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Book: The Lord
Author: Romano Guardini
Gateway Editions, South Bend, IN

Excerpt from Introduction:

The meditations that follow make no claim to completeness. They do not attempt to recountJesus' life in any chronological order or logical sequence; rather they select from it this or that teaching, event, trait, miracle for thought, as it happens to warm to life. This book is no scientific documentation of history or theology. Its chapters are the spiritual commentaries of some four years of Sunday services undertaken with the sole purpose of obeying as well as possible the Lord's command to proclaim him, his message and works.

The author wishes to point out that he offers nothing "new"; neither a new understanding of Christ nor a better Christological theory. Religion is not a question of new things, but rather of things eternal. If, however, current history were t succeed in re-establishing contact with eternal history, then something new indeed, uncontaminated and free from the dust of usage would appear.

Occasionally, the reader may encounter unaccustomed ideas, turns of thought meant only to stimulate reflection on the mystery of God "which has been hidden for ages and generations, but now is clearly shown to his saints . . . . (Col. 1:26-27).

In face of this mystery, human conceptions weigh little. They may be used or discarded. What counts is the realization that Christ forces upon us when he himself "interprets Scripture" and our hearts start "burning within us" (Luke 24:27 and 32).

Excerpt from Book:

Seeing is more than indifferently reflecting (as mirror reflects all that passes within range). It is a vital process that directly affects our lives. To see, perceive, means to receive into oneself, to submit to the influence of things, to place oneself within their grasp. Necessarily, the will mounts guard over the vision. One protection against precarious things is to look at them sharply, so as to discover their weaknesses; another is to look away, so as to remain unaffected by them.

On the whole, we see what we choose to see; the selectiveness of the individual eye is a protective measure of life itself. This being true already on a natural plane, how much truer is it on the spiritual, with its cognizance of others, of the positions we take to the truths and demands thrust upon us. To see another human being as he really is means to lay ourselves open to his influence.

Thus when fear or dislike moves us to avoid him, this reaction is already evident in or gaze; the eye caricaturizes him, stifling the good, heightening the bad. We discern his intentions, make swift comparisons, and leap to conclusions. All this proceeds involuntarily, if not unconsciously (in which case our powers of distortion, uncurbed by reason, do their worst).

Seeing is a protective service to the will to live. The deeper our fear or distaste of a person, the more tightly we close our eyes to him, until finally we are incapable of perception or the profound German word for it, Wahrnehmen; reception-of-truth. Then we have become blind to that particular person. This mysterious process lies behind every enmity. Discussion, preaching, explanations are utterly useless. The eye simply ceases to register what is plain to be seen. Before there can be any change, a fundamental shift must take place in the general attitude. The mind must turn to justice, the heart expand; then only can the eye really begin to discern. Little by little the sheen of the object on which it rests strengthens its visual power, and slowly it recovers the health of truth.

Table of Contents:

Part I: The Beginnings

1. Origin and Ancestry
2. The Mother
3. The Incarnation
4. The Forerunner
5. Baptism and Temptation
6. Interim
7. Beginnings
8. Scandals in Nazareth
9. The Sick
10. "What Was Lost"
11. Disciples and Apostles
12. The Beatitudes

Part II: Message and Promise

1. The Fullness of Justice
2. Sincerity in Virtue
3. Possibility and Impossibility
4. Seed and Earth
5. The "Kindness of God"
6. The Will of the Father
7. The Enemy
8. The Mission
9. Forgiveness of Sins
10. Death
11. Eternal Consciousness
12. Rebirth in Water and the Holy Spirit

Part III: The Decision

1. The Blind and the Seeing
2. The Son of Man
3. The Law
4. Jesus and the Pagans
5. Attachment and Detachment
6. Not Peace but the Sword
7. Those Whom He Loved
8. Signs
9. Bread of Life
10. Destiny and Decision

Part IV: On the Road to Jerusalem

1. The Messiah
2. The Road to Jerusalem
3. The Transfiguration
4. The Church
5. Moses and Elias
6. Mystery and Revelation
7. Justice and that Which Surpasses It
8. Unless You Become as Little Children
9. Christian Marriage and Virginity
10. Possession and Poverty in Christ
11. Blessing
12. Belief in Christ, Imitation of Christ
13. Forgiveness
14. Christ the Beginning

Part V: The Last Days

1. Entry into Jerusalem
2. Induration
3. God's Humility
4. The Destruction of Jerusalem and the End
5. Judgement
6. Behold, I Come . . . . To Do Thy Will, O God
7. Judas
8. The Final Reunion
9. The Footwashing
10. "Mysterium Fidei
11. The Sacerdotal Prayer
12. Gethsemane
13. The Trial
14. Jesus' Death

Part VI: Resurrection and Transfiguration

1. The Resurrection
2. The Transfigured Body
3. Between Time and Eternity
4. God's Coming and Going
5. "I Go Away and I Am Coming To You"
6. In the Holy Spirit and Faith and the Paraclete
7. Lord of History
8. Renewal
9. The New Man
10. Ecclesia and the Firstborn of All Creatures
11. The Eternal High Priest
12. The Lord's Return

Part VII: Time and Eternity

1. The Book of Revelation
2. He Who Reigns
3. Throne and Throning One
4. Adoration
5. The Lamb
6. The Seven Seals
7. Things
8. The Christian Sense of History
9. The Great Sign in Heaven
10. Victor, Judge, Perfecter
11. Promise
12. The Spirit and the Bride