Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ideas on Restlessness

I was listening to Speaking of Faith on NPR, and I was struck by this quote by theologian Joseph Sittler.

"St. Augustine, at the beginning of his Confessions, makes a great and beautiful statement: "Thou has made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee." Back of that statement lies a proposition which says that the human is created for transcendence. It is the Jewish and Christian belief that we are meant for a selfhood that is more than our own selves—that we are by nature created to envision more than we can accomplish, to long for that which is beyond our possibilities.

We are formed for God; we are formed to be in relation to that which was before we were, from which we proceed, and in which we will ultimately end. Faith is a longing. Humankind is created to grasp more than we can grab, to probe for more than we can ever handle or manage.

This transcendental restlessness has two parts: First, I cannot unfold, in the totality of my possibility, to the level of that which I dream. Second, the one who placed the dream in me is the Creator. We are made in the image of God. We are made after the image and the likeness of the ultimate thing itself. Our whole life is an effort to approach, to appreciate, to some degree to participate in, the absoluteness of God himself. But we can never do it; that's why our whole life is a restlessness.

This restlessness may make us want to throw in the towel—or to pull up our socks. You can play it either way. You can either be creatively restless, as before the unknowable, or you can simply collapse into futility. One of the goals of the Christian message is to join together the people of the way, the way of an eternally given restlessness, and to win from that restlessness the participation in God, which is all that our mortality can deliver."


Post a Comment

<< Home