It Is Like a Great Poem

John Scotus, influenced by Pseudo-Dionysius, considered the area of Scripture in its origins and in its end term, in the first, fresh simplicity of its beaming divine radiance and in the rediscovered unity of all things in it. What is simpler than the Word, what is more one than what he gathers together for eternity? But in coming to us simplicity is fragmented, or, rather, simplicity becomes fecund and fruitful, it opens itself up to the multiplicity that it engenders, so as to gather it up at later stage and contain in it in its bosom: “in that whole notion of simplicity, however, there are to be found many facets of speculative thought.” This whole intermediate area, comprised as it is of multiple sacraments that are united in the sacramental mystery of the flesh of Christ, is given to us, during our terrestrial existence, for our varied and many-sided contemplation. Thus, without losing the primordial unity that it possesses in the Word, Scripture does not discourage our making use of a whole gamut of senses, which are as numerous as the many colors of a peacock’s tail. This is an image that John Scotus could have received from Cassiodorus, who made a special application of it to the Psalter. To speak in more concrete terms, the interpretation of Scripture is indefinite, being as it is in the image of the infinity of its Author. It is like a great poem, with a pedagogical intent, whose inexhaustible significance leads us to the pure heights of the summit of contemplation.

Henri de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis, Vol. 1, p. 77

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