The speech of faith

Separate aspects of faith disintegrate only for scholastic theology, but, in living life, these aspects, each retaining its independence, become so closely interwoven that one idea imperceptibly evokes another. For a scholastic theologian, it is easy to say that the concepts Church, Holy Spirit, and Son of God are different: easy, because in his consciousness they are only concepts. But for a believer for whom all of these are realities that cannot be experienced independently of one another, realities that are interpenetrating and interconnected; for a believer who perceives them in their living givenness; for whom the Church is tangibly the body of Christ, the fullness of the Spirit sent by Christ; for such a believer, it is painful to make sharp divisions and separations, for they cut through living flesh. The speech of faith is in no wise like the speech of theology, and faith clothes its knowledge of dogmatic truth in a symbolic garment, in figurative language, which covers the higher truth and depth of contemplation in consistent contradictions.
Fr. Pavel Florensky


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