Paradox and mystery reclaimed: A review of Henri de Lubac’s The Church

De Lubac ties the Council’s texts to the grand paradox of nature and grace wherein the Church seeks a reinvigorated evangelization through an engagement with the world that is neither simply a blessing of the Zeitgeist nor a retreat into the facile nostrums of fortress Catholicism.

The nave of Saint-Ouen Abbey in Rouen, Normandy, France./ Jorge Láscar via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0).

A few months ago, I interviewed the patristics scholar, Dr. Lewis Ayres. Dr. Ayres is understandably very favorably disposed towards the school of modern theology that has come to be known as “ressourcement” theology. However, in his view, the original ressourcement thinkers – theologians including Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Joseph Ratzinger, and Romano Guardini, among others – were regrettably only marginally successful at recentering and reforming Catholic theology via a “return to the sources” of Scripture and the Fathers. Part of the blame for this resides with the incompleteness of the original project itself.

In his 1967 book, The Church: Paradox and Mystery, now republished by Ignatius Press, Henri de Lubac agrees with this assessment. He states:

These overly quick reflections … are meant … as an urgent invitation to help carry out, with great resolve, an extensive research project. Although much work has already been done in this camp – work too little known or popularized among the Christian masses – it has so far reached neither the breadth nor, often, the boldness desirable. The alliance of the critical spirit with the religious spirit is always a sign of Christian renewal. (202)

To a great extent de Lubac’s call for a great research project to carry forward the theological gains of the Council and the ressourcement theology that animated it was short-circuited and never developed with the robust vigor that he envisioned. De Lubac was aware this was happening already in 1967 and his book can therefore be read as an attempt to remind his readers what it was that the Council actually said and taught, especially with regard to the nature of the Church, her evangelizing mission, and the Christian task in the world of today. It was also to critique those theologies which were exploding onto the scene at that time, and which were threatening to scuttle the entire conciliar project via a radical progressive revisionism.

De Lubac knew acutely that in the immediate aftermath of the Council, the ressourcement project was being eclipsed by the confluence of various schools of progressive Catholic theology and the cultural tsunami of the Sixties. And like so many of his fellow ressourcement thinkers – men who were instrumental in bringing about the theological renewal that led to the Council and who were actively involved in the Council as periti – de Lubac lamented what was happening in the Church. He was unsparing, and often quite sharp, in his denunciation of the theological guild that had apparently lost its mind, if not its faith. And he did so knowing that, as he puts it:

Such remarks … risk getting their author classified in some infamous category. He will be treated as “conservative” or “reactionary” or “fundamentalist” or simply “outdated” – so many words can be diverted from their meaning and misapplied. It is none the less certain that the whole future of the Church … depends today on an energetic awakening of the faith. To free the Christian conscience from a morbid negativism, of a neurasthenia that gnaws at her, of an inferiority complex that paralyzes her, of a network of ambiguities that stifles her, is to set the first requirement of the renewal to which the Church aspires. (190-191)

Psychology, sociology, and Marxist political theory were in, and the Church Fathers were out. The great debate that ensued was, therefore, a debate about the “sources” for doing theology. De Lubac was unsparing in his criticism of those theologies that ignored the Christocentric focus of the Council, especially, the context of the proper sources for doing theology, the Christocentric renewal of the theology of Revelation developed in Dei Verbum. And what is significant is that so much of the progressive theological agenda was grounded in a false notion of the nature and grace relation, where nature is overly supernaturalized from the get-go, leading to the notion that the sources of special Revelation are multi-focal, global, and deeply subjectivist in the “experience” of individuals.

Thus, the loci for Revelation are no longer confined to Scripture and Tradition in a privileged manner; Christ himself is relativized as just one “savior figure” among many. It is clearly galling to de Lubac that his own studies in the theology of nature and grace, with its emphasis on paradox and the mystery of the divine humanity of Christ as the model, should be so summarily dismissed in favor of such ersatz and kitschy theologies that simply wanted to bless the prevailing Zeitgeist as a movement of the Holy Spirit.

Along these same lines, this book further criticisizes the misuse of the conciliar term “the people of God”, the misuse of the conciliar teachings on ecumenism, religious freedom, interreligious dialogue, and the liturgy. As de Lubac states:

And similar observations could be made with respect to the constitution on the liturgy, at times sacrilegiously violated, or the decrees on ecumenism, on the religious life, etc.! What miserable realities, what degradations, going so far as perversion, are sometimes hidden under the lie of the word ‘renewal’! (194)

Ignatius Press has done us a tremendous service in republishing this text since so many of the same debates that de Lubac notes are still going on today, and with a renewed pitch and punch. One great value of this text therefore is that it is like a time capsule allowing us to look backward, like the James Webb telescope peering at the universe’s first light, and to see one of the most important ressourcement theologians of the century reacting to the revolution going on in the Church a mere two years after the closing of the Council.

This is important since it gives vivid testimony to the fact that the theologians who were most formative of the conciliar theology recognized almost immediately that what came after were horrific distortions of the Council and not its development.

But I would be remiss if I give the impression that the book is one long lament about the current state of theology. It is not, and the first half of the book is a detailed analysis of Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium in particular, even if de Lubac still has one eye on the conciliar texts and one eye on their distortion in contemporary theology. Throughout it all, de Lubac is at pains to get to the essence of the conciliar teachings in order to show how they represent a retrieval of the broader tradition of the Church, especially in light of the Fathers and the renewal of scriptural theology.

The guiding light of it all is the renewed Christological concentration. De Lubac’s discussion of the Church as paradox and mystery is rooted in the fact the Church is the Body and Bride of Christ, and the eschatological in-breaking of the Kingdom. Thus, her “mystery” is nothing other than the mystery of the Incarnation as such, the grand and shocking truth that God has become a man and dwelt among us. The Infinite has become the finite while remaining Infinite. The world is more itself precisely as world the more eccentric to itself it becomes and the more concentric to Christ it is. This points to the grand paradox of nature and grace, where the natural end of creation is completion in Christ, even as that natural end cannot be achieved by nature as such, requiring, as Aquinas says, assistance from a “friend” to reach its goal, and in this case that friend is God.

De Lubac thus ties all the Council’s texts to this grand paradox of nature and grace wherein the Church seeks a reinvigorated evangelization through an engagement with the world that is neither simply a blessing of the Zeitgeist nor a retreat into the facile nostrums of fortress Catholicism. The Church was made for the world, and the Church’s entire institutional structure is a merely provisional reality that will one day pass away. Nevertheless, following the fathers, de Lubac also notes the Council affirms that the Church is also the very presence of the Kingdom since she is the sacrament of Christ himself. This is the paradox at the heart of the Church, which is also her deep mystery—and it is the dissolution of the paradox of nature and grace in the post-conciliar debates that was creating division and confusion.

It is by now a tired and shopworn trope, but it remains true and bears repeating: the impasse between traditionalists and progressives is precisely the impasse the Council sought to resolve in the higher synthesis of ressourcement theology. And for de Lubac, it was to the great shame of the theological guild that it refused this moment, that it did not recognize the moment of its visitation, and opted instead to pursue accommodation with the anti-Gospel ethos of modernity.

Nor is this an anti-intellectualist rant from de Lubac but rather a cri de couer for professional theologians; they must remember that the focus of their scholarship should never be the academy as such, but rather service to the faith of the Church. As de Lubac himself notes, in an appendix at the end of the book, which was a lecture he gave at Saint Louis University in 1969:

Speaking before this noble assembly … I know I have not spoken as a scholar, as some might have expected. Perhaps this deserves a word of apology. Yet I know that I have spoken as a theologian. Is it not necessary, when the gravity of the hour demands it, for the theologian to be able to suspend for a moment his historical investigations, his constructions, and his personal research – to which he would, moreover, be wrong at any time to attach an excessive importance – in order to remember that his entire existence as a theologian and all the authority that this profession has earned him are founded above all on the task he received to defend and illustrate the faith of the Church. (206)

These are the last lines in the book, but they could just as easily have been the first, since they act as a theological epigraph sitting above the entire text which is an extended meditation on the paradox and mystery of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, and the manner in which this Christological mystery is the essential core of the Church as well. Thus, all theology within the Church must be marked by a methodology appropriate to this Christological object, which de Lubac thinks requires the coming together of both the critical and the contemplative forms of reason, which he further takes to be the transformative revolution in thought introduced by the Christian evangel. In this regard, de Lubac’s approach to theological methodology mirrors that of his friend Hans Urs von Balthasar, who once famously opined that all truly Christian theology must begin and end as a theology “on one’s knees” in prayer.

Furthermore, unless theology grounds its critical function in a contemplative posture, it risks losing sight of the mystery at the heart of the Church – the mystery of Christ’s divinized humanity made truly present to history through the ongoing mediation of the Church. In so losing sight of this mystery, theology can actually degenerate into a kind of tyranny that sees nothing but obscurity and error in the Church’s various doctrinal and moral constructions. And which even seeks to nullify the Icon of God that is Christ through the use of purely secular forms of historical research, the net effect of which is the undermining of that Icon as a late construction of the Church now superimposed on a putative “historical Jesus” whose reality is anybody’s guess.

Herein lies the ultimate importance of this text. It is a meditation on how Vatican II sought to ground the Church’s dogmatic structure in a Christological concentration, which was itself a renewed attempt to encounter the living Christ. In other words, the “historical Jesus” is the “Jesus of faith” and the Church’s creedal affirmations and her sacraments actually provide us with access to the real Jesus of Nazareth, the real Christ, in a manner that far surpasses the feeble academic historical “reconstructions” of the so-called “scientific exegetes.”

And in so retrieving the full paradox and mystery of the Lord, the Council was also retrieving the Church herself.

The Church: Paradox and Mystery
By Henri de Lubac.
Ignatius Press, 2022
Paperback, 219 pages


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About Larry Chapp 25 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".

16 Comments

  1. In “The Jesuits” (1987), Malachi Martin SJ recounts how the Jesuit Superior General Arrupe earlier was at Hiroshima in 1945 and from the atomic bomb concluded that the really big problems of the modern world are so desperate that in order to fix things it might be prudent to set aside moral theology—just for a while.

    Pope John XXIII spoke to this complex but false dilemma in PACEM IN TERRIS (1963, the ending of the final Part V: “Papal Exhortations”):
    “It can happen, then, that a drawing nearer together or a meeting for the attainment of some practical end, which was formerly deemed inopportune or unproductive might now or in the future be considered opportune and useful. But to decide whether this moment has arrived, and also to lay down the ways and degrees in which work in common might be possible for the achievement of economic, social, cultural and political ends which are honorable and useful: these are the problems which can only be solved with the virtue of prudence [….]
    [And!] “Therefore, as far as Catholics are concerned […] always, however, in accordance with the principles of the NATURAL LAW […]”[!]. On this moral clarity, and of DE LUBAC, we read from Chapp:
    “De Lubac [1967] thus ties all the Council’s texts to this grand paradox of nature and grace wherein the Church seeks a reinvigorated evangelization through an engagement with the world that is neither simply a blessing of the Zeitgeist nor a retreat into the facile nostrums of fortress Catholicism.”
    The QUESTION now is whether the globalized “Francis’ cardinals” and others, at the Synod and the next conclave, will show the needed coherence to refute the “theological guild” in the West and its Marxist, ecclesial and sexual double-speak? Whether the cardinals, instead, will “walk together” with Pope John XXIII, the Council, and subsequent popes…
    A walk both perennial and ever new, and indispensable in order to leaven truly. Without simplistically setting aside “pastorally” even our inborn Natural Law. (Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor, and the Catechism itself, versus some vague and merely “scientific sociological foundation”.)

  2. Speaking of ambiguity, one wonders what parameters deLubac saw to conclude that the future of the Church depended on freeing it and the Christian conscience “…from a morbid negativism, of a neurasthenia that gnaws at her, of an inferiority complex that paralyzes her, of a network of ambiguities that stifles her, is to set the first requirement of the renewal.”

    What reasons did deLubac give as evidence that the pre-conciliar Christian conscience suffered ‘a morbid negativism,’? How did deLubac define the pre-conciliar Church’s ‘neurasthenia that gnaws,’ the ‘inferiority complex that paralyzes,’ or the ‘ambiguities that stifle’?

    Can one say that the Church today suffers no ambiguity, inferiority complex, neurasthenia, or negativism? Did it suffer these under JPII and Benedict? Are these problems worse or better today, under the governance of Francis?

    Was Christ not the center of pre-conciliar Catholic theology? If not, why not?

  3. Ressourcement theology had its moment, but it has been overwhelmed and superseded now by radical progressive theology. On the battlefield of ideas, Ressourcement theology may have “won” but in the real world it has been thoroughly routed. Those running the Church today may even give it lip-service – or better stated, they may appropriate the concept and instrumentalize it – but they don’t believe in it and they do violence to it.

    Maybe it was good theology and maybe it still is, but what actual good is it doing us now to go back and re-hash de Lubac’s work from the 1960s? Is it just to be able to say “But look, we were right!” as the entire Church now burns like a dumpster fire? Do we really think dredging this stuff up and rehashing it now will (finally!) lead to an “ah ha” moment and a turnaround? Personally, I don’t think so.

  4. Minds lost during our history had eternal consequence, de Lubac’s lament, “He was unsparing, and often quite sharp, in his denunciation of the theological guild that had apparently lost its mind, if not its faith. And he did so knowing that”, and and Roman procurator Festus who tells the Apostle that all his learning has caused Paul to lose his mind.
    Paul spoke about the resurrection and its correspondence to scripture, which had king Agrippa and wife Bernice complain he had them on the verge of conversion. Paul’s enemies wanted him killed and feigned trial in Jerusalem as an opportunity to attack and kill him en route. Festus was apprised and sent Paul per his request to Rome in appeal to Cesar. Unfortunately, Rome had no Apostle Paul during and after the Council. At least according to Chapp’s informative assessment we had de Lubac [from whom a somewhat liberal young Ratzinger saw the light].

  5. All due respect to de Lubac but I do not accept “paradox and mystery” as fully compatible with faith. It is useful in framing an interesting novel but faith is a real thing and the order being made by God is there even though we do not see it -a condition He wills for the sake of faith. Thus the caption as it stands is not good enough.

    That is one of the reasons I read Chesterton without taking it as IMPRIMATUR and NIHIL.

    I think it is not a question of perspective or method, not even understanding. It is a question of piety. There is no moment in creation when the grace for the moment is not there; and whereas it is ordained in creation and sometimes made extraordinary by miracles, it is superabundant in the Redemption. So I have to say again I am sensing a pessimism that goes against the grain.

    I say again, superabundant. These are the times!

    How many instances there are down through the ages the Church witnessed this, in the opposite, being bourne out as people inimically “cut loose” from the bonds of Revelation. What is demonstrating when the negative is becoming clear, is, a part of the Vine that is to be removed and thrown on the fire.

    It is not a question of “retrieving” anything. Whatever we encounter that is not VATICAN II or the Church, is – NOT VATICAN II ….. or the Church. Those who will be the protagonist that want to defy a repentance over it will go their own way. The Lord said to stand firm when you see it.

  6. A return to the sources is important but it wasn’t enough, and it is good to read these remarks on De Lubac in conjunction with Dr. Chapp’s citation of Bouyer on the problem of power in a previous essay. Theological reform was never sufficient in itself.

  7. Dear Larry, Oh, dear!, Larry,

    How sad it makes me to read SO much about ‘mystery’ and ‘paradox’. What, in effect, this refers to is pompous propagation of cognitive dissonances such as are exploited in all organized religions to ‘qualify’ their own particular Wizards of Oz.!

    Dear Larry, you have to face reality: whatever our precious Church may truly be to King Jesus Christ, it has also become a vast complex of wealth, commerce, property-ownership, luxuries, politics, influence, & worldly power.

    Don’t we need to keep in mind that generations of clerics, philosophers, theologians, dogmatists, liturgists, etc., etc. have all needed things to be as complex as possible. Studying & teaching cooked-up mysteries and paradoxes provides employment and a career track. In sharp contrast, as the light is to the darkness:

    A genuine and persevering resourcing of God’s New Covenant has few such obscurantist manipulations (beautifully exemplified by many thousands of citations from The New Testament in our Catechism of the Catholic Church). “Only one thing is needed.” “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” “But when the Holy Spirit of truth comes, you will be led to all truth.” “If you don’t have the Holy Spirit of Christ, you have none of Him.”

    “Examine yourself to make sure you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you acknowledge that Jesus Christ is really in you? If not, you have failed the test . . ”

    “You ought to live holy & godly lives as you look forward to The Day of God and speed its coming. That Day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with God’s promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”

    “Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, having already prepared a City for them.”

    “I saw The Holy City, The New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” “God, sitting on The Throne, said: ‘I am making everything new!'”

    “After saying this, what can we add? With God on our side who can be against us?” “For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, nor any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    When not permeated by this readily available in every language, unique and Eternal Truth, all our other learned cogitations are but chaff, don’t you think?

    Out of many, two seem especially chaffy. 1) That our incredibly worldly rebellious and contaminated Church IS the Bride of Christ. No, it is The New Jerusalem that is the Bride of Christ. Certainly, all those in the Church who at the last are found faithful by Christ will be citizens of The Bride of Christ.

    2) That human beings are co-creators with God, renovating this universe by means of our learning, technologies, & religions (a vintage freemason heresy!).

    Take care, dear Larry; stay well. Ever in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

  8. Matthew Levering reviews Jon Kirwan’s “An Avante-garde Theological Generation: The Nouvelle Theologie and the French Crisis of Modernity” in the winter 2022 ed. of Nova et Vetera. Kirwan’s assessment is as Chapp’s,– the problems among neo-Scholasticism, Modernism,’nouvelle theologie’ (including that in Vatican II and in postconciliar magisterial teaching) are unresolved.

    Levering asks: “Is there a way to end the mutual search-and-destroy efforts and mutual blaming-for-everything that the neo-Scholastics and the ‘nouvelle theologie’ unleased upon each other….?”

    Then, “As the aftermath of the Council revealed, de Lubac and Garrigou-Lagrange were united in their commitment to opposing the Modernist attack upon the enduring truth of the Church’s dogmatic and moral teaching. Now more than ever…this unity needs to be reclaimed and insisted upon.”

  9. Dear Larry, Oh, dear!, Larry,

    How sad it makes me to read SO much about ‘mystery’ and ‘paradox’. What, in effect, this refers to is pompous propagation of cognitive dissonances such as are exploited in all organized religions to ‘qualify’ their own particular Wizards of Oz.!

    Dear Larry, you have to face reality: whatever our precious Church may truly be to King Jesus Christ, it has also become a vast complex of wealth, commerce, property-ownership, luxuries, politics, influence, & worldly power.

    Don’t we need to keep in mind that generations of clerics, philosophers, theologians, dogmatists, liturgists, etc., etc. have all needed things to be as complex as possible. Studying & teaching cooked-up mysteries and paradoxes provides employment and a career track. In sharp contrast, as the light is to the darkness:

    A genuine and persevering resourcing of God’s New Covenant has few such obscurantist manipulations (beautifully exemplified by many thousands of citations from The New Testament in our Catechism of the Catholic Church). “Only one thing is needed.” “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” “But when the Holy Spirit of truth comes, you will be led to all truth.” “If you don’t have the Holy Spirit of Christ, you have none of Him.”

    “Examine yourself to make sure you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you acknowledge that Jesus Christ is really in you? If not, you have failed the test . . ”

    “You ought to live holy & godly lives as you look forward to The Day of God and speed its coming. That Day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with God’s promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”

    “Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, having already prepared a City for them.”

    “I saw The Holy City, The New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” “God, sitting on The Throne, said: ‘I am making everything new!'”

    “After saying this, what can we add? With God on our side who can be against us?” “For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, nor any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    When not permeated by this readily available in every language, unique and Eternal Truth, all our other learned cogitations are but chaff, don’t you think?

    Out of many, two seem especially chaffy. 1) That our incredibly worldly rebellious and contaminated Church IS the Bride of Christ. No, it is The New Jerusalem that is the Bride of Christ. Certainly, all those in the Church who at the last are found faithful by Christ will be citizens of The Bride of Christ.

    2) That human beings are co-creators with God, renovating this universe by means of our learning, technologies, & religions (a vintage freemason heresy!). When the time comes for us to meet God face-to-face, we will confess that we are merely servants who have only done what we were told to do. (Luke 17:9-10)

    Take care, dear Larry; stay well. Ever in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

    • Scriptures cited in my response to Dr Larry Chapp:

      Luke 10:42; John 8:32; John 16:13; Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Peter 3:11-13; Hebrews 11:16; Revelation 21: 2, 5; Romans 8:38-39; Luke 17:9-10.

      For all Catholic who draw strength and clarity from God’s New Testament.

    • Dr Marty:

      You encourage us to read and explore. Our fathers gave us guidance and help, sometimes writing things down! You remind us of our heavenly Father and his good gifts.

      Benedictions as you share what God has blessed you with.

      In Christ,

      Brian

  10. Dear Marty. Oh, dear!, Marty.

    Of our feet of clay and your referenced “vast complex” that encrusts the Church, de Lubac’s and Chapp’s “ressourcement” certainly includes the simplifying words of Church Father St. Augustine…

    That is, if today the West surely is in a similar situation as the Eternal City in the hands of Alaric (410 A.D.), Augustine’s sermon about this and that surely applies: “this is grievous news, but let us remember if it’s happened, then God willed it; that men build cities and men destroy cities, that there’s also the City of God and that’s where we belong.”

    Yea verily, to be still here and yet to belong there, and without bilocating! What a paradox!

    • Thanks, dear Peter, for your kind response (as always, interesting & erudite).

      After centuries of learned contemplation of Augustine, we now know how out-of-kilter were some of his (yet still influential) interpretations.

      Our Lord, Jesus Christ (and His Apostles) had no quibbles about identifying the works of satan (the devil, lucifer) & a host of evil spiritual beings. That Christian Rome was captured by the unchristian Visigoths, could be understood as such.

      God: perfectly good & overflowing with self-giving love, never does evil.

      “To lead a sinful life is to belong to the devil, since the devil was a sinner from the beginning. It was to undo all that the devil has done that The Son of God appeared.” (1 John 3:8)

      There are many New Testament examples of Jesus and His followers destroying the works of the devil. For example, Luke 13:16 – “And this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom satan has held bound these eighteen years – was it not right to untie her bonds on the Sabbath Day?” How I long for such deliverances to be part of our Sabbath day worship!”

      These matters of Christian literacy are accessible to all who’re steeped in faith in The New Testament. That’s not to belittle the many thinkers who have endeavoured and continue to endeavour to unravel apparent contradictions.

      A good grasp of the theory and practice of the sciences can help in those endeavours. Appreciating that our universe is a highly contingent, metastable, super-ephemeral patina on a ultra-freezing mega-vacuum, riven by episodes of highly antibiotic destructive radiation, governed by inexplicably finely-tuned fields, forces, and mathematical relationships, helps us comprehend the significance of such texts as: “Let there be Light”; and “The Word was the true Light that enlightens all people – – – and the world did not know Him.”

      Then we ask: “Why does the God of Love permit there to be such a dark, dangerous universe, that will not even accept the One through whom it has come into being?”

      Well, Paul was inspired to instruct the Church at Ephesus: “God has let us know the mystery of His purpose – the hidden plan he made in Christ from the beginning: before the universe was created, He chose us, chose us in Christ . . ”

      There’s more baby-steps on how science needn’t oppose but can actually assist our resolution of logical questions arising from our faith in The New Testament, at “Ethical Ontology Harmonizes Science, Revelation & Human Lives: . .”; free on the web.

      Take care everyone. Stay well. Ever in the love of Jesus Christ; blessings from marty

      • You have made some excellent posts here Martin so here is mine in unison with yours

        “Whoever eats (Absorbs) this bread (Substance will live forever” As we are led to His gift of The Holy Spirit because

        “If you love (Absorb) me, (you will) obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive(Absorb) him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him because he lives with you now and later will be in you (The Divine Presence). No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live” (Forever)

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        • Thanks so much, brother Kevin.

          You have put the whole matter very nicely.

          For all those simple souls who are content to: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”, there’s scarcely a paradox or a mystery.

          In the words of the song: “YOU live, YOU live, Christ Jesus you live today. YOU walk with us and YOU talk with us, along life’s narrow way. YOU live, YOU live, salvation to impart. When they ask us how we know you live, we tell them: JESUS lives within our heart!”

          Once this is experienced as our primary and essential faith premise, and taught from every Catholic pulpit, in every Catholic school, college, university & seminary, then the present, dreadful, self-inflicted wounds of alienation from God & from one another will soon be healed and the Church begin to shine forth in loving unity as was always intended by our Founder.

          Pope Francis sometimes seems to understand this; but, all too often, the dark clouds of Marxist, universalist populist theologising obscure the simplicity of The Light of the world.

          Thanks again, dear Kevin. Let’s all keep praying.

          Take care, Stay well. Always in the grace & mercy of Jesus Christ; love & blessings from marty

    • Addendum

      Responding to Peter D. Beaulieu’s: “Yea verily, to be still here and yet to belong there, and without bilocating! What a paradox!”

      Science helps us see that being in two places simultaneously is a normal quantum mechanical phenomenon. A few years ago, ‘Scientific American’ even had a popular article on large molecules displaying quantum bilocation.

      Today, we don’t think of God as being out there among the stars & galaxies; we think of God as being the perfect ethical matrix for all those physical, chemical, biological, and cognitive phenomena; but, exceeding them all, in that they exist temporarily by God’s will and for God’s good purpose of separating off evil. God exists before, simultaneously, and after, necessarily, whether they will it or not.

      Jesus Christ awoke us to this basic reality by describing the Realm of God as being ‘close’ and ‘even within’. Further, that He and The Father come and dwell within the hearts of all of us who lovingly obey His commands.

      That means the everlasting Divine Matrix obtains a special relationship with those The New Testament calls ‘children of God’, even while we exist in our temporary worldly bodies.

      This doesn’t seem paradoxical to me, Peter: because of my scientific education; also, it’s a daily experience among ‘born-again’, Holy Spirit-filled Catholics, like me.

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  1. Paradox and mystery reclaimed: A review of Henri de Lubac’s The Church – Via Nova Media
  2. Paradox and mystery reclaimed: A review of Henri de Lubac’s The Church | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers

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