Christianity: The Divine Comedy Club
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?