Fr. Albert Nolan: Caught between chaos and promise


A parishioner here at the Cathedral pointed me toward this transcript of a podcast on the National Catholic Report site. The interview is between a Dominican priest, Fr. Albert Nolan and it is a wide ranging discussion of his latest book Jesus Today—A Spirituality of Radical Freedom.

There’s so many interesting parts to this interview: a discussion of modernity and its failings, a conversation about the limits of scientific inquiry, the roots of literary deconstruction, and how all of this is tied up in a recognition of Our Lord’s gospel message.

Here Nolan is talking about the role of mystery:

“I think we don’t know what God is, and that is pretty traditional theology, anyway. We don’t know what God is, but we can know that God is, and that is a different thing.

Knowing that God is means that we can experience ourselves in the midst of mystery. We can experience all of life and all of the universe, including ourselves as mystery. There again, it is an attitude like the gratitude one; this time it is saying everything is mysterious.

Everything is a mystery. That doesn’t mean to say everything is disappointing because we would like to know it all instead of facing it as a mystery. Rather, it is recognizing that we don’t know, but it is so much bigger, greater, grander than anything we do know.

That we are in the presence of colossal mystery goes far beyond us and is much bigger than we are. That leads to a kind of attitude of praise and worship and adoration and things like that, but then also the recognition that the mystery loves me and you and everybody else. So, it is a mystery of love.”

Read the rest here.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...