Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Category of Mystery

"Mystery" seems to be an indispensable category, especially for the language of Catholic Christianity. My own concept of mystery, which follows, is rooted in the nature of persons...

A mystery is some hidden truth that is difficult (but not impossible) to attain. A mystery is hidden within the interior privacy of a person. A person reveals his- or herself only voluntarily---no force can extract it! Furthermore, the recipient must be attentive to the revelation.

This personal truth is hidden in another sense because a mystery revealed remains a mystery. We never come into full intellectual possession of a person, no matter how many times he or she self-reveals. The same is true of mystery. The encounter with mystery is itself mysterious.

And this personal truth is hidden in yet another sense because a mystery is very difficult to mediate to a third person. We can point to it with words, pictures, and dramatization, but these things are very easy to ignore or distort on the receiving end. The mediation of a mystery to a third person is also mysterious.

1 comment:

  1. David, I left a response to your questions in the "Baptist Muse" site re: my article on Sola Scriptura. I didn't realize that you left a follow up question (dated June 22) until a couple of days ago. Life is busier for me in July. I just wanted you to know about this.

    Hope you have a mild summer, like I am!

    Bill Hardecker

    BTW, Your blog looks "thick." I may have to check it out.