The I who receives the sacrament is not the I who I think I am. —Adrienne Von Speyr, Confession The Mystery of the relation of Nature & Grace: Our OPEN NATURE: We are not finite beings to a determinedly natural end. Thus, if our end is an eschatological (i.e., bound up in our relation to God) and supernatural one, then our natures must reflect the God-Likeness in us. If God is without beginning or end and is Love itself, then our nature must be responsive to this Being-within-us. Our natures have a PREVENIENT OPENNESS to God: an openness before/preceding human action and decision. We are by God’s grace made open for God. 1. Known by dispossession: The natural desire for the supernatural is always present by way of dispossession, by way of absence, by way of lack: “you shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither you cannot come.” It is an aching hollow want, the “object” of which is beyond conceptual knowledge (for even doubt, opinion, and demonstration are of a lower order) but not beyond existential recognition: it cannot be deduced but it can be described precisely by its absence. 2. The recognition of God beyond Creator: of the Uncreated implicit in Creation: It is the fulfilment sought in and by every human life; it is the structurally constitutive dis-ease implicit in all human activity. It is present in the unformed shape of the free creature who was created to be ready and preveniently open to receive the divine Call and who is always waiting for his adoption-as-conversion from creature to son. In Christ, man receives the Word which can announce-and-shape man’s substance and End. 3. Nature was never entrusted to finalize man’s end, but only first to reveal it by way of its absence and then to bring it closer as respondent to the call for completion. Thus even nature groans for its completion. a. Man’s nature is not sufficient, pure or self-enclosed but the naturely otherness of God. i. For nature to “complete” man would itself render man finally incomplete, a “useless passion”, fragmentary and isolated, and permanently so, as Aristotle knew, and as Pascal in his Pensees sought to articulate. To be the open-and-closed well of divine presence is the hallmark of a free and incarnational agonic being. This is what it means to have an open nature. As an onto-noetic extension of God by virtue of our active receivership of our creaturely existential dependency, we recognize the un-made in and by means of the made, the uncreated in the created, and our recognition becomes the revelation of our prevenient comportment as an open-and-closed nature. b. We are the naturely otherness of God . This naturely otherness is the mind and heart distended through and into change, and into the temporal horizon to the point of creation pausing in suspense at the un-created.
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