A Catholic Jew Pontificates

I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Marian Voice and the Seven Ages of the Church

As I mentioned in a previous post the encounter of  Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus (St Paul) with a radiant light and then the voice of the Lord speaking to him in Hebrew parallels Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses)’s encounter of the burning but not consumed bush and the voice of the Lord speaking to him from its midst in Hebrew. The burning bush and the voice represents the pure and immaculate Virgin (manifesting out of Eternity) and thus as Moses' encounter with God through the burning bush is a Marian encounter so is Paul's radiant light and voice the light of the pure and immaculate Virgin (manifesting out of Eternity) through which he encounters the crucified Lord. 

The voice or bat kol in Hebrew and phonen in Greek is feminine in both Hebrew and Greek. This voice that one sees rather than hears is also mentioned in Apocalypse 1:12 "in the midst" of the seven-branched Menorah of the heavenly Temple. These three encounters of the voice that one sees (and blinds St Paul) is in a sense the Marian mystery and light of the Incarnation manifesting out of Eternity into time in different but similar manifestations. The concept of “in the midst” alludes to the womb of the Mystical Lady. This feminine voice spoke from out of the midst of the cherubim of the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus 25:22. This voice is described also as being seven voices that are seen or perceived. 

Are the seven voices and the seven lights of the menorah alluding to the future 7 Marian dogmas which the church on earth will proclaim which are linked to the seven lower Sefirot of the Shekhinah? These seven Marian dogmas may be linked to the seven Church ages as taught by the Jesuit scholar and mystic the Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser (1613-1658). 

The first Church age is represented by Ephesus and is a time of sowing seed (seminativus) and may be linked to Our Lady as the Theotokos or God bearer (Mother of God) and was the age when Mary herself remained on earth. This is the age of shiflut (lowliness). After her assumption into Heaven, Nero and the rise of the age of persecutions and the irrigation of the Church by the blood of the martyrs (irrigativus) symbolised by the Church of Smyrna began. This is the age where Our Lady was present mystically as Perpetual Virgin and we saw the martyrdom of many virgin saints and virginity became highly prized among Christians. This is the age of the foundations (yesod) in emet (truth) and purity (tahor).

The third Church age symbolised by Pergamum and is the time of illumination (illuminativus) and lasts from the time of Pope Sylvester to Pope Leo III. It is a time of great doctrinal development through the fathers of the Church and Councils. This is the Marian age of the Immaculate Conception and of temimut (sincerity). The fourth age of the Church is symbolised by Thyatira and is a time of comparative peace or tranquillity (pacifitcus) from Pope Leo III to Pope Leo X. This is the time of Christendom.  This is the Marian age of the Assumption in which the church is victorious and triumphant in Europe. It is a time of netzach (overcoming victory and patient endurance) and bitachon (boldness/confidence).

The fifth age of the Church in which we live is symbolised by Sardis and is a period of affliction and purgation (afflictionis et purgatives) from Leo X until the rise of the future Great Monarch Henry and a Great Pope. This is the Marian Age of the Co-redemptrix. This Age concludes with the hidden (in the Eucharist) or intermediate coming of Christ as a thief in the Night and a time of Divine Mercy (rachamim). This is followed by the sixth Church age symbolised by Philadelpia (brotherly love) and is a time of consolation (consolationis) from the time of the Great Monarch and Pope until the birth of the final antichrist (fourth) called Gog. This will be the Marian Age of the Mediatrix of Graces. It is an era of strength and divine power (gevurah). This will be the time when all the promises to the Jewish people will be fulfilled and the Divine Will shall reign on earth as it is in Heaven, within history. This is also the era of Peace promised at Fatima and the time of the Eucharistic Reign of Jesus over the whole earth

The last and seventh age of the Church is symbolised by Laodicea and is a time of desolation (desolationis) from the birth of the final antichrist until the end of the world. This the Marian age of Advocate as the Christians of that time will need strong help from the Virgin Mary. It will be a time in which man will need the loving kindness of the Father (chesed). It is at the end of this age that Jesus comes again in his final coming to usher in the end of the world.

Thus we perceive in a hidden manner in the opening of the Apocalypse of St. John the Beloved the hidden Marian voice and context. Are the seven shofars (ram’s horn or trumpet) blasts in the Apocalypse also linked to these seven voices? Will we see the final three Marian dogma’s proclaimed in this time of Sardis? If we reflect on the many other passages of Scripture that mention this created Voice of God we will perceive the deeper Marian levels of comprehending the Word of God.

The Role of Mary in John 1: A Hebrew Catholic Insight: Part 1

The Role of Mary in John 1: A Hebrew Catholic Insight: Part 2

The Role of Mary in John 1: A Hebrew Catholic Insight: Part 3

  Mystical Rose: The Zohar and Rosa Mystica

Hephzibah: As Ancestor and Mother of the Messiah

Immaculate Conception and Bereshit: A Hebrew Catholic Insight



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Models of the Church and Avery Dulles

Many theological writers refer to the six models of the Church articulated by Avery Dulles. He writes of the Church as Institution, Mystical Communion, Sacrament, Herald, Servant and Community of Disciples. The sixth one, the Church as Community of Disciples, is his preferred model which he sees as an extension of the Church as Mystical Communion and containing elements of the other four. However this list of models is a limited one and seems to leave out other models especially those connected to the miraculous and devotional elements of the Church. 

In the evangelisation of the pagan peoples the model of the Church as Charismatic Wonderworker and Vanquisher of Evil was the most important in the initial stages of evangelisation. This model of the Church is still very popular with Pentecostals and Charismatics and has had great success in the last century. An example of this was the evangelisation of Ireland by St Patrick or the evangelisation of Europe after the Dark Ages by the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon missionaries.

The Rus peoples of Russia in 988 were evangelised by the model of the Church as Icon of Divine Beauty through the splendour of the Byzantine Liturgy. Another model that was popular and aided in the universal evangelisation was the Church as Universal Holy Mother. This Marian model of the Church was reinforced by Pope Paul VI in Vatican II when he proclaimed Miriam (Mary) as Mother of the Church. This model was very popular with the peoples of the medieval period and in the baroque period as well as the rapid spread of Marian movements of renewal in the last few decades that perceive the Church as an Icon of the Virgin Mother Miriam

Based on the “Mystagogia” of Maximus the Confessor others prefer to see the Church as an Icon of the Trinity. Some Russian Orthodox theologians refer to the Church as an Icon of the Ousia (Essence) or Sophia (Wisdom) of the Trinity such as Soloviev and Bulgakov. It would seem that the more rationalistic mindset of many Western theologians avoid the more miraculous and devotional models of the church. However it is possible these more miraculous and devotional models of the Church could be seen as connected to Dulles model of the Church as Mystical Communion while including all Dulles models but not limited to them. 

Pope Francis is stressing those elements of the Church drawn from the models of the church as servant, herald and community of disciples. It would seem that Pope Francis is presenting to us a model of the Church that includes elements from all models under the loose umbrella of the Church as Icon of the Holy Family and vessel of Divine Mercy. This model of the Church stresses the importance and centrality of the domestic church which is a return to its Jewish roots in the Holy Family of Nazareth. When the Church’s institutional dimension is over stressed the Church becomes a master and a totaliser of truth that exercises authority and power (like Gentile Lords) rather than being a humble servant to the domestic Church in its role as priests, prophets and kings of the New Covenant People of God. Others perceive the Church as a community of Disciples more as some kind of social justice organisation rather than the Mystical Body of the Messiah. They then downplay the missionary mandate and limit the proclamation of the Gospel to some kind of weak affirmation of the brotherhood of man with an optional fatherhood of God.

 Pope Francis is calling us to be joy-filled missionary disciples of the Gospel who reach out in mercy like a spiritual field hospital. However he also stresses Eucharistic Adoration of Yeshua and devotion to Our Lady and St Joseph which evokes the model of the Church as an Icon of the Holy Family. Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the future Church of Europe being made up of little communities of light in the darkness of the secular West. Others especially among the ordinary devout Christians believe we are on the cusp of the fall of Western civilisation and cataclysmic disasters that will radically change the political and social landscapes. Some Christians since the 1970’s see the future model of the Church as some kind of social justice NGO that compromises and accepts the values and beliefs of secular society while being focused on doing “good” works. Others think a restoration of the Baroque Church is what is needed as they turn to the practices and beliefs of the pre-Vatican II Church. However I think Yeshua gives us a wonderful model of what the Church should be in the parable of the Prodigal Son combined with the iconic image of Yeshua as a mother hen who gathers her chicks under her wings.

The idea that there is one (or we should seek one) unified model of the church rather than many different iconic models that interconnect is as foolish as those scientists who are seeking a unified theory of everything. Life is diverse and messy and one model or six models of the church does not fit all dimensions of the mystery which is the Church. It would seem many on both the left and right today are seeking structures and models that lead to a totalising of truth to create a fanatical and bland uniformity rather than a fullness of truth expressed in the richness of diversity in unity.
If we take the model of the Church as Sacrament and give it an Eastern Christian transformation into the Church as Mystery (or Mysterion) of the Kingdom which contains ever deeper inner graces with ever growing outward manifestations, within a paradigm that is primordial, incarnational, Eucharistic and eschatological, we could possibly have a kind of iconic model of the Church that includes the best of all the models. Dulles himself taught that no one model of these models encompassed the whole mystery of the Church and that each model taken in isolation has both good and bad aspects. Thus this model of the church as Mystery of the Kingdom could be the best model for the future of the Church leading us into that time when the Divine Will shall "be done on earth as it is in heaven" in fulfilment of the prayer Yeshua taught us. This future church would be a Church of Jews and Gentiles united as one but with distinct and different roles while acknowledging its roots in the chosen people of Israel and the Jewish mother church of Jerusalem.