Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tribute to B16 seven years on: Professor Ratzinger on “The Supreme Being”

It’s been seven years since Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope; so much for a transition papacy. Seven is often a number that represents completeness or perfection in scripture. I don’t think his pontificate is completed and he is not perfect in terms of impeccability, which is often confused with infallibility, but that is another post for another time.

I do, however, want to share insights from reading his book from the 1960’s called Introduction to Christianity. The title sounds deceivingly simple, but it’s a heavy read (for me anyway). I heard somewhere that this was a favorite book of JP2, and after reading it, I had to put our Pope into a category of people I like to call “scary-smart”.
What do you mean you disagree with me?
Do you know who you're dealing with?
It reminded me of reading Aquinas or Augustine. There were occasions when I may have known the meaning of each individual word in a paragraph and the grammar was perfect, yet somehow, I did not understand. Anyway, I understood some things and I’ll have a series of post to share in the weeks to come. This post is about “The Supreme Being”.
Paraphrasing from Part One, Chapter III…
The God of faith is personal, defined by the category of relationship. The God of the philosophers is “The Supreme Being” and tends to be impersonal.

In this view it seems an absurd idea that this Supreme Being should concern himself with man and his pitiful little world, his cares, his sins, and his non-sins. Oddly, this projects negative human characteristics of pettiness, arrogance and aloofness onto the Supreme Being. We thereby imagine him as a consciousness that will NOT embrace the whole.
By calling God “Father” and “Almighty”, The Creed has joined together the family concept and the cosmic power in one God; the God of faith and the God of the philosophers. This expresses accurately the whole point of the Christian image of God. The tension between:
Ø  Absolute power and absolute love
Ø  Absolute distance and absolute proximity
Ø  Absolute being and direct affinity
Ø  Maximum and minimum
Ø  The greatest and the least
Ø  The first and the last
Ø  BOTH/AND, not either/or
Not to be encompassed by the greatest, but to let oneself be encompass by the smallest – that is divine.
Stay tuned for more as I’m able to process it. As I mentioned, the good professor is “scary-smart”. If you don’t hear from me, you may assume my brain has exploded.
Always study Professor Ratzinger S-L-O-W-L-Y!

No comments:

Post a Comment