Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Year of Faith: The New Evangelization

The New Evangelization: How to Know God.


“The Year of Faith” 2012-2013


Augustine Grant, LORD, that I may know myself that I may know Thee.


Nietzsche: We are unknown, we knowers, to ourselves… Of necessity we remain strangers to ourselves, we understand ourselves not, in our selves we are bound to be mistaken, for each of us holds good to all eternity the motto, ‘Each is the farthest away from himself’ as far as ourselves are concerned we are not knowers.”


The only way we can know ourselves is by exercising ourselves, not in knowing outside of ourselves or by reflecting back on ourselves from within. We experience ourselves by abandoning our own premises and dealing with another.


Walker Percy: “(T)he self is literally unspeakable to itself. One cannot speak or hear a word which signifies oneself, as one can speak or hear a word signifying anything else, e.g., apple, Canada, 7-Up.


          The self of the sign-user can never be grasped, because, once the self locates itelf at the dead center of its world, there is no signified to which a signifier can be joined to make a sign. The self has not sign of itself. No signifier applies.[1]


John Paul II: “The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly – and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being – he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into Him with all his own self, he must ‘appropriate’ and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself.”[2]


This is the real epistemology of realism. It means that the only person I have experience of is myself. And this because I am the only being who can master me. That is, God has made me “the only earthly being… for itself.”[3] That means that I cannot be used by anyone, not even God, for an end beyond myself. I am a self-mastering freedom and my being as a self-determining freedom cannot be exercised by anyone else.  Only I can believe. No one can believe for me. No one can exercise my freedom for me.

          When I exercise my freedom to move my total self, I experience myself for what I am, the image of the divine Persons. Therefore, in experiencing myself as image of God, I experience what it is to be like God. And, therefore, I experience and know God.

   Thus only by knowing myself in the act of believing, I know God. And this is everlasting life as Jn. 17, 3: “This is everlasting life, that they know you the one true God, and him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ.”


          The realism becomes unassailable when you consider that the Word of God is only true reality. Benedict XVI: the Word of God is the foundation of everything, it is the true reality. And to be realistic, we must rely upon this reality. We must change our idea that matter, solid things, things we can touch, are the more solid, the more certain reality. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount the Lord speaks to us about the two possible foundations for building the house of one's life: sand and rock. The one who builds on sand builds only on visible and tangible things, on success, on career, on money. Apparently these are the true realities. But all this one day will pass away. We can see this now with the fall of large banks: this money disappears, it is nothing. And thus all things, which seem to be the true realities we can count on, are only realities of a secondary order. The one who builds his life on these realities, on matter, on success, on appearances, builds upon sand. Only the Word of God is the foundation of all reality, it is as stable as the heavens and more than the heavens, it is reality. Therefore, we must change our concept of realism. The realist is the one who recognizes the Word of God, in this apparently weak reality, as the foundation of all things. Realist is the one who builds his life on this foundation, which is permanent. Thus the first verses of the Psalm invite us to discover what reality is and how to find the foundation of our life, how to build life.”[4]

   Response to Nietzsche: We experience and know ourselves (and therefore God) only by the act of faith. It is the only act in the world whereby we become self-transcendent, and therefore, self-experiential. 

[1] Walker Percy “Lost in the Cosmos,” Noonday Press (1983) 106-107.
[2] John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis, 10.
[3] Gaudium et Spes #24 and John Paul II “Love and Responsibility,” Ignatius (1990) 27.
[4] Benedict XVI, Synod on the Word of God, Keynote Address, October 6, 2008.

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