Friday, March 25, 2016

Truth and Incarnotion

I say that -- "incarnotion" -- because I'm reading in Balthasar how Christian contemplation is really a kind of enfleshment of divine energies and ideas, thus, incarnotion. But mainly I say it because the title just popped into my head before I wrote the post, and it is merely up to me to write a post in conformity with the title so given.

In contemplation we are "an open ear to the ever-new word of God," wherein "God is speaking to this person and no other; to this beggar at the Temple gate..." "The whole glory" of this exchange -- and this is the key point -- is that "the very same personal encounter is meant to take place as in the Lord's earthly life."

I read somewhere words to the effect that it scarcely matters if Christ was incarnated in Nazareth or Bethlehem 2,000 years ago if he isn't incarnated in you. The Light must be onglowing. The Incarnation is always present tense. It is a perpetual possibility. Otherwise, what's the point?

It is the same vis-a-vis crucifixion and resurrection. I suppose it's really all a single movement of Incarnation-Crucifixion-Resurrection; which must in turn reflect an even deeper principle about the very nature of God. Which is what this weekend -- this Season -- is all about.

A "vast, living kingdom of heaven watches over transitory time..." For us this certainly includes the communion of saints and other worthies, i.e., those nonlocal operators standing by ready to assist us.

What do they see? Not bound by linear time or by various urgently trivial agendas, they "have an entirely different view of things; what seems important to us is utterly insignificant to them, and vice versa. What we are at pains to avoid can be the very thing which they see as significant, profitable and necessary..."

Oh great. Let this cup pass!

"Sorry. You don't know what's good for you."

Given that more tears are shed from answered than unanswered prayers, the corollary must be that more joy is spread from unanswered than answered ones. Not to say that the latter don't evoke joy, only to put things in their proper perspective.

Do people still try to "find themselves?" In the absence of God, there is simply no there there. "The man who concentrates on himself in the attempt to know himself better and thus, perhaps, to undertake some moral improvement, will certainly never encounter God..."

Conversely, "if he earnestly seeks God's will," then "he will -- incidentally, as it were -- realize and find himself (as far as he needs to)."

So, "finding oneself" is a byproduct of finding God -- which is really a tri-product of God finding us. In other words, the individual person is really a unique incarnotion, i.e., an Idea of God. Otherwise we'd all be the same, like animals and leftists.

Compare with the following quintessentially antichristic response to the definition of sin: Being out of alignment with my values.

This is helpful, for it explains why Obama regards political opponents as evil, for being out of alignment with his policies is a mortal sin.

Back to the God <--> Man complementarity which is brought to a cosmic pinnacle in the Incarnotion of the Godman.

If you think about it at all, you will be struck by the fact "that there should be something else apart from the 'all,' apart from the ocean of Being, a kind of 'non-all,' an 'almost nothing,' something that is not Being and yet somehow 'is,' something whose existence is not necessary but 'accidental'..."

What I'm driving at is this striking differentiation-in-unity and unity-in-differentation which reaches a climax in man, except that man can't bridge the chasm between the differentiation and the unity without effacing the one or the other, i.e., without ascending into a Vedantic nondualism or descending into a pantheistic monism.

I suppose only the incarnotion of Christ can bridge that abyss.

In conclusion, if man is (?) then God is (!). We get a sense of this truism whenever we experience a little spontaneous (?!).

The creature is a perpetual question addressed to God.... Fundamentally, God is the 'Other' in every possible way, and so he is the answer to the question which I am. --Balthasar

27 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of antichristic.

3/25/2016 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Given that more tears are shed from answered than unanswered prayers, the corollary must be that more joy is spread from unanswered than answered ones. Not to say that the latter don't evoke joy, only to put things in their proper perspective.

This is such a hard thing for many to understand. Most of the people I know are suffering - physically, if not otherwise - in some real and often debilitating way; always (of course!) I pray that their pain will be eased, their troubles lessened, etc. But I also pray, perhaps even moreso, that whatever happens, the sufferer will find himself closer to God. Because then, at least the hardship is not meaningless (and therefore pointless - or rather, downright cruel - misery), but has the potential to bear good fruit.

Still, we break so easily.

3/25/2016 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

What I'm driving at is this striking differentiation-in-unity and unity-in-differentation which reaches a climax in man, except that man can't bridge the chasm between the differentiation and the unity without effacing the one or the other, i.e., without ascending into a Vedantic nondualism or descending into a pantheistic monism.

Gives new meaning to this.

3/25/2016 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole left<>right model seems messed up. As I understand it, fascism is totalitarianism backed by other large power entities (such as corporations) which mutually profit from such an arrangement, the rest be damned. But by that definition, was imperial Rome with its massive inequalities, slavery and big military, leftist? Some American conservatives today are high on big military, but there’s nothing more statist than big military. But that doesn’t make them leftist. Yet to other conservatives it does. A new model with new definitions is needed.

3/25/2016 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

So, "finding oneself" is a byproduct of finding God -- which is really a tri-product of God finding us.

Reminds me of a country song -- I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me -- or the mirrors in the barbershop when I was a kid.

I read Dr. Sowell's piece earlier today. As Anon says, it is silly to view left/right as socialist/fascist. Socialism and Fascism are two closely related economic systems that require and reinforce large central governments and bureaucracies. Because of this, both run contrary to Classical Liberalism's emphasis on individual liberty and individual responsibility.

Both Socialism and Fascism are naturally totalitarian, you know, for the greater good. Both are overflowing with ideas so good they have to be enforced at gun point. Both are going to lead to a police state. Both see the masses as pawns to be moved and manipulated by their benevolent, wise, and all-knowing rulers.

I'll shut up before I trigger the NSA.

3/25/2016 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Average College Kid said...

I'm feeling pretty triggered right now.

3/25/2016 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I was telling an average high school kid the other day that you can always tell what a liberal is thinking, in that they are always guilty of whatever they accuse us of, e.g., greed, racism, sexual obsession, fascism, narrow-mindedness, anti-science, misogyny, violence, buying elections, etc.

3/25/2016 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Weird how frequently illness and death come up in this Comedians Getting Coffee with Gary Shandling.

3/25/2016 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Found this in my FB timeline. A little Balthasar meditation for Holy Saturday:

The Magic of Holy Saturday

3/26/2016 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Lovely. Thanks, Joan, and a very blessed Easter to you and yours.

3/26/2016 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

So, "finding oneself" is a byproduct of finding God -- which is really a tri-product of God finding us. In other words, the individual person is really a unique incarnotion, i.e., an Idea of God. Otherwise we'd all be the same, like animals and leftists."

It would be a very boring place if everyone was the same.

3/26/2016 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And if everyone were like oneself it would be hell.

3/26/2016 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Yes Bob, I noticed that too (Gary Shandling). He had a great insight in there, when talking about the blues. Everyone loves the blues, but not when we mimic the lyrics in conversation. :)

3/26/2016 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Also how 60 is never young until somebody dies.

3/26/2016 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Ha! Or that some symptoms of illness go undiagnosed because they show up as what is found to be typical in older, Jewish men!

3/26/2016 09:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Accurate political tests would need at least 16 types... I mean, just the libertarians... There’s the “If 6 was 9” hippy libertarians, the Lew Rockwell Lincoln-dissing libertarians, the Ron Paul no-blowback libertarians, the Paul Craig Roberts ‘everything is a conspiracy’ libertarians... This place seems closest to Machen libertarianism. I know a few of those. If I ever had the time I’d ally with those guys on behalf of small business owners who believe they’re getting slowly squashed by corporate-government collusion. But that’s my focus, not here.

3/26/2016 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Few people are less worthy of being entrusted with preserving or defending Liberty, than Libertarians.

3/26/2016 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Thanks, Julie. A blessed Easter to you and all the raccoons!

3/26/2016 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

Happy and Blessed Easter to you all!

3/27/2016 12:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van, agreed. Machen was reputedly a tireless fighter for his beliefs, but seems lost on that irony. Somewhere between Jesus kicking temple merchant ass, and turning the other cheek, there seems to be confusion.

And everyone else (sorry about breaking the mood), agreed about Easter blessings as well.

3/27/2016 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Don Johnson said...

Happy Easter, friends. Apologies for not wandering over here nearly often enough in recent months. Or is it years? I have no antennae for time anymore.

3/27/2016 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Happy Easter to all and your loved ones! I hope you all had a blessed Holy Week, as well.

I challenged myself to go to all Holy Week Masses, and I'm so glad I did. I didn't end up going today, unfortunately, but so glad I went to all the evening Masses. Holy Thursday was especially beautiful. I imagine most Catholic Churches do this, but at the end, the only lights were from candles by the Tabernacle, and then everyone prayed til they left silently, because they had Adoration of the Host til midnight. During Mass, you have the washing of feet, the special music, and decorations for Holy Thursday, and it was just really deeply spiritual.

I'm taking some courses in catechism and evangelization (preparation for teaching children religion), and it's been topical and really interesting. I've noticed that the more I learn about my faith, the more meaningful all of the rituals are and it all resonates on a deeper level. That sounds kind of obvious as I write this, but I didn't expect that when I started taking my first class earlier this year.

3/27/2016 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Happy Easter to you, too!

We did all of the evening Holy Week services last year, but it was a bit much for the little ones. This year we just did the vigil mass last night, but it was really beautiful. We had a big group of baptisms. And people seemed especially joyful to be singing the Gloria again. I agree, learning more about the faith does make everything resonate so much more; as a kid, I never really understood what was going on, so didn't particularly notice how things changed and what it all meant.

3/27/2016 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger CheyTown said...

Why?

3/28/2016 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

??

3/28/2016 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

Hi Don! :)

3/28/2016 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Because, on the whole, they take Liberty as a self evident starting point, rather than the culmination of an understanding of metaphysics, ethics and political philosophy. Consequently, every issue is taken as a legit choice - NAMBLA? You're free to choose! - Govt? I didn't choose that, you're oppressing me! - and so on, and on, into an eventual - and sudden - societal collapse and the rise of either one strongman, or competing warlords.

Whatever would follow from libertarianism, it wouldn't be Liberty.

4/03/2016 11:29:00 AM  

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