Cosmic Divorce and the Threedom of Marriage
In the anti-Christic world of the secular West, we have a masturbatory double, or dopplewänker, of this transcendence, so that form is dissolved "from below," all the way down to the infertility dregs of deconstruction, multiculturalism, scientism, metaphysical Darwinism, etc. As such, this is why there is so much ugliness and barbarism in the secular temples of the university and among the slowbrow priesthood of the elite media.
We left off yesterday with a comment by Balthasar that "if form is broken down into subdivisions and auxiliary parts for the sake of explanation, this is unfortunately a sign that the true form has not been perceived as such at all." Furthermore, "it would not be worthwhile being human if man were but the amalgamation of such 'material', if the one thing necessary, the irreplaceable pearl, were not a reality for the sake of which we would sell everything else."
The pearl is not just a form, but a beautiful form. Which is why "when all genuine worldly forms are questioned and discounted, responsibility for that form really lies in the hands of Christians." This very much reminds me of Richard Weaver's observation that attacks on religion are in the end attacks on mind. But they are equally -- and must be -- attacks on beauty.
For example, it is not even possible in our debased culture to make the commonplace argument that the redefinition of marriage, whatever else it is, is a frontal assault on beauty -- specifically, the divine elevation and beautification of the male-female sexual bond. Either you see this beauty -- i.e., you are spiritually adequate to it -- or you don't. And if you don't, it will hardly matter to you if the state forces "homosexual marriage" on the rest of us, thereby dissolving this beautiful archetypal form from below.
Hmm, that's a coincidence. Balthasar next goes into a little riff on marriage, which he says "is only true to itself if it is a kind of bracket that both transcends and contains all an individual's cravings to 'break out' of its bonds and to assert himself." One of the reasons this form must be preserved -- besides the fact that it is ontologically real, so that to deny it is to situate oneself outside reality -- is that it is the most common means of the spiritual transcendence of sexual polarity into a higher union. More generally, it is the very archetype of the union of opposites, which "homosexual marriage" can obviously never be.
(A point of order: as our Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement reminds us, fulfilling the archetype of marriage does not require being married to another biological person; one thinks of the nun who is "married to Christ." The archetype is real; how one fulfills it is another matter.)
"Marriage is that indissoluble reality which confronts with an iron hand all existence's tendencies to disintegrate, and it compels the faltering person to grow, beyond himself, into real love by modeling his life on the form enjoined." What begins as imitation of the form eventually grows toward the form itself. This is why it is difficult to imagine a more precious gift one could give to one's children than a loving and passionate marriage.
In fact, I remember a few years back, reading a study about the psychological effects of divorce on children. One of effects -- and the researchers were not sophisticated enough to draw out all of the cosmic and metaphysical implications of this -- was an inability of the child to later apprehend the deeper unity of things, being that their own attempt at primordial unity -- i.e., the unification of Mother and Father -- was sundered at the beginning.
Remember, from the perspective of the child, Mother and Father are much more than mere "people." Rather, they are more like worlds, and if these worlds literally separate, it is beyond the means of the child to bring them back together in his immature psyche. The later effects can be subtle or profound, but I certainly notice them in my practice. For a host of ontological and developmental reasons, a merger in threeness is very different from a merger in twoness. Suffice it to say that our humanness is rooted in the former. We are trinitarian to the core.
One important point to bear in mind is that marriage -- at least from our side of things -- should not be thought of as a noun but a verb. To be precise, it is more like a "journey toward" the archetypal state of marriage. Again, Balthasar describes it well:
"When they make their promises, the spouses are not relying on themselves -- the shifting songs of their own freedom -- but rather on the form that chooses them because they have chosen it, the form to which they have committed themselves in their act as persons." In other words, the spouses do not entrust themselves to biology, to self, or even to the other, but to the fulfillment of "a form with which they can wholly identify themselves even in the deepest aspects of their personality because this form extends through all the levels of life," all the way "up to the heights of grace and of life in the Holy Spirit."
As a result, a higher and more intense kind of freedom "is discovered within the form itself, and the life of the married person can henceforth be understood only in terms of this interior mystery."
Now, just because many if not most people fail to ascend to the form is hardly a reason to throw out the form, any more than we should redefine health just because most people are fat and cannot attain the archetypal physical form. But one of the strategies of the left has been to increasingly demean marriage, so that no one sees the form anymore. As a result, why should it matter if a man wants to marry a man, a mannequin, a Manilow, or a melon? Again, once the form has been destroyed from below, it's all meaningless anyway.
Suffice it to say, as we mentioned above about beauty and about the mind as such, the form of marriage "is today more then ever entrusted to the care of Christians." It is an example of how we "need not destroy the natural in order to achieve the supernatural goal."
Rather, the natural becomes a very means of our supernatural re-ascent. It is not just "maya," or cosmic illusion. Rather, the divine reality radiates through the natural, at least for those with eyes to see. And at risk of belaboring the point, it is only possible because the one is three, and one of the three became -- and therefore can become -- human flesh.
The Incarnation uses created Being at a new depth as a language and a means of expression for the divine Being and essence.... This incomparable paradox stands as the fountainhead of the Christian aesthetic, and therefore of all aesthetics! --Balthasar