Questioning-Wonder

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An exploration of the ability to question and wonder as the starting point of the religious experience.

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Called To Love:

Called To Love Approaching John Paul II's Theology of the Body

Questioning and Wonder:

Questioning and Wonder The universe…How? What? When? Where? Why? And how do we get from that to something like this?

PowerPoint Presentation:

And how do we get to this? So much variety, so much beauty, so many infinite possibilities? Who? How? When? Where? Why?

So Much Natural Beauty:

So Much Natural Beauty

So Many Man-Made Wonders:

So Many Man-Made Wonders

We Can Even "Wonder" About Man's Inhumanity to Man:

We Can Even "Wonder" About Man's Inhumanity to Man Abortion The Holocaust Racism Terrorism Genocide

We Wonder About Ourselves:

We Wonder About Ourselves From this… To this To this…Lord help us! To this?

Is There a Difference?:

Is There a Difference? Do they “wonder”? About what?

Questioning and Wonder:

Questioning and Wonder Man’s existence is truly human only to the extent that he rises above the rhythm of the universe. We step back from the ebb and flow of the universe and ask: “What does it all mean?”

"Religious" Wonder:

"Religious" Wonder Another way of putting it might be, “What is the meaning of my own journey through life?” St. Augustine: “I became for myself a great question.” ( Confessions )

Questioning and Wonder:

Questioning and Wonder Because the answer to our question about life’s “meaning” is not easy, we are often tempted to narrow the question’s scope. We reduce man’s search for his identity to a problem we believe can be solved by diligent application of the techniques of the natural sciences (e.g., biology, psychology, anthropology, etc.) But, in the end, this denies the soul’s true depth and so leads to the abolition of man.

Questioning and Wonder:

Questioning and Wonder Our response to something prior; i.e., “wonder.” Man’s question about his identity does not arise in a vacuum. Man’s questioning awakens in response to an experience of wonder that precedes it. Wonder gives birth to the question about who we are. The priority of wonder determines the very nature of our search for an answer to it.

Questioning and Wonder:

Questioning and Wonder The special quality in things that causes us to wonder: MYSTERY! Something is “mysterious” not because it lacks meaning or is somehow inscrutable (e.g. Three Persons in One God?). Something is “mysterious” because it is saturated with meaning (e.g., Three Persons in One God!) causing us to take a second glance, a more penetrating look, if you will.

Questioning and Wonder:

Questioning and Wonder St. Augustine observed that man is a great question for himself. Why? Because he is a great mystery that elicits wonder! Man’s wonder actually provides him with a “compass” for his journey toward fuller understanding. Where does man encounter this mystery?

Love Is the Birthplace of Wonder:

Love Is the Birthplace of Wonder Some people think that experiencing mystery means having some sort of “mystical rapture” apart from everyday experience. For example, God can only be found in the depth of our souls. This creates a very false dichotomy between religious experience and everyday existence. It reinforces the modern tendency to separate faith and life: 1) individual concerns (religion & morality) and 2) universal concerns (science & technology, politics & public policy, commerce & finance).

Love is the Birthplace of Wonder:

Love is the Birthplace of Wonder But, the Bible offers a different approach to this compartmentalization of man’s identity. See Deuteronomy 30:12-13 We meet wonder in the very midst of our everyday experience! Man’s encounter with nature certainly provides great fodder for wonder! But, there is an even more basic experience of wonderment.

Love is the Birthplace of Wonder:

Love is the Birthplace of Wonder Man’s unique ability to ask about the meaning of life is inseparable from his experience of love. In a word, the experience of love is the birthplace of wonder, the first step along a new journey toward the fullness of meaning. “Man remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love” ( RH , 10).

Love is the Birthplace of Wonder:

Love is the Birthplace of Wonder So, why is “love the birthplace of wonder”? Because love touches all the dimensions of human life: it includes my body, my instincts, my emotions. Love is a guide that leads us beyond ourselves and toward transcendence. Love resonates in the depth of our soul, but it also takes us out of ourselves and ushers us into a fullness of life that is bigger than our tiny selves. Love opens the very roots of the human person to the encounter with the other, to transcendence, and to newness of life.

Human Experience and Divine Revelation:

Human Experience and Divine Revelation “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love” ( RH , 10) “The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light…Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear” ( GS , 22).

Human Experience and Divine Revelation:

Human Experience and Divine Revelation Life, then, revolves around love. So, too, does Christian faith, which hinges on Christ’s revelation of the fullness of love. Hence, there can be no real opposition between human experience and the experience of faith; there can only be an artificial or manufactured opposition. There is a continuity between faith and human experience.

Human Experience and Divine Revelation:

Human Experience and Divine Revelation On the one hand, we cannot understand Christian faith without understanding man’s encounter with love. On the other hand, the human experience of love points toward a fullness that comes to light only in the encounter with Christ. Wonder culminates in faith’s response to Christ’s revelation of the fullness of love! The Way of Man is the Way of the Church!

Christianity is the Way of Love:

Christianity is the Way of Love Love, therefore, is the way of man. The Church’s mission is precisely to manifest the truth of love in the world. Simple in theory…a little more difficult in the concrete! Part of the problem is the word…LOVE. It has different, even contradictory meanings in everyday use. Sometimes we use it to praise the noblest sacrifice…”Jesus died for love of us.”

Christianity is the Way of Love:

Christianity is the Way of Love Sometimes we use it to excuse a man who abandons his wife and children for another woman: “he did it for love.” Many of us (especially Hollywood!) have never progressed beyond a rudimentary notion of love as an essentially selfish emotion rush!

Christianity is the Way of Love:

Christianity is the Way of Love Yet, can love really be the answer to the riddle of our whole existence? Can we really say that love is the foundation of reality, the final explanation of history?

Our Premise:

Our Premise The fate of love is bound up with the fate of Christianity. When we lose sight of the meaning and importance of love, we become blind to the presence of God in the midst of our experience. We no longer perceive Him except as an alien intruder, or even as an enemy of human nature. On the other hand, without the light of God’s love revealed in Christ, we eventually lose our ability to understand even the fullness of human love itself.

Our Approach:

Our Approach We will first examine how love is revealed to us and how this revelation opens a path for us to follow. Next, we will deal with the difficulties we encounter on this path of love and explain how Christ offers us the strength to overcome them. Last, we will reflect on how Christ leads us, whether in marriage or in consecrated virginity, toward the fullness of love in Heaven. So…let’s begin!

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