Sunday 17 July 2016

The darkness of faith

In a letter to Matthew Lamb, Lonergan spoke of the darkness and obscurity of faith - a phrase that recalls John of the Cross' dark night of the soul, and also Eric Voegelin's reflection on "the tenuous bond of faith in the sense of Heb. 11:1, as the substance of things hoped for and the proof things unseen:
Ontologically, the substance of things hoped for is nowhere to be found but in faith itself; and, epistemologically, there is no proof for things unseen but again this very faith. The bond is tenuous, indeed, and it may snap easily. The life of the soul in its openness toward God, the waiting, the periods of aridity and dullness, guilt and despondency, contrition and repentance, forsakenness and hope against hope, the silent stirrings of love and grace, trembling on the verge of a certainty which if gained is loss – the very lightness of this fabric may prove too heavy a burden for men who lust for massively possessive experience. (Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics: An Introduction [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952] 122. Cited in Fred Lawrence, "Growing in Faith as the Eyes of Being-in-Love with God," section entitled 'Jesus's Loving Obedience to the Law of the Cross and Our Life in 'the Darkness and Obscurity of faith'. Frederick G. Lawrence, The Fragility of Consciousness: Faith, Reason and the Human Good, ed. Randall S. Rosenberg and Kevin M. Vander Schel, to be published by University of Toronto Press in 2017.) 
I was struck here by Voegelin's reference to the lust "for massively possessive experience."  

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