Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Lore of the Rings

Renewal is not, and cannot ever be, something statistical and quantitative. The economy of grace abounding all the more where evil abounds is a challenge to us more than it is a comfort.
It puts a new horizon on our boundaries, just when we had nicely measured wine skins all set out, of the finest leather too. Reactionaries love their goods in contradistinction to evils, so much so, that they often cannot actually enjoy them without the evils somehow nearby; they will do this to the point of fixating on evil at the expense of denying grace. What they cannot stand is their goods in relation to a greater good. They seem to positively hate that. Thus, they don't appear to be above making the greater good into an evil against which they posit their little goods.

Figures, ledgers, charts: these are data imprints for those with a mistaken notion of the hermeneutic of continuity. The mistake lies in thinking that a hermeneutic must necessarily be equivalent to slow, incremental development. Thus, if anything is jolting and rapid it must be discontinuous, a rupture. This is false. Take from nature, the cross-section of a tree's rings:

Some trees of course are more generally and continually round, from their inception to their death. If anyone would like to imagine the Church as a perfectly smooth, cylindrical bole without deep flutings and corriscated bark, then good luck with that fantasy. The point is this: you can see that from the center, the rings begin more or less concentric, easily identifiable emanations in their relating to each other, both looking back and looking ahead. But even then there are little differentiations occurring, which later on become more and more pronounced, until, behold, there is one ring that quite suddenly, from the one preceding it, looks radically different; it is veering with velocity off the concentric course; it looks like rupture, except that it is not, because it is in continuous fluence with the previous rings. It carries into itself all those previous differentiations in concentricity.

To misinterpret that radical-looking emergent ring is to misinterpret all the rings previous. The main thing is that it is going ahead, it is going forward. The point is not the shape but the thrust. Not the shape the tree is making but the inner thrust of the tree. To have that, is to be in continual connection with the life of the tree from its very beginning. That is tradition.