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Ignorance (Unknowing)

“Our unknowing goes deeper into God than our knowing goes. Seasoned familiarity with God, yet complete incomprehension of God moved Augustine to call this deeper dimension of awareness “learned ignorance.” (Martin Laird)


“We know a “tiny something” about God. We also have a window of communion with Him by which we may have a different kind of knowledge (non-informational). Mostly, what we have with regard to God, must be described as ignorance. I believe this ignorance is quite important and its recognition to be utterly essential to the spiritual life.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Nothing benefits people who are weak so much as withdrawing into quietude. Or those subject to the passions and lacking in spiritual knowledge, as obedience combined with quietude. There’s nothing better than knowing your own weakness and ignorance and nothing worse than not recognizing them.” (Saint Peter the Damascan)


“It seems to me that ignorance and powerlessness go together (just as knowledge is often a tool in our drive for dominance). Both are treated as shameful in our culture as we celebrate mastery and success. As years have gone by, I am increasingly convinced that the shame of my ignorance is deeply bound up in my salvation – my union with the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. In a world of masters I see violence and oppression. In such a world only the foolish dare be ignorant. May God give me the grace to remain a fool, and may He receive it upon His heavenly and noetic altar as an odor of sweet fragrance, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


There is no great sin in ignorance – or at least there is far less sin in ignorance than in knowledge. The simple truth is that we will not know anything of value until we first know that we do not know….Several years ago I was blessed to have a conversation with Fr. Thomas Hopko…Our conversation turned to writing. My comment came from my reflection on the experience of writing…I noted that the more I write, the less I seem to know. Part of this realization flows from the fact that I try to restrict my writing to those topics of which I have some knowledge (experience). His smiling response came immediately: “Someday you won’t know anything and then you’ll be holy!”… To recognize the limits of knowledge is not to embrace ignorance.” (Father Stephen Freeman, Fr. Thomas Hopko, James Smith)


#MartinLaird #FatherStephenFreeman #SaintPetertheDamascan #FrThomasHopko #JamesSmith

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