Monday, September 16, 2013

The study plan - theology

My ability to advocate for a deep knowledge of theology is limited by the fact that I have not studied the subject in any serious way.  So, I will leave the Intellectual to do most of the talking:

"Theology, said Pere Gratry, has inserted a divine graft into the tree of knowledge, thanks to which this tree can bear fruits that are not its own.  It loses nothing of its sap thereby, on the contrary the sap circulates gloriously.  As a result of this new and soaring impulse given to knowledge, of this appeal of the findings of human effort to the collaboration of heaven, all branches of knowledge are vivified and all disciplines broadened.  The unity of faith gives to intellectual work the stamp of a vast co-operation.  It is the collective operation of men united in God."

Wow.  Very, very strong words.  It's difficult to conceive how theology vivifies and broadens all branches of knowledge, but I look forward to acquiring the theological formation necessary to begin to perceive some of these results.  I can, on the other hand, grasp more clearly how "the unity of faith gives to intellectual work the stamp of a vast co-operation."  Theology reminds us that God is the author of all that is, so we will frequently see the interconnectedness of the various parts of knowledge.  A Jane Austen novel, for instance, will confirm the importance of ethics while reminding us how much perceptions change throughout history.

"The sciences and philosophy without theology discrown themselves more lamentably, since the crown they repudiate is a heavenly one; and they go more irremediably astray, for earth without heaven cannot find the path of its orbit, nor the influences that give it fruitfulness."

This quote reminds us that understanding how to live on earth requires that we know about God, who created the earth.  Our deepest questions about why we are here and what we are supposed to do are only answerable with reference to heaven in the same way that we would only attempt a long journey with someone who could tell us how to navigate the path.

Like most of you, my quest for theological knowledge will need to be started mostly on the basis of faith because I am by no means a theologian.  We can have great confidence, though, that learning about God will bear abundant fruit.

*quotes are from "The Field of Work," section I.

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