Felix Culpa ("Happy Fault")

29 Jul

I got this in an email from a good friend today. It was really powerful to meditate on, so I am passing it on to to you:

We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living; we live ourselves into a new way of thinking. The journeys around the edges of sin lead us to long for a deeper life at the center of ourselves.

Ruthless ambition can lead one to the very failure and emptiness that is the point of conversion. Is the ambition, therefore, good or is it evil? Do we really have to sin to know salvation? Call me a “sin mystic,” but that is exactly what I see happening in my 40 years of pastoral experience: Darkness leads us to need and admire and make room for the light, and the closer we get to the light, the more the real darkness becomes apparent.

That does not mean that we should set out intentionally to sin, but we only see the full pattern after the fact. Blessed Julian of Norwich put it perfectly, she said: “First we fall and later we recover from the fall—and both are the Mercy of God.” How did we ever lose such unique Biblical wisdom? It got hidden away in that least celebrated but absolutely central Easter Vigil service when the deacon sings to the Church about a felix culpa, the “happy fault” that precedes and necessitates the eternal Christ. So often the church does not know how good its message really is!

Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 257, day 267
(Source: Radical Grace, “Center and Circumference”)


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Posted by on July 29, 2009 in Uncategorized


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