Fr Stephen Freeman on “Discerning the Mystery”

“The world as pure object, as a collection of self-contained and self-explaining things (of which people are but examples) is a world that is foreign to the perception of Classical Christianity. But it is this world-as-object that dominates our modern understanding. For the use of allegory and related manners of searching for the depth in things, is more than a mental exercise. At its heart, the fathers see that these deeper meanings may be discerned, because they are actually there! In the same manner, the things in the world have a relatedness and referential character, because this is truly and really so, and not just through mental inference.

“This is a radical claim about the nature of reality and, in many ways, lies at the very heart of the distinction between the classical world and the modern. It is an understanding that lies beneath every classical teaching of the sacraments and even touches upon the doctrine of Christ’s incarnation. Is the world as it exists capable of depth? Is there any true relation between one thing and another? Is there a mystical aspect of truth or is mysticism mere sophistry?”

(Read the entire article)

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