Recently, I picked up a book by Eastern Catholic author Michael Martin called The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the turn to a Poetic Metaphysics. It discusses the role that Sophia, or Wisdom, in scripture must play in the greater metaphysics of Christianity by analyzing the mystical works of varied Christian authors. It’s a window into the world of Christian Gnosis that I had only a limited understanding of, oftentimes an aversion to thanks to my history with esoterism and what I know about the Gnostic heretics which plagued the early Church. I don’t hide that while I love and accept Thomism, I have more of a draw towards the Mystics of the Church and a Christian neo-Platonic view of being. It is within this viewpoint that I am not surprised to find myself interested once more in the esoteric.
This book has widened this view of Gnosis by framing it within a Catholic understanding of metaphysics and theology. It explores the complementary role which Phenomenology plays with traditional Thomism as the other side of the Christian mystical vision. The author notes that the theology of the West and the mysticism of the East are in no way conflicting views, but rather complementary perspectives that may be able to aid each other toward a greater understanding of God and the supernatural. In my limited experience with Orthodox mysticism, I’ve come to know that there is something there which much of the West lacks. Just as how the Eastern churches lack a solid system of theology that can structure their understanding of God and Christ.
Through The Submerged Reality I have been reintroduced to the point of view I once held just before becoming a Catholic. And since I’ve had various flirtations with the more esoteric and mystical side of ontology. What I find exciting about this return is that it is no longer from an anti-Christian, pagan viewpoint but a thoroughly traditional Catholic foundation. This understanding of the Godhead which transcends the writings of the theologians that underlies all of creation. It’s a view which relies on not only a solid foundation of Christian orthodoxy, but also an experiential end which can only be attained through conformity to the Will of God.
I don’t yet have a thorough understanding of where this path will take me, but I’m convinced it’s some place I’m being led to explore once more with the understanding of Christ and the Church that I now have. This is very much reflected in the themes which are explored not only in The Submerged Reality but also how talk of Jakob Boehme, Jean Borella, and Goethe permeate this book as well as the writings of another author I love, Wolfgang Smith. There’s even a collection of letters between Smith and Malachi Martin titled The Quest for Catholicity which discusses this exact topic of Christian Gnosis. I expect that as I pick up more books on the subject, while treading carefully to avoid heresy and error, there will be more posts on it in the future.