Recently, I was moved by a video in which Jordan Peterson acknowledges believing in Christ. Many have encountered Christ throughout history and every instance is unique. Those who accept the call move on to a life of everlasting growth. Living in Christ requires to experience Christ’s life in our own. What a strange thing is to accept the Cross instead of the life that most human beings live. Once someone told me: “To those Christ prefers, He gives the choicest splinters of His Cross” –I believe the original phrase is from Padre Pio– I think the choicest splinter one could get is to look at our past life from the beginning and contemplate how our own personal cross takes shape through the years we lived. That kind of contemplation reaches the center of our being because it is the clear confirmation that God created us for that particular cross, for our own unique experience. In my case I learned that the rejected child, the rejected young man, and the rejected man are one man growing to admit on his back the shape of the cross that the Divine Carpenter made for him. I dare say that rejection is perhaps one of the choicest splinters, one that Christ experienced to the fullest.
Everything is part of that divine parable. In the end, when we can fully understand our life, when we can see the love of God in every wound received, we will be able to understand the truth that our life represents. Not two souls will share exactly the same pains. Unique like snowflakes, our souls will exist as the only member of a species and yet God will embrace us all in Calvary as we “complete in our body the sufferings of Christ.”
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)
To which St. Paul adds mysteriously:
To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. (Colossians 1:29)
Because we resist the Cross, it irks us easily. Both Christ and his torturers live in us, contending fiercely with each other. Only one can remain in the end and it should be the one affixed to the cross and not merely accepting it but embracing it. That is the meaning of the Passion.
I watched Jordan Peterson’s interview by Jonathan Pageau (a Greek Orthodox If I am not mistaken) several times. Some of the concepts discussed are complex and I will need to revisit that video many times to fully understand it but one part I understood was Peterson’s emotional affirmation of the entrance of Christ in his life. For those of us who have followed the Peterson phenomenon from the beginning, it was deeply moving.
Peterson’s encounter with the Cross predates the interview for many years. One can never tell the exact moment but I remember observing how his razor sharp intellect pursued the Logos. Paraphrasing C. S. Lewis the pursuit of Logos is comparable to “the mouse pursuing the cat” — When the encounter finally occurs one can only be humbled to a degree bordering in terror. The imposing heights of God’s justice are indeed a terrifying sight if we are not fully aware of the depths of His mercy.
The relentless persecution of Peterson by the mediocre media taught me a lot about the level of idiocy and hate permeating the world these days. Not a new thing but we are the first generation being exposed in detail to these new inquisitions. “No one expects the Inquisition” said Michael Palin and I sense Jordan Peterson did not expect to be dragged to the town square to be pelted to death. Fortunately for him, the odious stones were merely malicious and never effective. Competence is rare among Peterson’s haters accustomed as they are to the easier to handle tools of ideology. A few malicious interviewers tasted the edge of Peterson’s responses as he skewered them and feed them their own flesh.
Watching Peterson under hostile fire reminded me of John 8. There Jesus is “interviewed” by the Pharisees. That chapter ends thus:
At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:59)
The whole chapter is an clear prelude of the Passion. Presented with the truth there are many that respond with hostility. If Christ had to suffer such attacks, all of us will have to go through the same experience. Jordan Peterson with his penetrating intelligence was sure to attract that kind of flak. Mediocrity abhors the light of a clear intellect. It was inevitable but it was also a sure sign that Peterson was presenting the truth. Some seven decades ago, that other Argentine Jesuit, Leonardo Castellani addressed the same issue:
The current situation of Mental Confusion and Progressive Collective Cretin-ization has been thrown our way. We did not seek it. They have given us a muddled game (how muddled it will be that some call for a “Liberal remedy”!) We did not cause this mess, we cannot unravel it at once …
The time is out of joint: o cursed spite
That ever I was born to set it right!
That was always the mistake of Nationalism: wanting to fix the country immediately or in the short term: but it was too confused to do that, one has to be patient. We can’t suddenly change a cheating game but each one can “DO TRUTH”, as they say in Catalonia to the boys when they leave home: “fa bontat”, do goodness. Giving truth is the greatest goodness, “the charity of Truth”, in the words of Saint Paul. In Spain during the Liberal century there were men, like Donoso Cortés or even Ramiro de Maeztu, who made Truth, that is, gave witness of the truth; and thus Spain defeated Liberalism. This is the true Great Mission: not to practice religious exteriority, nor religious propaganda, nor religious boredom, repeating religious platitudes that bore people to death; but to do Truth. How is it done? Only with Life, that is the raw material. How is Life made? God has given us a little portion, we can neither increase nor decrease it, but we can SPEND IT WELL.
The time Jordan Peterson is spending, his efforts to set this crooked age straight, and now his many sufferings are all part of a life well spent.