Advent 1 Meditation: Judgment

November 29, 2015 at 11:27 am

November 29, 2015 ()


There is a tendency to consider divine judgment, in Andrew Louth’s words, in rational and anthropomorphic terms. Rational, in that we apply human reasoning to mysteries which lie fundamentally outside our understanding and anthropomorphic in that we have a predisposition to envisage the life to come, insofar as it can be conceived, as a sort of continuation of the familiar. Indeed, this notion of revisiting the past should not be surprising given how deeply entrenched we are in our own memories; in the words of Simone Weil, “the present is something that binds us. We create the future in our imagination. Only the past is a pure reality.” Thus we have a susceptibility to picture, as it were, the life to come as a point in a life already lived. In any case, both of these senses, that of the rational and anthropomorphic, carry an underlying assumption that judgment will be rendered on a jurisprudential scale measuring our deeds and misdeeds, bounded by time and space. Humans struggle, perhaps in vain, to conceive of anything that is not divided between borders, whether they are real or imagined. Borders between states, constantly expanding, retracting dissolving; borders between climatic zones or the habitats of animals or plant life; borders in our brains, between the left and right temporal lobes, the corpus callosum and the cerebellum; even our everyday actions are demarcated by lines over which one cannot step lest one ‘goes too far’ or even worse, is branded a ‘radical.’...