Jesus Christ: "Lord of History"

I've noticed recently that one of Pope Benedict XVI's favorite titles for Our Lord is "il Signore della storia"—the Lord of history. I suppose this name is somewhat understood at first glance; Jesus Christ was a historical person (a fundamental belief of the Catholic faith) and he is rightly called "Lord," both by his disciples and by us. He is a historical Lord, then, a title which combines two of the most basic truths of Christ's life on earth. That's really all you have to know.

But why stop at the surface when the depths to be mined are so rich? There must be more in Benedict's words than meet the eye. What does he intend to say by calling Jesus Christ the "Lord of history."

First of all, connecting "Lord of history" with simply "a historical Lord" results in an unjustified equation. In the latter, "historical" modifies "Lord"; that means that "historical"—at least grammatically—is more important and influential than "Lord." In the pope's terminology for Christ, however, "Lord" retains a dominance over and above "history" which is definitive. Just as a master is the "master of a slave," Jesus is the Lord who possesses history. It is much more than saying that Christ was a historical person. Instead, it is saying that all history finds its very existence in the existence of Jesus Christ; that God is the life-giving font of all history, and his Son is its master.

"Why is this important," I hear you asking yourself. Precisely because it sums up the fullness of our faith! Certainly, the beauty and mystery of the Mass, the unbroken and lasting perseverance of Tradition, and the ever-discoverable truths of Sacred Scripture find their roots and terminus in Jesus Christ, in whom is contained all being. What would the scriptures be if not the manifestation of the divine Logos, already present before their very transcription? Where is the value of the Catholic Mass if not in Christ, already present in glory as well as in the history of mankind? Is is precisely Christ who holds together all value and sensibility. We no doubt have a sensible grasp on history, and therefore must realize that it finds its very being in the person of Christ.

Nevertheless, there is a perduring element of mystery, which cannot be looked over nor discarded without concern. Seeing Christ as the primordial being, surrounding and engulfing all human, cosmic and spiritual history in himself, is nothing short of a leap of faith. In other words, we cannot prove scientifically that this is the case. However, we can prove scientifically—if we consider philosophy and metaphysics a 'science,' as the ancients and medievals rightly did—that there must be something beyond our knowledge which we cannot explain, and that this 'something' must have given life when there was no life. The "unmoved mover," as Aristotle says, is the philosophic notion of God, and this mysterious force, which philosophy and speculation can only infer by necessity, presents us with the case for a "Lord of history." Who is this unmoved life-giver, who can contain all reality and history within himself? With faith the answer is simple. Pope Benedict says it so well: "Gesú Cristo è il Signore della storia!"