CHRIST OUR SAVIOR
Roman Catholic Parish
MANCHESTER, VERMONT

 
 

June 30, 2019

Dear All,

So … here's an interesting question: Is it possible to lose one's right to seek God?

The very fact that one asserts a right would seem to suggest that there are times and situations in which that right is curtailed or denied. But, on the other hand, the fact that it is asserted in the face of such curtailment would seem to suggest that this opposition is wrong.

So, I am going with the proposition that the right to seek God and his will is incapable of loss and immune from abridgement. But there is a sneaky bit in that statement, too.

If the right cannot be lost, neither can it be exhausted. That is, the right to seek God is so essentially human, that the man or woman who abandons the search does a wrong a great as that of the hater of God! Moreover, because God is infinite, there is never a time when seeking is without an object, when God is known so fully that the right is without usefulness.

If we have a right to seek God, does God have an obligation to be found; to make himself known?

This may be the trickiest question of all. And the answer is NO. If God had an obligation to be found, the seeker would be superior to the One sought. Our right to seek God who makes us is as much his gift as is the life he bestows.

Pascal, the world's most brilliant man, has God say this: You would not be seeking me unless I had first found [created] you.

Here's a quote that nags me from my student days: Affairs are soul size. The enterprise is exploration into God (Christopher Fry, A Dream of Prisoners).

There is no human knowledge that is godless. There is no human knowing that is true if godless. There is no science of humanity that is not also - or maybe primarily - the science of God.

Even in heaven, we will go on and on learning about God. The little boy on the seashore who challenged Augustine's attempt to understand the Trinity was right. No more than his hole in the sand could contain the ocean can a human mind comprehend its own source.

Back to Pascal, to find is to know the infinity of the search.

All of this paradoxical - if not oxymoronic - stuff is not aimed at discouraging anyone. But the novice theologian, just like the veteran one, must be prepared to understand that knowledge of God is knowledge of, not an unknowable God, but of a God whose truth is beyond capturing in a single thought or proposition or mind. That is why real theologians always operate in a community, a tradition, a church; what no single person can do or achieve, many might in concert with each other across space and time.

It also makes clear that the best tools of the theologian lie, not in his intellect, but in his will - in faith, in hope and in love. But that was Saint Peter's definition of theology before there were theologians: an account of the hope that is ours.

Really and truly and theologically yours,

tm

 

     



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