"Incarnation/Redemption too, although it took place at a specific historical moment, the period of Jesus' time on earth, nonetheless extends its range of action to all time that preceded and followed. And, in their turn, the Second Coming and Final Judgement, decisively anticipated in the Cross of Christ, exercise their influence on the behaviour of mankind in all ages."
These words of Pope Benedict, set me meditating on three things: (1) The Immaculate Conception. It seems to me that one reason why that dogma really matters - and is not mariological excess mascarading as dogma - is that it makes rather powerfully the point that the Redemption 'extends its range of action to the time that preceded'.
(2) The Harrowing of Hell. Perhaps the Pope gave us an interesting basis for a more sophisticated understanding of what it means to say that redemptive grace is at work in the men and women of the Old Testament.
(3) Dom Odo Casel's ideas about how the commemorations of the liturgical year make present mystice the 'past' events which they commemorate. What Benedict XVI said about the interpenetration of times fits nicely.
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