September 22, 2011

On Being a Student of Theology

"And Christ has granted us His Friendship so that he may in this manner enter our hearts and dwell in them as a personal presence, not an an object, not as a "what" but as a "Who." Thus He Who is, is present in the depths of our own being as our Friend, and as our other self. Such is the mystery of the Word dwelling in us by virtue of His Incarnation and our incorporation in His Mystical Body, the Church. (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, 154)

"God is not some inert object that can be passively spied upon and encompassed by a creaturely knowing but an active subject who can only be encountered in relation to his own self-presencing." (Khaled Anatolios, Retrieving Nicaea, 230)

There is nothing to God apart from himself as his own self-presencing Act. Thus there is nothing to know about God apart from the actuality of the divine missions in the world which are the temporal expression of the eternal processions which constitute the divinity.

The Holy Spirit, the Love proceeding from the Father and Son, conceives the humanity of Jesus Christ, as we pray in the Creed. In the same way, the Spirit continues to conceive the baptized as the Mystical Body of Christ, drawing our humanity into the eternal, mutual Delight that is the Blessed Trinity.

Theology, as a project of the striving human mind, is not separable from the knowledge of the divine missions imparted by revelation and the experience of them we call spirituality. Nevertheless, this truth is easily forgotten and even more readily not taken seriously much of the time.

Therefore, just as the divine revelation contained in the Sacred Scriptures cannot be simply abstracted from the temporal, salvation history which it describes and the historical cultures in which it is embedded, so our study of theology is bound up with the personal history of our own conversion to Christ and assimilation to God, and nor should it or can it be otherwise. God is only his Actuality, and is not subject to study as anything else.

1 comment:

Greg said...

The theological studies are bearing impressive fruit. This analysis alone is an invaluable piece for study in catechesis and formation.

If this essay were a wine made from the fruit of the vine, I would describe it as having hints of Bonaventure, strong notes of Merton, and the bouquet of John.

I will re post on the Taming the Wolf FB page.