Need to Know

Infused Contemplatives as an Expression of the Ontological Roots of Christian Thought and Practice

There are many expression of Christianity but only one reality--that intended by the Divine Mystery. Our understanding is limited both by the fact that we are conditioned as a finite species named Homo sapiens sapiens and by the fact that our own life experiences are not universal but time-and-space specific. All we have to rely on two things. The first is what has been revealed to us by this Divine Mystery, which includes not only formal written material but oral traditions that have been passed down. The second is that as a creature of the Divine invited to join the Divine, we must have an inbuilt capacity to respond to the transcendental factors in our lives.

Lonergan's descending set of functional specialties provide a template for a long-term collective effort to work out the core beliefs and functions of a Christian church. Communications takes the explanatory tools of Systematics to work out the best way to convey the essentials to those whose cultural roots may be very different. Systematics takes the basic beliefs established in Doctrines and seeks ways to explain how the core doctrines of Christianity work themselves out in practice. Doctrines emerge from the work of Foundationists, whose task is to work out the general and theological concepts and the horizon within which they are used that are open, free, and as authentic as possible--something involving intellectual, moral, and religious conversion.

Infused contemplatives starts at the foundatonal level by identifying the key framework within which Christian doctrines are to be established, the subsequent explanatory theories that give them meaning, and finally  the tools of encounter to communicate such beliefs to others. This foundational stance defines who the person is, not as a construct of their society but as their reality in being derived from and given existence by the Divine Mystery. We suggest that entry into this level of being starts with three shifts in who the person is, or rather one shift expressed in three distinct phases or modes of being. They are:

  • Satori: that sudden awakening when the individual's insight into who they really are as pure being is separated from an artificial external understanding of who they are that has been socially constructed for them so that they may play a role or fulfill a task in that institutional structure that provides a steady stream of goods as part of society's good of order.
  • Christ and I are One: the acknowledgement that goes beyond all reason and yet is experienced by the individual as being true even if incomprehensible, that one is not only human but also divine, and that these two ways of being--finite and universal--are united in the hypostatic union of Christ.
  • Sacramentalized World: all things in the universe, all events in one's life, are experienced as sacred gifts of the Divine Mystery given to us for our own use, to be respected and cared for for what they are: opportunities to grow and learn so that we may truly respond to this invitation by the Divine Mystery to join Him in eternal life.

From such foundations doctrines are established as fundamental beliefs concerning Christianity, explanatory theories are developed that give such beliefs meaning in our world, and the actual way in which Christians live in the world as ambassadors of the Divine Mystery In such ways these foundational adjustments made by the individual are gradually assimilated, forming a deeply Christian way of living--of being in the world. Such are the gifts of living a contemplative life, be it active or infused.

Russell C. Baker

March 22, 2017.

Who do you serve?​And who do you trust?— Galen, (technomage),

Michael Straczynski,

Babylon 5

The key to understanding Christianity is the theological concept of the hypostatic union

This union affirms that Christ is a single person that embodies two different nature: human and divine. The redemptive aspect or salvation embodied in Christianity lies not only in the creation of such a dual nature self  as an historical event but the promise to share that union with each individual who comes to believe. Through the sacraments as well as the Holy Spirit, we are enticed to reconcile these two aspects of ourselves, the human and the transcendental, so that we become one--a unity of self as well as a unity with the Mystical Body of Christ.

With much thanks to Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience (2003), p. 39.

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Entering Lonergan's Novum Organon

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A Strategy for People Celebrating Life