The call of the heart (“There is something over there…”). The desire to know that which calls the heart (“…what is it?”). The “step-by-step” understanding of “what is it?” in our hearts. The gradual fullness of Being as we approach yet never fully grasp it. The surety that we are not lost.
“There is something over there… what is it?” (Edith Stein)
The Moving toward that “something” and seeking to know “what it is,” we call spirituality. Spirituality is a journey of phases. Each phase is built on our theological, phenomenological, and ontological gifts. They are gifts that flow down from Heaven only to draw us back up with them.
Spirituality. Theology. Phenomenology. Ontology. These make up the composite processes moved by grace in a world built orderly “on the first day; on the second day…” that bring us ever gradually to the “what is it?” of the seventh day.
Moving forward to “what is it?” we pray, we listen, we desire what we hear, we discover the construct leading there. We write, we think, we pray some more. And the process continues from potency to act along an unchanging pathway.
“Something exists [dasein] that ‘lies at the bottom’ of the flow of our life, something that bears our living; I mean, a substance. I cannot not catch sight of this something directly. That it is, as well as what it is like and what it is, makes itself known to me in what I am immediately certain of and in what, at the moment this something appears behind it, stands there evincing, effecting, activating this something.” ~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 564-566). Kindle Edition.
We build axiomatic systems out of our intuition (phenomenology) to understand objectively who we are (ontology). In doing so, we move from potency to act, to new potency and new act (theology). Every new discovery opens more of the panorama before us (spirituality).
“Such is the dilemma of all human philosophizing: truth is but one, yet for us it falls into truths (plural) that we must master step by step. At some point we must plunge in to discover a greater expanse; yet when this broader horizon does appear, a new depth will open up at our point of entry.” ~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 439-441). Kindle Edition.
God frees us for this adventure by revealing himself to be the only true first principle from which we must begin. To stay true to this first principle is to have the assurance of faith on our way.
“For Thomas, the first axiom of philosophy—if we wish to use the word—is that God himself is the first Truth, the principle and criterion of all truth. From God proceeds any truth we can get hold of. The task of first philosophy follows from this fact: it must take God as its object. It must set forth the idea of God and the mode of his being and knowing.” ~ Stein, Edith. Knowledge and Faith (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 8) . ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.
Becoming and Being who we truly are, then, is a comprehensive system, glorious and substantive, with each facet – spirituality, theology, phenomenology, ontology – working through grace in perfect harmony. Spirituality is not simply a way to deal with the world or even primarily to understand it. It is the way to a phenomenological understanding of who we truly are in this world. How well we deal with the world, how we interpret the world in order to deal with it, will be based on how truly harmonized our system is that leads us to “what is it?” which is who we are in the mind of God.
What we acquire as we journey, that is, what we “have” through the ongoing act of understanding moved by the heart, becomes ever more substantively part of our being.
“But what does this ‘having’ mean for the person? Is this not the point of all we have said about all ‘having’ coming down to ‘being’?” ~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 2205-2206). Kindle Edition.