Spring 1969

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Page 82



cal questions of pastoral theology, and what might be called the theology of contemporary culture-which Rahner himself certainly has not neglected-is there not still a single, comprehensive question which theology can never long neglect without starting to trivialize the Christian dialogue? If Christ is the Word of God spoken to the depths of the human heart, where man is one throbbing query about meaning, then the neglect of man's deepest experience-that he is unlimited desire for all-healing love-is bound to devalue theology. It is no accident that Rahner comes almost to identify theology and anthropology, nor that all his writing lives off a basic concern with mystery. This mystery is no lazy fugue from the problems of the city, war, poverty, etc. It assumes them into itself, adding the strain of the mysterium iniquitatis to its overspilling of the mind, just as it undergirds all their workings and secondlevel presuppositions. This mystery, onto which we open in every significant experience of insight, making, freedom, love, or community, is our experience of God. We cannot meet God as God except in mystery, and if we rlo not meet God our lives at¡e worthless trinkets. The comprehensive problem of man is always to be human. Real humanity is alwa.ys the more-than-mere-facticity which issues in wonder-ful philosophy, art, science, issues in deep human relations of love stronger than death and in moments of quiet awe which one can only call prayer. Real humanity is therefore impossible without an awareness of mystery-a living with "all" which, by "faith," opens man to the existencestructure it alone can give. It seems to me the signal triumph of Rahner's theology that living, Christian encounter with the mystery of God always rules his predicamental concerns. This sort of theology once was unquestioned: it is the symbiosis of thought and love, science and piety unchallenged in the Church Fathers and canonized in the Church Doctors. Today this simple unity, where theology is just the express side of Christian life, dialetically in concert with wordless love for the deeper appreciation of substantial agape, is perhaps more difficult. Contemporary man must live pragmatically, for his world pushes upon him endless things to do. This implies that the