January 5, 2007

Mystery

When I was little I was sometimes overcome by mystery. I would try to reflect upon and understand something, but be unable. I didn't have the language or the framework or anything.

For example, I would think about the particularity of my own interiority, wonder if other people had the same thing, and ask myself if this particular interiority had to be tied to this person born at this time. Could this same consciousness that is "me" have appeared in China, or are the interior and exterior person necessarily connected? Now I'm not saying I used this language, but it's what I was trying to think about. Trying to think about it at all was very hard. I tried to ask adults about it, but the only language I had was to talk about my "outlook," meaning the particularity of my individual perspective. Needless to say, I didn't get my question across.

A similar question would overcome me that was something like the question of the 'totality' or 'why is there something rather than nothing?' kind of thing.

All this led me to a kind of frustrated and confused wonder. But it was wonder nonetheless!

All this is to say that, as I go through this Christmas season, I have an analogous experience when I try to really reflect upon the Incarnation. First of all, it's hard for me to give even a faint account of what is meant by the utterance "God." But then to suggest that this almighty and transcendent and loving Reality empties himself of divine prerogative, deciding instead to reveal the divine from within the fragility and contingency of the human person, well that's almost too much to think about.

2 comments:

Barb, sfo said...

I get what you mean here. I think it's just part of being human, and that we don't get to see the whole picture yet--it's like that passage in Corinthians that goes something like "all that we see now, we see dimly as in a mirror. THEN we shall see as face to face." We only get to see and understand a tiny part of all that God has placed around us. Isn't that an amazing thing to look forward to--that we will someday see it ALL?!

Charles of New Haven said...

Indeed that's the amazing hope-that the fulfillment of the desires of heart and mind are around the corner, though also here now in a more obscure way. Thanks for reminding me of Paul's relevant comment!