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Bro. Smith SGS

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Karl Rahner and the Spiritual Ascent of the Pilgrim
by Bro. Smith SGS   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, August 31, 2012
Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012

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A summary of Karl .Rahner's take on Spiritual Progression.


Hello there my spiritual friend,

This topic is nothing new to most, if not all Christians. This is because in all facets of thinking there is a beginning and an end with varietal stages of its progression or regression.

In particular, the Christian standard has three, originally articulated by Origen, furthered by Evigarius[1], Augustine[2], perpetuated down through the ages by numerous writers such as Aquinas and Bonaventure, and most common among Christians, today, is St. John of the Cross[3].

The late Karl Rahner S.J., in his Theological Investigations Vol. 3, Ch 1, addresses this issue in a remarkable way, such as no other to date quite has.

What Karl expresses and expounds upon, is the ease of expression of the virtues, and the awareness of the movements within our spirit. This becomes quite obvious, after 6 pages of him writing. By then we are into the era of Teresa of Avila [4] whose incredible efforts and meticulous work, similar to St John of the Cross, has been able to address the ‘psychological-factors’, not previously articulated by spiritual writers.

Karl continues to point out that these are mere ‘mile markers’ for one to ensure they are moving correctly towards their destination, and or the manifestation is taking shape correctly. Yet, what seems to be fuzzier and unclear is what can only be experienced and remains unarticulated. The experience, which cannot be uttered, much as Paul cries out in Corinthians, as being caught up into the third heaven.

This is because, what truly transcends our ability to express in words, is what the author of the ‘Cloud of Unknowing’ continually councils his young apprentice.[5] This is because what God is, exceeds all things we are familiar with, thereby able to reference. Now understandably, many will quickly assert they know God, and have a relationship with Him….This is true , to a certain extent, since we are all here and are in a learning phase, this has been remunerated countless times, ST. 2-2,q. 22a.9; q.1183a.4 by Aquinas.

More importantly, since there are no limitations with God, nor within Him, to validate, the extent of our achievement cannot be measured by any means known to mankind; it remains ineffable.  This too, is what Augustine, in his work  “Christian Doctrine” asserted in his infamous paradox, ‘On speaking of God’.[6] This same paradox is the very same which Meister Eckhart O.P. often recited.

May I say, at this point, that it remains imperative that you are capable and are experienced in the recognition and assessment of what you have learned. In the event you are not, the errors can be catastrophic.  This calls for the gift of discernment, and if you have been with me for some time, will readily recognize as being the supreme gift that I ask for all to seek from God.

What we are to recognize is what is within our ‘wake’ as we move through the waters, what remains is what others coming around us are experiencing and or are able to receive from being around us. We need to ensure that what is streaming from us that which is ‘life-giving’. This is not to say that we are a source, but more as an outlet. Not mere verbiage choice/ selections, but an honest recognition as being outlets for what is to pass through us. In the Gospels is a striking comment, it’s the story of the women with a continual hemorrhage, notice Christ’s response…”who touched Me, for I felt power leave Me.”

This statement is not only pregnant with triplets, but ripe for delivery of life.

First: The women’s notation of faith, in a similar fashion as that of the centurion, who just needed a word.

Second: Christ is aware of the spiritual movements within Him.

Thirdly: Nothing but what is required shall be disseminated.

Do you see this? What God does, is what is required at that time…there is no mention of cascading issues being resolved, nor of other extenuating circumstances, although theses are no doubt addressed as falling dominos. Look at all the miracles performed, all are singular and point specific, and yet their ramifications far exceed what appears at the point of encounter. This lack of full awareness is what I alluded to earlier when I mentioned that we are simply following mile markers, and need discernment.

As we come ever closer, in our uniting our selves to God, we shall readily possess a broader vision of things as they unfold, much like coming up over  a hill and what lays  on the other side, comes ever into view and where the end is as far as our eyes will make clear to us.

Oh my spiritual friend, make the time to seek God for the gift of discernment, and spiritual awareness.

Be ready at all times, observe the movements of your spirit and observe the ‘domino effect’.


Bro. Smith SGS 








[1] See Desert Fathers Series Vol. 4

[2] See Pilgrim’s Pantry Vol. 4.

[3] See Great Christina Mystical Writings Vol. 1 & 2

[4] See Pilgrim’s Pantry Vol. 3 & Women of Faith, Vol. 1

[5][5] See Great Christina Mystical Writings Vol. 5

[6] See Pilgrim’s Pantry Vol. 4.

Web Site: Revelation Insight Publishing Co.

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