In Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry, Maritain wrote that true art is always fractured and incomplete because it can never fully contain the perfect vision that it seeks. It always possesses “that kind of imperfection through which infinity wounds the finite.” Both the theologian and the poet inevitably reach a moment when words fail, when the vision so exceeds its expression that an admission of defeat becomes the best way to express that vision. On the poetic side, we might think of Eliot’s “Burnt Norton,” where we hear that “Words strain, / Crack and sometimes break, under the burden.” On the theological side, we might think of a claim by Karl Rahner: “Every theological statement is only truly and authentically such at the point at which one willingly allows it to extend beyond his comprehension into the silent mystery of God.” In both instances, words fall short of the Word (whether that means poetic truth or divine revelation), yet this falling short is the only means by which the Word and its mysteries might be approached.
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
… Intelligible Mysteries | Commonweal Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)