The Philosophical Foundations of Le Royaume
Unreflective certainty... the “divine glance”
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What happens in our model after the “divine glance,” referred to by St. Thérèse in her Oblation to Merciful Love? We equate this phenomenon to the intuitive “unreflective certainty” referred to by Edith Stein. We benefit now by identifying the genres of acts with more specificity. Are we being religious? Spiritual? Philosophical? All three? How do the various classifications fit together in this model? Our movement through the continuum of potency and act toward who we are in the mind of God has grace as its efficient cause. However, the living waters of grace running through our soul, like the natural waters of the earth running through a meadow, flow by various paths. These living waters twist and turn, obeying a mysterious supernatural law just as natural waters are moved seemingly by hidden laws of nature. Grace is one, but the channels are many.
We begin with the “divine glance” itself. The moment of “unreflective certainty” preceding our rational thought fits into a category we would call phenomenological. One of the truly great blessings we received from Edith Stein’s intellectual journey from a Jewish phenomenologist to a Catholic Carmelite nun (and finally as a canonized martyr by her death at Auschwitz) is the reconciliation of Phenomenology with Medieval Scholasticism. As a result, we can integrate the acts of our natural philosophy more seamlessly with our spirituality and religion.
Edith was the student of, and later the caretaker for, Edmund Husserl, the founder of modern Phenomenology. After her conversion to Catholicism, she did not abandon her life’s work; instead, she opened one more mysterious channel of grace by reconciling her Phenomenology with her faith. With her aid, we recognize the “divine glance” as a phenomenological “what” bequeathed to us by God and a gift of intuitive “unreflective certainty.” It is a spark that inflames our faith.
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