This nonrational dread, this feeling for the uncreated Mystery in the world, is back of all religion. The pure religion of the Bible, no less than the basest animism of the naked tribesman, exists only because this basic instinct is present in human nature. Of course, the difference between the religion of an Isaiah or a Paul and that of the animist is that one has truth and the other has not; he has only the “numinous” instinct. He “feels after” an unknown God, but an Isaiah and a Paul have found the true God through His own self-disclosure in the inspired Scriptures.
The feeling for mystery, even for the Great Mystery, is basic in human nature and indispensable to religious faith, but it is not enough. Because of it men may whisper, “That awful Thing,” but they do not cry, “Mine Holy One!” In the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures God carries forward His self-revelation and gives it personality and moral content. This awful Presence is shown to be not a Thing but a moral Being with all the warm qualities of genuine personality. More than this, He is the absolute quintessence of moral excellence, infinitely perfect in righteousness, purity, rectitude, and incomprehensible holiness. And in all this He is uncreated, self-sufficient and beyond the power of human thought to conceive or human speech to utter.
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God. Colossians 2:2
The feeling for mystery, even for the Great Mystery, is basic in human nature and indispensable to religious faith, but it is not enough.
Help us to cry, Holy Father, “Mine Holy One!” Help us to desire Your presence and to bow in humility to Your holiness.