Christ the Fourfold Analogical Event

Christianity has a content of its own, and that content is solely and exclusively Christ. In Christianity as such we find Christ, and Christ onlythis is a truth very often uttered but very little assimilated.
     —V. Soloviev

Our flesh has ceased being an obstacle; it has become a means and a mediation. It has ceased being a veil to become a perception.
     —P. Claudel

The metaphysics of Patmos is a metaphysics of Christianity cast in a Johannine hue. Metaphysics here is thought from within the biblical light of revelation that has transfused a metaphysics of participation with belief in creation ex nihilo. This is to read and see being through the eyes of faith proffered in the Prologue of Saint John, understood as the analogatum princeps of a robust and capacious metaphysics of Christianity. To see being through these eyes is to see and understand being, existence, and life as created, received gift. This is to think being from its fount—namely, from the event of its creative emergence from the abyssal love of the Christian God. Here one meditatively thinks the asymmetrical relation between the Creator and creation given through the distance of love which allows the otherness of the received being of creation to genuinely be as other. It is to read being from within the law of the analogia entis that metaphysically respects and secures the distance and interval between God and world without which the two congeal into a monstrous identitas entis. To abide by this law is to live a creaturely existence in respectful awe before the mysterious ever-greater dissimilarity of the Christian God.

But to speak this way is already slightly misleading, for when we speak of the law of the analogia entis it must be understood that this law—if we are to understand the heights and depths of its profoundest consummation—is a spoken commandment. And to comprehend this mysterious commandment one must begin with the speaker, thereby disallowing a mere metaphysical formality. By whom is the commandment spoken, how, and in what manner or way-of-being? The answer is already given above: by the Christian God. But how is this God known and is this just simply a God that happens to be Christian and creative? What does it mean to say that God is creative and Christian?

These are partly the questions that a metaphysics of Christianity must tarry with. And I am suggesting a way that does not begin by speaking of the analogia entis as the distinction between God/world, Creator/creation, or as the law of ever-greater dissimilarity. But nor am I denying the truth of this law, whatsoever. I am saying that to begin this way is to offer the skeleton of the law which too quickly bypasses its fleshed meaning. And if one does not wish to pass over too easily the flesh then the surest way not to do so is to pursue the path of a Johannine metaphysics. That is a metaphysics that departs from the fleshed-knowing of him “who was from the beginning” (1 John 2:14). Only then will the analogia entis be seen for what it is in its consummate revelation, that is, a Christic commandment of love that must be imitated in the flesh of practice. This “from the beginning” of the First Letter of John is gnoseologically speaking first, and it is a prerequisite for our peregrination into the metaphysical mysteries of Christianity.

Knowing him “from the beginning” is knowing the Word’s descent into time and history through the Incarnation. To know him “who was from the beginning” comes from holding to what one has “heard from the beginning” (1 John 3:11). This is a heard-knowing of the Word made flesh given by those who knew him in the flesh. It is an enfleshed testimony of a testimony of a testimony. Only from believing in this testimony, through the event of conversation, can one then rise up into understanding the metaphysical truth that he is the Word from the Beginning, the Word with God, the Word that is God and that through this Word all things were made. For the God made known by the Word made flesh is the God who is Triune Love.

Christ makes the Triune God known by his Way-of-Being, which is a non-identical imitation of the Father. This is the way of imitative love and he who does not love does not know God—for “God is love.” The analogia entis does not tarry with metaphysical whatnesses and nor is it a concept, a terminus technicus—a mere metaphysical abstraction or tool—nor even simply the law of the Creator/creature distinction. It is in its ultimacy a commandment spoken by a Who. And this Who is only known through an event of love, through conversion to “the Name” (3 John 1:7). The Christ—the Word made flesh—is the concrete analogia entis. Christ’s revelation only comes through flesh, through an enfleshed wording that is a metaphysical performance—a doing and practicing of love even unto death that shows Christ to be a mimetic Way-of-Being.

The Johannine meaning of the analogia entis can only be Christological, and it is this ultimate meaning that is being portrayed here. This again implies that the metaphysical gnosis given in the event of Christ is only given through conversation to and within this love. Only through Christ is the Father known, because Christ is the only mediating witness that sees, hears, and mimetically performs what his Father is doing. A metaphysics of Christianity in the Johannine hue concerns the event of love’s intermediation centered around Christ, who mediates between the love of the heavenly Father and humanity through the free-flowing Spirit.

Here, then, metaphysics is conceived as a new way of seeing and being in the world. Love of Christ and the Triune God is then tested and proved in the practice of love of neighbor, for he who says he loves God but hates his sister or brother is a liar and he who hates his sister or brother is a murderer (1 John 1:10; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 3:15). The gnosis of love is given in the doing of love. “My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). Here, to see and be in the world, in a different way, implies a metaphysics of Christianity that is a mimetic practice of imitatio Christi, of the Word made flesh in practiced living proof.

Only then is Christian difference powerfully proclaimed, not in triumphalism, but in the frail truth of the struggle to imitate a love that is inimitable. And this is a “harsh and fearful”[1] thing in many senses. Christianity can only survive and thrive through this mediating mimesis and witnessing to Christ passed through centuries of flowing Christic desire—enflaming and co-mediating the Mediator’s original agapeic desire. The Johannine metaphysics of Christianity I am presenting is the event of love’s intermediation centered around Christ the only Mediator, tested and practiced through love of neighbor within an imitative laying down of one’s life in fleshed service to and for the other.

Here I aim to show, in a Johannine light, that Christ, the concrete analogia entis, reveals a fourfold metaphysical event that is nothing less than the donative command of mimetically practiced love. The alpha and omega of this event then clearly is the analogia caritatis of the Triune God’s creative and redeeming love centered around the analogical commandments that Christ’s Way-of-Being reveals. The first commandment is the analogia entis, the second the analogia libertatis, the third the analogia imitationis, and the fourth the analogia caritatis. The first three are differing metaphysical moments or movements of the expression of love from its fundament to completion. Love stands as the first and the last that circulates and flows through each moment and movement in an intensifying realization of the twofold commandment of love of God and neighbor. Further, it is imperative not to view these moments and movements as metaphysical abstractions. They are present concretely in the two natures and one Person of the Word. Thus, each is a metaphysical commandment given by Christ that he himself incarnates and teaches. Hence, he has given us an example to be imitated and practiced in the suffering and violence of this world that is passing away. Presented here is a peregrination into a metaphysics of Christianity, of desire’s conversion to the Incarnation in a gnosis of the fleshed mimetic practice of love.

The First Commandment—the Analogia Entis  

Christ is and gives what he commands. Further, he performs and practices mimetically what he sees and hears his Father doing. For the one who sees and knows Christ sees and knows the Father. To hear the words and to see the deeds of the Word is to know that his Way-of-Being is one of imitative response and obedience to the Father. To know and believe this, in love, is to encounter “he who is from the beginning” (1 John 1:1–3). But again, this beginning of the First Letter is given through the kairotic moment of the event of Incarnation in time and history. Gnoseologically speaking, encounter with the enfleshed Word and his Way-of-Being—and the subsequent mimetic testimony of believers in the fleshed Word—is what gives belief.

It is this loving belief that gives access to the metaphysical heights and sanctum of the Prologue. Only now can John begin from the metaphysical beginning: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God . . . . All things were made through him and without him was made nothing that has been made” (John 1:1­–3). This beginning is metaphysically prior to the Incarnation, but gnoseologically the encounter with, or testimony to, the fleshed Word is always anterior. Christic encounter, in the spirit of John, is what gives access to the law of the analogia entis because it is Christ that fully shows us that created being, existence, and life is wholly unmerited, gracious gift.

This truth is a metaphysical teaching that Christ is in his two natures and one Person—without confusion or separation. And what is taught in this commandment is the eucharistic reception-of-being, a receiving that must be ever practiced and proved—monstrating a new metaphysical way of seeing, being, and participating in the world. The analogia entis is the Christic commandment of the eucharistic reception-of-being as created. This commandment is perfectly formulated in the First Letter of John: “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he has first loved us, and sent his Son a propitiation. Beloved, if God has so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4: 10–11). Christ the redeemer, teaches the truth of creation because without him nothing has been made. In Christ, Creator and Redeemer are one, for the same love that creates also redemptively recreates.

This is the only meaning of the Christian God. Christ teaches the metaphysical commandment of the analogia entis—namely, to be at all means that we have been loved into existence, that we were loved before we ever loved. To be is to be belated. To be is to be response, called, and addressed into being—ex nihilo—by the Triune God of love. It is to hold to the commandment of the ever-greater immemorial prius of the Word’s creative love in concert with the fontal Father and the Creator Spirit. It is to know and experience a glimmering shard of the metaphysically unexperienceable event of love that is creation. It is the commandment of creatureliness to know ourselves, in love, in reception, in always already having been uttered by the Word. It is the analogical commandment of the richness, in poverty, that created being is. Being is analogical relationship, analogical receptive response. Here to know the analogical law of ever-greater dissimilarity is to know, in the poverty of our fragile flesh, that we were loved into existence and that we will ever and always be second, metaphysical late-comers, words of the Word.

But again, if Christ’s Way-of-Being shows, via his imitation of the Father, that he is with God—is God—he does not show this as a disembodied Word but as flesh. The creative Word has truly and fully taken on the humanity and frailty of the very flesh he has created. In so doing, the creative Word—in the most mysterious of paradoxes—shows the creature how to receive the poverty of fleshed humanity by receiving it himself. Therefore, he shows concretely the practice of the analogical commandment of the eucharistic reception-of-being as created. To be is to be called to communion. By receiving created humanity, the Word, the Way shows that the very reception-of-being is a mimetic practice imaging the processional life of Triune love. For the Word is the Son, Being-as-Begotten. His Being is one of reception, eucharistic Begotteness.

Thus, the reception of our created humanity by the Word is an imaging mimesis of his eternal reception of himself from the Father, as the only-begotten. He shows what he Is and he does what he shows in both his divine and human nature. The analogia entis is a Christic mimetic commandment that is expressive of the loving twofold truth of the God-man; the truth of the humble eucharistic reception-of-being in it: uncreated and created difference. Christ shows that the more we embrace the receptive frailty of the flesh, the more we embrace our created humanity, the more we become fully human the more we imitate and share in the processional truth of his eucharistic Sonship. Dissimilarity becomes similarity, dislikeness becomes likeness precisely because of humble reception and acceptance of the analogical difference of the prius of love. And yet, this metaphysical truth is a practice, a doing that must ever and always be imitated in fleshed deed: “If God has so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

The Second Commandment—The Analogia Libertatis   

Christ is and gives what he commands. And what Christ gives in the command of the analogia entis is the metaphysical law of the abyssal fundament of being. Being arises ex nihilo from the ever greater prius of Triune love. The distance between the creative Word—in concert with the fontal Father and Creator Spirit—and creation is the distance of love understood as the metaphysical precondition of relation. Being is analogical difference, analogical relation, the call into communion. This is what Christ the concrete analogia entis shows. First, in the truth of the analogical relation of the reception of eternal Sonship in the Father-Son relation (Trinitarian difference). Second, in the created analogical relation of the ex nihilo (created difference) in its ever-greater dissimilarity. This law is the Christic command of the prius of Triune love marked by the event of the ex nihilo. And Christ shows that the latter is the mimetic imaging or analogon of the processional truth of the primary mimetic analogy of the imaging of eternal Sonship. For the Word is the non-identical image and mimetic repetition of his Father. Christ as divine and human receives both the eternal and created gift of being—the double glory of the gift of eternally Begotten Sonship and the created gift of the fleshed fragility of our humanity.

This dynamic fundament of being is the gift of metaphysical difference, or, better, being is analogical relation, a being called into an eventful between of a receiving and giving, a giving and receiving, an invitation into communal dance. The incarnate Word is and shows that he is: eucharistic relation, reception. To speak of eucharistic reception is to speak of the gratefulness of praise offered in response to gift. And gift, reception, response, and thankfulness have no meaning outside the realm of freedom. To speak of the metaphysical law of analogia entis has no meaning if the bringing forth of being out of love, from nothing, is not also likewise the very freeing of our fragile humanity into the event of freedom and the call of communion. The event of creation is also the event of freedom in a twofold sense.

First, in the sense that received being is truly and fully brought forth from nothing, as what is other to the Triune God. There is no Janus head of theopanism and pantheism here, and thus the falsity of metaphysical necessity. Second, when the fleshed spirit of humanity is brought forth as that which is metaphysically distinct, then this likewise implies the possibility to refuse the received truth of our creatureliness in the transgressive desire to be and know like God (Gen 3:5). This is the Luciferian possibility to usurp the gift in the lie of metaphysical self-foundation, self-deification. Indeed, this is why the metaphysics I am proposing is one of Patmos, which is to say an apocalyptic metaphysics that reads the history of metaphysics from within the concrete order of sin, grace, and redemption. Thereby reading the history of metaphysics as the dramatic struggle for and against the received eucharistic truth of creatureliness, wherein John’s Prologue and the apocalyptic Epilogue are ever intertwined. The history of metaphysics is Christocentric because only Christ fully reveals the truth of created being and its foundation in Trinitarian depths.

The Word made flesh kenotically inserts himself into the drama of the freedom of created humanity where “he was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But to as many as received him he gave the power of becoming sons of God; to those who believe in his name” (John 1:10–12). The truth that Christ brings is the truth of the mystery of freedom only obtained in conversation with the metaphysical commandments of love that the Incarnate Word brings into the darkness of fallen freedom and desire. He brings the novum of a gnosis given in practiced mimetic love that is eucharistic and kenotic through and through.

The Christic commandment of the analogia entis that speaks the truth of created difference is also the truth of creaturely freedom, and the meaning of freedom in the eucharistic reception-of-being. Said otherwise, to be initiated into the former truth of having been loved into existence is always already an initiation into the arcanum of the eucharistic meaning of freedom, obedience, and joyful humble reception. Christ is not only the concrete analogia entis, he is also and at the same time the concrete analogia libertatis. Christ is the meaning and perfection of divine and creaturely freedom.

He has come to set us free in a teaching and practice of the eucharistic, agapeic, and kenotic fleshed mimetic doing of freedom. Christ’s offers a eucharistic freedom that is a Way-of-Being rooted in his twofold joyous and obediential reception of the goodness of being in both its Trinitarian and creaturely dimensions. His freedom is an invitation into the realm where peace and goodness are convertible with being. Further, as an invitation of love, Christ never coerces or forces one into the truth of freedom. Freedom is a call and appeal, a “come and see.”

Peace, not violence, is co-primeval with being and a Johannine metaphysics is a metaphysics of practiced peace. Violence comes when freedom rejects the law of love that creation is. Violence is the effect of the feigning lie of self-apotheosis wherein creaturely freedom violently crashes in upon itself. Hell is not a divine creation but a satanically human one. What is being presented then is no otherworldly Trinitarian speculation. It is the freedom of peace in the hell of a world where freedom and desire are ever and always crashing violently in upon themselves.

Here a peace is presented, not as the world gives, but a peace that is in-and-beyond the violence of this world. A world where the Word made flesh has definitively and irrevocably entered. In this passing world, a metaphysics of Christianity is ever and always a concrete practice, a metaphysics that always exists within the deformity and violence of sin. It exists within the flesh and blood horizon of human history that is ever and always a history of violence. No true Johannine metaphysics would dare to offer a Christological metaphysics unrelated to the drama of darkness that the Word has, in obedience to the Father, entered into to the point of death.

Zarathustra is right, that “man is the cruelest animal” where “at tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixion he has so far felt his best on earth; when he invented hell for himself, behold, that was his heaven on earth.”[2] This is the inverted darkened “heaven” of the world from which the Word, as creator and redeemer, is continually exiled. The Johannine Word, which is the concrete analogia libertatis, is strange and idiotic; offering a foolish crucified Wisdom that is ever a stranger, sojourner, and exile from the passing darkness of this world. A fleshed Word that has left a practiced Wisdom of the mimetic truth of freedom that appears to the world like nothing more than the nothingness of a life of mere servility. Was not both Nietzsche and Weil right, for different reasons, that Christianity offers a freedom fit only for slaves?

The Third Commandment—The Analogia Imitationis

Christ is and gives what he commands. This truth is nowhere more perfectly seen than in these stupefying words of Christ: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would also have known the Father” (John 14: 6–7). How then can Christ claim to make the Father known through himself? In the Johannine words of Christ: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever he does, this Son also does in a like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he does” (John 5:20). Christ, as Word, as Son, as the only begotten is the non-identical mimetic repetition of the Father. His divine Way-of-Being is mimesis, an imitation of the Father as Son. The Son is no static copy or image of the Father. Triune life is not stasis but the eternal movement of the activity of relation. The Son is Son because he performs his Sonship in love. And the Son that loves his Father seeks to be like his Father. The Son’s eucharistic reception of his eternal Being-as-Begotten responds in thanks through a divine play of imitation.

To imitate here means to receive and respond to the eternal gift of begetting as otherwise to the Father. The truth of mimesis is first and foremost Trinitarian, and true imitation is not the miming and copying of univocal sameness, it is the reception of the analogical difference of relation. The Son imitates the Father as Son and thus is the agapeic desire of the Father who desires no mere copy but a living image. Here to imitate is to show love as other, and to witness imitation is to see the fruit of love in and as other. The Word’s Being-as-Begotten is a Way-of-Being that shows the Father through and as the activity of relation that the Son is. And here is means the performance of Sonship through an imitative showing of love. Imitation is eucharistic response—a doing in the eternal remembrance of the gift received from the fontal Father. The Son, the Word, resays the Father in the joy of eucharistic remembrance that is imitative love.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would also have known the Father.” But these are the words of the fleshed Word, and any access to the hyper-transcendent intra-divine Triune life is only through the Word made flesh. Christ is not only the concrete analogia entis and analogia libertatis he is also the concrete analogia imitationis. To imitate the fleshed Word is to imitate an imitation of an imitation that is inimitable. And a Johannine metaphysics is a spiritual practice of Christic mimesis—imitation Christi—that takes us not away from the flesh, but ever deeper into eucharistic way of flesh in an enfleshed practice of the Christic commandant of love of God and neighbor. Christ is and gives what he commands and what he commands is an imitation of the metaphysical “example” that he is as “the way, and the truth, and the life.” “For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you should also do” (John 13:15). A metaphysics of Christianity is a way-of-being—the practice of Christic mimesis.

To “come and see” Christ’s flesh, humanity, creatureliness is to see the fleshed fragility of our humanity as recreated and redeemed from the metaphysical sin that refused the poverty of flesh in feigned self-apotheosis. To see the flesh as the analogon of the primary Trinitarian analogy of processional Sonship, is to see the eucharistic meaning of flesh and creatureliness. Christ receives flesh in imitation of his eternal Sonship, which is already one of eucharistic imitation. This is the eternal remembrance of the gift of Being-as-Begotten ceaselessly being received from the fontal Father. The eternal reception of Being-as-Begotten is offered in the humility of thanksgiving of the Son’s imitative love, an eternal remembering as imitative performance. The Word of the Father is uttered in love and in this uttering the Word is metaphysically second as begotten, not made.

It is in this processional image that the Word utters the fleshed word of our humanity in the creative love of the ex nihilo wherein we were loved into existence before we ever loved. The fleshed Word imitatively shows the command of the analogia entis wherein we glimpse and experience the unexperienceable immemorial event of having been brought forth from nothing in love. The fleshed Word lives the fragility of his humanity as a mimetic practice, an example, of his eternal reception of imitative Sonship. This is why the Father is seen through the Son’s flesh, through his mannerisms, gestures, tone of voice; culminating in the fleshed deed of example, the washing feet, the breaking bread, to the point of crucifixion.

To see his flesh is to see Sonship incarnate, divine Sonship, as well as the created sonship of his humanity as a practiced eucharistic image of eternal Sonship. It is to know our own fleshed daughtership and sonship as recreated creatures brought forth and redeemed by love in the twofold way-of-imitation that is the divine-humanity. This is to imitatively show the meaning of the eucharistic reception-of-being, a reception that shows the humble and frail truth of creaturely freedom.

The Word, as metaphysically second, non-identically resays the Father in the joy of eternal eucharistic remembrance that is imitative love. So too creatures, as fleshed words of the Word, must remember and respond to the immemorial event of the ex nihilo in fleshed imitation of the “example” given by the fleshed Word. To live this truth is to enter deeper and deeper into the mystery of communion that is the flesh. The truth of created being is the responsibility of freedom, and freedom is only obtained in the practice of imitative eucharist love. The analogia imitationis is the fleshed practice of the analogia caritatis, which is nothing else but the Christic command to imitate him in his love of Father and neighbor through the Spirit.

But again, this is a gnosis of love given in fleshed practice, a way-of-being. “For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you should also do.” For he who says he loves God but hates his sister or brother is a liar and he who hates his sister or brother is a murderer. The gnosis of love is given in the doing of love. “My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). Christ proffers a communal peaceable counter-mimesis to the pseudo-mimesis of the world where the lie of self-foundation and self-deification is blindly imitated. The lie of sinful pride is mimetic and traps the created desire for the supernatural in a wholly immanent underground circulation of pride, rivalry, hatred, ressentiment, and scapegoating. This is desire’s immanent terrain, its underground transvaluation and idol-fashioning—the world’s “pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Here pseudo-mimesis does not give birth to the showing of love in the otherness of imitative difference but in the violence of univocal undifferentiation, sameness. And it is to this inverted and distorted world of the idolatry of pseudo-mimesis that Christ brings the truth of Triune mimesis and thus the truthful image that creaturely mimesis was created in.

Christ-fleshed life is eucharistic, the doing and practice of non-violence and peace. But this is no passive or “queer” (Nietzsche) idiocy, but rather love’s power of provoking evil, hatred, and violence to come forth and show itself. For there is no antichrist before Christ. Christ brings the Triune eucharistic secret of being, the imitative humble practice of the reception-of-being. And it is this truth that the world cannot see or, even worse, hates. Hence, the only way for this truth to be made seen in this darkened world is in its breaking, in its deformity, that is, through kenotic deformity. Christ’s eternal play of imitative Sonship, through Incarnation, now must be shown in the mimetic seriousness of the Word, lifted up upon the Cross—shown as the Christus deformis, in Augustine’s words. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you” (John 15:18).

To imitate Christ’s love is to imitate the broken deformity of eucharistic love. A love that is “harsh and fearful” and thus must be broken again and again. True mimesis is an analogical minority report of Christian difference against the univocal sameness of the hatred of the world. This love is not pity, nor is it the Nietzschean sin of the “otherworldly.” It is a gnosis of love in the testing and practice of imitative love. “For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you should also do.” For he who says he loves God but hates his sister or brother is a liar and he who hates his sister or brother is a murderer.

The Analogia Caritatis or Christ the Fourfold Analogical Event

To attempt to imitate this love is to struggle within, and for, an imitation of the inimitable. It is to practice a life of imitation in failure, in recognition of the ceaseless task of conversion and reconversion to the creaturely truth of finitude, ever marred by the violence of sin. This conversion first consists in seeing the eucharistic goodness of being in the richness of poverty, of our fleshed and fragile finitude. Being is seen with new eyes. At the foundation of the world is no tragic farce or evil ruse, but an event of unimaginable love. This is the commandment of the law of love that Christ the concrete analogia entis is and gives—seeing in and from, and through the abyssal fundament of love that the reception-of-being is. To see this is to feel in one’s flesh the weight of freedom and the radical need to respond. Being is a freeing into the call of fleshed communion that demands the doing of freedom in responsorial love.

This is the command of the invitation into the eucharistic truth of creatureliness that Christ the concrete analogia libertatis is and gives. But this seeing of being and doing of freedom is only possible because of Christ’s Way-of-Being, understood as the twofold mimetic eucharistic performance of his divine-humanity. What Christ commands is the giving of what he is in his eternal Sonship. And it is through this image that our shared humanity has been made. This image of an image is his mimetic Way-of-Being, a eucharistic remembrance that is imitative performance of “the way, the truth, and the life.” Christ is and gives the analogia imitationis understood as the practice of an example. It is the giving of a Way-of-Being, the Being-of-a-Way.

Each of these Christic metaphysical commandments show that Christ is the event of the analogia caritatis. Christ is the dynamic commercium between the eternity of Triune love and the fragility of our worded flesh. But as our worded flesh is ever marred by the mimetic lie of self-apotheosis, then the clash of the fleshed Word with the world ever ends with the acceptance of his being broken again and again until the eschaton, as Pascal knew so well. Imitation of Christ is imitation of the Christus deformis, the way of the via Crucis. And thus, the love of the Triune God, for the Christian, is ever mediated, tested, and proved through the “harsh and fearful” love of neighbor. And for the Christian, this must mean the recognition of our complicity with crucifixion, sin, and violence.

This is the Johannine truth of metaphysics understood as a Christic way-of-being, in a practice of continual conversion and reconversion from the violence of sin in response to the twofold commandment of love. The impossible is made possible, the inimitable made imitable because we have been given the Way. “For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you should also do.” And thus John—that deepest lover and thinker of the Word made flesh—commandingly invites us into the gnosis of the arcanum that is the eucharistic practice of communion in the brokenness of fleshed mimetic deed: “My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and truth.”

Editorial Note: This reflection is related to the early stage of Philip Gonzales’s recent grant from Widening Horizons in Philosophical Theology run out of the University of St. Andrews and funded by Templeton Religion Trust. The title of his grant project is: “Analogical Metaphysics and Incarnate Mimetic Desire.”

[1] A phrase used by the Elder Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov, see Part I, Chapter 4, “A Lady of Little Faith.”

[2] Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in The Portable Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann, (Viking Penguin: 1958) Third Part, 2.

Featured Image: Nicolaus Haberschrack, Prayer in Gethsemane (Obverse); Circumcision of Christ (Reverse). Altar Retable Panel from the Augustinian Church in Krakow, 1648; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100.


Philip Gonzales

Philip Gonzales is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Patrick's College Maynooth. He is the author of Reimagining the Analogia Entis: The Future of Erich Przywara's Christian Vision.

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