THE END OF THE MATTER

LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN, the Austrian-born English philosopher, is reputed to have said: “To be religious is to know that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter”.

Albert Einstein, one of the world’s most eminent post-War scientists wrote:

Whoever is devoid of the capacity to wonder, whoever remains unmoved, whoever cannot contemplate or know the deep shudder of the soul in enchantment, might just as well be dead for he has already closed his eyes upon life.

Wonder. Love. Praise. Enjoying the manifold gifts of God. These are the elements — the “stuff” of resurrection. And resurrection life is for living! Neither wonder, nor love, nor praise possess already the answers to all of life’s mysteries. Wondering, loving, praising people do live with some “answers”, but more widely in “resurrection faith”, that wonderful environment that is, in the fullest sense, “beyond all telling”.

God’s people are faith-filled people, who, though made to aspire and to enquire, to reach upward and outward, do not need to know all the fullness, all the detail, of the breadth or the height or the depth of God’s loving plan. We’re not made to carry the universe on our little shoulders, but rather to wonder at the entire created order being carried, gently, lovingly and patiently on God’s.

We are to be, as St Teresa of Avila would have it, the Body of Christ now on earth. When the world is in pain we are to touch, to heal, to restore and to bless. When we are in pain we are to look to the promise of resurrection. No more. No less.

Austro-German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote:

I want to beg you to be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek those answers that cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

One day we’ll encounter the Lord in a garden. And he’ll call us by name. And we’ll cry “Rabboni!” – Teacher! My Lord and my God.