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Friday, April 11, 2014

Problem vs. Mystery - Jim McCrea

Problem vs. Mystery - Jim McCrea

By Jim J. McCrea

The work, Abandonment to Divine Providence, by Jean-Pierre de Caussade S.J. is one of the most profound ever. You can read it again and again, and yet get something new out of it each time. There is a tremendous clarity and light that comes from it. Every time I read it, it strikes me as deeper than the last time.

It has a very simple theme: God's providence working for our good in all situations. But it examines this theme from a multitude of angles, citing application after application of this, so that this one simple concept of God's will in all situations in our life, penetrates more and more deeply into the understanding.

There are basically two classifications of knowledge, as the Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain points out in his book "A Preface to Metaphysics." One is called "Problem" and the other "Mystery."

Problem knowledge is simply the accumulation of material facts, or the solving of material puzzles, such as working out a theorem in mathematics or verifying a hypothesis in science. Mystery knowledge concerns faith and contemplation.

Once a problem has been solved, it is like a knot that has been untied. There is nothing more to do. It is a dead problem. With mystery, the mind penetrates more and more deeply into the same thing never exhausting it and finding new sources of joy (the object of this is *suprageometric* being).

The human person is like that. No matter how well you know him or her, there is always more to know.

In a Godly marriage, one will always find joy in the spouse (notwithstanding inevitable crises) because no matter how long the marriage lasts, there is always more to discover about the other.

In the priesthood, the priest doing the will of God discovers more and more pertaining to his ministry.

The Bible is mystery par-excellence. Every time we read it, we can find something new and more profound.

Mystery in the above senses, is what Jacques Maritain called "intelligible mystery" - that is, it is partly knowable and partly dark to our understanding.

The contents of Abandonment to Divine Providence, which discusses the idea of abandonment to the will of God at every moment in our lives, is mystery knowledge in a supreme sense.

It is a light that shines more and more, rather than a series of facts to be accumulated. And it is a necessary light for us growing in the Faith.

We can have a tendency to think that the events that come into our life are things happening at random. This can be a source of anxiety, because one can logically reason from the idea of randomness to the idea that something might occur in our life that is more than we can take.

This book points out that this is not the case. God's providence infinitely saturates everything. Everything we experience, down to the finest detail of existence, is a message from God to us and some influence from God to form us to eternal life.

On line book Abandonment to Divine Providence