The Mystery Of Our Intelligence
Through a really penetrating analysis of thought in ourselves and of the life of our spirit, we are led to discover that the very mystery of our intelligence has its origin in this supreme mystery of unity in Trinity, and that the history of the world, from the fiat lux [Let there be light] all the way to the consummation of the heavenly City, is set in motion, is oriented by what Christian theology and philosophy have said of the creative design: omnia intendunt assimilari Deo. [God became man in order that man might become God”] To bring all that out radically is therefore to tie nature and man back to their roots and to make them bear their true fruit, which is final union with God; but, on the other hand, it is also to enable us to understand better how the supernatural and quite gratuitous gift of grace has prepared in us the points of insertion, so that, within us, it is not a stranger or an intruder. In this regard, the many efforts of immanentist doctrines have provoked a more explicit consciousness of the supernatural order, but also of the condescendence with which, without being confused with it, it descends into nature, stimulates it, perfects it: a view that sheds light on the very touchy point among many philosophers who are always afraid of repression by religion of the energies and the ascensions of human nature under a yoke that would be truly imposed from the outside and be humiliating for reason and freedom.
Thomas Saw One Thing And Believed Another
It has often been remarked that the risen Christ, in letting his material presence be observed, reveals it only to his disciples, intermittently, without allowing anything else to be touched but his wounds, as Pascal notes. Thus it is that the material fact, as real and as consistent as it is as grounding the spiritual sense, calls for being completed, vivified, and recognized in a higher order than that of banal history. Saint Matthew expressly declares that, among the witnesses of the Risen One, some believed and some did not, notwithstanding the evidence for all of the corporal presence of Christ. Thomas Aquinas vigorously takes note of the teaching to be drawn from the verification by Thomas Didymus of the wounds of the Savior: hominem vidit, Deum credens confessus est. [Thomas "saw one thing, and believed another: he saw the Man, and believing Him to be God, he made profession of his faith, saying: "My Lord and my God."] We can indeed observe humanity in flesh and bones; but to recognize the divinity, that is not something only for the senses, only for animal perception, only for positive science, nor even for reasoning alone, but for concrete intelligence, for rightness of soul, for the religious sense that is the most complete and the highest form of reason.
Living From The Very Life And The Light Of Christ
It is not enough, to exhaust the content of the Christian spirit, to join the historic truth to the spiritual interpretation, to the ideal value of the facts divinely interpreted; it is necessary also that the invisible realities be understood and admitted as having still much more than the force of an example, than the reality of a teaching, than the value of an ideal we would have to adhere to speculatively and to conform to practically: to restrict ourselves only to this would be to open the door to an entirely subjective symbolism, to a simple moralism that would at the most deserve the name of Christian religiosity, but would not in any way yet be Catholic realism. What then is this essential element that it is sovereignly important to integrate into the living unity of Christian spirit? — Quite simply it is the properly supernatural efficacity of the divine action, of grace, without which we would believe ourselves only capable, so to speak, of thinking the Christ without living from the very life and the light of Christ. It is not an idealist interpretation or a sentimental effusion — whatever generosity one might otherwise put into it, as we find with so many Protestants — that constitutes this spirit essentially, which is ours only to serve a docile receptacle, one as it were permeable to the truly supernatural operation, to the truly efficacious and substantial reality of Christ and the Holy Spirit, under the veil of unconsciousness, but with the reality of an effective presence. With this example — which helps us to understand that Christ cannot be said to be risen except by being something else than a man external to other men, and by being something else than a God external to our present humanity, as a purely transcendent idea would be — we are led to go beyond the objections as well as superficial and timorous interpretations. … it is a question literally of the living person of the incarnate Word, who authentically acts in each one of the beings called to form the mystical body that takes its nourishment from his life, his spirit, his charity.
The Study Of The Catholic Spirit
For the supernatural is not a creation ex nihilo; it is an elevation, a transfiguration of our natural faculties under the motion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; it is thus legitimate to analyze what in our human faculties is thus elevated, transformable, as a preparation in which we can and must cooperate… all the study of thought leads us to this conclusion, that, through every avenue of our intelligence as of our will, we are led to the edge of a real abyss that is not exterior to us, but that resides in our inmost selves, in what some call, with Tauler, the depth of the soul, in what has frequently been called, with Francis de Sales, the fine point of the spirit. We are always, so to speak, separated within ourselves and from ourselves by this mystery of our origins and our destiny: St. Augustine used to remark appropriately that to go from ourselves to ourselves, from our apparent ego all the way to our fully possessed reality, we must pass through God. There is no complete philosophy if this problem is masked over; and Deschamps insisted on what he called the philosophical truth par excellence, the affirmation of a question that arises invincibly in every conscience, and the inability of reason to define and to resolve this problem of problems. We see thereby how we have to excavate within ourselves the place where the supernatural solution will come to fill the abyss. …
The Christian spirit, which has no greater enemy than the false sufficiency of egoistic autonomy, has no better auxiliary than this sense of mystery and of humility. God, says Scripture, loves empty vessels in which to pour himself out. And it is already a beautiful role to have to shape and to purify these vessels of nature and of man that are to contain the divine presence.
A vessel is an object designed for the sole purpose of holding, or containing, something. The vessel is not made already containing something, it is made empty. If a vessel contains something already it needs to be emptied in order to be used for something else. If contamination is an issue the inside of the vessel must be cleaned in order not to mix residue of the prior contents into the new contents. The Lord wants us to be vessels. In Acts 9:15 God refers to Paul as a “chosen vessel” unto Him, to bear His name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. We, too, are chosen vessels designed to be used and filled by God.God chooses us to be His vessels, yet He will never force us to be used. Our God loves us so much that He gave us the thing called choice.
We can even choose whether or not to believe in Him. . . the One who made us! We can choose to allow Him to use us. Once you make the decision to be used by God, then hang on because you are in for the ride of your life. As already mentioned, a vessel is designed to contain something. As God’s vessels we are designed to contain God. We are to fill ourselves with Him. We are to read our Bibles and fill ourselves with the Word. We are to have communion with God and learn how to have His heart and His mind. It takes time. It may take many years to become filled with God. If we are seeking Him then He will use us along the way, even before we come close to being full of Him! It is necessary that we be clean and holy vessels. As a dirty bowl will contaminate foods placed in it, we will contaminate any good thing God wants to use us for if we are not clean and holy. All our thoughts, opinions, feelings, past hurts, attitudes, and everything that has happened to us throughout our lives become part and parcel of our actions and words. All those things make us unique individuals. The problem with that is we risk adding part of ourselves to the pure and holy Word of God.
From The Vessel, NOT BLONDEL
The Catholic Heart
In Christian language, this center where human knowledge never penetrates directly is often called “the heart,” as in the hymn of Pentecost in which the Holy Spirit is called lumen cordium; [Light of Hearts] and in the Office of the Sacred Heart, the first words that designated the newly constituted Mass are these: cogitationes cordis. [Sacred Heart of Jesus] It is important to note that this is not about an affective life, a simple sensibility, the intuition of the soul warmed by love. It is about a secret presence of the divine gifts that, invisible in themselves, are illuminating without ever being illuminated. In the word heart, we must understand what remains hidden between the folds of the soul, where our personal look and egoistic affections have no access. In La Penseé, we saw that, in effect, we could not by any avenue of knowledge or will arrive at interior unity; there remains in us a place accessible and destined only for God. If God is not admitted by us to occupy this center and to create unity in us, then we have damnation, with disunion of parts, the intestinal discord that divides being like fire disintegrates bodies .