Co-Workers of the Truth 4/21

Excerpts from Co-Workers of The TruthI have said that the acceptance of Jesus Christ within the Church in no way neutralizes that personal impetus that continually stimulates us to exceed traditional ecclesial forms.  On further reflection, there occurs to me now a second, very similar concept which, like the first, may appear paradoxical, but in reality both of them comply with a deep inner logic.  The fact that I learned to know and see Jesus Christ in terms of the interpretation formulated at Chalcedon does not mean that a part of the Tradition must now be eliminated because it does not seem sufficiently divine and cannot, therefore, be brought into harmony with the dogma as stated.  The opposite is, in fact, true.  Ecclesial Tradition, in which the historical movement founded by Jesus has remained alive even to the present time, gives me, at the same time, more confidence in biblical tradition in which I have more trust than in the effort to reconstruct in the retort of historical reason a chemically pure historical Jesus.  I trust the tradition in its entirety.  And the more I feel confirmed in this trust.  It becomes ever more clear to me that the interpretation formulated by Chalcedon is the only one that does not have to suppress anything, but is able to assimilate everything.  Every other interpretation has to eliminate larger or smaller parts of the historical tradition in the name of its allegedly better insights.  But the authority that makes such deletions necessary is only that of a particular mode of thining whose historical limitations are often painfully obvious.  As opposed to such partial authorities, the vital force of tradition has incomparably more significance for me.  In consequence, the dispute about the ipissima vox (the actual words of Jesus) is not especially meaningful for me.  I know that the Jesus of the Gospels is the true Jesus, that I can trutst myself to him with far greater confidence than to the most learned reconstructions, for he will outlast all of them.  The whole breadth and colorfulness of the Gospel tradition tells me who Jesus was and is.  In it, we can always see and hear him anew. 

In conclusion, it remains to be said that one who believes with the Church meets Jesus directly in prayer and the sacraments – especially the Eucharist.  But anyone who would wish to address this topic learns very quickly that the “discipline of the secret” in the early Church was far more than a temporary appropriation of customs practiced in pagan religions.  In its essence, that discipline refers to a realm that can be meaningfully expressed only in the experience of faith.

From: Dogma und Verkundigung, pp. 135-36

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