The best things cannot be talked about.
The second best things are usually misunderstood because we are using images and metaphors to point towards the first.
So we spend most of our lives talking about the third best things because we need to talk and we long to be understood.
In our culture, we suffer from, among other things, a glut of words, a glut of experiences, and, yes, a glut of tapes, books, and ideas. When we have too many words, we tend not to value them, even if they might contain life for us. We find it hard to be a disciple with a beginner’s mind because we’ve heard it all before, from many directions. We can’t absorb it all.”
“The language of souls is their desire.”
Gregory of Nyssa
The mystery that is beyond God himself,
That gives its name to everything,
Is complete affirmation, complete negation,
Beyond all affirmation and all negation.
Dionysius the Areopagite
I experience an accurate, empathic understanding of the person’s world as my own, but without ever losing the “as if” quality. This is empathy. To understand the person’s feelings, never in doubt about what the person means; my remarks fit in just right with the person’s mood and content, and my tone of voice conveys the complete ability to share the person’s feelings.
The Word of God comes to a person and makes that person a prophet. The prophet in turn discloses the Word received. The prophet, under the power of the Word, names ways of living that must be changed. The prophet announces the particular behaviors that are required right now as a response to a new age that is promised. And the new age is proclaimed in fantasized images of considerable particularity.
Bernard J. Lee S.M. Jesus and the Metaphors… p. 116
It is a scholastic dictum that “whatever is received is received according to the nature of the receiver.” If I want to address a friend at a great distance, and the friend has only a shortwave receiver, it does me no good to speak into the telephone. God’s initiatives are always incarnated in the operational modes of those for whom he cares. The caring of God is an actual event, and like all events, it has a structure. The caring of God is partly determined by God’s own free decisions about the ways in which God will bestow love. But it is also determined by the historical configurations of those who are to be the recipients of that love.
Bernard J. Lee S.M. Jesus and the Metaphors of God
… metaphor, far from being limited to a linguistic artifact, is characterized by its epistemological function of discovering new meanings. What is at stake is still knowing in process but considered in its nascent moment. In this sense, metaphor is a thought process before being a language process.