The Fullness of God: Frithjof Schuon on Christianity (Writings of Frithjof Schuon)

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9780941532587: The Fullness of God: Frithjof Schuon on Christianity (Writings of Frithjof Schuon)
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For the first time, this book collects from Schoun's vast corpus his writings on Christianity, including selections from his personal correspondence and other previously unpunblished materials.

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About the Author:

James S. Cutsinger is an author, editor, and teacher whose writings focus primarily on Perennialism and the theology and spirituality of the Christian East. He is professor of Theology and Religious Thought at the University of South Carolina.

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Chapter 1: 1. Outline of the Christic Message

If we start from the incontestable idea that the essence of all religions is the truth of the Absolute with its human consequences, mystical as well as social, the question may be asked how the Christian religion satisfies this definition; for its central content seems to be not God as such, but Christ—that is, not so much the nature of the divine Being as its human manifestation. Thus a Patristic voice aptly proclaimed: "God became man that man might become God"; this is the Christian way of saying that "Brahma is real; the world is appearance". Christianity, instead of simply juxtaposing the Absolute and the contingent, the Real and the illusory, proposes from the outset a reciprocity between the one and the other: it sees the Absolute a priori in relation to man, and man—correlatively —is defined in conformity with this reciprocity, which is not only metaphysical, but also dynamic, voluntary, eschatological. It is true that Judaism proceeds in an analogous fashion, but to a lesser degree: it does not define God in relation to the human drama, hence starting from contingency, but it does establish a quasi-absolute relationship between God and His people: God is "the God of Israel"; the symbiosis is immutable; however, God remains God, and man remains man; there is no "human God" or "divine man".

Be that as it may, the reciprocity posited by Christianity is metaphysically transparent, and it is necessarily so, on pain of being an error. Unquestionably, once we are aware of the existence of contingency or relativity, we must know that the Absolute is interested in it in one way or another, and this means first of all that contingency must be prefigured in the Absolute, and then that the Absolute must be reflected in contingency; this is the ontological foundation of the mysteries of Incarnation and Redemption. The rest is a matter of modality: Christianity proposes on the one hand an abrupt opposition between the "flesh" and the "spirit", and on the other hand—and this is its esoteric side—its option for "inward- ness" as against the outwardness of legal prescriptions and as against the "letter that killeth". In addition, it operates with that central and profoundly characteristic sacrament which is the Eucharist: God does not limit Himself to promulgating a Law; He descends to earth and makes Himself Bread of life and Drink of immortality.

In relation to Judaism, Christianity comprises an aspect of esoterism through three elements: inwardness, quasi-unconditional charity, the sacraments. The first element consists in more or less disregarding outward practices and accentuating the inward attitude: what matters is to worship God "in spirit and in truth"; the second element corresponds to the Hindu ahimsa, "non-harming", which can go so far as to renounce our legitimate rights, hence deliberately to step out of the mesh of human interests and social justice; it is to offer the left cheek to him who has struck the right and always to give more than one has to. Islam marks a return to Mosaic "realism", while integrating Jesus into its perspective as a prophet of Sufic "poverty"; be that as it may, Christianity itself, in order to be able to assume the function of a world religion, had to attenuate its original rigor and present itself as a socially realistic legalism, at least to a certain degree.

If "God became man", or if the Absolute became contingency, or if Necessary Being became possible being—if such is the case, one can understand the meaning of a God who became bread and wine and who made communion a condition sine qua non of salvation; not, to be sure, the sole condition, for communion demands the quasi-permanent practice of prayer, which Christ commands in his parable of the unjust judge and the importance of which is stressed by Saint Paul when he enjoins the faithful to "pray without

ceasing". One can conceive of a man who, prevented from taking communion, is saved by prayer alone, but one cannot conceive of a man who would be prevented from praying and who would be saved through communion alone; indeed, some of the greatest saints, at the beginning of Christianity, lived in solitude without being able to take communion, at least for several years. This is explained by the fact that prayer takes precedence over everything, consequently that it contains communion in its own way and does so necessarily, since in principle we bear within ourselves all that we can obtain from without; "the kingdom of God is within you". Means are relative; not so our fundamental relationship with the Absolute.

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Book Description World Wisdom Books, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Fullness Of God is the first in a new series of titles from World Wisdom featuring the essential writings of Frithjof Schuon. Here for the first time in one volume are the most important of Schuon s chapters on the Christian tradition. The Fullness Of God has been organised in such a way as to guide the reader from matters of metaphysical principle, through various theological and hermeneutical issues, to operative questions of spiritual practice and method. Specific topics include the relationship between Christianity and non Christian religions; the divergence within Christianity between its main branches, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant; the place of reason and faith in Christianity and their knowledge or gnosis; the principle and application of a mystical exegesis of Scripture; the central dogmas of the Trinity and Incarnation, as well as Eucharistic and Marian doctrine; and Christian initiation, contemplative practice, and, and prayer of the heart. The volume concludes with a short appendix of previously unpublished material, including samples from Schuon s correspondence with various Christian seekers. Editor s notes, a glossary of foreign terms and a comprehensive index are, also, included to make this volume a very useful tool for students, as well as a rich mine for seekers after the sacred. Seller Inventory # ANB9780941532587

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