28 February 2012

Percy and Giusanni

I seem to be revolving around the idea of mystery as liberation -- the possibility that life and reality are just too big for human rationality to account for adequately. This was presented to me recently by Walker Percy and Luigi Giusanni. I saw a Percy quotation on the "Bad Catholic" bog, and I heard from Msgr. Giusanni by sticking my head into the small CL community that meets at Frassati House on Tuesday nights. I was listening to their discussion when I literally fell asleep, more or less, standing up. Strange.

Anyhow, I am really not philosophical enough to drink deeply from either Percy or Giusanni so I hope to translate their very good point into the more superficial language of the dilattante that I am!

Rationality is a wonderful thing. Really. But it is simply too flat to account for the amazing depths and heights of human life. There are not enough dimensions to rationality. I love going to the beach at the Red Neck Riviera with my family every year. Last summer, I rented a bike for the week. How easy to ride a bike where it is flat! But, you know, I miss the hills after a while. Where is the thrill of coasting down hill or the dread of the steep incline? Rationality is like that. It explains things so well on one dimension, but it entirely misses things like glory and despair. And love.

To use the words of Percy, rationality "won't do" to account for love. Only mystery can do that, and the mystery that does it best is the mystery that is grounded in rationality just like we are: the Incarnation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the comment that Walker Percy
gave to an interviewer when asked why
he thought Christianity mattered. I
paraphrase, but he simply replied, what
else is there. Very similar to Flannery
O'Connor's comment to Mary McCarthy when
the latter stated that the Eucharist was
a good symbol. "If it's just a symbol,
to hell with it", said Flannery. Percy
considered O'Connor a friend even though
they only met once when she came to
speak in Louisiana and she died only a year or two later. Their friendship
must have been on another level of
reality, united in Christ.