Thoughts from the Vocation Director
Recently I have been re-reading the Jesuit, Father Karl Rahner’s Theological Investigations and in Volume III page 77 my attention was drawn to: “But will man be able to bear this ecstasis of his being, this waiting to see whether God wants perhaps to come. Will he not succumb rather to the eternal temptation of taking the world as the final revelation of God and thus of making God the meaning of the world in such a way that the world becomes the meaning of God? Has there ever been a philosophy outside Christian history which has not succumbed to this temptation, beginning with the Greeks and right up to Hegel? Was not God ultimately always the ‘anima mundi’ for all these philosophies, the God who can live and work only in the world itself as its inner transfiguration, as its secret spark of the Absolute? Is not this eternal ‘Fall’ in the history of philosophy – and not merely in the realm of knowledge — the expression of what over and over again takes place existentially in the life of the unredeemed man, viz. to let God be merely what the world is, to fashion God in the image of man, to understand piety as a devout feeling about the world, to measure man’s possibilities not according to God’s possibilities but according to what man himself can of himself realize of these possibilities: Every form of idolatry is nothing but the concrete expression of man’s existential attitude which builds on the decision not to let God be anything more than the original unity of the forces governing this world and the destinies of men. Even the philosophy of the Spirit, as expounded by Hegel, still adores an idol, viz. the absolute Spirit which becomes conscious of itself in man and in his natural development. The tragic-heroic philosophy of a Heidegger too has its idol: if man of himself alone exists only for death, then death must be the absolutely ultimate reality for this philosophy of a last resentment; since for this philosophy man’s God must not be more than man himself, it adores death as its God and the highest reality for it is also the most empty; being and nothingness are the same.
But God is more than man, more than the world and its forces, and as this ‘more-than-the-world’ he has broken into the existence of man and has burst the world (that which theology calls Nature) wide open. He has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. This revelation has taken place in the twofold unity of the communication of supernatural being and of the word. The ultimate meaning of this revelation is the revelation of the ‘glory to God’, of the majesty of God, by the fact of calling man out of the world into the life of God, who lives his personal life in impenetrable light as someone who is above all the world, as the triune God. In this way, God confronts man directly with a demand and a call which throws man out of the course prescribed for him by nature, a course which would have spent itself within the horizons of the world.
Thus man’s task and destiny becomes transcendent, with a transcendence which is always experienced somehow as a contradiction of nature and the world . . . . “ As one considers call and who we are to God, Rahner introduces a number of considerations that draw us further in our coming to appreciate what God hopes and desires for us. Perhaps this can be a part of your prayer as you prayerfully dialogue with God to come to more clearly understand how God is inviting you to go forward.