WE HAVE to be wary of this possibility. In fact, given how we are, we have a strong tendency to hijack what is to be human and what is to be a Christian. In so many ways, we impose our own ideas of what is to be a man and what is to be another Christ.
It is not that we have no correct understanding of these subjects. Thanks to God, we cannot deny that we have reached a good level of what is to be human and what is to be a Christian. The problem starts when we think that we already know all about them and begin to impose our ideas on others.
We have forgotten that humanity and Christianity, no matter how well studied, known and understood, will always remain a mystery. St. Augustine said something in this regard.
“Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul?” he asked. “Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.”
Of course, St. Paul in his preaching dared not to talk about what is to be man and what is to be a Christian by using only human wisdom. These are is words:
“When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified…My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor 2, 1-5)
Let us continue with what he said further, since his words describe very well this possibility of us hijacking humanity and Christianity with our own cultures, ideologies, social trends, political categories, etc.
“Who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?” he asked. “In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
“The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (10-16)
So the ideal condition for us to really know what is to be a man and what is to be a Christian is to have the very mind of Christ, just like St. Paul. It’s not that we don’t anymore need to study the doctrine of our faith as taught by the Church that is in fact regarded as the “expert in humanity.” We should, and in fact, we also should study the relevant sciences of philosophy and theology, but all these as a function of our vital identification with Christ.
We need to follow the example of St. Paul who taught about humanity and Christianity in a very humble way, always referring himself to the Spirit so as to have the very mind of Christ. In fact, at one point he said: “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11, 1)
This way we avoid hijacking the whole dynamic truth about what is to be human and what is to be Christian./PN