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Monday, August 7, 2017

Three thoughts on theology

I had three thoughts while running today that I must write down to go past them.

1. Earlier, I was returning to the thought of John Courtney Murray for some guidance.  I read an article by a Jesuit theologian about Murray in Theological Studies (a periodical I haven't read for about 40 years). The article was very well informed, reasoned, and written, citing many theologians including Augustine, Aquinas, Rahner, Lonergan and others. Much to my chagrin I understood it--but only by putting on a now distant thinking cap. I realized in my running meditation that this was a language game that I was no longer playing, nor had I any wish to play.

2. Thinking of Thomas Aquinas, I remembered the legend that had been told about him. After he finished the Summa Theologica, the sum and summation of all theological inquiry, he threw it on the ground and said: "it is all grass." I thought of three interpretations: 1) Even grass, though low on the food chain, nourishes. Think of all the great books inspired by his work. 2) Thomas had the postmodern insight that there is no certainty and that all scientific inquiry is at the beginning of infinity (David Deutsch). 3) Thomas has a glimmer of vision into the Beatific Vision of God and realized how inadequate were words, symbols, and all human expressions. (That's the interpretation of most Thomists and is not unlike the second.)

3. Thinking of God, I recalled and sang my favorite verse from John: "God is love and we who abide in love, abide in God and God in us." And I asked myself: Do I love enough to let all my images, names, thoughts, and beliefs of gods and men go? And do I love enough to let all of my self go, immortality and distinctiveness, reward and punishment, fear and anger, grandeur and puniness, possessions and even relationships? Do I love enough to be absorbed totally by love? No god, no self, only Love.

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