Every being, everything created, is a mystery: and so are the evils that come about. This appeal to mystery Job had already heard and rejected. After all, it may be precisely the mystery that gives scandal – scandal, that is, in the etymological sense, the thing that causes us to trip and fall down. But it may also, as Pascal said, be something to be reverenced. The parting of the ways between revolt and worship lies very deep down, at the secret center of the heart, where we make the choice either to be ourselves the supreme arbiters or frankly to admit that God infinitely transcends us. What it comes to, ultimately, is that our frank acceptance of our condition as creatures must be more than intellectual, it must also be lived out. As the creator’s partners by virtue of our freedom, we have to realize our condition as unequal partners of the living God and so voluntarily submit to be led where he wills.

For this it is necessary that we encounter him personally, not to argue with him any more, but to be ourselves questioned and freely submit. God’s whole treatment of souls that he seeks to draw to him aims at getting them to say “yes” at an even deeper level first by conversion and faith, then by entering upon the successive stages of the spiritual life. But conversion is effected by putting oneself in the presence of the living God at an existential point, a point where there is nothing but him and our true selves, from which he has brushed away, as it were, the various “havings” that serve us as alibis and lead us to evade the decisive issues of “being.”

Father Yves Congar, O.P., (+1995) was a French Dominican, a theologian, and an official peritus at the Second Vatican Council.