IV By Contrast . . .
To recognize our own emptiness so as to receive the gift of wisdom: this is the task entrusted to the theologian. It is to be like the nuns at Santa Rita Abbey who wait in quiet—just standing there in choir doing nothing—anticipating the ringing of the bell that summons to psalmody.
God does not fill in the gaps where human reason fails. Nor does God like a divine Superman vanquish intolerable suffering. God does not erase human longing and want, but is present amidst it. There is in us a wide open space—a gap—from which we dare to speak the question "Who is God?" In the very asking we are making room for some small manifestation of who God is. Whatever answer may come it too must remain unsaid so that we might make a space fitting for the silence that is the contemplative's home and the theologian's workplace.
Like the Cistercian contemplative life, theology is a discipline of learning how to see, how to read, how to recognize the presence of God amidst our own brokenness and weakness as the region not only of wound but of wisdom, a wisdom that is to become in us a balm for the wounds of the world. At the conclusion of Lauds on my last morning at Santa Rita, the Prioress brought us into the Our Father with these words: "Father of peace, increase in us your peace so that we might be peace in the world for which we live." Words to live by even as we give testimony to unsaying with the one and only life we have to live. — Michael Downey, CSQ, 45.1, 2010