Saturday, 20 April 2013

Where are we up to with all this.

What I have been trying to do is to set Christian attitude (classically know as asceticism) in relief, and to show it in contrast with secular asceticism. Ascetical theology is a part of Dogmatic theology and has become somewhat forgotten in our age.
Two books really got me thinking about this subject: Dietricht von Hildebrand's magnum opus "Transformation in Christ"; it is he who refers to this dimension of the Christian life as "Christian attitude". And Karol Wojtyla's book, "Sources of Renewal".
Up to now I have been speaking about the nature and foundation of Christian attitude, which flows out of the Christian identity of the person - Christian anthropology, and which takes root in the person through their relationship with Christ - the Spiritual life. Anthropology and Spirituality then, are the foundations of Christian attitude.
It is obviously important for me to speak about the way in which Christian attitude is formed and grows, and about the concrete practical ways in which our Christian attitude is expressed and leads into our daily Christian living. I will get on to this soon, but before that I should post on the moral life, the foundation of which is also the foundation of the Christian attitude. After that I will get into the practical stuff.
To sum up what I have said so far in all these posts in which I have compared Christian attitude with secular asceticism, I would say this:
Western culture today has lost sight of the relationship which God wishes to have with us, and has placed material things and worldy endeavours in its stead. Our age seeks to live from self-enlightenment and says that the "Great Mystery" (God's plan for humanity to live in communion with Him) is not necessary today. The secular ascetic embraces self-focus as an unremitting and soulless struggle with my desires. Christian attitude is a yielding of self before a Mystery which is far greater than me, and which moves me by love.
What is that makes so many people see the secular life as so attractive, we might ask!

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