Karl Rahner and Ignatian Spirituality
A book I sent away for has finally arrived - Karl Rahner and Ignatian Spirituality by Philip Endean SJ. I've been getting more interested in Rahner lately and I've been interested in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola since that past online retreat, so I think this book will be helpful (saying I can understand any of it :).
Here's just the first few paragraphs from the second chapter, The Immediate Experience of God ......
In 1978 Rahner gave an interview about the Ignatian Exercises. At the outset he distinguished the Exercises in the full sense from two other styles of Christian formation -- styles often associated with the Exercises and easily confused with them. The first of these Rahner termed 'a course of theological instruction'. Ironically, perhaps ruefully, Rahner made a disclaimer: 'perhaps all the books I wrote about the Ignatian Exercises are, on the whole, not Ignatian Exercises in the full sense of the word, but theological treatises'. Rahner also distinguished the Exercises from 'practices of a meditative type, particularly in the style of Eastern meditation', in which 'it is a matter of becoming tranquil, of a certain silencing of purposeful thoughts, of quiet, perhaps also of a certain openness towards deeper existential layers of the human person'. In the Exercises, something different was at stake:
In contrast to exercises in self-awareness (so far as this is possible), and in contrast to a verbal theological indoctrination, however important this latter can be, the Exercises are concerned with something else. It is a matter here ... of letting the Creator and the creature, as Ignatius says, deal immediately with each other ... It is nothing other than this experience to which Ignatius in the Exercises wants to lead a person.
Quite evidently, the elderly Rahner associates Ignatius with 'the immediate experience of God' -- unmittelbare Gotteserfahrung. This kind of experience is deeper and more radical than the encounter with God fostered by liturgical prayer or mediated through Church structures. In a secularized, pluralist society, the survival of Christian commitment will depend on such an 'ultimate, immediate encounter of the individual with God' .......
This is what I like best about Ignatius - his idea that God will interact directly with us - and I'm looking forward to seeing how Rahner interprets the idea. May post more from the book later.