Today, I’m going to reveal something rather intimate. Actually, I’m going to reveal a number of intimate things that are intrinsically connected. The two main things that may seem most evident are: the reason for my unusual and uncontrollable sense of humour; and, the reason for my unusual and uncontrollable compulsion to, as some have told me, “think too much.” However, I will warn you from the start that if you believe that what I write is a definitive definition of these reasons, you would be in serious error. They are an attempt to define something that cannot be defined; and yet, they are the closest definition I can conceptualize at this moment. Perhaps later, even immediately after I’ve publicly publish this blog post, I may understand it much better. Nonetheless, I will resist the urge to correct it as that may result in me continually rewriting this simple blog post for the rest of my life.
I really appreciate the movie The Passion of the Christ. I saw it as soon as it came out as my parish had a special screening of it at our local cinema. I also bought it on DVD on the first day it was released. I then proceeded to watch it every year during Lent, specifically on Good Friday. That is, until a few years ago.
The last time I watched The Passion of the Christ was on a Good Friday, but it was on the very small screen of my iPod (a few years before I got my iPod Touch). The reason I watched it on such a small screen and not on a larger screen was because I was in the hospital. I had been in the hospital for quite some time before that, and continued to be in the hospital for quite some time after that. However, I wasn’t in the hospital all that time, only from the beginning of visiting hours until usually a bit after visiting hours. I was there visiting someone whom I love so profoundly that it cannot be expressed in words, and this is exactly what I saw when I watched the movie The Passion of the Christ.
Some only see the blood and guts (OK, there wasn’t any guts, but there was a lot of blood), some see the pain and suffering of a man, some may claim to see the pain and suffering of God, but to say such a thing, as I will attempt to explain, would be blasphemy. What I saw when I first saw this movie, and continued to see until it seemed I was almost living a hint of it, is the coredeeming work of the Mother of God. We cannot comprehend the Divine suffering on the Cross. We can barely comprehend a hint of the Immaculate suffering at the foot of the Cross. The first is so infinitely beyond us, it seems absurd to even try to describe it. The second is also infinitely beyond us, but it is infinitely closer to us than we are to the first.
Isn’t the word infinite great! We can’t actually comprehend the concept behind this word that describes a reality that is so great that the word great seems almost insulting because it is infinitely inadequate. But the word infinite, like the word inadequate, is actually adequate. The reason it is adequate is because it does not describe what something is, it describes what something is not. When dealing with the Divine, someOne (who happens to be Three) who is indescribable, what words could you use to describe The Indescribable? (Actually, the word traditional used is ineffable.) The only thing safe to do is to describe what the indescribable is not. God is not finite.
The Mother of Christ is finite; although, her immaculate beginning allowed her to be consumed by the Divine, but only the divine energies of God and not His divine essence. Even the words energies and essence fail to adequately describe the indescribable, but they do help us come closer to being consumed by the Divine. This process of being consumed by the Divine is referred to as theosis in the Christian East, or divination in the Christian West. However, even my use of the word consumed, while useful in expressing a concept to describe this reality, has false connotations that would be heretical.
Do you understand all this? If you do, I have the happy pleasure of informing you that you are wrong. Isn’t this hilarious? We can almost grasp the beginning of the reality of it all, but if we think that we actually have, we are in complete error (our thought is incomplete). Does this not seem like a Divine joke to you? God is the Infinite Comedian, whose jokes are so indescribable (ineffable) that we will have an opportunity to spend eternity laughing at them.
Some may not see the humour in this and, unfortunately, will end up spending eternity not laughing. (They will become inlaughable.)
I must be clear here. I am in no way mocking God. I am mocking myself. If I don’t laugh at myself, I may be tempted to take myself too serious, in which case, I’d be in error. Of course, I’m mocking my inability to adequately think of the Divine. Thus, given that God is infinite, I can never actually think too much, even in eternity. However, if I think I’ve actually adequately thought of God, I would have thought too much because I would have thought myself into error. (“But he was a bear of very little brain, so when he thought, he thought in the most thoughtful way he could think.”)
I don’t always laugh at such stuff. I often weep over such mysteries, then I laugh at myself when the profound moment passes; although it may linger for a long period of solemn and sober time (καιρός). (The Greeks must think they’re pretty smart for having such a good word for time as καιρός in contrast to their other word for time, χρόνος. However, if they think that καιρός adequately describes what they think it describes, they’d be wrong.)
It is interesting that one weeps not only when one is sad or contrite, but also when one laughs extremely well. It is also interesting that one weeps when overwhelmed by something very profound. Some say real men don’t cry. Well maybe they’re not laughing enough. Maybe they’re not thinking enough. Maybe they’re not contrite enough. Please, there’s no reason to make them any sadder, after all, they haven’t been laughing enough.