How do you write a great story?

Most Hollywood films resolve neatly. Even if a hero has to make a great sacrifice, in the end, she receives her reward. The ending is almost always happy, or, albeit, satisfactory.

Most of life's issue are difficult to resolve; fail to be neat or clean they do like a neatly written story. Why is that? For the most part we fail to take into account the fallibility and fallenness of human nature. We are incomplete so trying to be the heroes of our own narrative is unattainable.

The Problem of Our Fallen Human Nature

We have all been stung by the fall. Damaged really. It's that damage that extends a curse to all aspects of our being. We suffer death. We age. We find virtue difficult to embrace. We love the delights of life in an improper order. We are short. We conspire. We manipulate. We forgive and forgive incompletely.

The death and resurrection of Christ solves this problem, in so far as the new Adam died and provided a means and model for reconciliation with the Father. His work is complete. And He brings us into His work by allowing ourselves to die with Him and be reborn through the Baptismal waters.

The problem is...we are still those flaw and wounded human beings, just like those who are not baptized. Our faith does not somehow make us less in need of forgiveness and love for one another. It also does not eliminate the need to deal with very real human problems. In short, our every day lives seem and feel to be lived in the same state of affairs as the unredeemed. We still feel the need to be our own hero.

One never wants to immanatize the eschaton, but one also believes that if you set up a community of persons who love in Christ and adhere to a common good, that grace will necessarily make up where nature lacks and is deeply wounded by the fall (in this case, individuals with serious, high-functioning psychological pathologies), but we’re still in the period of the old world passing. Even when you think you’ve found a glimpse of the kingdom, you’re reminded the time of the world is short. It’s why the small, humble act of love and the submission in humility to His divine plan, to the Fiat, is the most powerful of means, even if the victory does not appear like what you expect or had hoped for.

Our Time of Waiting

In this time of Advent and waiting for the God-made man we are reminded of this great price paid for our redemption. While our life is full of blessings, our hope is not achieved in our every day life. For this reason, we talk of our life's work as a vocation, as a calling. Something that we are to do and continue to work at daily until our last moment. It is only then, with great hope, we await our reward at the hands of an ever-merciful God. 

But that redemption came at a great cost: the death of God. For us that live in this time after the resurrection of Christ, we can only see this truth with the eyes of faith. None of us has seen nor heard about the resurrection with our own eyes and ears. It is only a fact passed down to us through the ages like secret or distant promise. In that sense I have great sympathy for those who do not believe: they must look at me as a fool for putting so much stock in the story of the Christ. 

In that sense we are never the heroes of our own lives. Our small acts of sacrifice only but echo the great price that Christ paid. Without the ability to offer ourselves to the Father as Christ did, we simply cannot write that story that only Christ can write. For that we should be grateful: for whom among us could really imitate His sacrifice and love?

Mattias A. Caro is the Executive Editor of Ethika Politika.