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  • The Insufficiency of Everything Attainable

    Sept 12, 2019

    The theologian Karl Rahner wrote about “the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable.”

    This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for success, victory, expertise, accomplishment and achievement in this life.

    It means that we should hold them lightly knowing that even the greatest of these will not satisfy.

    This doesn’t suggest that we are neurotic.

    It suggests that deep down, at the core of us, we know there is something more.

    This doesn’t require us to decrease our desires for what we can attain, although at times acceptance of “what is” can be critical for our mental health.

    It requires that we increase our desire for the Unattainable One, for God, understanding that the seed of eternity planted in our souls is ultimately what the yearning is for.

    Here is Rahner’s full quote: 

    “In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable we come to understand that here in this life all symphonies remain unfinished.”

    The restlessness, the yearning, the torment, is not a problem in our lives to eliminate but a friend reminding us of what is to come.

    —Rev. Will Burhans


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