On Re-Gifting God
And when it comes to spiritual growth, #3 is all. Knowledge -- essential knowledge, or knowledge of essence -- does not save unless it becomes substance -- or returns to substance, to be exact. And this goes to the vast difference between intellect and mere intellectualism, between common sense and tenure, or between (n) and (k).
You may think of gnosis (n) as a memo from God to God, with man as mediator. Truly, Man as such is the middleman of the divine economy. To be this middleman requires much more than mere know-how. Rather, it requires a great deal of be-who.
What this means is that -- and believe it or not, this is straight-up Catholic doctrine if you read the fine Prince -- the whole Trinitarian business goes to this virtuous circle of economic exchange between various persons of the Trinity.
I know I'm not saying this correctly, -- like a seminary student might -- but my rustic and omspun manner of expression is actually a big part of my point. If you truly assimilate a teaching, it shouldn't involve just repeating it verbatim, any more than having a child is like reproducing a carbon based copy of oneself.
There's a kind of "wildness" in the Godhead that makes it ever-generative and ever-new (not unlike sex, really, if I misunderstand the latter correctly), so that it can't actually be contained by our categories, even though they are nonetheless necessary to chart the territory of the torahteller.
For example, we learn musical scales not to just repeat them but to use them as the basis for composition and improvisation. The one does not negate the other.
But while improvisation would not be possible in the absence of the scales (the latter are a necessary condition), I would nevertheless say that the scales were made for improvisation rather than vice versa. The Spirit always takes precedence over the Letter, but never obviates it.
As for the intrinsic orthodoxy of this view, Schall writes that "what is not God will, in its own way, manifest the non-loneliness or friendship that is characteristic of the inner life of God. The first point of what is not God will be the last point, as it were, of what is within God" (emphasis mine).
If you don't understand what that means, think of God's grace descending into the creation, and then returning to him in the form of man's love, truth, virtue, and sanctity; or of man "surrendering" and offering up these gifts to the Divine.
Again, we're dealing with that virtuous circle through which "the last point of the inner life of God is the receptivity in which the love of the Father and Son is reflected in the Person of the Spirit...." The Spirit is like the energy that completes this circle of giving, receiving, and giving back. Thus sayeth Petey: Come in, open His presence, and report for karmic duty.
Or, in a nutschall, "If we return to the inner life or order within the Godhead, we see that the love of the Father and the Son is understood to be a Gift..." The world is not "complete" in the absence of this particular form of "eternal return."
So really, a spiritual practice is like re-gifting God, but that's okay. What else are you supposed to give someOne who already has everything? It's the thought that counts -- from one to three and back again, but who's counting? Prayer is really self-offering.
If that wasn't sufficiently unclear, allow Schall to shed a little more obscurity on the subject: "the highest point of contact between the inner life of God and the life of the world is at the point where an intelligent creature is capable of receiving a gift and returning it to its source."
And this, if you really want to know, goes to the circular structure of my book, in which the cosmos perpetually returns to God in the self-offering kenosis of the saint, sage, or mystic who empties himself in order to be filled by God: not I, but Christ lives in me. So sayeth Petey of this circle: We'll meet again. Up ahead, 'round the bend. The circle unbroken, by and by. A Divine child, a godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin' yes!
That is, we offer or surrender God's highest gift -- the human subject -- in exchange for an even better model, a luxury corps at pentecost! Saying "yes" to this gift is more difficult than one might imagine, as many people are more comfortable with giving than receiving.
Again, speaking of improvisation, what always strikes this Coon with great force is when something I raved off the top of my head comes back to hunt me later like a pack of wild dogmas in the from of orthodox doctrine that some fellow independently discovered hundreds of years ago, but just expressed in a different way.
For Schall expresses orthoparadoxical Raccoon dogma when he writes that "ultimately the point of contact is where God meets gift, where what proceeds out of the inner life of the Godhead meets the inner life of the finite persons who have, in the end, nothing higher to do than to accept" the gift back from God, in that eternal circle of truth, love, and union.
The cosmos ends in man, but man ends in God. Therefore the cosmos ends in God, right back where it started, as does this post. Thank you and you're welcome.