What Does the Christian Tradition Mean by the Word “Mystery”?

Community in Mission | 1/10/2019 | Msgr. Charles Pope
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What Does the Christian Tradition Mean by the Word “Mystery”?

In the secular world, a “mystery” is something that baffles or eludes understanding, something that lies undisclosed. And the usual attitude of the world toward mystery is to solve it, get to the bottom of, or uncover it. Mysteries must be overcome! The riddle, or “who-done-it” must be solved!

Christian - Catholic - World - Mystery - Something

In the Christian and especially the Catholic world, “mystery” is something a bit different. Here, mystery refers to the fact that there are hidden dimensions in things, people, and situations that extend beyond their visible, physical dimensions.

Mystery is that which opens temporality and gives it depth. It introduces a vertical dimension and makes of it a time of revelation, of unveiling.

Fr - Martin - Example - Students

Fr. Martin’s classic example of this to his students is the following:

Suppose you and I are at a party, and Smith comes in the door and goes straightaway to Jones and warmly shakes his hand with both of his hands. And I say, “Wow, look at that.” Puzzled, you ask, “What’s the big deal, they shook hands. So what?” And then I tell you, “Smith and Jones have been enemies for thirty years.”

Meaning - Eye - Mystery - Something - Hidden

And thus there is a hidden and richer meaning than meets the eye. This is mystery, something hidden, something that is accessible to those who know and are initiated into the mystery and come to grasp some dimension of it; it is the deeper reality of things.

In terms of faith there is also a higher meaning to mystery. Le Croix added the following to the definition above: It [mystery] introduces a vertical dimension, and makes of it a time of revelation, of unveiling.

Hence - Something - God - Creation - Meaning

Hence we come to appreciate something of God in all He does and has made. Creation is not just dumbly there. It has a deeper meaning and reality. It...
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