Summer 1965

Page 99


Chicago Studies

is possible without an underlying /-thou relationship with God? The answer, it would seem, must be in the affirmative, but with an important qualification. Man's sin does not make natural forms of community impossible; to say otherwise would be to contradict experience. However, it does make all forms of community unstable; and this is also a matter of experience. Man's sin is always threatening to disrupt his natural communal relations; sin as isolation and egocentricity will out ultimately. Our constant recourse to war and the breakdown of family life are pointed reminders of this truth. Our conclusion must be that liberation from the slavery of sin, which is slavery to the spurious self and the world of il· lusion, provides the only really stable foundation for every form of community because community demands altruism and sin is its very antithesis. Unless we are willing to go to the root of the problem, the superstructure which we erect on shifting sands will continually threaten to crumble into chaotic anarchy and conflict. Liberation from sin, making possible viable community life, can only be effected in the one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. It is only through his death, resurrection, and ascension that we are set free for personal fulfillment through authentic interpersonal relationships. But how can we come into contact with this mystery of freedom and fulfillment? SACRAMENTAL PERSPECTIVES

The paschal mystery lies at the heart of the Christian mes· sage and should dominate the Christian consciousness as the pattern of Christian existence. It is this mystery which effects our passage from death to life, from the death of sin to the life of grace. Can we say any more explicitly what this transitus means? In terms of the person it means the passage from the willful isolation of egocentric autonomy to the openness of in· terpersonal relation. Therefore, Christian existence, when prop· erly understood, could never be a merely individual affair, the mere saving of oneself. No saving is possible in isolation, out· side community existence. If salvation is the healing and Iibera-