Let's Give a Big Hand to God!
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: