Thursday, March 05, 2009

Taking refuge as escapism

One of the things that has always bothered me about Rahner is the disdain he has for the simple piety of the devout. He is especially hard on those whom he thinks try to escape the harshness of life by taking refuge in Jesus. For Rahner, To “lean on Jesus” in the face of the challenges of life is a sign of weakness. He once said in an interview, “On the one hand, I fear that some are scared by the hard struggle with the world and run therefore to Jesus.” Dialogue, p. 64. I think there is ample reason to have a fear of the hard struggle with the world if we attempt to do without first taking refuge in Jesus. The scriptures give us justification for this:

Psalm 57, for instance, says:
Have mercy on me, God, have mercy on me. In you I seek shelter. In the
shadow of your wings I seek shelter till harm pass by. (v. 2)
And, of course, as we are reminded in today's office of readings, Mt. 11:28 says:
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.

I'm reminded of the Buddhist discipline of taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sanga so that one can become a refuge for others. Of course, in Christianity we take refuge in a person and never completely escape our dependence on that person.

1 comment:

Bernadone said...

There are times when human beings need to escape the harshness of life-- it would be nice if we could all have Rahner's fearlessness, I suppose. I'm not there yet. Personally, I'd rather escape into Jesus, piety or Church than other things(e.g., crime, drugs, alcohol,fantasy,sex). At least escaping into pious things points us in the right direction when we are ready to return to the harshness.