The Beginning and End of All Things

An excerpt from Roman Catholic theologian Romano Guardini’s profound and beautifully moving book on the life of Jesus, The Lord (1937):


Taking man and his world together, what impenetrable deception, what labyrinthian confusion, all-permeating estrangement from God, granitic hardness of heart! This the terrible load Christ on the cross was to dissolve in God, and divinely assimilate into his own thought, heart, life and agony. Ardent with suffering, he was to plunge into that ultimate depth, distance, center where the sacred power which formed the world from nothing could break into new creation.

Since the Lord’s death, this has become reality, in which all things have changed. It is from here that we live – as far as we are really alive in the sight of God.

If anyone should ask: What is certain in life and death – so certain that everything else may be anchored in it? The answer is: The love of Christ. Life teaches us that this is the only true reply. Not people – not even the best and dearest; not science or philosophy, or art or any other product of human genius. Also not nature, which is so full of profound deception; neither time nor fate. . . . Not even simply “God”; for his wrath has been roused by sin, and how without Christ would we know what to expect from him? Only Christ’s love is certain. We cannot even say God’s love; for that God loves us we also know, ultimately, only through Christ. And even if we did know without Christ that God loved us – love can also be inexorable, and the more noble it is, the more demanding. Only through Christ do we know that God’s love is forgiving. Certain is only that which manifested itself on the cross. What has been said so often and so inadequately is true: The heart of Jesus Christ is the beginning and end of all things.

Romano Guardini, The Lord, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1982), 399-400.


Media credit: detail from The Resurrection by El Greco,

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