Friday, August 07, 2009

Let's Give a Big Hand to God!

More speedposting. I'll skip any formalities and dive right in. As I mentioned in a previous post, I need a new symbol for something Maximus repeatedly discusses. I can't find exactly what I'm looking for, but ♽ comes the closest. Think of it as a spiraling arrow that is perpetually flowing in, out, and up. We shall call it the Circus Maximus.

Also, one reviewer mentioned that she thought my pneumaticons, or Holy Symbols, were a bit cold and clinical. Therefore, in order to warm and "humanize" them, instead of (↓) and (↑), in this post I will use ☝and☟.

With regard to the cosmic synthesis discussed yesterday, how is it that two "things" can be unified when one of them is so perfect that it transcends any worldly notion of perfection, while the other is intrinsically imperfect and belongs to another realm entirely? This is where ☟ comes in. As Balthasar writes, "Grace perfects nature in its innermost core only because it is not itself nature."

So there is something "in" nature that is not "of" nature. In fact, this should qualify as a truism, even for atheists, but as Dennis Prager always says, we live in the "age of stupidity," so we have materialists who insist that materialism is true, thereby rendering it false to no one who really exists anyway.

I think Maximus does an admirable job of clearing up the grace vs. effort paradox that still needlessly divides Christians to this day. I will insert symbols as necessary. He says that "we are not permitted to say that grace alone ☟ brings about, in the saints, insight into the divine mysteries without any contribution from their natural capacity to receive knowledge ☝."

If not for this handy dynamic interplay of ☝and☟, "we would have to assume that the holy prophets could not receive and comprehend the enlightenment that the Holy Spirit bestowed on them." In other words and symbols, they obviously did not arrive at their understanding through the application of any natural capacity alone ☝, without any ☟at all. But nor is it a case of pure ☟, with no human mediation at all.

You may disagree, but I think that Maximus is absolutely correct when he says that "the grace of the Holy Spirit does not bring about wisdom in the saints without the receptivity (o) of their intelligence (¶)," and "does not give knowledge without their ability to grasp the Word." However, at the same time, man cannot attain to this perfection "by his own natural powers ☝, without the divine power that provides them as gifts ☟."

Obviously, ☟ takes priority over ☝, for without it, nothing is possible. Therefore, we would say that it is a necessary condition, or "condition without which." In contrast, ☝ is a sufficient condition, or "condition with which." In the final analysis, ☝is a product of ☟ (for the reverse could never be true), but that is a topic for a different post. The point here is that we encounter God in this transitional space between ☝and☟.

In a way, you could understand it as the difference between, say, language and inspiration in the production of art. Two people can have an equivalent vocabulary and understanding of grammar, but there is an x-factor without which language cannot be "lit up" from the inside. Obviously it is the same with music.

This also explains how and why the ☟ always contains more than we can know. If it were only a product of ☝, then it would always be "continuous" with what we already know.

But there is always that extra something that requires time in order to unpack. This is why we say that for the mystic, his reach perpetually exceeds his grasp, while for the atheist, his grasp always dismembers his reach. He is capable of so much more, but in disabling ☝ he forecloses ☟.

Thus, as Maximus says, "All the saints show this when, after receiving their revelations ☟, they try to clarify for themselves the meaning of what has been revealed." And the ability to clarify this meaning varies greatly in individuals -- which is why Maximus is not Deepak.

You might say that it is a two-step process, in that God reveals to us, and then we must reveal it further to ourselves. Or, you could say that we have to remain open to ☟, as further revelation pours forth from the revelation. First the flash of lightning; then the rolling thunder. Badda bing; badda bang. Ho!

But in any event, "the grace of the Holy Spirit never destroys the capabilities of nature." Rather, the opposite: it perfects them by making them "mature and strong enough once again to function in a natural way" and leading them "upward toward insight into the divine." Again, ☝☟ is the way to glow.

To summarize, "what the Holy Spirit is trying [trying] to accomplish in us is a true knowledge of things," but it cannot do this without man's co-upperaton ☝. "The Holy Spirit accomplishes in the saints the ability to understand mysteries, but not without the exercise of their natural abilities or without their seeking and careful searching after knowledge ☝."

"And if the saints have searched and sought, they surely were aided in their quest by the grace of the Spirit ☟, who spurred on their theoretical and practical reason to study and investigate these things ☝."

It all goes down in the sinaiptic gap:


17 Comments:

Anonymous Alan said...

Great post. I like the hands.

As an aside, I'm waiting for you to somehow fit this pneumaticon in...
Monty Python Foot

8/07/2009 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger jp said...

Instead of actual geometric forms, I see blank boxes.

I'm not sure whether this will show up, but here's what I got with today's post:

"Therefore, in order to warm and "humanize" them, instead of (↓) and (↑), in this post I will use ☝ and ☟."

Apparently Internet Explorer is helping me to "computerize" the post.

8/07/2009 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger QP said...

♫ ♫ ♪ ♬ ♫
Wunderbar, Wunderbar!

What a perfect night for love.

Here am I, there you are,

Why, it’s truly wunderbar! 

Wunderbar, Wunderbar! 


We’re alone and hand in glove,
Not a cloud near or far, 

Why, it’s more than wunderbar!

8/07/2009 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Brunton's Notebook entries on grace

COME
ON
NOBODY
WAITING
AT
THE
INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT

8/07/2009 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Those two pictures are really rich in metaphor. I've seen the Sistine chapel after it was restored. It was beautiful; the only thing that made me sad was the inch or so distance between the hand of God and the hand of Adam. Just like our neurons never quite touch. Yet neurons work, and the distance is necessary for it to work. The same is true of the distance between man and God. The cycle of grace and faith serve as our neurotransmitters. Despite the distance there is a connection. There is nothing to be sad about. That just clicked into place. Thanks.

8/07/2009 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

So you need grace even to unpack the grace that is given to another.

Certainly, when grace is present, the same revelation can be passed from one to another to a third, and light up each and every time. In fact, I firmly believe that it may grow back, like some living thing, so that a receiver of an old tradition has a possibility to experience it more deeply than many of those who passed it down.

8/07/2009 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Abdul said...

Around the cause of God, only of this man, who had the person, this declares, God to understand and so to follow the people, who formulate frequently that different, that it is not the same things, from what has, really create. If next to the problems in my length had same and the state that the person, that one he wanted that the knowledge helped me of has it everything, what or similar that will be continued, is probable that the project in the title. And would this appreciate? The length, each person would have that to think, that it has. In order to be of the human being it is the rights of the animal, but very we have for example. If you open, she obtains in the track, for each way. You see that the character of the tedious way, than the video of the tonight. Creed that we make incorporate and the tolerance here of our words, because, if we do not do, the length is unfavorable possibly for us all, Abdul

8/07/2009 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger jp said...

Well Abdul, I think I can say that much better than you can.

In fact,

Rond de oorzaak van God, slechts van deze mens, die de persoon had, verklaart dit, God om te begrijpen en zo te volgen om creëren de mensen, die vaak verschillend dat formuleren, dat het niet de zelfde dingen, is van wat heeft, werkelijk. Als naast de problemen in mijn lengte zelfde en de staat dat de persoon, die één hij wilde dat de kennis me hielp van het alles heeft, wat of gelijkaardig dat zal zijn verdergegaan, is waarschijnlijk dat het project in de titel had. En zou dit waarderen? De lengte, zou elke persoon dat om hebben te denken, die het heeft. van het menselijke wezen te zijn is het de rechten van het dier, maar zeer bijvoorbeeld hebben wij. Als u opent, verkrijgt zij in het spoor, voor elke manier. U ziet dat het karakter van de vervelende manier, dan de video van vanavond. Het credo dat wij maken en de tolerantie hier opnemen van onze woorden, omdat, als wij niet doen, de lengte misschien voor ons allen ongunstig is, JP.

8/07/2009 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Abdul asks, "And would this appreciate?" Then, as a bolt from the blue..."You see that the character of the tedious way, than the video of the tonight."

Gonggggggg.....
Indeed, my friend, indeed.

And wv, in rare form as well:

"paccup" your troubles and just get happy...

Oh yeah. Abdul and WV, keepin' it real up here in da OC.

8/07/2009 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of transitional spaces...

8/07/2009 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

A little off topic, but it's Friday.

Via Vanderleun,
Solzhenitsyn On Our Future. I don't know if I agree with all of Lawler's conclusions, but it's worth the time to read nonetheless.

An excerpt, towards the end:

Solzhenitsyn, in his 1978 Harvard Address, reminded us, that “if man were born only to be happy, he would not have been born to die.” That’s not to say that he wasn’t born to be happy, but that his happiness comes from fulfilling the purpose he has been given—“his task on earth,” one that “evidently must be more spiritual” than “a total engrossment in everyday life.” Thank God, that total engrossment is impossible for beings born to die, and we have no choice but “to rise a new height of vision, to a new level of life, where our physical nature will not be cursed, as in the Middle Ages, but even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled on, as in the Modern Era.”

8/07/2009 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"You might say that it is a two-step process, in that God reveals to us, and then we must reveal it further to ourselves. Or, you could say that we have to remain open to ☟, as further revelation pours forth from the revelation. First the flash of lightning; then the rolling thunder. Badda bing; badda bang. Ho!"

Revelrevelation? :^)

8/08/2009 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie-

Pretty cool! They actually get stronger over time. And although it may take ten years to grow the bridges, that's still faster than the DOT (department of transportation).

8/08/2009 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Tomberg's essay on E European concept of Suffering

8/08/2009 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"To summarize, "what the Holy Spirit is trying [trying] to accomplish in us is a true knowledge of things," but it cannot do this without man's co-upperaton ☝. "The Holy Spirit accomplishes in the saints the ability to understand mysteries, but not without the exercise of their natural abilities or without their seeking and careful searching after knowledge ☝.""

It quite simply IS, but without our A) willingness to see, and B) an awareness of the gaps in the preconceptions covering our eyes, we will remain blind.

Truth is there to be seen, but we must first look towards it, and admit it.

IMHO 'Grace' is there, fully extending an open invitation to all. The burden falls upon us to not only open the invitation, but to also RSVP.

wv:dedsole
The price of not responding.

8/08/2009 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said "Instead of actual geometric forms, I see blank boxes."

Heh, same here, when I read posts on my PocketPC (and no, please no 'Oh I can see them on my IPhone' comments... grumble. grghing 'apple' swine... grumble, rlgrylthidgs... hurumph....), I see only the blank boxes, which if anything accentuates the symbols symbolism to an even higher meta level - I've got to imagine which one is in play.

Always fun to check later on the PC to see how well I grasped it.

8/08/2009 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie, thanks for the 'Via Vanderleun' link; I'm only part way in, but much to chew on already. Btw, the original Solzhenitsyn lecture A World Split Apart from 1978, is if anything, even more relevant today.

8/08/2009 09:00:00 AM  

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