Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Abyss Beyond Reason

The challenge we face for our spiritual growth is to get to the point where we have absolute trust in God and His Church.  In other words, Faith. In my personal experience, I struggled for many years until one day I made a choice––a leap of faith.  I chose to accept the Tradition of the Church and to commit myself to learning how to live it.  This did not stop my inquiry, it merely shifted it.  My inquiry became more intense, but now about learning how to live a life dedicated to Christ, instead of how to make sense out of it in philosophical or intellectual terms.  The result was dramatic.  My faith grew, I grew closer to God, and my life changed.  

Gregory of Nyssa describes the nature of the leap of faith that is involved.

The Good that we have learned to seek and to cherish is beyond all creation, and hence beyond all comprehension. Thus how can our mind, which always operates on a dimensional image, comprehend a nature that has no dimension, especially as our minds are constantly penetrating, by analysis, into things which are more and more profound...

Imagine a shear, steep crag, of reddish appearance below, extending into eternity; on top there is this ridge which looks down over a projecting rim into a bottomless chasm. Now imagine what a person would probably experience if he put his foot on the edge of this ridge which overlooks the chasm and found no solid footing nor anything to hold on to. This is what I think the soul experiences when it goes beyond tis footing in the material things, in its quest for that which has no dimension and which exists from all eternity.

Thus it is, the, that when reason touches on those things which are beyond it, that is the "time to keep silence" (Eccles. 3:7).

Gregory of Nyssa
From Commentary on Ecclesiastes, sermon 7

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