But boy, it drives me nuts sometimes—while redirecting me, graciously, to the sources of my own personal faith.
This morning, Bill presented on the Eastern Orthodox interpretation of Mary. Within ten minutes, we were arguing (arguing!) about such matters as:
- the precise meaning of the Immaculate Conception
- whether Mary died or merely fell asleep before the Assumption
- whether Jesus's "brothers" were really brothers, or only cousins
- the meaning of the filioque clause
- the meaning of Theotokos
- the meaning of until (as in Matthew 1:25—"And [Joseph] did not know her until she had brought forth her firstborn son")
This is what occurred to me, as I slumped back in my chair, knowing that I had neither the knowledge of dogma nor the intellectual firepower (at least at this hour, 8 a.m.) to enter the fray. It is entirely enough for me that:
- God so loved us that he gave us his own son;
- That this son, the incarnate Word of our Heavenly Father, actually appeared here on earth and showed men just like me His face;
- That He was born from the womb of a virgin;
- That He spoke to us and told us what to do; and
- That, as St. John of the Cross wrote, God has nothing more to say.
The argumentation, the dogma, and all the puffed-up reasons for the split between Eastern and Western Churches—all that's for someone smarter than me, and with way more time on his hands.