Economic Suffering, the Mystical Body and Mystery

Such a  beautiful and thoughtful meditation from John Savant in America:


Theology, on the other hand, while attentive to all that human learning and science continue to provide, is committed to the entire phenomena of human reality, including issues whose answers lie beyond the province of human investigation. These issues we call “mystery,” a concept that identifies the primary territory of religion. Mystery refers to those questions and intuitions that have enduring force in our lives even as we realize that their answers lie beyond our means. Mystery poses questions like: Why is there anything and not nothing? Why do the good often suffer and the evil prosper? Why do we have transcendent longings? What explains quantum leaps in the advance of the universe from inanimate matter to human thought and achievement? And especially, why must the progress of our universe, including the rise of human civilization, entail violence and evil, depravity and loss—despite our longing for goodness, peace and beauty?


Regarding mystery, the Book of Job is instructive. Addressing Job’s overwhelming afflictions, his conventional counselors offer some concrete advice, but advice that effectively reduces the challenge of inexplicable evil to the quasi-quantitative resolutions of legalisms and virtuous deeds. To put it another way, they aspire to dismiss one expression of the mystery of evil with the human “magic” of merit: Do this, this and this, Job, and God will have to restore you to prosperity. Job, of course, in his ornery integrity, refuses to bribe God with virtue and, eschewing human explanations, enters the whirlwind of divine mystery. Here he comes to realize a relationship with God is infinitely more reassuring than any human proposition. His subsequent recovery, the story compels us to see, is due not to his virtuous deeds, but to his humble acceptance of God’s unconditional love. He leaves the whirlwind with no more answers than he had before, but with the ontological conviction, “My savior lives” (19:25).


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