Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bp Constantine Kayyal: Freedom of Reason

Arabic original here.

Freedom of Reason

Man today lives in a state of great separation between God and knowledge. Some behold God, united to Him in the simplicity of their piety, their faith and their surrender to God's self-disclosure, while others attempt to comprehend Him and discover Him through the power of reason, to subjugate Him and to restrict Him to the scope of scientific knowledge.

Today's world needs to be humble and leave room for divine grace to work, so that it may know God's will.

Divine grace supports human freedom and man advances in knowledge. This is the teaching of the fathers! Man cannot advance in knowledge without the activity of grace. This advancement is a progression from disclosure to disclosure.

Freedom is the driving force by which we strive for God and divine grace rests in us and draws us to Him.

Freedom in no way means liberating reason and immersing it in philosophical theories by which it attempts to know God. Our Church believes in reason and its role in us and she also believes that its existence comes from its Creator.

The rational person, as we learn from the teaching of Saint Anthony the Great, "is not someone who thinks and searches, just as he is not someone who is educated and debates. The true rational person is the one who is focused on God."

The Church is no stranger to the ways of science and knowledge. Since she received, at Pentecost, the gift of knowledge and enlightenment of reason, she has been concerned with revealing Jesus to the world, He who is the way, the truth and the light (John 14:6).

Over the course of history, the Church has endeavored to show the truths of the faith through philosophy and dialectic, but she has not made God into an object of rational knowledge. "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).

This worship is the beginning of knowledge. It is bowing before the activity of grace.

The rational ability that man possesses prepares him to understand that what is created and helps him with this. That is the scope of its work. But with regard to the Creator, it stands helpless and must stand helpless, admitting its helplessness and beholding this mystery in silence.

He who desired to draw us to Himself, in His goodness came to us, perfect in his His divinity becoming man, entered into our life and caused us corrupt ones to participate in His life. This is the God who is incomprehensible. Here lies the mystery.

The rational man is the one who is always pious before God. He strives for complete unity with Him in his soul and his mind. When man strives to attain this longing, he becomes free. With this freedom, he will attain joy and peace and be made worthy to meet Jesus.

The holy Church is the only place of divine disclosure. We who are members of this body-- bishops, priests, monks and believers-- are merely beholders and servants of this disclosure, since by it we live and are divinized.

May the God who loves mankind make us worthy to attain wisdom from Him, so that we may remain faithful to our true faith and become worthy of His glory that was prepared before the foundation of the world.

+Bishop Constantine Kayyal
Abbot of the Patriarchal Monastery of Saint Elias, Shwayya

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