Man’s madness is worse than Christ’s madness. Christ suggests that it’s better to pluck out your eyes that cause you to sin, because it’s better to enter Heaven blind than burn in hell forever with your eyes open.
Instead, we responded by creating poison pills to kill millions of innocent lives in the wombs of mothers condemned as stupid, instead of being honored for heeding the sacred call of physiological fecundity and their matriarchal instincts. Christ only asks that we turn the other cheek. In response we created the suicide bomber that kills thousands of innocent people.
The madness of the Gospel didn’t come from a madman who sees madness in a God becoming man to save him from his foolishness.
It comes from an exceptionally sane man, Gilbert K. Chesterton, among the best and the brightest in philosophy, literature, poetry and polemics.
Surprise! G.K Chesterton converted to Catholicism without any help from proselytizing. He is a self-induced, self-correcting and self-made Catholic. When asked why he became a Catholic, ex-atheist and ex-agnostic Chesterton shocked his friends and critics. “I want my sins to be forgiven!” he said. G.K. Chesterton couldn’t outsmart God.
Chesterton understands sin and how sin destroys man’s nobility and honor. He understands man’s foolishness and his penchant for making mistakes and hurting other people.
He knows the only way for man to recover his sanity and logic is to apologize for his errors. And to be assured that he is forgiven by a higher being who is in control of the destiny of humanity, Catholicism is it!
The madness of the Gospel may as well start with the birth of a little babe in a cave in the little town of Bethlehem.
For the Word Incarnate, His Father in Heaven didn’t have a room in an inn. What a paradox! God Almighty did not suspend the law of supply and demand for room occupancy in Bethlehem town, which was overflowing with pilgrims who came for the census.
For the Son of God to be born in a cave is not a paradox of insolence. It is a paradox of humility. A paradox that is worthy of emulation by humans whose weakness is pride, bigotry and arrogance.
For a God to be incarnated as a man is the first paradox in the plan of salvation. To be human is to devalue God’s omnipotence. But the “devaluation” is the only divine counterpoint which becomes the exaggeration of God’s love, the incredible love of God, called agape, which Catholic writer Peter Kreeft describes as the love of God who is willing to die on the cross for the remission of man’s sin.
Love, the greatest of all the commandments, is in itself an act of madness.
Love is full of contradictions—“Love your enemies,” “Turn the other cheek,” “He who is without sin cast the first stone,” “Forgive seven hundred times seven hundred times.” The prodigal son is dead but is now alive, and he deserves a feast with a fatted calf. The good shepherd looks for the lost sheep to be brought back to the fold.
It takes a brilliant human being with a gracious soul and a charitable spirit to fathom these nuances without having to accuse God of being unfair and a spoil sport.
There’s a lot of madness in the dysfunction of sin, in the same breath that there’s a lot of sanity in the divine mercy for the sinner. How God can be dualistic with good and evil, with the sin and the sinner is the height of irony. It is only when the positive, which is Love, overwhelms the negative, which is Evil, that the evil is crushed and divine love triumphs.
For those who wish to follow Him, God demands pains, deprivation and sorrow because the pursuit of perfection is the most selfless of all acts. Cleansing and purification are acts of justice.
Justice demands some form of obedience and commitments to struggle. To excessive and overwhelming lovers like St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. Francis of Assisi, the struggle becomes the unlimited joy of serving and loving God in the poor faces of their fellowmen.
Materialism is an aberration of the worst kind. “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The ultimate challenge is to follow Christ by being Christ-like.
“Take up thy cross daily and follow me.” This does not make any sense at all if Christ is not the paragon of holiness and human virtues.
From the wintry cover of Bethlehem to the hills of skulls in Golgotha, from the hay box that cradled Him to the cross that killed Him, Jesus Christ filled the minds of men with absolute truths to merit eternal life, made miracles to show divine intervention, and taught that love is the ultimate instinct for achieving peace and happiness for all mankind.
His salvific act is continuous, in substance and physicality. “Take this and eat it. This is my body.” He lives with us forever.
He came to our awareness first as an object of love—the Holy Infant in the cave of Bethlehem.