Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nietzsche's Unintentional Explanation of the Mystical Body of Christ

Friedrich Nietzsche is going to come back from the grave and haunt me for this, but I'm so totally going to do it anyway. I am working on constructing an argument so bear with my half-formed logic and ideas, please.

You know who gives the very best description of what it is to be a Catholic? Nietzsche.

And it's completely unintentional which makes it extra-moral so it's even better and more Nietzschean.

For as loudly as he protests the role of religion in society and how we have allowed the slaves to become the masters, Nietzsche's explanation of how the slave and master can inhabit the same person (Aphorism 259 in Beyond Good and Evil) is a brilliant launch for an explanation of the Mystical Body of Christ.

As you may or may not know, Nietzsche embraces a kind of dark picture of what it is to be human. He sees the ultimate drive of life as the "will to power" (der Wille zur Machen). This means that the drive of all life (not just humanity, but all life) is to vent what strength each being possesses on things around it.

So, using human beings as an example, all human beings work to exercise dominion over everything in their sphere - the earth, other people, animals, everything. Of course, when applied to human beings this is a very dark picture, indeed, as we are pretty scary creatures in our fallen state. But he's not completely wrong here.

What if that "will to power" was applied to God?

Ah yes! it makes sense in that context. God, who draws all things to Himself, calls us and draws us into union with Him. We give ourselves over to Him as servants and He is our head, our Master.

Think Baltimore Catechism:
Who made you? God made me.Why did God make you? He made me to love and serve Him in this world so that I can be with Him in the next.

God created you to share in His Divine Life, to be one with Him. It's like the ultimate "will to power" and indeed, it is the drive of all life because without God's will we would cease to exist.

Only Nietzsche stops before he gets to God and thus, misses the entire point of being servants. If we are subsumed into the Body of Christ then, yes, we are indeed elevated in our servitude. In our weakness, we are made strong precisely because in our surrender we become one with the Master.

Interesting? Or maybe I'm reading too much into this. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating insight. Never occurred to me before. Thank you.