Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Blame the careless 'religious' above all

". . . There is no univocal application to God that we can make of any of the concepts that furnish us [with] our rational exploration of the world. Yet we are not for this reason reduced to silence.  For the very fact that we, [as] Christians, believe that God has spoken to us; that all, in one sense, proceeds from his Word, attests [to] a native kinship of the world, and of ourselves in particular, with him.  Yet this, which authorizes for us an analogical employment of notions drawn from the rationalization of our cosmic experience in order to speak of him as he has himself spoken of them to us, requires that the cataphasis by which we transpose onto him the givens of our experience be constantly corrected by the apophasis that refuses every literal application that we would be tempted to make of them.
     "Even this, however, is not possible without contradiction, except in virtue of a divine condescension that guides us, according to the 'analogy of faith', towards a usage of the fundamental analogy of being that entails an [(l’)] abandonment in the darkness of our whole being to the God who dwells in a light inaccessible.  This is why there is no valid theology except in faith, and [no] authentic faith except that which tends to go beyond itself into mysticism, or, more precisely, that mysticism of 'the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. . . .'
     "One cannot attain to this [(en arriver là)] without a purification of our religion that is not only intellectual, but first moral.  Hence the impossibility of an authentic religion that is only intellectual, or would like to be only such.  Yet this is what the Christian theologians, following the Jewish rabbis, have never ceased to attempt, more or less underhandedly or naively.  One does not apprehend (as one must) the truth of God, in the measure in which he has rendered it accessible to us, except by surrendering oneself to what he wishes to make of us; except by giving oneself up to his agape; except by submitting to that life which he wills to be ours.  Without this, we will never accede to that connaturality of grace for the lack of which our knowledge is unable to come to terms with [(s’accorder avec)] the meaning of his Word.
     "This supposes above all that God ceases to be for us a tribal divinity, however infinitely enlarged, for one would thus enlarge [(agrandirait)] into a monstrosity only our own deformity.  In order that we might think rightly of God, in other words, it is necessary that we learn to consent to his requirements, in place of continuing to strain to capture and exploit him for our own purposes [(dans notre proper intérêt)].
     "But this, again, implies [yet] another catharsis, more radical still.  After the intellectual purification of our theology; after the moral purification of our religion, it is necessary to procede [(en venir)] to th[at] ascetic purification for the lack of which no mysticism can remain worthy of the name.  Or, to put it more accurately, this here is the first purification that the others necessarily presuppose, [and] without which they cannot even be successfully undertaken.  It is a question of a drastic purification, not only of our representation of the world; not only of our activity in the world, but of the sources of our action as well as of our thought, on the most profound, the most intimate, the most unfathomable level of what we might call our sensibility.  Without this properly radical correction of all of our instincts, beginning with the [(notre)] imagination (in the sense that Coleridge, among others, gave to this word; and which concerns the whole prospective of our action and all possible prospection of our universe), it is perfectly vain to hope to act—or, rather, to be acted [upon]—in accordance with agape; [perfectly vain] to (with stronger reason) hope to recognize the divine signification of it [(en)].  And this is precisely why the malefactors ultimately [(premiers)] responsible for the current crisis in the Church, ahead of the irreligious priests and the unworthy theologians, are the 'religious'; i.e. the so-called witnesses to evangelical ascesis [who so] obviously [merely] counterfeit it [(devenus ses contrefacteurs patentés)]."

     Louis Bouyer, Religieux et clercs contre Dieu (Paris:  Aubier Montaigne, 1975), 99-101.  Bouyer hammers away at those same three purifications here.

"'I kn[o]w that you always hear me. . . .'"

Wikimedia Commons
"'I knew that you always hear me. . . .'"

ἐγὼ δὲ ᾔδειν ὅτι πάντοτέ μου ἀκούεις. . . .

     Jesus, just before raising Lazarus, John 11:42, NSRV.