Mystery suggests more than it says. When something is mysterious, we do
not entirely understand it. It cannot entirely be explained. Once you can fully explain a
mystery it no longer remains one.
Mystery is like poetry, enlarging our understanding
but never quite capable of being restated.
Mystery is open-ended, revelatory, and renewable.
Mystery can be communed with.
Mystery discloses itself but has deep resources that
can be drawn on.
Mystery humbles us, even as it also ennobles us.
Mystery is both present and absent.
Mystery is ever expanding yet always subtracting.
Christ is God's mystery revealed.
Christ is mystery because he can teach us more than
we can know.
Christ is God's mystery revealed because he offers
us more than we can ever receive. He, as God's mystery made known, can only be received,
paradoxically, when we offer all we are yet lay aside all we are.
Even as we learn more, we learn how little we know.
Living with literature can perhaps teach us something about living with the mystery of
Christ. At its best, a good work of art cannot be exhausted, summed up, or written off. It
continues to suggest more. Mystery in literature often presents us with elements
that are not spelled out because to do so would ruin the art. Matters are best left
fuzzy and unfocused. This leaves us with the opportunity to keep returning to tease
out a little more of the meaning each time we read. We keep waiting for the hints.
Equally, literature asks us to live
with the paradoxical and to stay open to metaphors. A paradox cannot be fully
explained, or it ceases to be a paradox. Metaphors at their best overflow with
additional meaning; they show us the world in a way we had not previously seen it.
And that too is following Christ. Mystery, after all, asks us to wait patiently that
we might know more.
* * * * *
Central Insight: The experience of
mystery in literature is analogous (but not identical) to the experience of mystery in
faith; it shares with it a certain kind of stance towards life.
Suggestions for Application: Locate
a particular use of mystery, mystery, or complex metaphor in a literary work. Be
sure to discuss the specifics of this. Draw an analogy between this and your own