Sheed on Mystery

In his book, A Map of Life, Frank Sheed prefaces his discussion on the mysteries of faith with a clear outline on the nature of mystery:

What mystery is NOT

Mystery “does not mean a truth of which we cannot know anything… it is not to be conceived as a blank wall barring further progress… [it] is not the prohibition of thinking [or] as dangerous things that should be left alone” (81-2).

What mystery IS

Mystery “means a truth of which we cannot know everything… an endless gallery, into which we can advance ever deeper, to the great enrichment of our minds, but to the end of which we shall never come… an inexhaustible well of truth – a well from which for all eternity we can drink our fill yet which in all eternity we shall never drink to the last drop – so that we shall never know thirst… an invitation to think… food for the mind” (82).

Why we should ACCEPT mysteries

“Every mystery contains a certain nucleus of truth that is comprehended, surrounded on all sides by things that we do not comprehend. Think of it as a globe of light surrounded by darkness. The man who rejects mystery is rejecting the central globe of light and accepting the impenetrable darkness. Whereas for the man who accepts it, the light grows and expands, sending forth longer and longer rays into the darkness around” (82-3).

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