Being contemporaries

I remember the theologian Karl Rahner in an interview speaking about “Zeitgenossenschaft”. Even though Germans are used to long words, I had never heard this particular word before. It means “contemporaneity”, occurring simultaneously or concurrently, having a “contemporary communal presence”. Rahner dropped it in a melancholic kind of way, stating that over the years one develops this sense of contemporaneity together with those whom we share the same time. Living at the same time can create a bond of familiarity and love. Our journeys of life may change; we meet each other, we walk together, and then – for professional, or personal, or whatever reasons – our ways part. But still, we are of one generation and we experience the same world, even when we are at different places. We experience the blessings and the crosses of the same time. I guess one reason for our fear of death is that we don’t want to leave our companions with whom we have walked.

There is a silent tenderness in being contemporaries, in coming from the same time. This is because God has blessed the time by the birth of his Son. God wanted to be our contemporary. We celebrate this at Christmas. God became man and the companion of many. They walked together; He went with them through thick and thin. It is touching to know that God wants to be my contemporary too. He wants to share my time. He wants to walk with me. Over time, the familiarity with Him grows. We don’t have to be in contact every minute, just walking together connects us.

Thank you, Jesus, for being my companion. Thank you for walking with me. Thank you for being interested in my life – my simple, limited life. It is good to know you as my contemporary. You want to grow old together with me. In turn, I want to love and honor all those who are my contemporaries.

Being contemporaries

6 thoughts on “Being contemporaries

  1. Thanks Fr. ; appreciate your writings as they’re always helpful ! Hope your saying some prayers for me from time to time. Thanks again God bless you & your work. Peace ! Steve mitchel


  2. Germans have the best words. I see the concept similarity with “zeitgeist”: “the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.” Zeitgenossenschaft brings the emphasis of “genossen” … companions in time.

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  3. Father Mauritius, it is a beautiful thought that makes us reflect and therefore, it does not stop admiring me now in this time how can we have contact with so many people, our “contemporaneous” through technology. So… like you and I, two distant, different, and strange persons united by tweeter and a blog. For some simple reasons, life made me listen to your podcasts and now I read your blog. Amazing. It is Jesus who unites contemporary people who are united to Him. I hope to meet you someday. I am from Guatemala.

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  4. Thank you so much for this thought. How comforting it is to know God wants to be our companion in this life and that he/she ultimately understands the stressors of our lives. Like you, I hope to be a compassionate and faithful companion to those around me.

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  5. Thank you, Father Mauritius – that is a truly inspiring meditation! It is comforting and reassuring to know that the Lord Jesus (and the Blessed Mother, of course) are always by our side, whether we know it or not. My personal experience is that you just have to work on sharpening your spiritual senses, so to speak, so as to be able to perceive their nearness. And there’s no better way of doing that than prayer. I’m very glad I learned about this blog from the letter you sent about your new position in Rome, close to the Holy Father. I’m also looking foreward to meeting you again in person in Muensterschwarzach in May for the “Ora et labora” course.

    Liked by 1 person

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