Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reader Query II

[Sorry for the late post. This week and next I am in transition. Finding time to write is difficult.]

A reader writes: "Write a blog [post] on what you mean when you say you dislike the terms "ministry", "spiritual direction", "formation", and "mysticism" What you would use in their place."

One of the traditional interpretations of the sin against the Holy Spirit is despair. But as Olivier Clément points out, we fall through despair into the hand of God.

Rather I think the sin against the Holy Spirit is presumption, in the English sense of an arrogant imposed ignorance that is passed off as knowledge, particularly in regard to the mystery of the human person; an example would be a non-writer who presumes to tell an established writer when, how and in what context to write; or again, a person who has never prayed to tell another about contemplation.

The presumption attached to "ministry," "spiritual direction," "formation," and "mysticism," is in the first place this presumption of knowing, and it extremely destructive, both to the participating persons and to the life of community. In what follows, I will only be able to scratch the surface.

All of these words presume in the worst sense. They presume to know what or who God is; they presume to know what a human being is and what or who he or she ought to become. They presume that there is one who acts and one who is acted upon, a superior and an inferior. They presume that there is one who knows and one who is clueless.

[To be continued.]


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