Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Worshiping reason

Msgr. Charles Pope writes about nine brief examples of the power of metaphor and story.

One particular point got to me:
4. Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends everything. People kill one another over idols. Wonder makes us fall to our knees. – St. Gregory of Nyssa
For too often our certitude is rooted not in God or in true faith, but in our own thoughts, and these thoughts become idols, and we become ideologues. But wonder is able to fall to its knees in humility and gratitude. Wonder opens us to all God has done, ideology closes us too easily in ourselves and our own limited thoughts.

Boy, if there was a worshiper of ideas that would be me.

Granted, I've criticized ideologies before.  And it is not the case that reason is to be ditched the minute the baptismal water hits the head.  But in this day and age we have made our minds and reason unto a god itself, rather than that which leads us to God.

There is the danger of reducing God to a diagram though.  That our conceptions of God are the same as God Himself.  Ironically, those such as myself who gravitate to theology (either in a casual sense or a formal one) often find themselves doing this very thing, and we should know better.

It is funny because logic was how I work through my Faith usually.  I find the study of theology and doctrine to be illuminating.  And I find that discussion on the internet (if discussion actually happens) about the Faith defending it, discussing it, etc. to be some of the most engaging actions that I do during the day.

Yet it doesn't provide peace or even solace.  The discussions and arguments often leave me tense, even if I've succeeded.  Worn out and exhausted, the mind is empty and the energy spent.  I often feel a distance from God in such moments, because if all I cling to is the diagram, I lose what I am trying to defend.

Interesting enough, the most peace I've experienced lately is not with any theology or apologetics.  It has been from reading Interior Castle.  While the mysticism itself is far removed from me and most likely I will not experience such things, the peace that I feel when reading is something quite rare for me.

The very soul is soothed by the words of the saint.  The imagery of a real encounter of the Divine is beyond words, despite her best efforts.  My own efforts to describe the peace I feel reading her work is quite difficult.  But the peace itself points to something higher.

This experience has shown me that I still am too in love with my own reasoning.  Even if it points toward the Faith I still have to travel down the road.  And that I'm still arguing with myself shows that I'm not really focused on Him.  So it is time to try yet again to bring my mind from my own discussion into a communion with Him who I supposedly worship rather than myself.  Hopefully, my mind will get over itself eventually.

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