Thursday, May 19, 2016

Humility in Philosophy (and Science) is The Door to God

“According to Scheler, the formal attributes of the divine are known immediately, but not so the positive attributes of God. Only in the measure that man lives by the spirit and not by the belly can he know that God is Spirit, that He is Creator, Omniscience, All-Goodness, Mercy; only in love enlightened by revelation can he know that He is Person. We must be guarded by humility and awe if we are to arrive at the knowledge of the Creator, all-mighty and all-good, for awe makes us see the secret of things and their depth, preserving horizon and perspective in the world of values; without it, the universe is flat. Akin to the sense of shame, to modesty, which is at once hiding and unfolding, the manifestation of beauty by its very veiling, awe—modesty become spirit—clothes our mind with dignity by confessing its imperfection. In awe we are suddenly aware that our nature is tremendously inadequate for the knowledge of the highest, and is yet called to it; we are aware that the infinite appears in the midst of our finitude and poverty. Hand in hand with awe goes humility. The proud man, bound to himself, lives in a darkened, desert world and walks toward hell, which is want of love; the humble, however, has an open soul—humility, the way of the lover, breaks the walls around the ego and readies the soul to give itself and serve.
Walls are Crumbling, John Österreicher, New York: Devin-Adair, 1953, 168 (Cf. Max Scheler, Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, p. 24.).

One who believes may not be presumptuous; on the contrary, truth leads to humility, since believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth which embraces and possesses us. Far from making us inflexible, the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all. Lumen Fidei, 34

Approximately 20 years [after his ordination], Augustine wrote a book called the Retractations, in which he critically reviewed all the works he had thus far written, adding corrections wherever he had in the meantime learned something new.
With regard to the ideal of perfection in his homilies on the Sermon on the Mount, he noted: "In the meantime, I have understood that one alone is truly perfect and that the words of the Sermon on the Mount are totally fulfilled in one alone: Jesus Christ himself.

"The whole Church, on the other hand -- all of us, including the Apostles -- must pray every day: forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" (cf. Retract. I 19, 1-3).

Augustine had learned a further degree of humility -- not only the humility of integrating his great thought into the humble faith of the Church, not only the humility of translating his great knowledge into the simplicity of announcement, but also the humility of recognizing that he himself and the entire pilgrim Church needed and continually need the merciful goodness of a God who forgives every day.
And we, he added, liken ourselves to Christ, the only Perfect One, to the greatest possible extent when we become, like him, people of mercy.
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