Greek Myths and Christian Mystery

By Hugo S. J. Rahner | Go to book overview

II
THE MYSTERY OF THE CROSS

Fulget crucis mysterium

THE wood on which Tiresias is to lean is the cross, the mystery of light which will open his eyes is of course baptism. On both of these mysteries I have something to say.

Earlier in this book the Christian mystery was referred to as "the drama of truth". It is the manifestation in Christ of the resolve to save us that is hidden deep in the mind of God, Christ's human life being the veil behind which that unfathomable "μυστήϱιον τῆς ε σεßείας-mystery of godliness" (I Tim. 3. 16) lies concealed.

Once we have grasped this we shall surely understand why everything that happens in the historical unfolding of the work of redemption, everything, that is to say, that happens within the Church, partakes of the dual character of this mystery, everything is at one and the same time both hidden and manifest, and the immeasurable wisdom of God that will not be revealed till the end of days, the "σοϕία ἐν μυστηϱί -- wisdom [spoken] in a mystery" ( I Cor. 2. 7) is hidden in the integument of simple, visible things. Thus the Church herself is a "μυστήϱιον μέγα -- a great mystery" ( Eph. 5. 32), because her essence, now made manifest, is the revelation of what was only dimly hinted at in the union of Adam and Eve ( Gen. 2. 24). Yet by the same token the historically concrete character of the Church conceals a hidden thing which can only be revealed in the light of eschatology, namely her intimate union with Christ (cf. Col. 1. 27), from which there will one day break forth the "δόξα -- glory" that now already works in secret.

The nature of this Christian mystery can be discerned above all else in the decisive saving event which is the death of God upon the cross. In that death from Paul's day onwards the ancient

-46-

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Greek Myths and Christian Mystery
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Part One - Mysterion 1
  • I Christian Mysteries and Pagan Mysteries 3
  • II - The Mystery of the Cross 46
  • III - The Mystery of Baptism 69
  • IV - The Christian Mystery of Sun and Moon 89
  • Part Two - The Healing of the Soul 177
  • V Moly and Mandragora in Pagan and Christian Symbolism 179
  • Part Three - Holy Homer 279
  • VI - The Willow Branch of the Next World 286
  • VII - Odysseus at the Mast 328
  • Epilogue 387
  • Index 391
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