October 31, 2012
Or Do You Want God?
“The real question, John [of the Cross] suggests, is about what you are really after: Do you want ‘spirituality’, mystical experience, inner peace, or do you want God? If you want God, then you must be prepared to let go all, absolutely all, substitute satisfactions, intellectual and emotional. You must recognize that God is so unlike whatever can be thought or pictured that, when you have got beyond the stage of self-indulgent religiosity, there will be nothing you can securely know or feel. You face a blank: and any attempt to avoid that or shy away from it is a return to playing comfortable religious games. The dark night is God’s attack on religion. If you genuinely desire union with the unspeakable love of God, then you must be prepared to have your own religious world shattered. If you think devotional practices, theological insights, even charitable actions give you some sort of purchase on God, you are still playing games. On the other hand, if you can face and accept and even rejoice in the experience of darkness, if you accept God is more than an idea which keeps your religion or philosophy or politics tidy – then you may find a way back to religion, philosophy or politics, to an engagement with them that is more creative because you are more aware of the oddity, the uncontrollable quality of the truth at the heart of all things. This is what ‘detachment’ means – not being ‘above the battle’, but being involved in such a way that you can honestly confront whatever comes to you without fear of the unknown; it is a kind of readiness for the unexpected, if that is not too much of a paradox.” -- Rowan Williams, “The Dark Night”
Posted by gerardvanderleun at October 31, 2012 5:27 PM
Archie Cuntsbury, the bearded Druid, is a little too abstruse for me. He has done more to undermine traditional religious belief in England than any of his predecessors in Lambeth Palace. He has now thrown in the towel, thank fuck! May he now return to the Welsh Hills and commune with sheep to his hearts content, according to God's plan. Perhaps he'll find an answer to how Frankenstorm Sandy fits into the Sorry Scheme of Things Entire. Or why Chris Christie saw the Obamalight on the Road to Brigantine? They looked like Laurel and Hardy with reversed heights.
Don't distress yourself, Frank. God will forgive you.
Not everything needs to be eaten with nor every day darkened with the bitter herbs of political viewpoints.
So then.... do you want God. Or do you fear Him too much to want Him? That is, after all is said, the question.
Don't worry Frank, anything he says can and will be used against him in the Final Judgment. Of course, having said that, those words apply to me and thee, too.
I'll choose God, Gerard. I fear Him, but I want Him more. Thanks for reminding me of the prime directive.
And why should we fear God, rather than desire Him and accept His love, no matter our individual shortcomings?
I think Isaiah and Jeremiah clearly point out the reason for individuals' misplaced fear of God, rather than understanding of God. Man, and dogmatic traditionalism.
Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been
Jeremiah 8:8 (NIV)‘How can you say, “We are wise,
for we have the law of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
has handled it falsely?
Sadly, Rowan Williams missed his calling when he became the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those words written are fitting more that of a Hermit in a cave (who leads no one and is merely following the brilliant light of G_d) than one who holds the great responsibilty of one who is entrusted with the preservation of important spiritual landmarks needed for the children of God to know which direction to go towards the light (as not everyone has the ears to hear or the eyes to see).
Each according to his gifts, and each according to his station. It would be best for Rowan to realize that it is important for him to step down as his calling is not to be an Arch-Bishop and serve the lord in other ways. A More humble station in the eyes of the world, yet important in its own right as even Archbishops (the teachers of the way) need the advice of those lonely Hermits who commune with the one.
A simple job, to keep food on the table (and not be a burden upon society), a simple home and an open door to all visitors would probably be the best fit of all.
Negativity is a hallmark of the Old Testament, and fear holds a natural place in it. Men were expected to be God fearing. The New Testament is almost entirely positive.
It may be said that I fear knowing God, but perhaps that is not the same thing as God fearing. Williams seems to be saying that once you know Him you will fear nothing.
Dear Rev. Rowan Williams,
The actual St. John of the Cross -- much in distinction to the one you invent -- believed that if you want to 'find God', then step # 1, after which the rest is commentary: 1a. You become a Catholic. 1b. You go to Mass. 1c. You join yourself to the Cross of Jesus Christ in the manner fitting to your present station. 1d. You frequently confess your sins to a Catholic priest in confession. 1e. Return to 1b.
Dear Rev., here's two excerpts from a recent document. Read them through, and I'll tell you the punch line at the end.
4. ..."the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, the nature of Christian faith as compared with that of belief in other religions, the inspired nature of the books of Sacred Scripture, the personal unity between the Eternal Word and Jesus of Nazareth, the unity of the economy of the Incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit, the unicity and salvific universality of the mystery of Jesus Christ, the universal salvific mediation of the Church, the inseparability -- while recognizing the distinction -- of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the Church, and the subsistence of the one Church of Christ in the Catholic Church...."
5. "... it must be *firmly believed* that, in the mystery of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, who is "the way, the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6), the full revelation of divine truth is given: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him" (Mt 11:27); "No one has ever seen God; God the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has revealed him" (Jn 1:18); "For in Christ the whole fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form" (Col 2:9-10)...."
This, and no other, Dear Rev., in all its particulars, was also *exactly* what St. John of the Cross "*firmly believed.*"
Fancy that, dear Rev.; St. John of God inconveniently firmly believed and professed what continues to be professed 400 years later by that same Catholic Church of which he remains a living member (they don't call the Eucharist the 'Medicine of Immortality' for nothing, you know).
There is a 'thisness' to God, a 'thisness' that subsists completely in Jesus the Christ's one and only Bride, the Catholic Church and her seven sacraments, which you, Rev. Rowan Williams, reject.
Fine -- but don't fob your crypto-gnosticism/relativism off as what St. John of the Cross was *really* saying.
The 'scandal of particularity' runs right through the Incarnation, through the heart of His Mother, through the actual body of the actual one and only Catholic Church. Take it or leave, Rev., even if trying to co-opt -- nay, disintegrate -- that 'thisness' for your own purposes strikes you as convenient.
I've said this before, but I remain convinced that there is a suspicious coincidence in time between the decline of religiosity and the closing of the sky to most of humanity - at least in the West.
Very few people indeed, at least in urban areas, have had the experience I had many years ago - to walk out of a warm, comfortable house in the middle of the countryside at night, walk a couple of hundred yards down the road, look up - and be immediately confronted with impossible-to-ignore evidence of just how small we are.
That feeling is actually increased by the knowledge of just how enormous those gulfs into which one looks are. The light of many of those points of light in the sky started on its journey before the time of Christ. For some of them, it started out before there were people.
I do not fear God... I desperately fear that I may be unworthy of his love.... but I know He loves me anyway.