Participating in being out of free goodness

Human freedom can only be understood through creature participation. And their goal is love from and in the truth. Everything else is metaphysical fake news: the claim of a pure self-origin of created freedom, whose creation is either obscured in its constitution or (how?) simply should not play a role, makes God either a liar or a mythical magician who flicks his creative finger and a quasi-divine counterpart sits down who should no longer bear the ontological imprint of creation. Because, it is argued, only then is man truly free. God should please stay out of it. Such a discourse is of course only possible as a postulate – and not as a real metaphysical analysis of the conditions for the creation of freedom. And: It not only logically leads directly to Absurdistan, but in Absurdistan the abyss of nihilism opens up.

In this abyss, the balloon of pseudo-divine inflated freedom bursts into drooling fragments that disappear into the darkness of utter insignificance. No, and again no to such false news in the form of a new false postulate – to make room for the great divine yes: the meaning of freedom is love – and not freedom again. Such freedom comes moment by moment from God’s loving and liberating hand. It is freedom from participation, given to oneself to respond to free love with free love. This is the only way to avoid going to absurdity and disappearing into the dark emptiness of nihilism. That is the thesis of this article. Let’s see!

Participation in being or the rediscovered Thomas

Being is actual, but it does not exist. This initially enigmatic, even incomprehensible statement from St. Thomas Aquinas presented the Thomas-oriented thinkers with a challenge – roughly speaking – in the middle of the 20th century. First in the form of a historical (re)discovery: Cornelio Fabro in Italy and the Dominican Louis Bertrand Geiger in Fribourg, Switzerland located the organizing center of Thomasian metaphysics, which had been lost for centuries, in the context of this statement.

Methexis, participatio, participation, a key word in Platonic thought, suddenly turned out to be the real center of the “Aristotelian” Thomas’s metaphysical thinking in a highly original twist and appropriation. And “Thomas a creatore” (as Chesterton had renamed the Dominican Carmelite to accurately characterize his thinking) was able to think with this Platonic figure in the Aristotelian context what a philosophical thinking inspired by Christianity is tasked to think: what Does it mean one to be a being? For creature is not a nominalist or conceptualist label applied to the exterior of creature, but, if it is true that we are creatures, the inner structure of its being. And the secret behind this structure, and therefore also about the structure of freely created being, being given in one’s own hands, means participation – not of natural necessity, but of free goodness. Precisely this structure is hidden in the initially enigmatic statement about being, which is current but not existing, and which, after the historians of philosophy, also intensively challenged great speculative thinkers such as Gustav Siewerth and Ferdinand Ulrich.

Aries is current

So: Being is actual, but it does not exist. Being here does not mean the divine being that stands (experiences) by itself, nor the end point, the end point of the act of creation, the concrete, individual being that I meet in the world and that I am myself, but rather that through such a being is real in the first place. Because everything that is such a being does not let us understand that it really is. No created being is in itself real. Its real being is distinguishable—not just conceptually, but actually—from all that it is. It does not bear the basis of its reality in itself, but receives it at every moment from the hand of the Creator. It “is” not out of itself, but out of participation in being (esse participatum). With this we have come a significant step closer to the enigmatic statement that being is actual but not subsisting. But what does a reality mean now – i.e. a way of being real – that “does not exist”? For subsistence is again a way of being real; a being “replaces”, that’s how one could describe it in a first approximation, which “has taken a position on”, which therefore meets concretely and individually.

Well, something that is up-to-date, i.e. real in the most intense way, but does not stand in itself – happens, is an event. So Thomas says here: That which conveys reality to concrete beings, and which we call “being” (esse, ipsum esse, esse commune), is not already the designation, the last point in the act of creation, where a concrete, individual being has its In other words, the event, the permanent event, where the creature becomes in time from eternity to every moment by coming out of the hand of God. This, then, is the creature’s innermost secret, its innermost imprint and its deepest structure. And this is also the last, inevitable and necessary structure of creaturely freedom. From this it is now understandable what it means to be surrendered to oneself anew in every moment. This is a unique relationship – and there are already indications that the alternative of heteronomy and autonomy is simply meaningless here in light of the uniqueness of this relationship.

The full return to yourself

Now what distinguishes creaturely freedom, which we already know comes from participation in being, a participation that God creates in every moment, from all other creatures? Let us first state that a reality that is given into its own hands, that exercises dominion over its actions (dominium sui), we call a person. So what distinguishes created persons from all other created beings? A reality given in its own hand must have an active relationship with itself. This is more than the uplifting subjectivity that we already find wherever we have spontaneous self-maintenance, growth, self-movement, finally also sensuous organization up to the inner memory image, where the unity of a being no longer merely passively “exists”, but is carried out from within.

The tradition in which Thomas stands considers these realities, where the points mentioned vary in many ways, from the greatest simplicity to high complexity, the kingdoms of plants and animals, to be animated – but not yet personal and free in the true sense. For this, the uplifting subjectivity must be completed in the ability to return completely to itself (reditio completa). Paradoxically, that which is able to return to itself completely from sensuality must always already have returned to itself at the core of its reality. Where this is the case, we are dealing not only with animation, but with a soul (as the organizing center of a reality that is both material and animated at the same time) determined by spirit. Now here is person and here is freedom. How? A being capable of returning completely to itself, because it has always returned to itself in its core, relates to itself by surpassing itself at the same time, practically infinitely, i.e. infinite. A reality that is completely absorbed in itself, so to speak completely fixed in itself, cannot know about itself. Only in self-transcendence do I possess myself consciously – and potentially lovingly. For now it is already opening: The loving devotion of myself is possible only through self-possession.

The abundance of good and the variety of goods

Only by transcending myself do I possess myself consciously and can become the origin of my actions. This is where we come full circle. For who opens this limitless horizon for me, in which I (myself) can know, act and finally love? In its actuality, which does not exist but ends only in myself, I cannot be G myself

be round Because I am constitutively limited. Rather: He justifies me, he lets the light of truth shine before me, in which everything I meet in the world stands. And even more: for me as a developing and at the same time finite being, the horizon of the good opens up, as a luminous, shining fullness, inwards and at the same time radically transcendent for me, in which the fullness of the world. of goods within me and without me appear: precious, inviting, arousing longing and yet separated from the equally promising and relentless light that makes me ask: what do I really want deep down? This horizon, which unfolds before me in every moment, sets me free in every moment and transcends attachment to any possible simple and ultimate good. And he calls me: When I return to myself, I touch the transcendent ground of my existence.

What opens before me when I climb down into this earth is the sign of participation, behind which God as creator withdraws and manifests at the same time. But what is indicated in this call is selfless goodness, which is judgment and promise at the same time, judgment on my guilty imprisonment within myself, promise of transforming fellowship. In this alone lies ultimately the meaning of freedom: love, love calls.

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