The theologian Karl Rahner speaks of grace in the form of a ‘supernatural existential.’ The supernatural existential is nothing less than God’s gift of God’s full self to humanity at the moment of our creation. God is lovingly and gratuitously there from our beginning making grace an indispensable part of our human existence. Without grace we are not human. Because grace is there from our beginning it effectively resides in us as the source and answer to our own future restlessness and longing. It continually and freely makes the possibility of knowing God possible, existing in us as a divine vitality feeding our own search for God and being a part of this search.
In Rahner’s theology, whether or not a person belongs to a religion, whether or not they call themselves ‘spiritual but not religious’, whether they identify as atheist or theist, it is possible, by virtue of the supernatural existential, for all of humanity to experience as they live their lives, the abiding presence of God. It is with us as a part of us and yet not us. The human being, consciously or unconsciously, can communicate the divine in their person and action because to not do so is to not be human.
Have a listen to ‘More Than This’ here.
This song from Peter Gabriel, for me, is this grace writ large. There is in life ‘more than this’, more than what we can touch, taste, see. This more, so much a part of what we can touch, taste, and see, draws us into and beyond these things. It draws us into the divine mystery at the heart of everything and everyone. This more is God, grace always with us.
Christian spirituality is about experiencing this more and allowing this more to have an effect on us and our lives. This more, this grace is always with us empowering and making possible our choice for the divine and life.
As we experience this more we come to experience divinity as ‘beyond imagination’, ‘beyond the stars’, beyond the words we use, more that the feelings we feel. As all this ‘falls away’ bit by bit, all that is left is the nothing of God. The mind falls into quiet and the more of God is experienced as a complete gift, as grace.
Christian meditation is a practice that can help our mind fall into this necessary quiet. As this happens our humanity and our lives become present to and alive with this grace already there for us. The experience of connection – with ourselves, others, all creation – is deepened. And it is this very grace that makes Christian meditation possible.