Mystery and Wonder

NGC 602 and N90

I recently posted on the Being Frank post on Living with Wonder. The poster asked if we, as Catholics, had lost a sense of wonder. I posted the following as a reply:

Yes, for sure! I recently read this article by an Angelologist, Fr. Marcello Stanzione: Angelologist Says God Is Beyond Rationality: Warns of Loss of “Mystical Impulse”. I think the sense of wonder, of mystery, is such an important part of our faith, and that is something currently suffering in the Latin rite, needing to be complimented by our Eastern Orthodox brothers (who emphasizes the mystical through what is termed “Apophatic” [’negation’] theology).

That said, rational and “Cataphatic” [’affirmation’] theology is also a treasure that the Church has. I think rationalizing and retaining a sense of wonder can happily co-exist. Indeed, one is lacking without the other, and need each other to complete themselves.

Rational thought is like seeing a dimention of truth; rather like looking at 2D photograph of a 3D space. We are here presented with a choice, whether to focus on the picture itself, or on the reality that it seeks to capture. The former is reductionist, and properly describes the way our societal mentality is today. As Filia Day mentioned some weeks ago, this is one of the problems facing our culture; it can no longer perceive the meaning of existence, and this is manifested in various evils such as boredom (and idiotic acts!). We are called to focus on the greater reality than that symbolized by what we can perceive. To quote Peter Kreeft, “Christianity is anti-reductionistic”; only through perceiving the symbolic meaning of things in our everyday existence, can we look around the world with a sense of awe and wonder. I’d highly recommend Kreeft’s Love Sees with New Eyes. It’s a brilliant related reading.



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