Archive for the ‘Martin Heidegger’ Tag

Feast of Jakob Bohme (April 23)   3 comments

Above:  Jakob Böhme

Image in the Public Domain

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JAKOB BÖHME (APRIL 24, 1575-NOVEMBER 17, 1624)

German Lutheran Mystic

Jakob Böhme comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via William Law (1686-1761), whom he influenced.

Böhme, born in Alteidenberg, near Görlitz, circa April 24, 1575, was a shoemaker-turned-mystic.  In 1600, he had a mystical experience.  He realized that

Yes and no, all things exist.

Böhme spent the rest of his life struggling with difficult questions.  He, always rooted in Christianity, wrote 29 books and tracts, some of which renamed incomplete when he died.  Our saint struggled with questions of sin, good and evil, yes and no, and darkness and light in the context of God and spiritual unity in God.  How, Böhme wondered, could the divided world become one in God?  Many of his early writings caused theological controversy.  Our saint disavowed some of the earliest writings as he matured theologically and spiritually.  Yet he never stopped wrestling with difficult matters of faith.  Some of his later works included On the Election of Grace (1623), Mysterium Magnum (1623), and The Way to Christ (1623).

Böhme died on November 17, 1624.  He was 49 years old.

His influence continued, however.  Aside from William Law, the diverse group of thinkers Böhme influenced included theologians and philosophers, such as:

  1. George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the Religious Society of Friends;
  2. Paul Tillich (1886-1965), a prominent theologian;
  3. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), a philosopher;
  4. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), a philosopher; and
  5. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), a philosopher.

May each of us, like Jakob Böhme, struggle with difficult questions faithfully.

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Loving God, you have granted us intellects

and a thirst to know you as well as we can.

Thank you for these gifts.

May we, like your servant Jakob Böhme,

use them to maximum effect,

for your glory and the benefit of others.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Psalm 63

Ephesians 2:11-22

John 1:1-18

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES HEWITT MCGOWN, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DRAUSINUS AND ANSERICUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF SOISSONS; SAINT VINDICIAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CAMBRAI; AND SAINT LEODEGARIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF AUTUN

THE FEAST OF EDWARD OSLER, ENGLISH DOCTOR, EDITOR, AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANTONIA DE PAZ Y FIGUEROA, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE DIVINE SAVIOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PERPETUA, FELICITY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS AT CARTHAGE, 203

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Feast of Karl Rahner (March 5)   Leave a comment

karl-rahner

Above:  Karl Rahner

Image in the Public Domain

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KARL RAHNER (MARCH 5, 1904-MARCH 30, 1984)

Jesuit Priest and Theologian

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The number one cause of atheism is Christians.  Those who proclaim Him with their mouths and deny Him with their actions is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.

–Karl Rahner

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Karl Rahner, probably the greatest Roman Catholic theologian of the twentieth century, characterized his life in modest terms:

I do not know what’s happened to my life.  I did not lead a life; I worked, wrote, taught, tried to do my duty and earn my living.  I tried in this ordinary everyday way to serve God–that’s it.

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 103

Our saint, born at Freiburg, Germany, on March 5, 1904, came from a devout Roman Catholic family.  An older brother, Hugo Rahner (1900-1968), became a Jesuit in 1919 then went on to become a scholar of patristics.  Karl joined the Society of Jesus three years later and became a priest in 1932.  He studied philosophy at the University of Freiburg.  There Rahner sought to expand his horizons beyond neo-Thomism.  The inquisitive pupil attended lectures by Martin Heiddeger (1889-1976), an existentialist philosopher.  Rahner wrote a thesis, Spirit in the World (published in 1939), a study of the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas in the context of philosophy from Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) to Heiddeger.  Our saint’s neo-Thomist professor rejected it.  Rahner completed a degree at the University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.  In 1937 he joined the theological faculty there.  Two years later, however, Nazis closed the university.

Rahner, ever a priest, worked as a pastor in Vienna during World War II.

Our saint was also a natural academic.  He taught at Pullach, Bavaria, from 1945 to 1948.  Then he returned to the University of Innsbruck, becoming Professor of Dogmatic Theology in 1949.  Rahner, ultimately author of more than 4000 articles and books, became the subject of Vatican censorship before his return to favor in 1962.  That year he became an architect of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), for which he contributed to the documents on the church, revelation, and the church in the world.  Rahner was Professor of Religion at the University of Munich from 1964 to 1967 then Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Munster from 1967 to 1971.  Finally our saint retired to Munich then, in 1981, to Innsbruck.  He continued to be an active theological writer in retirement.

Rahner died at Innsbruck on March 30, 1984.  He was 80 years old.

Our saint, rooted in Roman Catholic tradition, sought to make that tradition intelligible to the modern, pluralistic, post-Enlightenment world.  He began this project during the repression of modernism instituted by Pope St. Pius X (reigned 1903-1914) and not ended until Vatican II.  Despite more openness from Vatican II forward, many conservative Roman Catholics have never approved of Rahner’s theology.  He has been an agent of the degradation of true faith, they have concluded to the present day.

Rahner emphasized the role of human experience in divine revelation.  He argued that, for people to perceive divine revelation, the communication of it must be comprehensible via human experience.  Our saint also wrote that the infinite mystery of God is the root of all human existence, so religious experience is not a category separate from the rest of life.  Rahner also insisted that grace is intrinsic to human nature, which God has ordained to be open to receiving grace.  Therefore, he wrote, opening oneself to grace in every situation is the way to salvation.

One might quibble with aspects of Rahner’s theology, but the emphasis on grace is positive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PEPIN OF LANDEN, ITTA OF METZ, THEIR RELATIONS, AMAND, AUSTREGISILUS, AND SULPICIUS II OF BOURGES, FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS ACROSS GENERATIONAL LINES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY MARY PUCCI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JULIA CHESTER EMERY, UPHOLDER OF MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP II OF MOSCOW, METROPOLITAN OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA AND MARTYR

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O God, by your Holy Spirit you give to some the word of wisdom,

to others the word of knowledge,

and to others the word of faith.

We praise your Name for the gifts of grace manifested in your servant Karl Rahner,

and we pray that your Church may never be destitute of such gifts;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wisdom of Solomon 7:7-14

Psalm 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 720

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