The Sense of Mystery: Clarity and Obscurity in the Intellectual Life

By Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.



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The Sense of Mystery highlights what is clear and what retains the character of mystery in the traditional and Thomistic solution concerning the great problems pertaining to our knowledge in general, to our knowledge of God (whether naturally or supernaturally attained), and to questions pertaining to grace. St. Thomas has fear neither for logic nor for mystery. Indeed, logical lucidity leads him to see in nature those mysteries that speak in their own particular ways of the Creator. Likewise, this same lucidity aids him in putting into strong relief other secrets of a far superior order—those of grace and of the intimate life of God, which would remain unknown were it not for Divine Revelation.

 

About the author:

Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (1877–1964), was a French Catholic theologian and leading Thomist of the twentieth century who taught at the Dominican Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, in Rome from 1909 to 1960.

About the translator:

Matthew K. Minerd is an instructor in philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University, Frederick, Maryland and at The Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Endorsements: 

“Next to his major works in fundamental theology (De Revelatione) and in philosophical theology (God: His Existence and Nature), this arguably is Garrigou-Lagrange’s most important theological contribution at the intersection of fundamental and dogmatic theology. Though considerably shorter, this book displays in focus and in substance a striking similarity to Matthias Josef Scheeben’s classic The Mysteries of Christianity. The Sense of Mystery considers the reality of the divine mystery, the way it informs the fundamental relationship between nature and grace, and, by way of the latter, shapes the central topics of dogmatic theology.

At a time when analytic hyper-rationalism, perspectivalist historicism, and pastoral intuitivism vie for the pole position in contemporary systematic theology, theologians and students thereof ignore at their own peril this welcome exercise in theological perspicuity and epistemic humility. The sacred monster of Thomism turns out to be a practitioner of theological sanity helping us understand what is theologically at stake in the face of the contemporary alternatives. Tolle, lege—Take and read!”

—Reinhard Hütter

Ordinary Professor of Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology

School of Theology and Religious Studies

The Catholic University of America

Washington, DC

 

“‘Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth’ (Fides et Ratio, Introduction). Thus, Pope St. John Paul II. His theological mentor composed this volume to explain why logic and mystery both serve revealed truth. All should welcome this English translation.”

—Romanus Cessario, O.P.

Saint John’s Seminary

Brighton, Massachusetts

 

“Is Garrigou-Lagrange also among the theologians of mystery? The answer is emphatically yes. We are in Matthew Minerd’s debt for producing such a fine translation with annotations that nicely contextualize Garrigou-Lagrange’s insights. It is past time to add Garrigou-Lagrange (and his sources) to the reading list of all who seek true ressourcement of the entire Catholic tradition. If liberal theology is to be opposed in the twenty-first century Church, we will need both the neo-scholastics and the nouvelle theologie, whose insights can now be gleaned without condemning the one or the other. May the publication of this book signal an end to the circular firing squad of those who should be allies in the struggle against Catholic Troeltschian theology.”

—Matthew Levering

James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology

Mundelein Seminary

Mundelein, Illinois

 

“In 1998, Pope John Paul II published Fides et Ratio, one of his seminal encyclicals, which examines the relationship of faith and reason thematically in light of the notion of three forms of wisdom: philosophical, theological, and mystical wisdom. This thematic approach has its precedent especially in this influential work of Garrigou-Lagrange, Le Sens du Mystere, now translated into English. This book explores questions of skepticism and metaphysical realism, knowledge of the existence of God, the supernatural life of faith, theology and its relation to the mystical life. A landmark book that should be widely read . . .”

—Thomas Joseph White, O.P.

Dominican House of Studies

Washington, DC

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