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Everything I do is love.

John of the Cross

However widely we examine the diverse modes of human self-transcendence, each will reveal the selfsame principle which ultimately makes each and every mode possible: only through the activity of „the other side“ is it possible to surmount, in a non-illusory manner, the opposition existing between our immanency and absolute transcendence.

As a result of the threat posed in extreme situations we are virtually forced to turn receptively to the intrinsic sources of our existence: finding ourselves at the end of our possibilities, being in a position of abandoned awaiting, we tend to open ourselves up to an unknown meaning, being, love. Initially we encounter only what is called „Divine silence“: and precisely that can draw us into the mystery and dynamics of a concealed, selfless absolute love. Deliverance from our own selves, to which such a love challenges us, also encompasses an awakening of the sense for the truthfulness of our own faith. We are guided by this sense beyond the horizon of various images of faith, towards faith as a relationship. Only in that are the limited human terms of the faith transformed from a crippling barrier into something we can place completely and totally at the disposal of this relationship. God, within whom we – standing at the very peak of our liberty – „die unto ourselves“, thus becomes a point of departure of our life. Having explored all the blind alleys to which man repeatedly strays after sheering off his main course upwards, we come to realize quite clearly that any attempt at attaining human self-transcendence, if not called forth by Transcendence itself, is only an illusion, a vicious circle wherein man keeps on encountering only himself.

Grace – absolute Divine initiative – overcomes all human obstacles; opening disappointment to hope, piercing self-complacency through with the pang of emptiness, redeeming despair with liberty, knocking loosiness down with the experiences of weakness and powerlessness, embracing dying with acceptance. This is the touch of the Other, who is neither an inner continuation of our subjectivity nor an outward extension of the world, nor their harmonizing vanishing point. Grace permeates everything without any limitations whatsoever, without being an extrapolation of anything natural. An encounter with it offers a freezing experience similar to the anticipation of death but at the same time it manages to fan up inside us the flame of genuine life. The captivating glow of its love sweeps us away on to the firm ground of truth and humility, transporting us from ourselves. We genuinely find ourselves only in a loving detachment from ourselves.

Left to our own devices, we cannnot hope to attain grace ourselves to any reliable extent. Only grace itself may bridge the gap between us and itself. But we can go out to meet it. However, while searching for the absolute so that the world should be rationally conceivable to me or so that life should have a meaning to me, then I only want to find what in my view meets these conditions and not what is independent of them. On the contrary, I go out to meet grace if, because of it, I tend to accept what there is, even if this meant doing away with all the rational conceivability and all meaning, to which we are routinely not entitled and which are sometimes a mere illusion anyway. Although Divine grace is capable of entering even through a closed door, we can at least straighten out its path towards us (after all, this is the only thing we can do for it) by opening up all the human horizons. By giving ourselves up to it into the „void“, we are prepared for its giving to us. It is in this attitude that we can understand the figure of Jesus Christ in particular: as a penetration of the furthest point where Divine grace goes out to meet man and the furthest point where man opens out to Divine grace. In his life – and particularly in his sacrifice – God and man „embrace one another“.

Therefore, all the indications are that respect for and openness towards the activity of the Absolute is a criterion of genuine aspiration towards Him. This criterion cuts across all religions and all modes of spiritual life. Without activity com- ing „from elsewhere“ we are invariably „let down“ – we are left only with our own imagination, rationality, tradition, unpermeated, unchallenged, unsupported, unenlightened, unstrengthened by anyhing higher than ourselves.

Grace does not prevail over anything through violence. It offers, opens up, attracts – and disappears if we only reply by attempting to adjust it to ourselves. It guides man much earlier before he puts a name to it but it guides him in a subtle way so as not to disturb or infringe on his freedom. At any single moment it gives him the opportunity of longing for it as well as an opportunity of staying with himself and with many possibilities of immanence. After all, there is basically only one possibility of transcendence.

© Jolana Poláková | Licence Creative Commons
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