Book: Freedom, Grace and Destiny
Author: Romano Guardini
Henry Regnery Co. pp. 251
Excerpt from Foreward:
Early Christian thought had a universal view. Augustine draws no methodological division between philosophy and theology or, in philosophy, between between metaphysics and psychology, with theology, between theoretical dogma and practical application to life but his mind proceeds from the whole Christian existence to consider the total pattern and its different parts. This position remained fundamentally the same till the peak point of the Middle Ages had been passed. Thomas Aquinas took considerable trouble to draw critical distinctions as well as to give a comprehensive synthesis. But the basis of this thinking was, none the less, the living consciousness of the unity of Christian existence as world and grace. . . .
The time has come for us to take our stand again, to think and live, in Christian existence as a whole, in the sense of the Pauline words: "All is yours but you are Christ's." It is time to realize that all divisions have only a methodological value and that what really exists is the world and man in the world, as called by God and judged and redeemed. It is time for us to consider the whole as a whole. In the process we shall preserve all that has been won in the long, sustained efforts of previous centuries: a critical conscience, careful differentiation, and the serious discussion of scientific questions. Our formula is in no sense one of "Back to the past." It can only be a forward movement, transcending divisions to attain to the whole, with the approach which once was that of Western man but which now, after an interval of five hundred years, has become more critical, more earnest, and more detached.
Excerpt from Book:
Destiny, in our experience, is what cannot be changed, what cannot be avoided, what forces itself upon us. . . .
Destiny has its basis in the entire length and breath of the world and history. This we recognize easily if we trace back the lines of development of some event that has affected us. I applied for some post — to take an instance — and did not get it. For this there are grounds in myself, and these have their precedent grounds in my action, milieu, education, descent and so forth. There are grounds also in the persons who made the decision, which in turn have preceding grounds both in the individual and more generally. The connections soon multiply and spread till the become lost in space and time. When I seek the original cause as that which emerges where destiny meets existence, then I am brought back to immediate experiences. Destiny fulfills itself as it proceeds from the totality beyond my ken through the various layers of my immediate world and draws near to myself. The point of occurrence is to myself, my individual existence, more precisely, in my person.
Table of Contents:
Freedom as Form of Action
The nature of free behavior — the forms of free activity — free activity as task
Freedom and the Content of Action
Freedom in act and freedom in content — freedom in immediate sentiment, in experience of nature, in relation to things and to one's own body — freedom in the realization of values — freedom in personal relationship — moral freedom — freedom in religion — resume — the subject of freedom
St. Paul's Experience of Grace — Act and consent of Christian freedom — the eschatological mark of Christian freedom — the relation of Christian to natural freedom — Appendix: the logical problem of the free act.
The "Gracious: as an Element of Immediate Existence
Grace in the Christian Sense
The Elements of Our Experience of Destiny
The Religious and Personal Elements in the Experience of Destiny
The Conquest of Destiny
Destiny and Revelation