Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Being Fully Human"

Fr. Schall, SJ--once again--writes a good read as he reviews a new book by Monsignor Robert Sokolowski:

His Christian Faith & Human Understanding, just published by the Catholic University of America Press, is a masterpiece of good sense, clarity, profundity, and accuracy of expression.

Fr. Schall's article, "'Mystifying Indeed': On Being Fully Human," brings up an array of good points and things to consider in order to live a more "Fully Human" existence. He opens with a passage from page 161 of Sokolowski's new book:

"It is a curious thing that human beings spend so much energy denying their own spiritual and rational nature. No other being tries with such effort to deny that it is what it is. No dog or horse would ever try to show that it is not a dog or horse but only a mixture of matter, force, and accident. Man’s attempt to deny his own spirituality is itself a spiritual act, one that transcends space, time, and the limitations of matter. The motivations behind this self-denial are mystifying indeed." — Robert Sokolowski, "Soul and the Transcendent Meaning of Persons."

Then closes the essay referring back to the quoted passage:

In the beginning, I cited a passage from Sokolowski that remarked on how odd it is, "mystifying indeed," that man would take such efforts to deny what he is. If you want to know what modern man is most often denying, nothing will help you more than this book on faith and understanding. Sokolowski, referring to the German philosopher, Robert Spaemann, also cited Socrates and Christ as if they both belonged to the same overall discourse. He intimates that the understanding of both Socrates, the philosopher, and Christ, the Word made flesh, is necessary for the wonder of our intellectual lives, for our knowing the fullness of what is. To be a theologian means to be able to describe the content of revelation as handed down in precise and accurate terms. John Paul II said in Fides et Ratio that one needs also to be something of a philosopher. And to be a philosopher means to be open to what is, including to the something called revelation as referring to realities we must confront if we are to neglect nothing in being. No one in academic life embodies these two aspects of what a thinker is better than Robert Sokolowski.

Having read some of Sokolowski's works, I agree.

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