Luther Love Disscussion Essay, Research Paper
Love As Ethic and Idea
Rewrite Paper 2
Spring April 2001
Throughout history and especially since the sixteenth century many Roman Catholic’s like Martin Luther, have distinguished ordinary or “acquired” prayer, even if occurring at a super conceptual level of love, adoration, and desire for God, from the extraordinary or “absorbed” contemplation which is entirely the work of God’s special grace. Only the latter is mystical in a strict sense, according to this view. Other writers, such as Bonaventure, can apply the terms of mysticism to all communions with God.
Martin Luther, a fifteen-century monk, questions all that is caritas though three campaigns. The first campaign Luther uses attacks the heavenly ladder. The heavenly ladder becomes questionable to Luther. Martin Luther believes if there was such a ladder then it would be God in all his perfection coming to us, and not the other way around. We cannot simply climb up to God in heaven by human actions alone. The second campaign Luther uses attacks the “formula fides caritate formata” (also known as faith formed by caritas). Martin Luther refuses the idea of indulgences, which spare you from purgatory. In other words Luther can not accept paying for absolution. As if God can be bribed to climb the fictional ladder used in the first campaign. The third and final campaign (I will mention) Luther uses attacks the self-love of caritas. Martin Luther argues that self-love is inherently bad. This self love is the ultimate expression of sin, in the Luther’s opinion one should “love thy neighbor” instead of yourself. This self-love
carries the idea of selfishness. God should be the only one to through you, love you and others.
Luther discusses laws for the Reformation of caritas. One must first “Hammer,” which means to breakdown our self-love. The second laws that Martin Luther discusses
Is “Mirror,” which reveals our self to our sin. Luther suggests that though grace one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. While Luther had a well-known antipathy to mystics, it is also true that there is the foundation of mystical life in his theology of the heart, particularly in his early thought. Perhaps through mysticism on can gain grace to stand with God.
Bonaventure emphasized the total dependence of all things upon God, and he wrote guides to mystic contemplation. There are certain common fallacies current about mysticism: that mystics are not “practical” and that they are revolutionary. On the contrary, many of the greatest mystics have been both intensely active as well as submissive to authority of whatever sort. Mysticism does not promote solitary thinking. Nor is the “solitary thinker” necessarily, or even usually, a mystic. Mysticism mainly states that God is all around us in nature in and in us. There is no need for a church and system to be close with God or to be one with him.
There are two general tendencies in the speculation of mystics—to regard God as outside the soul, which rises to its God by successive stages, or to regard God as dwelling within the soul and to be found by delving deeper into one’s own reality. The idea of transcendence, as held most firmly by mystics, is the kernel of the ancient mystical
system, Neoplatonism, and of Gnosticism. Their explanation of the connection between God and humans by emanation is epoch-making in the philosophy of contemplation.
In the plain language of old-fashioned theology “man’s sin is stamped upon man’s universe.” One can see a false world because we live a sham life. According to mysticism the average people do not know themselves; hence do not know the true character of their senses and instincts; hence attribute wrong values to their suggestions and declarations concerning our relation to the world. This lucid apprehension of the True is what mysticism means when it speak of the Illumination, which results from a faithful acceptance of the trials of the Purgative Way. That which we call the “natural” self as it exists in the “natural” world–the ” Adam” of St. Paul–is wholly incapable of super-sensual adventure. All its activities are grouped about a center of consciousness whose correspondences are with the material world. In the moment of its awakening, it is abruptly made aware of this disability. It knows itself finite. It now aspires to the infinite. It is encased in the hard crust of individuality: it aspires to union with a larger self. It is fettered: it longs for freedom. Its every sense is attuned to illusion: it craves for harmony with the Absolute Truth. Some believe that God is the only Reality and a human is real only as far as it is in His order, and He is in this person. As stated before god with Luther, God loves through you. Whatever form the mystical adventure may take it, must begin with a change in the attitude of the subject; a change which will introduce it into the order of Reality, and enable it to set up permanent relations with an Object which is not normally part of its universe. Therefore, though the end of mysticism is not adequately
defined as goodness, it entails the acquirement of goodness. The virtues are the “ornaments of the spiritual marriage” because that marriage is union with the Good no
less than with the Beautiful and the True. Primarily, then, the self must be purged of all that stands between it and goodness of God: putting on the character of reality instead of the character of illusion or “sin.” It longs ardently to do this from the first moment in which it sees itself in the all-revealing radiance of the Noncreated Light.
Purgatory is devoted to the cleansing of pride and the production of humility: the inevitable–one might almost say mechanical–result of a vision, however fleeting, of Reality, and an undistorted sight of the earthbound self. All its life that self has been measuring it’s candlelight by other candles. Now for the first time it is out in the open air and sees the sun.
More recent theological understandings of mystical theology define characteristics less precisely and seek to fit mystical theology more centrally into a celestial and soterio-logical framework. Catholic theologians have sought to locate mystical theology in a scriptural and liturgical context, emphasizing the believer’s participation in the mystery of God’s reconciliation with his creatures in Christ, especially in the sacraments. Many attempts have been made to describe the fundamental characteristics of mystical experience. Traditionally it has been asserted that the experiential union of creature and Creator is inexpressible and ineffable, although those who have experienced it seek imagery and metaphors to describe it, however imperfectly. As noted above, it is experienced union or vision, not abstract knowledge. It is beyond
the level of concepts, for reasoning, ideas, and sensory images have been transcended (but not rejected) in an intuitive union.
Thus it is super rational and super intellectual, not antirational or anti – intellectual. In one sense the soul is passive, because it experiences God’s grace poured into it. Yet the union is not symbiotic, because the soul consents to and embraces the spiritual marriage. Although some authors also stress the transient and fleeting nature of mystical union, others describe it as lasting for a definite, even prolonged period of time.
Mysticism can be used with Luther’s arguments based on grace as stated before. As stated before grace, described by Luther, can be created by living the “moral life.” Both Luther and Mysticism state God as the true love and the Human body is just a vessel. Grace is a gift from god and can not be gained by human demand. The living God cannot be reduced to a system made by church. To gain grace just for the intention of getting God’s attention is selfish. Both Luther and Mysticism agree that one must believe in God though inside oneself.