Misc notes on de Lubac’s Paradoxes of Faith

I had a few other excerpts from Henri de Lubac’s Paradoxes of Faith that I liked. I was tired though and didn’t want to write individual blog posts for them though so here they are in scrapbook format.

Advice to all young writers of memoirs and of various forms of philosophy at the very least. It is most of all advice to myself.

All serious thought is modest. It has no hesitation in going to school and staying there a long time. It is by dint of impersonality that it makes a conquest of itself and, without seeking to do so, becomes personal.


This passage makes me think of the public mania over brain scan imagery and how the “neuro” prefix has been attached to nearly everything lately to try and lend an argument some sort of illusionary legitimacy.

We do not know what man is, or rather, we forget. The farther we go in studying him, the greater our loss of knowledge of him. We study him like an animal or alike a machine. We see in him merely an object, odder than all the others. We are bewitched by physiology, psychology, sociology, and all their appendages.

Are we wrong, then, to pursue these branches of learning? Certainly not. Are the results bogus, then, or negligible? No. The fault lies not with them, but with ourselves, who know neither how to assign them their place nor how to judge them. We believe, without thinking, that the “scientific” study of man can, at least by right, be universal and exhaustive. So it has the same deceptive – and deadly – result as the mania of introspection or the search for a static sincerity. The farther it goes, the more fearful it becomes. It eats into man, disintegrates and destroys him.


Any authority is necessarily a teacher. It is only because we are still en route and our future state is not yet unfolded that, int eh voice of God our Father, we come to discern the Master commanding us and so have a strict feeling of obligation. It is for the same reason that there is a hierarchical authority in the Church. When God will be whole in everyone, in the Church Triumphant, the City of the Elect, there will no longer be any other hierarchy than that of charity.

Authority is ultimately based on charity, and its raison d’etre is education. The exercise of it, in the hands of those who hold any part of it whatever, should then be understood as pedagogy.


I’m actually still trying to make sense of this. Not sure if it’s profound or not!


We do not want a mysterious God. Neither do we want a God who is Some One. Nothing is more feared than this mystery God who is Some One. We would rather not be some one ourselves, than meet that Some One!



Professors of religion are always liable to transform Christianity into a religion of professors. The Church is not a school.


This makes sense coming from someone from a liturgical and sacramental tradition. Protestantism, on the other hand, has been dominated by the giant mondo teaching sermon. Honestly, I still very much enjoy the latter when done well, but I am less convinced that it’s place is in a worship gathering, rather than a school of sorts.

The passion of wanting to reform everything in the Church is for the most part in inverse proportion to the supernatural life; that is the reason why authentic and beneficial reforms almost never begin with such passion.


More argument for the slow burn of reform versus the mess of revolution.

“How can I present Christianity, you say?” – There is only one answer: as you see it.
“How can I present Christ?” – As you love him.
“How can I talk of faith?” – According to what it is for you.
There is in questions of this sort, when they encroach too far, not a positive duplicity, no doubt, but at least artifice, a lack of sincerity; because there is a lack of faith.


I wish someone would have given me this line a lot more in all those evangelism training sessions I went to while in college.

Christianity, it is said, owes this, that and the other to Judaism. It has borrowed this, that and the other from Hellenism. Or from Essenism. Everything in it is mortgaged from birth…
Are people naive enough to believe, before making a detailed study, that the supernatural excludes the possession of any earthly roots and any human origin? So they open their eyes and thereby shut them to what is essential, or, to put it better, to everything: which has Christianity borrowed Jesus Christ? Now, in Jesus Christ, “all things are made new”.


Fan-flippin’-tastic. The secularist says our roots are all in man. The literalist fundamentalist says they are all in God – as if the bible were penned by men in a trance. But we have roots of both kinds. Naturally.