Monday, January 16, 2017

Why Can't We See God?

Father Ronald Rolheiser

"Why does God stay hidden? Why doesn’t God reveal himself so concretely and physically that no one could doubt his existence? I like Karl Rahner’s perspective on this. God isn’t hidden, he says, we just don’t have the eyes to see God because our eyes aren’t attuned to that kind of reality: 'We are just discovering today that one cannot picture God to oneself in an image that has been carved out of the wood of the world. This experience is not the genesis of atheism, but the discovery that the world is not God.'

"We struggle with doubt because we can’t picture God’s existence, imagine God’s reality, or feel God’s presence in our normal ways. At a certain point, our minds, imaginations, and hearts simply run out of gas, out of room, out of feeling, and leave us dry, unable to nail down the reality of God the way we’re used to nailing down most everything else. The reality of God is elusive to our conscious minds and hearts because we can’t picture, imagine, or feel God in the usual way we do these things."

(Weekly Emails from Fr. Rolheiser)

1 comment:

  1. Here's the view of the Spanish Catholic writer, Miguel de Unamuno, on the subject of certainty:

    "The absolute and complete certainty, on the one hand, that death is a complete, definite, irrevocable annihilation of personal consciousness, a certainty of the same order as the certainty that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, or, on the other hand, the absolute certainty that our personal consciousness is prolonged beyond death in these present or in other conditions, and above all including in itself that strange and adventitious addition of eternal rewards and punishments – both of these certainties alike would make life impossible for us.

    In the most secret chamber of him the spirit of who believes himself convinced that death puts an end to his personal consciousness, his memory, for ever, and all unknown to him perhaps, there lurks a shadow, a vague shadow, a shadow of shadow, of uncertainty, and while he says within himself, "Well, let us live this life that passes away, for there is no other!" the silence of this secret chamber speaks to him and murmurs, "Who knows! ..." He may not think he hears it, but he hears it nevertheless.

    And likewise in some secret place of the soul of the believer who most firmly holds the belief in a future life, there is a muffled voice, a voice of uncertainty, which whispers in the ear of his spirit, "Who knows! ..."

    These voices are like the humming of a mosquito when the south-west wind roars through the trees and silence in the wood; we cannot distinguish this faint humming, yet nevertheless, merged in the clamour of the storm, it reaches the ear. Otherwise, without this uncertainty, how could we live?"

    - Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life, (1921), p126.


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