The Owl of Minerva 15 (2):147-150 (1984)

With regard to the acta Dei, Fritz Marti rightly tells us that God named himself “I am,” the One who is present, adsum, the One who Acts. Could we not add that God is the One who forces us to act, whose very presence is the necessitating ground of our being? How deeply Augustine grasped this reality of being before God, how intensely he felt the desire to believe in the reality of his unbelief. “For I kept saying within myself, ‘Lo, let it be now, let it be now’ ecce modo fiat, modo fiat, and as I uttered the phrase I was on the brink of resolution. I was on the point of action and I acted not and yet I did not fall back to my former state but stood hard by and drew breath. And I tried again and came a little nearer, yet a little nearer, and now I was all but touching and grasping it; and I did not reach or touch or grasp it, as I shrank from dying unto death, and from living unto life and the worse which was ingrained grew stronger in me than the better which was untrained, plusque in me valebat deterius inolitum, quam melius insolitum, and that very instant which was to make me another man struck greater terror into me, the nearer it approached; but neither repelled nor daunted me but kept me in suspense”. Before God the opposites that control our existence are felt with pain and fear, the longing to turn toward God is challenged by the forces that turn us from God, the movement toward bears within it the movement away, the escape, the need to flee and reject. How weak we discover our faith to be, how powerful we find our fear and distrust. How easily we realize the vanities of vanities, vanitates vanitatum, the childishness of our being compared to God. Deep within the experience of the “I” we see the conflicts that drive us from doubt to doubt and force us to that despair of sin that has so deeply separated us from God. The “religiosity of reason,” can it be any other than this struggle of opposites that we bear in the self and know in revelation?
Keywords Major Philosophers
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ISBN(s) 0030-7580
DOI 10.5840/owl19841521
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