Saturday, July 30, 2011

Moments of Recognition

You ever have one of those moments that speaks to something universal in humanity?

I remember once in college when one of my mathematics professors, who was kind of a mean guy--mean in a soccer-coach-esque way, not really in a bad way--had a brief moment of confusion and stumbled while trying to finish a proof during a class.

I remember his disappointment with himself at the time. I remember getting an e-mail later on which finished the proof. It was a moment, as I recall, that spurred me to compassion, as I realized that all of us--even those of us who are normally quite confident and clear-headed about something--sometimes fail to be so. And our weaknesses are shown to the world.

It is good for all of us to recognize those moments in others, those moments of understanding, when hearts are, however briefly, worn on sleeves. But what do we do with that moment of understanding, when the weakness or ugliness or beauty of someone else is revealed in a way we're not used to?

Of course, the Scripture speaks of a time when all secrets will be revealed to God*--whether to the rest of us, it is unclear, or at least something I currently un-remember. Of course, one would suppose that at least for those of us in Heaven there will be no need to hide our hearts. But what do we do in the meantime, when we reach a moment of recognition, a secret weakness or ugliness or even beauty that we didn't know was there before?

I'm curious about the theology of secrets. In particular, does the Confessional have anything to teach to us (particularly those of us who are Catholic, but perhaps in other quarters) about secrets and secrecy vis-a-vis the divine? And how do we--or do we need to--reconcile the keeping of secrets that are ugly with the call to transparency?

Obviously I don't think it's so simple as "transparency trumps anyone's desire to keep a secret, ever," or I wouldn't be asking the question.

If anyone has a relevant verse or theological reflection to share relating to secrets, feel free. I'm curious to see where my explorations go.


* I should clarify, based on a Facebook message from someone who was having trouble commenting, that I think I am thinking of the notion of having to give an account of oneself on judgment day, though I ought to add that if there's a Scripture which says this plainly, it's not coming to my mind right now.

1 comment:

Kev Johnston said...

I wish there was just a like button on your post sometimes. Stupid FB bleeding over into other areas...

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