Saturday, July 12, 2008

Abstractions have no need of mothers

"I mentioned that I had once asked (Karl) Rahner why trendy Christians are so indifferent to Mary, and I quoted his reply: 'For too many people, Christianity has become another "ism", an ideology, an abstraction - and abstractions have no need of mothers.'"


Emily said...

I'll refrain from going into the rant I had planned while driving yesterday. But: on the flip side, considering the fact that we know so little about Mary the person, how do we not reduce her to an abstraction, or to a set of ideas about her?

Suzanne said...

By returning again and again to the Gospel sources and really, deeply reflecting on them. There exists an entire world of meaning in each of the short accounts that we have of Mary's responses, actions, and interactions, as recorded in the Gospel. Look at how Fr. Giussani does this:

Suzanne said...

Here's a better link for that second article, Mary: Faith and Faithfulness --

Freder1ck said...

The rosary can be quite an antidote to abstraction, but only if it's a "humbly repetitive prayer," a begging that does not presume to already have things figured out.

I think of it as Mary's memory beads upon which to ponder in her heart the mysteries of Jesus Christ, a man who lived and died like all the rest, who was born of a mother, and whose human heart continues to beat for us.

Dcn Scott Dodge said...

Fr. Rahner was also correct when he said and sought to draw the implications of most Christians being, what he called, "mere monothesists," this making our most fundamental belief a mere abstraction.

Cardinal Suenens was a man ahead of his time. We could use another Suenens. Whereas, Rahner has a nice theological legacy and continues to shape Catholic theology.

Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."