Monday, April 04, 2016

Christianity: The Divine Comedy Club

In another book by Balthasar, Love Alone is Credible, he suggests that "if God wishes to reveal the love that he harbors for the world, this love has to be something that the world can recognize, in spite of, or in fact in, it's being wholly other."

On our end, he compares it to the ability to contemplate a great work of art. The person doing so "has to have a gift -- whether inborn or acquired through training -- to be able to perceive and assess its beauty, to distinguish it from mediocre art or kitsch." And there is a great deal of religious kitsch.

He then compares it to the mother-infant dyad (as discussed two posts back, only this is from a different book and makes a different point):

"After a mother has smiled at her child for many days and weeks, she finally receives her child's smile in response. She has awakened love in the heart of her child, and as the child awakens to love, it also awakens to knowledge: the initially empty-sense impressions gather meaningfully around the core of the Thou."

This is interesting, because it definitively links love and knowledge, and is our first hint that these transcendentals are unified at a higher level. I believe MotT talks about how love synthesizes while hatred disperses.

However, on a purely horizontal level it seems to me that hate unifies, which is why so many people -- especially on the left -- are addicted to it. For chronic haters, the only thing that gives them a sense of interior unity is the hated object (think too of the Islamic world, which is mainly unified by its Jew hatred).

Now, "God interprets himself to man as love in the same way [as the mother]: he radiates love, which kindles the light of love in the heart of man, and it is precisely this light that allows man to perceive this, the absolute Love." Remember the first time you smiled back to God? It seems to me that the spiritual life is a matter of amplifying this transpersonal resonance.

What did Eckhart say? Do you want to know what goes on in the core of the Trinity? I will tell you. In the core of the Trinity, the Father laughs and gives birth to the Son. The Son laughs back at the Father and gives birth to the Spirit. The whole Trinity laughs and gives birth to us.

In this space, "the primal foundation of being smiles at us as a mother and as a father." A "seed of love lies dormant within us as the image of God." However, "just as no child can be awakened to love without being loved, so too no human heart can come to an understanding of God without the free gift of his grace -- in the image of his Son."

I suppose this is why it is so important to reflect Christian love horizontally -- i.e., to love the neighbor, not just because it helps us, but because it helps others to experience God via the neighbor who is us.

The Christian Word can never be understood a as a mono-logue (like the Koran), but can only be experienced as dia-logoue. Therefore, "the book 'about' him must concern the transaction between him and the man he has encountered, addressed and redeemed in love."

That being the case, God must sometimes find himself asking, Is this thing on?

6 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Remember the first time you smiled back to God? It seems to me that the spiritual life is a matter of amplifying this transpersonal resonance.

O, yes!

Come to think of it, that's often a very difficult thing, to smile at God. It is easy to be angry; all too easy, in fact, for those who understand "God is Love" to mean that "God is the warm fuzzy feelings we get when we are pleased, satisfied, happy and/ or horny." If that's what it means, then all the disappointments in life would indicate that God's love is pure crap.

it is another thing entirely to think of God, even in the midst of our own suffering and lack of understanding, and be glad. But those rare moments when the heart opens up.... what can one say, but Amen?

4/04/2016 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That crack about Jesus being a comedian is perfectly true, too. The real joke is how few Christians pick up on it. They can picture a God who is comforting, but how many realize that God finds us deeply amusing?

Then again, how many kids realize how downright hilarious their parents find them to be, quite often when they are trying their hardest to be serious? We look upon them with solemn (or sometimes even wrathful, as the case may be!) masks, even as we stifle our laughter.

4/04/2016 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

A root problem may be our inability to truly laugh at ourselves while taking our lives seriously.

I liked this article linked from Happy Acres, the Enemy is Within.

4/04/2016 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"...She has awakened love in the heart of her child, and as the child awakens to love, it also awakens to knowledge: the initially empty-sense impressions gather meaningfully around the core of the Thou."

This is interesting, because it definitively links love and knowledge, and is our first hint that these transcendentals are unified at a higher level. I believe MotT talks about how love synthesizes while hatred disperses.

However, on a purely horizontal level it seems to me that hate unifies, which is why so many people -- especially on the left -- are addicted to it..."

Love, knowledge and understanding, all reflect an integration that entails not just chance alignments, but connections that go 'meaningfully around [To] the core of the Thou', which is how ever deepening depth is possible.

Hate, lies, and wilful ignorance, necessarily dis-integrate. They can, however, as you note, use that as a means of uniting, but such 'unions' are by their nature chance alignments, depthless and static.

The static cling of the soul - truly meaningless.

4/04/2016 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

Now, "God interprets himself to man as love in the same way [as the mother]: he radiates love, which kindles the light of love in the heart of man, and it is precisely this light that allows man to perceive this, the absolute Love." Remember the first time you smiled back to God? It seems to me that the spiritual life is a matter of amplifying this transpersonal resonance.

What did Eckhart say? Do you want to know what goes on in the core of the Trinity? I will tell you. In the core of the Trinity, the Father laughs and gives birth to the Son. The Son laughs back at the Father and gives birth to the Spirit. The whole Trinity laughs and gives birth to us."

He is the GodFather, Son and Spirit of humor and comedy. :)
There is a reason why laughter is good for our health; body, mind and spirit. He knows how to deliver.

4/05/2016 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where I live it’s a lot easier to laugh with my cool neighbors to the east, than it is to try and laugh at my uncool neighbors to the west. But I try to see the positive and learn from both.

4/05/2016 08:21:00 AM  

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