In the beginning of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians we detect the enthusiasm of the new converts, for whom being Christians was an unexpected gift, a blessing, great riches bestowed on them by God. It is good for us to realize this—for us who, as Christians, live for the most part with wrinkled brows and such an anxious awareness of the problems it entails that we feel almost guilty when we are happy about being Christians—that might be a form of triumphalism! Fundamentally, the joy of this epistle derives from the fact that the Apostle has dared to look directly at the heart of Christianity, at the triune God and his eternal love.… We have been eternally present in God’s thought because we belong to his Son. In consequence, we share in his eternity and in his preexistence before all the things of this world. We are, as it were, always already present to him. God sees us in his Son, with the eyes of his Son. We are better able to understand what such certainty means in an age when man is disgusted with being human, when he is denounced as a naked ape, as an especially treacherous rat; when he is regarded as the real mischief-maker in nature, so that the fear of being human, the hatred of man for man, is growing in himself and in others. But the person who knows that he is seen through the eyes of the Son has a certainty that is stronger than any such fear. His “whence” is an answer to the urgent questions as to the “why” and the “whither”. The Letter to the Ephesians describes this in a series of four closely interrelated concepts. It speaks of the universe and of heaven and earth; it speaks of the elimination of differences; of alienation; and of an undivided unity in which everyone and everything will be in harmony—that is, the redemption. But how? The Apostle says—three times in an all-embracing refrain—that we are here “for the praise of his glory”. That is the answer to this “how”. For when a persons dares to forget himself, to turn his face to the Creator, then all else will follow: inheritance of the earth, unity, redemption. Is not Francis of Assisi a shining example of this seemingly all too simple unity? When God is no longer praised, everything else collapses. Only when we begin again to turn our faces to God and to turn away from our obsession with self will our involvement with self be diminished and will redemption dawn upon us.
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (pp. 145–146). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.