Don’t Think, Look! A Meditation on the Need for the Mystical


Our mind is our biggest energy and certainly one of our biggest blessings, but virtually nothing will get us into as a lot hassle. Our energy can also be our wrestle. We predict we all know just a few issues, and certainly we do—a very few issues.

The best intellects, if they’ve knowledge and humility, know this. St. Thomas Aquinas famously stated,

In finem nostrae cognitionis Deum tamquam ignotum cognoscimus. (On the finish of our information we all know God as unknown.) (In Boetium de Trinitate, q. 1, a. 2, advert 1um)

Henri De Lubac, an important mind of the 20th century, lamented,

There may be in all probability no considering individual as we speak who doesn’t really feel the vanity and impoverishment of a sure sort of intellectualism and the barrenness of a sure abuse of the historic self-discipline … The mud and should of rational or optimistic criticism. … We’ve believed within the gentle, [but] we’re reasonably dangerous at discovering it, maybe as a result of now we have, ultimately, sought it solely in information and curiosity (The Drama of Atheist Humanism, p. 85).

I suppose by “curiosity” he means self-interest. That’s, now we have sought the sunshine of fact not for its personal sake, however for what it will probably do for us. De Lubac longed and hope for a

… return to the golden age of medieval thought, that of St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure … restoring the local weather of thriller that was eminently the local weather of patristic thought … relearning, if not the use, a minimum of the understanding of symbols … going again to the deep springs …  (Ibid).

And he advises, 

[We must be] cured of our infatuation for a world wholly explainable … (Ibid, p. 86)

And he warns,

As quickly as man ceases to keep up a correspondence with nice mystical spiritual forces, he inevitably comes below the yoke of a harsher pressure, which leads him to perdition. (Ibid, p. 90)

Certainly, welcome to the world of post-Christian secularism and atheism; usher within the tyranny of relativism, unmoored and drifting quickly towards the abyss. Indifferent from God and the humility of thriller, we fall inexorably to our spoil, all of the whereas arrogantly calling it progress.

As a ultimate witness to the necessity for mystical silence earlier than God, enter St. Bonaventure, whose feast we celebrated on July 15th. Though he was a dogmatic theologian of the very best rank and would later be declared a health care provider of the Church, St. Bonaventure held that our mental energy, although all the time current, is inferior to that of the affections of our coronary heart.

We see these insights on stunning show within the following excerpt from his writings, featured within the Workplace of Readings for his feast day. As you learn this, do not forget that St. Bonaventure was no anti-intellectual, only one who properly and humbly acknowledged the boundaries of human thought.

Christ is each the best way and the door …. A person … ought to stare upon him hanging on the cross, stuffed with marvel and pleasure, marked by gratitude, and open to reward and jubilation.

Then such a person will make with Christ a “pasch,” that’s, “a passing-over.” Via the branches of the cross he’ll go over the Crimson Sea, leaving Egypt and coming into the desert. There he’ll style the hidden manna …

For this Passover to be good, we should droop all of the operations of the thoughts and we should remodel the height of our affections, directing them to God alone. It is a sacred mystical expertise. It can’t be comprehended by anybody until he surrenders himself to it. …

Search the reply in God’s grace, not in doctrine; within the longing of the need, not within the understanding; within the sighs of prayer, not in analysis; search the bridegroom not the instructor; God and never man; in darkness not daylight; and look to not the sunshine however reasonably to the raging fireplace that carries the soul to God with intense fervor and glowing love. The hearth is God. …

Allow us to … enter into the darkness, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all of the fantasies of our creativeness … saying: My flesh and my coronary heart fail me, however God is the energy of my coronary heart and my heritage eternally. Blessed be the Lord eternally, and let all of the individuals say: Amen. Amen!

From The Journey of the Thoughts to God, by Saint Bonaventure, bishop (Cap. Opera omnia 5, 312-313)

As soon as once more, do not forget that St. Bonaventure was one of many nice intellectuals of the Church and an important believer in doctrine. On this passage, his level is that doctrine with out grace is simply spiritual research. Solely by grace and humble silence can we pierce the clouds and see towards the purer gentle that’s God.

But even our correction, that the mind should be humble and balanced by mystical reverence, itself should include a “warning label.”

Refuting the cynical agnosticism and atheism of the day, De Lubac says,

Contempt for fact can by no means be ours. … Our God is a hidden God certainly, however in himself he’s gentle. “God is gentle, and in him there isn’t a darkness” (1 John 1). So we refuse to make an idol of darkness (Op cit, p. 86).

We’re not to be anti-intellectual. God reveals truths about Himself via creation and Scripture that may be identified and should be insisted upon. However our acceptance of the darkness and the darkish figuring out of the magical custom will not be an finish in itself. For certainly the darkness will give approach to the beatific imaginative and prescient, during which the glory of God will eternally unfold for us.

By the grace of religion, we all know God, although for now, it’s in a mirror darkly (cf 1 Corinthians 13:12); we must always admit this reality humbly. Someday the darkness will fade and we are going to behold the Lord nose to nose. Now we all know partially; then extra absolutely, whilst now we have been absolutely identified (Ibid).

Sure, our mind is each our biggest reward and our largest stumbling block. Solely the humility and silence of the magical custom can unlock its biggest potential: transferring towards God in deeper knowledge and understanding.

The LORD is in his holy temple: let all of the earth hold silence earlier than him (Habakkuk 2:20).


This submit was initially revealed on Community in Mission and is reprinted right here with permission.

Picture courtesy of Unsplash.

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