29 Nov 2016: The Theology of Learned Ignorance


Tuesday, 1st Week of Advent 

Reading 1. Is. 11: 1-10; Ps 72:1 -17; Gospel. Lk. 10: 21-24

In today’s gospel, Jesus praises the Father for revealing Himself to the little ones and not the wise and the learned. The first reflection that comes to the mind of all would be that Jesus is against the pursuit of a theoretical understanding of God. If that were to be the case the whole system of theology that we have built up over the years in the Church should be thrown away. But we ought to clarify the terms ‘little ones’ and ‘wise and learned.’ Are all those who try to use their reason and learn the theological doctrines out from the category of those ‘little ones’ to whom God reveals himself? If that were so, then the great theologians such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas should be out of this list. But the basic teaching that Jesus gives today is that the wise and the learned are those who think that they know God while the little ones humbly acknowledge the human limitation to know God. It is not going against a rational insight into God but realizing that all the human rationalistic and theological interpretations cannot exhaust the immensity of God. While speaking about God, theologian Nicholas Cusa uses the term learned ignorance. I try to know God but at the end I recognize that what I have learned is nothing and is still ignorant about God. Knowledge about God surpasses all rational and analytical categories. God reveals not through abstruse philosophical formulas but in the simple ordinary events of life. It is mystical and experiential and can’t be comprehended by mere words. Elijah sought God in the rain, thunder, splendor of the earthquake etc… but God came in a gentle breeze. At the end of his life, St. Thomas Aquinas abandoned the project of completing his work since he understood that God cannot be completed explored in theology. He ought to be encountered also in the struggles and pains of day-to-day living. Do I see the hand of God in the ordinary events of life?  If yes, then we are the little ones to which God reveals Himself. In this season of advent we await the coming of the redeemer of the world in a simple manger. Let us make ourselves the little ones to meet Jesus who would come in the ordinary situations of life.

Facebook Comments


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here