Saturday, November 24, 2018

memoria dei, augustine dicit

Don’t feel bad, Augustine, that you can’t explain the Resurrection. We can’t even explain energy in the lab.

There’s a reason our professor keeps relating us to undergrads during this discussion of the Resurrection of the Body. We sound like a bunch of children trying to figure out the universe’s backbone, which is entirely impossible: most of the universe is dark matter and most of our lives is what is forgotten.

In that vein, memory is a sacrament of reassurance to us. A promise encoded into our bodies and our minds, in a being we have received, that what our lives are made of, that which we have forgotten, is not gone, but is deep inside of us and always capable of being recalled. Nothing, really is lost. A stray scent on a street will bring back our grandmother's house. A hand upon our hair reminds us of being in our mother's lap.

Memory is a slight taste, perhaps, of resurrection—our self, our experiences, which have been lost to us are brought back to our consciousness. We are constantly dying in our forgetfulness, losing ourselves as time's conveyor belt carries bits of ourselves away from us. What else is death than this falling prey to forgetfulness, than this conquering, the eventual scattering of who and what we are into the void of what is-not-present.

But, memory whispers, maybe even the dark matter of the universe will eventually be brought to light. Maybe in resurrection, even those patches of what have become non-existent will become illuminated. Maybe they will be tangible to us once more.

Perhaps resurrection is like coming together of memory of the world: we will make the world a memory, but that memory will be alive, tangibly, in our bodies that will live in the memory of God.

When you love someone, you turn your entire world, all your body, into a memory of them. Each of your waking moments is spent re-learning how to pray them. Your body becomes a site where once they were—a geography their hands have traveled. Your lips are marked by theirs, your entire body is now a map where they have met you and become not just a visitor but part of who you are.

Resurrection must be like that: in the Resurrection, which has begun, I believe, even now, God is making us a memory of God's own self. Our bodies have become a map where God has visited us. God has not simply spoken to our hearts or taken up residence in our souls. God has not contented himself to remain in our imaginations or in the headier realms of the spiritual: for where are those?

No, God, too, has touched us. God has met us in the intersection of the corporeal and the spiritual. God became, from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have looked at and touched. God became a place: a place where we can meet him, where we can learn the topography of his wounds, where he can meet us in our bodies, in our memories.

Perhaps that is what it means to be images of God: we are places where God has been.

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