Quote of the day, considered during Mass, from “The idea of the holy : an inquiry into the non-rational factor in the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational”

By Rudolf Otto, 1923:

WHILE the feelings of the non-rational and numinous
constitute a vital factor in every form religion may take,
they are pre-eminently in evidence in Semitic religion and
most of all in the religion of the Bible. Here Mystery lives
and moves in all its potency.

Which I submit captures a part of the essence of the matter. And does much to explain the enduring appeal of the Latin Mass. “Mystery . . . in all its potency,” yes. It’s deep.

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  • Jennifer Bartoli-Kalina  On 09/25/2017 at 4:05 PM

    Thank you, Jim. Have saved your link to read later. C S Lewis refers to “Professor Otto” in his INTRODUCTORY to The Problem of Pain, published first in 1940. We’ve broached this subject a few times in our Chesterton group. Putting words to such experience is challenging but fascinating to discover the right ones




    • Jim Bowman  On 09/25/2017 at 8:00 PM

      Otto was practicing natural theology, or theodicy, the study of God by natural means, as it were, not drawing on revelation at all. It’s the argument for our age, I think, when revelation is having a specially hard time of it, for various reasons.


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