Spring 1969

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Page 76

SPIRITUAL LIFE

79

"word" which gives historical body to the agape no time can produce or capture, and we sometimes honor this freedom by responding sacrifice. The various inspirations of grace show the abiding presence of God's love in ever fresh manifestations, proportioned to a given here and now. That God does act in this free, gracious' way is the key to Rahner's existential ethics. Vital Christianity serves a God whose saving will is not fettered to the abstract, universalist rlirectives of rational ethics. God is present to our freedom in the concrete decisions of life, which are always more than mere instances of a general ethical rule. Discernment is therefore an important aspect of the spiritual life: how do I finrl God's will-which is my joy anrl salvationfor this unique moment? Rahner discusses the problem in the general context of the pneumatic, charismatic dimension of the Church, but his specific source is the program for decision embodied in St. Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. In Rahner's interpretation, the "consolation" which signalR anrl confirms a properly ordered choice is the existential rightness of a human freedom that is resting in God. It is the rule of God's mystery over our finite problem and decision, when we choose only what seems to obey the gospel. The same Incarnational balance which steadies Raimer's spiritual theology of faith, grace, and cledication preserves a peaceful twofoldness in his theology of vocation. Just as the enfleshment of the Worrl brought God's infinity into our world, so that his image has pitcherl its tent never to leave, so too the people of God stand in the world as the concrete focus of an eschatological (definitive) love which transcends the worlrl. The Church is a "sacrament" of salvation, testifying that God's mercy comes freely from "without" to consecrate and secure this worlrl. In complementary fashion, the religious anrl lay vocations among the people of Gorl manifest the unifierl twofoldness of an Incarnational realized eschatology. Each Christian life must balance the dogmas that God is always more, yet has drawn near for our handling. Lay Christians point in the first instance to the historical, this worldly presence of salvation .. They keep before the world the enlle$hment of the