My column at First Things for the upcoming Feast of the Ascension:
It is this onenes Father Barron describes when he writes of the “interacting and interpenetrating fields of force” that are heaven and earth, constantly commingling, and within the church embodying a true encounter between bridegroom and bride. That is considered archaic language, I know — Flannery O’ Connor called it “a metaphor that can be dispensed with” — but the brilliant Ms. O’ Connor was uncharacteristically off the mark in her observation to Cecil Dawkins, both in her dismissiveness and in calling what is a real and daily action nothing but metaphor.
If we could reclaim the metaphor of the bride and groom we might be better able to teach the very dogmas that O’ Connor championed so passionately, and which are every day a little less comprehensible to most Christians. For that matter, if we were less prudish about acknowledging the interplay between heaven and earth as lovemaking, our over-saturated and exhausted culture of hook-ups and sterile encounters might become reopened to the true meaning of the sex act and to a re-appreciation of its light-from-light power.
If Heaven and Earth are in constant flux, then the Ascension becomes less incomprehensible and so, too, the dogmas of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception. In fact, they are even more fully understood in the light of yet another dimension of the divine spark within humanity: science.
And what does science tell us about all that? Find out here!