Saturday, November 12, 2005

Heaven

Superadditum Naturae I've been distracted from Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity this week, but I'm still intending to do a number of selections on the blog. I'm working them in slowly so as not to be monotonous. Anyway, here is a short bit that I like very much. It's from the part of the Nicene Creed that says "He ascended into Heaven":
Hell consists in man's being unwilling to receive anything. It is the expression of enclosure in one's on being alone... that man will not take anything, but wants to stand entirely on his own feet, to be sufficient to himself. If this becomes utterly radical, then man has become the untouchable, the solitary, the reject... it is the nature of the upper end of the scale which we have called Heaven that it can only be received, just as one can only give Hell to oneself. "Heaven" is by nature what one has not made oneself and cannot make oneself; in Scholastic language it was said to be, as grace, a donum indebtum et superadditum naturae (an unowed gift added over and above nature). As fulfilled love, Heaven can always only be granted to man; but Hell is the loneliness of the man who will not accept it, who declines the status of beggar and withdraws into himself.

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