Saturday, July 06, 2013


[There is another section of Downey's article to post, but in the meantime, someone sent me this commentary by Kyle R. Cupp on Pope Francis' encyclical, which dovetails very much with what Downey is saying. The url is:]

The Dark of Faith: A Subtlety in Lumen Fidei

Big_Four_Glacier_Ice_caveI’m still making my way through Lumen Fidei, the encyclical letter on faith that was begun by Pope Benedict XVI, finished by Pope Francis, and was released today.
The encyclical, the title of which means “the light of faith,” explores the metaphorical understanding of faith as a kind of sight.  To have faith is to see by way of the light of God: “faith does not dwell in shadow and gloom; it is a light for our darkness.”  This, of course, is an old theme treated throughout the bible.  The encyclical also implies that faith means being in the dark.
We read that “faith opens the way before us and accompanies our steps through time,” summoning us to an unseen future, but then the encyclical says something striking:  “the sight which faith would give to Abraham would always be linked to the need to take this step forward: faith ‘sees’ to the extent that it journeys, to the extent that it chooses to enter into the horizons opened up by God’s word.”  In other words, to see by the light of faith, you first have to take a step in the darkness.  Faith is a choice to move, to journey, and only on this journey is the path illuminated by faith.  The light shines after the taking of each step, and as faith is a choice one must make at each moment of each day, the sight of faith is neither immediate nor constant.  The light and the dark go together.  In the words of the Lumen Fidei:  “Faith by its very nature demands renouncing the immediate possession which sight would appear to offer; it is an invitation to turn to the source of the light, while respecting the mystery of a countenance which will unveil itself personally in its own good time.”
Fascinating and subversive stuff.  Here we have an encyclical comparing faith to both light and darkness, to both seeing and not seeing.  I’m eager to get deeper into its paradoxes and subtleties.


Blogger happy pearl said...

Lovely stuff! Thanks for posting this piece. I am looking forward to the next thrilling(?) instalment of the current subject - challenging, difficult, but thoroughly worth working at.

5:06 pm, July 06, 2013  
Anonymous Al said...

"God is not the god of a particular place, or a deity linked to specific sacred time, but the God of a person, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,capable of interacting with man and establishing a covenant with him."

No. 36: "On the other hand, because it draws its life from faith,theology cannot consider the magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him as something extrinsic,a limitation of its freedom, but rather as one of its internal, constitutive dimensions, for the magisterium ensures our contact with the primordial source and thus provides the certainty of attaining to the word of Christ in all its integrity."

Just browsing through the whole encyclical. Sounds a good thing Bonaventure's Brevilocqium was quoted relevant to faith's connection with the knowledge of God. The word "solitude" is nowhere to be found and "silence" was mentioned once. Given the above quote denigrating the importance of PLACE for faith and how person-centered faith makes me suspicious of the encyclical's argument crafted to support the so-called constitutive, universalizing nature of the Magisterium. David Abram will definitely disagree on this ambiguous anti-incarnational tone of the encyclical.

5:22 am, July 08, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Al, I haven't read the whole encyclical but what you say doesn't surprise me. Still, it seems like it's a step in the right direction! Maybe I'm naive...or too optimistic...

7:01 am, July 08, 2013  
Anonymous Al said...

There are good stuff in the encyclical even if it's obviously stamped by Benedict's anti-modernist, anti-postmodernist philosophical mind.

"Faith transforms the whole person precisely to the extent that he or she becomes open to love. Through this blending of faith and love we come to see the kind of knowledge which faith entails, its power to convince and its ability to illumine our steps. Faith knows because it is tied to love, because love itself brings enlightenment. Faith’s understanding is born when we receive the immense love of God which transforms us inwardly and enables us to see reality with new eyes."

The musings on faith against statics I suspect must have come from Pope Francis.

11:08 am, July 08, 2013  

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