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The ContemplationS --- all mystical

The bottom line: Contemplation ends in making love not in making points (of any variety,
i.e. syllogisms, merit systems, competitions, ad innitum).
While my categories are philosophical in the sense of being a vague phenomenological
taxonomy (referring, for example, to different phenomenal experiences) and much less
either metaphysical or theological (at least not robustly so) ...
So as not to be coy, I will acknowledge that I do have a theological interpretation of
mystical experiences but that it does not employ distinctions like acquired, infused or
I do recognize, regarding all such gifts, however, distinctions such as between active and
passive, such as between:
1) metaphysical or philosophical contemplation, allied with our intuition of being (which
intuits reality's implicit rst principles, metaphysical presuppositions, methodological
stipulations, existence itself, etc), which eventually places us in better touch with the
"interobjective indeterminacy of ultimate unicity," which translated means that we
experience horizons
and remain always horizon-situated, which further helps us realize the "intrasubjective
integrity of our unied self," which translated means that we receive wholeness and
experience authenticity;
2) natural mysticism, which involves an indirect, which is to say, a mediated (even if
nonconceptually so) encounter of reality in the act of knowing within the very act of
existing, i.e. experienced in the mirror of the self but as trans-jective (neither subjective
nor objective) and trans-personal (neither personal nor nonpersonal), whereby we
eventually encounter the "intraobjective identity of unitary being," which translated means
that we perceive a radical oneness;
3) theoria physike (supersensory intuition of reality mediated thru natural realities),
whereby we eventually encounter the "transjective necessity of ens necessarium," which
translated means that we properly intuit cosmic patterns, principles, laws, justice, etc;
4) theologia (encounter of reality beyond the medium of concepts), whereby we
eventually encounter the "intersubjective intimacy of unitive strivings," which translated
means that we realize love, mercy, charity and sustained authenticity.
Hereinabove, the distinction "natural" does not speak to the "origin" of these gifts (i.e. the
Spirit or graced-nature), but, instead, only refers to the "object" or medium of the
All of these types of encounters, theologically speaking, can be mystical, gifts from God,
notwithstanding any differences in the manner of their specic ascetic preparations and
practices. These encounters, properly approached, interact and influence each other,
integrally, in a mutually enriching way.

Don Gelpi expanded Lonergan's conversions to include the intellectual, affective, moral,
socio-political and religious. While these conversions bring to mind the developmental
paradigms of Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg, Fowler and their ilk and even the transpersonal
psychology of Maslow et al, in my view, the conversions have much more to do with the
dynamics fleshed out in Gerald May's Will and Spirit, where our human wills surrender
their willfulness in exchange for willingness.
Lonergan's conversions, then, have much more to do with Mary's at, with the Little Way
of the Little Flower, with Ignatius' Take, Lord, Receive ... my entire will.
And few have spoken of the will with the subtlety of Duns Scotus, who so well navigated
the extremes of nominalism and realism, intellectualism and voluntarism, in persuasively
establishing the clear primacy of the will.
As Gerald May explains, the human will is conceptually complex and does not lend itself
to facile mappings of our faculties. It is a subtle and formal distinction that Scotus
draws between the intellect and will, which operate in harmony in the integral human
mind, the will enjoying an evaluative primacy as it properly considers ends, the intellect,
And so much of formative spirituality precisely deals with ends, both the eschatological
and teleological, in the divine causal joints wherein our temporal order panentheistically
joins the eternal, where spirit most often gently coaxes but occasionally more harshly
cajoles, whereby the inordinate and disordered are transformed, the prime exemplar
being not my will but yours be done.
There is, therefore, more to be learned about conversion in the little classics regarding
abandonment and surrender to providence, in the Litany of Humility, and in Thomas
Merton's prayer, Lord, I have no idea where I am going, than can otherwise be found in
the literature of developmental or transpersonal psychology.
We must not lose sight of what properly distinguishes ascetical theology and formative
spirituality from the human social sciences, even as we recognize and afrm that the
philosophic horizon of human
concern is indeed the spiritual horizon.
In essence, I would propose that what sets them apart is the difference between mere
socialization, whereby we become moral in the sense of enlightened self-interest or the
erotic quest of what's in it for me? , as entailed in the purgative or katharsis, and that
further transformation, which is entailed in kenosis and agape, as we surrender our wills
to love.
Lonergan's imperatives to be attentive, intelligent, reasonable and responsible do
socialize us, gifting us with authenticity.
Love, true self-transcendence, Lonergan explained, gifts one with sustained authenticity.
Beyond, even, this sustained authenticity, which, with its synergia, realizes an essentially
unitive, theotic value, joining human and divine wills and energies, lies an invitation to a
more robustly theotic dynamic, taking us beyond our essential knowledge of God, Whom

we have indeed known in loving our neighbors, especially the marginalised, to a

gratuitous knowledge about God, where we learn His Holy Name.
So, while in both authenticity and sustained authenticity, there clearly are axiological
trajectories with soteriological, sophiological, ecclesiological and eschatological
implications, those value-realizations will be variously inchoate compared to that more
robustly theotic dynamic that can only be realized gnosiologically, which is to say,
through theurgy (practices & rituals, e.g. hesychastic prayer of the heart), theoria &
theologia (contemplation) and mystagogy (initiation into communal life of sacraments,
liturgy, divine mysteries), taking us beyond the ascetical, which is essential for human
salvation and value-realizations in abundance, to the mystical, which is gratuitous and
gifts us with superabundance, really Good News.
A Lonerganian Donative Hermeneutic: Reality as a Giving Thing
I. pentalectical axiology - the gifts
II. pentapartite anthropology - the gifted
Authenticity realized via ongoing secular conversions, orthodoxically (right believing),
orthopathically (right desiring), orthopraxically (right behaving) and orthocommunally
(right belonging) --- via an essential, universal soteriological trajectory.
intellectual (believing & being attentive)
affective (desiring & being reasonable)
moral-practical (behaving & being intelligent)
social (belonging & being responsible)
Sustained Authenticity realized via diverse sophiological trajectories or different ways of
being in love, polydoxically.
relational (beatitude)

III. pentalogical epistemology - the receiving

descriptive (scientic-historical)
evaluative (cultural)
normative (philosophical)
interpretive (socioeconomic-religious)
contemplative (spiritual)
IV. pentatarian theology - the Giver
eschatological (envisioning ends via creed)
soteriological (aligning ends via cult)
sacramental (provisioning ends via code )
ecclesiological (pursuing ends via community)
sophiological (realizing ends via contemplation)
V. pentadic phenomenology - the givens
intraobjective identity of unitary being ------- we perceive oneness
intrasubjective integrity of unied self ------- we receive wholeness, authenticity
transjective necessity of ens necessarium ------ we intuit patterns, principles, laws, justice
interobjective indeterminacy of ultimate unicity ----- we experience horizons
intersubjective intimacy of unitive strivings ----- we realize love, mercy, charity and
sustained authenticity
revised table of contents, polydoxy, orthodoxy, orthopathy, orthopraxy, orthocommunal,
authenticity, sustained authenticity, secular conversions, religious conversion, lonergan's

conversions, lonergan's imperatives, transcendental imperatives, unitary being, unitive

experience, beatitude, sophiological trajectory, soteriological trajectory, ecclesiology,
eschatology, sacramentology, axiology, epistemology, phenomenology, anthropology,
theology of nature, theoria, synergia, theurgy, theosis, mystagogy, ascetical, mystical,
contemplation, contemplative, willingness, willfulness, love-making, making love