Freedom, Grace, and Destiny
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By Romano Guardini
Freedom, grace, destiny: these realities form the basic pattern of existence. Yet the modern world has witnessed a radical diminishment, if not an outright loss, of any sense for the unity of existence—even among Christians. This disunity is evident in how “the believer no longer stands with his faith amid the concrete, actual world, and he no longer rediscovers that world in his faith.” In three compelling essays, Guardini closely examines the core concepts of freedom, grace, and destiny, treating the presence of each in everyday experience and then considering them in terms of divine revelation and the illumination it sheds upon the mystery of being. The result is a reunification of what had been fragmented and the realization “that all divisions have only a methodological value and that what really exists is the world and man in the world, as called by God and judged and redeemed.”
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (1 Corinthians 3:17)
Grace is no adventitious thing, the presence or absence of which leaves the essential character of man’s life undisturbed. On the contrary, it is only by means of grace that man becomes what according to the Divine will he ought to be. (Romano Guardini)
First appearing in English translation in 1961, Freedom, Grace, and Destiny stands as a timely recollection of what it means to be human. Moreover, in rescuing these elemental concepts from their modern “distorted, discarded, or diluted” forms—in Flannery O’Connor’s evaluation—Guardini has admirably fulfilled his goal: the presentation of the pattern of Christian existence as a whole.
Romano Guardini (1885–1968) was a Catholic priest, professor, and author, whose intellectual disciples include Josef Pieper, Luigi Giussani, and Joseph Ratzinger. He was professor of theology and philosophy at the University of Berlin, University of Tübingen, and University of Munich. Guardini’s many published works include: The Conversion of Augustine, The Humanity of Christ, and The Last Things.
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