Existentialism Overcome by the Incarnation
As Christmas approaches and I again take stock of my life, I have come to a conclusion: I am a confirmed existentialist. And although my philosophy clashes with my Roman Catholic upbringing, I must admit that I accept the futility of this 21st Century existence. In a world marked by catastrophic human loss in Darfur, a global threat to the environment and the alienation of the individual in a society dominated by technology, it’s hard not to give in to a prevailing belief that all is lost, woe abounds and nothingness pervades. One needs to look no further than to the vapid scene of reality TV to discover the superficial and absurd nature of American life.
Yet despite my overriding pessimism and cynicism, this Advent season has brought with it a renewed hope – not in myself or in our culture – but in something greater, something profound. For when I factor Christ into the equation of everyday life, He breaks through the doldrums and disrupts the balance in such a way as to give meaning to an otherwise banal existence.
The Incarnation offers us all a new beginning, an opportunity to cast off the spiritual weariness that weighs the soul down.
In Christ, we find a link between humankind and the divine. The Babe in the manger reconnects us with a Creator intent on loving each man, woman and child in a very personal way.
The Word Made Flesh also lends permanence to our finite lives. For believers, His death and resurrection assure salvation in a dimension apart from our temporal and transitory existence. His reign extends beyond time and
And that brings me some comfort as I mediate a constant struggle between my existential beliefs, which no doubt conflict with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and my absolute reliance on the Gospel teachings.
I have always thought Bob Dylan’s famous line, “when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose,” could be interpreted as an existential statement. Similarly, I have come to feel that when you’ve got nothing – or believe in nothing – you still have Christ; and in Him, you have everything.
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