I Know I Don’t Know

The challenge before us in the Easter season is to accept the invitation to live resurrected lives. How? Well, here is one the ways…

If we seriously reflect on all of the passages that make up the post resurrection narrative in the four gospel accounts, we will unquestioning struck by the level of “not knowing” or “not getting it” of the disciples. The relationship of the disciples with the risen Lord Jesus did not, apparently, serve to “clear things up.” As a matter of fact, it could be proposed, it made matter worse!!

In The Divine Liturgy, during the Anaphora, the priest, on behalf of all and for all, says this:

“You brought us into being out of nothing, and when we fell, You raised us up again. You did not cease doing everything until You led us to heaven and granted us Your kingdom to come. For all these things we thank You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit; for all things that we know and do not know, for blessings seen and unseen that have been bestowed upon us.”

I always find it to be reassuring that I am invited to give thanks not only what I know but what I do not know but are, nonetheless, true, governing my life and filling it with mysterious meaning and purpose. I am encouraged to give thanks for the limitations of my knowledge as a human being. Such a limitation is, according to the Holy Tradition, not an aspect of fallenness or brokenness I or the Lord needs to fix or heal.

We must extend our search for meaning and knowledge beyond and outside the parameters of time and space to, in any practical way address the dilemma of dealing with our own subjectivity.  We must plunge ourselves into the fathomless and eternal waters of the Mystical Tradition in all of its tangible aspects. The paradox is that we do not even know that that is what we must do unless we have already done it. Subjectivity and objectivity coexist within the human, not in a balance or tension as if they seek to overcome one another, but in a mysterious union in which they inform and deepen our experience of the other. Pun on the phrase “the other” is intended. In order to know we must know that we do not know.

It is out of a life dedicated to the cultivation/integration of this conviction and reality that such classics as, The Cloud of Unkowning spring forth. Dare I exclude all of the human authors of the books of the Bible and the mystical prayer life that is the one of the Church’s most precious treasures?!

For a deeper and satisfying explication of this mystery read Fr. Stephen’s blog post entitled “To Know What You Cannot Know.”

Fr. Thomas

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