Metanoia strikes deep

Why “metanoia”? Usually I don’t like the Christian use of Greek words, agape, kairos, koinonia or whatever. The effect is to suggest special authoritative knowledge that the rest of us just have to accept, and the substance is more often tendentious overemphasis on a one-sided interpretation of a key term. Still, I like some of them. For some reason I like “Anastasia” (resurrection) as a girl’s name. And I like “metanoia” more than “repentence” or “conversion” because people say it means “turning around” (even though that looks like a mistranslation, since “noia” looks like it means “mind” and “meta” probably means what it does in English, whatever that is).

So when you become a Catholic you stand up, turn around, and head off in a better direction, like the prisoners in Plato’s cave. A good image. It’s not the only one, of course. You dump the junk and get serious. You drop your burden and discover lightness and joy. You see all things better lit and in a truer perspective. You open a window. You escape the prison of self. You get in touch with your inner whatever. You cut your ties to sin. You discover that your center is not within yourself. You find the way of grace. It’s amazing what you can extract from a perfectly ordinary Greek word when you don’t know Greek!

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