Schindler (Ordering Love: Liberal Societies and the Memory of God, p. 301) suggests that “creaturely power begins in wonder and gratitude before the inherent beauty of the Other.” Wonder is not a passive contemplation, he’s saying, but the source of our initiative, power, and creativity: “The power of creaturely being originates and consists primarily in the beauty of the Other: it is the attractiveness of the Other become effective in the self.”
This sounds abstract, but it’s describing daily experience. I love Jesus my Lord; His goodness and beauty attractive me; and that attraction moves me to acts of devotion and love; His beauty awakens my powers, including especially bodily powers, to honor and worship Him.
It is only by acknowledging the littleness of our creaturehood that we come to have true power: “Creaturely power begins in and presupposes all along the way precisely ‘littleness’ . . . , but the pertinent point is that this littleness turns immediately into genuine power. . . . It does so by virtue of the beauty that is made effective in me, and immediately also now with me and through me . . . by the littleness that constitutes me as a ‘handmaid,’ one whose being is structurally subordinate to the Other.” Creatures become power “precisely through obedience.” And we’re back again to Marian ontology.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm
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