Wednesday, May 24, 2006

the art of being perplexed

Fr Anthony Ugolnik makes the following observation towards the end of an essay he contributed to Orthodoxy and Western Culture, a collection honoring Jaroslav Pelikan on his eightieth birthday:

"We need to be perplexed together. We need to rediscover the humility to be puzzled, the courage to engage the ambiguities and conundrums in our texts and look to each other to find the flashes and refractions of answers in places we least expect them. Orthodoxy, with its respect for culturally embodied expressions of the Truth, and its willingness to extend that embodiment to any culture, has the potential to quench the hunger not for the right answers, but for the Mystery, the Mysterion that will ever, and forever, engage us all."

As the father of three little girls, one of whom is severely affected by autism, I find this openness to perplexity strangely consoling. While I still hunger for the "right answers," my desire is firmly embedded within a Communion nourished by the Holy Mystery of Christ-Crucified-and-Risen. And that makes all the difference.