His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence

By Francis X. Clooney | Go to book overview

ENTR’ACTE TWO
WRITING THEOLOGY AFTER
THE HIDING OF THE BELOVED

FINDING OUR PLACE AGAIN

In Act Two I intensified the work of interreligious reading on a microscale, dwelling on just a few of the more disturbing scenes in the Song and Holy Word, while passing by others that might have been studied. I made this choice in order to understand more carefully and as it were intimately the core meaning of love in its poetic and dramatic enactment, twice over. I chose to highlight moments of separation, in part because the Holy Word does so, and in part because in such hiding we see more clearly what it means to be human before a God who is both near and far, touching us even if from across a seeming abyss. It has been important not to reduce these songs’ meaning to a mere list of similarities and differences, as if by tabulation to prove or disprove something about religion or poetry. The practice of meditative reading—slowly, plodding, erring, but still moving forward and back—has at its best entangled us in the images and emotions of two traditions, each in its own way powerfully evoking her loss. At this moment, if we have done well, we are without the comfort of simple solutions, no longer able to draw on just one tradition’s devotion with a purity that keeps other loves at a distance. Studying and remembering the Song and the Holy Word together should make it impossible to revert to a thinking that neatly separates the Hindu and the Christian, this love and that love, God this way and that. If so, in this we will have managed something new, however ephemeral the achievement might be. Like this woman, we will suffer the unpredictable arrivals and departures of a beloved who no longer acts as we were expecting. We will have new memories that aid and vex us in seeking after a God who should not have to be sought after, who now visits the expected places only occasionally, and who returns just when we think this beloved can never be found. Because we do remember, we still have with us our own tradi-

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His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Encountering Traditions ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue ix
  • A Note on Editions and Translations xv
  • His Hiding Place Is Darkness 1
  • Act One- Missing Him 2
  • Entr’Acte One- Love in-between 16
  • Act Two- Spiritual Exercises in Times of Absence 49
  • Entr’Acte Two- Writing Theology after the Hiding of the Beloved 104
  • Act Two- Spiritual Exercises in Times of Absence 128
  • Epilogue- Jesus, the Beloved 140
  • Notes 143
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 185
  • Encountering Traditions 188
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