I begin today’s post with an admission: I was thinking we’d polish Marko Rupnik’s book,In the Fire of the Burning Bush, off in a three weeks or so. And, after reading that opening section I was wondering if it might be two weeks. But something happened when Rupnik got into the meat of this book. I’m savoring the depth of this book’s profound theory of the Christian life. So, we may be here a few more weeks before we get to Telford Work’s book on the Lord’s Prayer.
The second section (paragraphs 15-23) begins with this claim: the famous Archeiropoietos icon reveals genuine Christian spirituality. Here’s one such icon in that tradition:
This icon reveals the centrality of the Holy Spirit — in the circle — in genuine Christian spirituality. Now some quotes:
“The spiritual life is life in the Holy Spirit” (34). Sounds simple; it’s the whole.
“The spiritual life is not a discipline or an asceticism, it is more than every science. It is an art of harmony with the Holy Spirit, the art of making his presence fruitful in our lives” (34). We are to “create a habitus of giving precedence to the Spirit.”
“Love means detaching oneself from the affirmation of one’s own absoluteness, common to each individual, in order to recognize complete absoluteness in the Other” (35).
“To believe and to love are two inseparable dimensions that constitute a person’s mode of existence in the spiritual life” (36).
“In this sense Love is the only absolute idea that it is possible to conceive of, the Living Idea. It is personal, not a conceptual reality. To think of Love means to think of an organism united with an absolute and inseparable connection” (37). [Wow, I said to myself.]
Love entails freedom. “Freedom in love … makes possible a radical recognition of the other as objectivity ‘in itself,’ even to the point of making this objectivity of the other free from any claim placed upon it” (37). Now a stunning connection: “Thus the Crucifixion: The strongest love reaches its greatest height in a recognition of the other so objective that it is capable of accepting the ‘no,’ the refusal, and notwithstanding this stands firm and keeps loving” (38).
One is reminded of Romans 5:8.