in the Christian. Here is the tragedy of violence justifying Christianity. The Christian who was chosen by Jesus to be His disciple, His agent, to communicate His Eternally Salvific Life, Spirit, and Way of love, to this human being at exactly this place at exactly this time, chooses instead in that moment and place to become the chosen agent in a large or small matter of the life, spirit and way of Satanic violence, which is the only violence there is between and among human beings.
“So why have the overwhelming majority of Christians since the days of Constantine been either lusting to get their mitts on the instrument of the state’s violence or lining up like lemmings to work for, to support, to spiritually validate conservative, liberal or radical politicians who are trying to get their mitts on the instruments of the state’s violence?” A significant portion of the answer to this dire question is that by the calculated and/or negligent ineptness of childhood and adult catechesis of the Churches, Christians have largely been non-informed or grossly misinformed regarding the gravity of what they are choosing to allow to work through them and what they are refusing to allow to work through them when they accept to become agents of violence, whether by pen, tongue or gun.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy