Macarios of Egypt= “The human heart is an unfathomable Abyss.”
Augustine of Hippo= “If by ‘abyss’ we understand a great depth, is not man’s heart an abyss? For what is more profound than that abyss? Men may speak, may be seen by the operation of their members.. but whose [mystery] is penetrated, whose heart is seen into? ..there is in man a deep so profound as to be hidden even from him in whom it is” [p 421, ‘An Augustine Synthesis’, ed. E. Przywara, 1958].
The heart is the Abyss. It is the heart where the Abyss lies.
The Abyss is freedom. You can’t make the heart love, nor do what love asks the heart to do..
It awaits for this person to make a move..
If the collective forgets the heart, the world will destroy itself. Heart people carry the weight. Whatever little corner of the world you occupy, you uphold the world there.
What is at stake, to which the heart must be staked?
Abyss= the freedom of the heart– a freedom radical and fundamental. The heart’s task suffers the wound of existence, the ‘weight of the world.’ The Abyss means the heart can fail or be victorious. If the heart fails, the world is lost.
God is risking the world to the human heart.
This is why the heart’s lack of any given ‘nature’, its root only in absolute and radical freedom, is part and parcel of angst. I look into this freedom, and I grow dizzy. My heart grows faint.
Freedom is a burden, a responsibility hard to bear, for the heart. The heart is hit by fear and trembling, confronting the choice it must make, to lift the weight or put it down.
This is why beneath the world, and beneath the heart, is the Abyss. This is the Nothing where even God cannot force his will.
Heaven= an impregnable space.
Abyss= a fundamental risk in time.
An ‘absence’ that only the human heart can make a ‘presence.’
If we trust the Abyss, God is there.
If we mistrust the Abyss, God is absent.
Trust is shown in how we venture the risk in action, in our living, not in what we purport to believe, doctrinally, philosophically, intellectually.
The Abyss can be empty or full. It depends on the human heart.
Martin Buber= “If you explore the life of things and of conditional being, you come to the unfathomable;
if you deny the life of things and of conditioned being, you stand before nothingness.
If you hallow this life you meet the living God.
He who truly goes out to meet the world goes out also to God.”
Forsakenness, forlornness of heart= the Abyss is empty. We know we are forsaken, and we forsake others. We know we count for nothing, and count others for nothing.
If so, then death is pointless, and we cannot overcome it. Death stops us ‘chancing our arm’ because we could be losing the little bit of ‘some-thing’ we have to the final Nothing.
We are ‘out over the deep’, out over the Abyss, and once we wake up to this in angst, the heart is stabbed with pain, and paralysed with inaction.
What does it mean to overcome the Abyss, to come through it, to the other side?
The root of the Hebrew word for ‘enduring through time’ means ‘victory.’
What is this victory? What is this fight?
What is this fight to be staked to what is at stake?
What is this fight on the edge, in a gap, at the crossing of roads?
Kierkegaard= “To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s [heart].”