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.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mortal Sin, Divorced and Remarried and Pope Francis: A Hebrew Catholic Opinion

 Father Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine
It is rather worrying when Bishops, Cardinals and others are throwing around the term mortal sin in regards to giving the divorced and remarried communion or in regards to pornography etc. It would seem that there is a mania to create straw men and not really listen to what the others are saying. And what is most shocking is they are even challenging and questioning the Pope and his discernment like some neo-Protestants.

Of course all orthodox Catholics believe that one should not receive communion if one is in a state of mortal sin. However for one to be in a state of mortal sin one needs to have done something that is considered gravely or serious wrong or evil and to know that it is gravely serious and to have full freedom in the choice to do it. To say someone is in mortal sin because they were involved in pornography or divorced and remarried is highly presumptuous. The most one can say is that one may be in mortal sin if they are involved in pornography or prostitution or divorced and remarried or many other serious or grave issues. 

Each case has to be looked at individually and often general and simplex answers and regulations are destructive to souls and lacking in love, compassion and mercy as well as justice. It is said that Pope Francis once said that he believed over half of Catholic marriages today were probably invalid according to the standards of a valid sacramental marriage. This is probably a conservative estimate. No one is suggesting that these people are committing a mortal sin as they have no knowledge that their marriages are probably sacramentally invalid.

Most of those people who divorce and remarry get caught up in events and do not have full freedom or knowledge or even understanding that what they did was wrong. I do not believe many of these people are in mortal sin either and nor do I believe they should be refused communion. It should be left up to their conscience and/or discernment with a pastor who knows all about their situation. Then, if possible, help them to regularise their situation according to canon law. The same goes with those who are in the pornography industry or prostitution. Father Michel Marie Zanotti-Sorkine states that he never refused communion to the prostitutes that attended his masses in Marseilles as he would not like to confront Jesus with that on his conscience. Let us listen to what the Spirit is saying today to the churches through such holy men as Pope Francis and Father Michel Marie.

Pope Francis has said that the Eucharist should not be seen as a reward for the good and pious but as healing for the wounded sinners. It is those who like the extreme Pharisees and Scribes shut up heaven for the wounded, broken and hurting that may be in danger of being in mortal sin. Many of the Pharisees were sincere in their rigidness just as many orthodox Catholics today are in their rigid adherence to certain pastoral applications that they consider a necessary fence around the infallible doctrines of the Church. Pope Francis, just like Jesus 2000 years ago, sees it differently and believes that love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness is the true pastoral approach that protects the infallible teachings and releases their full power and glory to save souls and lead them into a deeper sanctification. 

Unfortunately many orthodox Catholics are too proud or puffed up in their own convictions or politics to even question whether they are wrong and listen to the Pope and others who sees things differently to them. I understand those who are in this position because in the past I also thought the same way. I pray for my fellow orthodox Catholics hoping that their rigidity will not lead the Church into a schism similar to that with the Donatists of the early Church who also opposed a merciful Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Rebbe Nachman, Consecrated Flesh and the Divine Will: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

The great Eucharistic discourse of John 6 is a hard saying for many as it was for the first disciples of Yeshua ha Mashiach. It is obvious that the difficult thing (which was difficult not just for those disciples who left him but also for those who stayed) was the concept of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. These were not the Pharisees who opposed him but people who actually were his disciples. 

This whole Johannine discourse is connected to the mystery of Yeshua as the Messiah and Manna from Heaven who is the Living Torah in which Jewish tradition speaks about eating and drinking or feeding on Torah. The sages said: “The Torah could be given only to eaters of manna.” (Midrash Tankhuma, Parshat Beshallakh). Many observant Jews read the passage of the Manna everyday as a Jewish version of eating or receiving their daily manna or spiritual food which blesses them physically as well as spiritually. The Greek New Testament refers to this daily bread as supersubstantial bread (in Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3). This can be linked to the daily or perpetual (tamid) offering of the Lambs. The daily korban (offering/ sacrifice) that draws us near to God in devouring intimacy. Jewish tradition also links the incorrupt manna (kept hidden in a golden vessel in the Ark) with the afikoman of the Pesach. 

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov in Likutey Moharan 36 links the concept of "devouring me" (the Davidic King Messiah) of Psalm 27:2 with the consecrated flesh of Haggai 2:12 and the "Eat lovers" of Song of Song 5:1. He teaches: "to devour my flesh-This alludes that their eating- as it is said "Eat lovers"(Song of Songs 5:1)- namely their strengthening is "Consecrated flesh"(Haggai 2:12). This is to devour my flesh, the aspect of "The ascent of Yesod until Abba and Imma" ...".  Strictly speaking "Eat Lovers" should be translated as "Eat companions or friend (rei'im or rei'in)" whereas lovers (dodim) are those that drink to get drunk. Rebbe Nachman does not interpret mrei'im of Psalm 27:2 as evildoers but in accord with Song of Songs 5:1 and other passages in Tenakh (such as Job 17:5; Proverbs 18:24 and 19:4; Jeremiah 3:1)  as friends or lovers (rei'im).

The concept of devouring or eating the Messiah (or devouring the years (shnei) of the Messiah) is also found in Sanhedrin 99a. Rav Cardoza sees this discussion in Sanhedrin 99a being about the coming of two (shnei) Messiahs. Rav Hillel talks of the Messiah already having come and R Joseph of the Messiah to still come. Rav Joseph's discussion is in the context of the great Messianic passage of Zechariah about the Daughter of Zion and the Messiah coming as a humble Tzadik, riding on a donkey and in the context of Deuteronomy 8:3  "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."   

Just as the consecrated flesh of Haggai 2:12 is real flesh as well as having a spiritual (allegorical/ metaphorical), mystical and moral meanings so Yeshua's statement about eating his flesh and drinking his blood have these multi-facited dimensions. It is real and literal but not literalistic. Yeshua (in John 6:63) went on to say that the flesh (human will) alone without the Spirit (Ruach) will not bring life or sanctification. If we just receive the Eucharistic host (flesh and blood of the Messiah) without discerning that it is the real flesh or body of the Lord by the power of the Spirit, then one eats to their own judgement (see 1 Corinthians 11: 28-29). The Hebrew term basar ve-dam (flesh and blood) refers to the whole person in Hebrew thought. Thus if we view the Eucharist as just a piece of Yeshua and not his entire resurrected and glorified body, soul, blood and divinity (the whole Messiah) we are not truly discerning the mystery of his flesh and blood.The whole language of the Eucharist is one of deep and mystical intimacy of the Lover for his Beloved in which they consume and devour one another with great passion and love. This is a true Jewish and Catholic 'theology of the body'. 

Haggai 2 reveals that the consecrated flesh reveals the mystery of the Divine Will whereas the other foods represent the wayward human will.  Yeshua said that it was his food was to do the Will of God in John 4:34. The Messianic manna or food (which is like a white round full moon) is doing the Divine Will and the Messiah himself is the Sun of the Divine Will. One who lives in Divine Will is another Yeshua or Living Eucharistic Host or Sun. In Judaism the full moon is also an icon of the Shekhinah. In Jewish mysticism the concepts of the Sun is associated with the concept of the Tzadik (Righteous one) based partly on the verse "the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings" (Malachi 4:2).

Haggai 2:11-14 "...Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Ask now the priests for a ruling: 12If a man carries consecrated flesh in the fold of his garment, and touches bread with this fold, or cooked food, wine, oil, or any other food, will it become holy?'" And the priests answered, "No." 13Then Haggai said, "If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?" And the priests answered, "It will become unclean." 14Then Haggai said, "'So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,' declares the LORD, 'and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean. ..."

Consecrated flesh is also sacrificial flesh and it is holy and the garments of the priest (representing the outward sacrificial rituals and system) who carries it  is also holy in a lesser sense. This whole concept is at a deeper level about living or dwelling in the Divine Will and then doing acts in the Divine Will. However doing one's own will and expecting God to bless it and make it holy does not work as a method of sanctification. They are the works of a dead corpse and pollute all our actions. It is the consecrated flesh (the Divine Will of the Messiah which is the deepest penetration of the Eucharistic mystery) that makes the garments (our actions) holy not the other way round. Yeshua states in Matthew 23:19: "Ye blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?" A Catholic may ask: Which is greater- the Eucharist or the priesthood that consecrates the Eucharist? Both are needed but we must get our priorities in the right order. 

In Psalm 27:2 it alludes to the concept of devouring the flesh of the Davidic king in the context of others falling and stumbling. Rebbe Nachman reads psalm 27:2 as "When two lovers come close to eat my flesh, my foes and enemies they stumble and fall."John obviously has this in mind when he alludes to those disciples of Yeshua that ceased to follow him and to the Jewish enemies of Yeshua in John 6:66. It is in regards to Yeshua being God in the flesh (the mystery of the Incarnation) and giving us his flesh to eat (Mystery of the Eucharist) that they fall and stumble. The acceptance of this Mystery by all Israel and their devouring the consecrated flesh of the Messiah will cause the rise or spiritual resurrection from the dead promised by Simeon (Luke 2:34) and by Shaul (St Paul) in Romans 11 and Philippians 3.

In John 6 Yeshua emphasises the importance of the Spirit (Ruach) and life (chaiyim). Jeremiah states in Lamentations that the Messiah is the breath (ruach) of our nostrils (Lamentations 4:20). Rebbe Nachman and the Breslov Rabbis associates this with the two missions of the Messiah as Messiah son of Joseph (humble suffering Tzadik) and Messiah son of David (the glorious reigning King). Just as there is a nose with two nostrils so the Messiah has two missions. Thus both R. Hillel and R Joseph in Sanhedrin 99a are right that the Messiah has already come (the position of Rav Hillel based on Isaiah) and he is still to come or coming (the position of Rav Joseph based on Zechariah) and these are reconciled by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (by the means of Jeremiah). 

...Rabbi Chiyya opened: "I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have plucked my myrrh with my spices, I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, companions! Drink, and be drunk, Lovers." (Song of Songs 5:1)... Zohar 3:3b

The Zohar (in Parshat Va-Yikra) discusses the whole concept of eating and drinking as the intimate consummation of the love between the bride and the bridegroom of the Song of Songs is discussed. This section of Zohar teaches that the companions who eat are higher than those who are lovers who drink. Companions or chaverim (or rei'im) are those that are permanently with the Beloved living in His Will whereas lovers (dodim) are those who are yearning and seeking after His Will and only occasionally and temporarily consummating that love with wild passion and abandon. At the Last Supper Yeshua referred to his disciples as Chaverim (friends).

This section of Zohar is also linked with the concepts of the Kneset Yisrael, Shekhinah and Matronita in the mystery of the tabernacle as the dwelling place. The bridegroom is associated with Tiferet (beauty) as the Blessed Holy One of Israel as the Divine Son. This also is linked to the Bridegroom described as the Sun and the mystery of the ends of the Ark of the Covenant. In the Jewish concept of the Divine Face Tiferet (beauty) is represented by the nose. 

Some scholars (such as Leonora Leet) believe the whole secret rituals of the Temple priesthood revolved about the intimate mysteries of the Kissing of the Divine Son of Psalm 2:12. The Temple itself is built in the image of this Divine Son (represented by Jacob / Israel reclining on Jacob's pillow). Some even propose in accord with the Epistle of Barnabas that there was a priestly ritual that commanded them to eat of the slightly bloody flesh of the goat sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, without the washing of vinegar to remove any last traces of blood, in the Holy Place. Some link this to Leviticus 10:16-17. It seemed to be some kind of ritual that sought to take on the Jewish priests the curse of the people due to their sins and through this act as a Tzadik or victim soul take on the sins of the people. 

We do know that the rituals of the Temple service take precedence over the laws of the Sabbath and most likely over the laws of kashrut. A Jewish woman is permitted to eat non-kosher food if she is pregnant or in danger of death or starvation if no kosher food is available. Thus it would be appropriate that in the case of the greater danger of spiritual death the priest may be commanded to perform a ritual of sanctification for the people that breaks with the lower laws of kashrut and fasting. This may explain how the Sabbateans (many from very Torah observant backgrounds) seemed to be able to break Jewish laws as part of a perverted Sabbatean programme of redemption.

The haroset of Passover may have been the origin of the blood libel against Jews as the red wine mixed in with the other ingredients (representing the mortar) was said to represent the blood of the  boy children murdered by Pharoah. This haroset is put in a matzah sandwich (Hillel's sandwich). Anti-semites looking to accuse Jews of the blood libel used this innocent ritual as evidence for the Jews killing Gentile children for their blood to mix with matzah on Passover. Did this custom also reflect a lay participation in the ritual and tikkun (reparation) of the priests? 

The Tzadik is also associated with the Brit (meaning both covenant and phallus) and the Jewish mohel (circumciser) sucks the blood from the newly circumcised baby's tip of the phallus to help in its healing. The Tzadik as Yesod (foundation or Pillar) is also associated with the concept of Joseph and Messiah son of Joseph who guards his loins. In the Sefirotic array Yesod represents the sexual organ of the male while Hod (majesty) and Netzach (endurance) represent both the legs/ feet and the scrotum of the Divine Man (Adam Kadmon). Yeshua naked on the Cross is an icon of the suffering Messiah son of Joseph whereas the naked David dancing is an icon of the Messiah son of David who will arise with healing in His wings and frolic like a bull calf released from his stall (see Malachi 4:2). 

The word egel (bull calf) means rolling or circling around which reminds us of the Luisan rounds in the Divine Will. The bull calf is also a symbol of the Tribe of Joseph. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich states that the Egyptians associated Joseph with Osiris and his wife Asenath (Osnat) with Isis. The bull calf represents Osiris, Moses and Joseph and the cow with milk or the blood-coloured heifer represents Isis, Miriam and Asenath. The Israelites when Moses went up the mountain sinned not for making an image but for making one and worshiping it with a phallus worshiping male same-sex orgy. They made a bull calf which represents the male principle without the corresponding female principle represented by the heifer. This is why the remedy for their cleansing from sin was with the ashes of the red heifer (cow) to correct the imbalance or to make tikkun (reparation). The Sabbateans also perverted the Jewish mystical tradition by misinterpreting the marital and sexual imagery of the spiritual intimacy with God. In this life it is only in the context of traditional marriage that this nuptial intimacy is expressed genitally as a sign or foreshadowing of the virginal nuptial intimacy and unions in the kingdom of the Divine Will.  

Messianic Kosher Food, Circumcision and Rebbe Nachman: A Hebrew Catholic Teaching

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Garabandal, 2017, Rav Kaduri and Pope Francis: The coming Tsunami

Three years ago (August 18 2012) I wrote about my speculations about the Warning and Miracle of Garabandal in 2016-2017 and the prophecies of Rav Kaduri that there would be some kind of Messianic manifestation to the Jews some time soon after the death of Ariel Sharon.

"...Rav Kaduri also spoke of a manifestation or revelation of the Messiah after the death of Ariel Sharon (who is still in a Coma). It is said that Rav Kaduri whispered to some before he died the date of Av 5772 in regards to the Messiah which many believed meant that there would be some kind of public manifestation of the Messiah. However I believe he meant that after Av 5772 and after the death of Ariel Sharon there will be some kind of apparition or spiritual manifestation of the Messiah to many Jewish people in Israel. Rav Kaduri seemed to be saying that these Manifestations of the Messiah will be more readily accepted by the secular Israelis and that the more religious Jews will have great difficulty in accepting them at first. Besides the spiritual manifestation of the Heavenly Messiah Yehoshua to the Jewish people an earthly Davidic Messiah or Anointed King (Mashiach Ephraim) will also arise to leadership in the world guided by the heavenly Messiah. Rav Kaduri seems to confuse the two or at least those who report his words have confused what he said.

We already see the suffering of the Messiah in the poor people of Syria. Both Jewish and Christian websites are quoting Isaiah 17 in regards to the present situation in Syria. One might also refer to Zechariah 9 and Jeremiah 49..."
The Jewish year 5772 (2012) and Ariel Sharon's death on January 11, 2014 is now past and since then events in the world have sped up. Israel has realised how vulnerable it now is in the world since the US has under Obama virtually abandoned them. We have seen the terrible plight of the Syrian and Iraqi people and refugees and the rise of ISIS almost out of nowhere. My comments back in 2012 about Syria are even more apt now. These events are happening in a dizzying speed as the world rolls from one crisis to another. 

In 2013 we also saw the incredible events of the rise to the papacy of Pope Francis as a prophetic voice crying out in the wilderness of our times (which is the period known as the end of times before the great Era of Peace) challenging the entrenched powers in Church and State.  He has just begun his visit to the US as I type this. Many Catholics and other Christians are watching these events. One anonymous Catholic prophet or locutionist has predicted a major economic collapse to begin as a warning during the Pope's visit to the US. 

Prophecies can be rather tricky things. Does this mean his present visit or a future visit to the US? Is the great French or Frankish Pope of many older Catholic prophecies actually referring to a Francis Pope rather than a French Pope as the name Francis or Francisco means Frenchman? Or does this refer to a future Francis II as Pope or is it indeed actually a French born Pope or a Frankist (Jewish Catholic) Pope that will rise to power alongside the Great Monarch of Catholic prophecy? Is that Great Monarch Prince Harry (Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales) or King Phillipe of Spain or some other as yet unknown member of the European Royal families?

The locutionist states that this economic collapse will be the final warning given before the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart by the Pope after Francis. He (or She) also mentions a Pope who will die for and in Israel. Is this Pope Francis or a future Pope?  There is also the older Catholic prophecies of a Pope who flees Rome who many believe will be called Pius XIII? Some believe the times of special mercy to the Gentiles ended with Pope John Paul II and that Pope Benedict XVI was the first of the Popes of the period called the ''end of times'' (but not the end of the world) which will culminate in a Pope who will be the last Roman based Pope as the true papacy will be transferred back to Jerusalem. As prophecy is usually conditional on our response, the timing of events and personalities involved can be changed. A warning is meant as a wake up call and if the whole world woke up tomorrow and turned back to goodness and truth then we could enter the period of peace and the kingdom without going through all these chastisements. 

It seems significant to many that Pope Francis has called for a special Year of Mercy beginning on the feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) in 2015 and ending on the feast of Christ the King (November 20 2016). This will prepare us for the hundred year anniversary in 2017 of the Fatima apparitions. Our Lady at Fatima gave a message about Russia on July 13 1917. Many think that the consecration of Russia will also occur on a July 13. Could this occur in 2016 or 2017? It will occur when Russia is of great threat to Western Europe and recent events in Russia in regard to Putin makes this seem more likely than it seemed to many a few years ago when it seemed that Russia and the West were allied after the fall of communism. The Garabandal messages spoke of communism returning in a new form and that France would be in the midst of a communist inspired civil war at the time of the events prophesied for Garabandal according to some commentators. These events are also connected to the visit by a Pope to Russia.

The older Catholic prophecies make it clear that the threat of the Muslims especially those of North Africa, Turkey and Iran (Persia); civil wars in France, England and Italy; Russia and Prussia as a threat to Europe; are all part of the scenario which will lead to the rise of the Great Pope and Great Monarch who will lead the world into an era of peace.  These prophecies also speak of sad events from England and of the assassination of the English king. Many Catholics have also taken note of Father Amorth's message to Father Gruner ( written about in his last letter before he died) that if the consecration of Russia had not happened by October 2015 then great events connected with the predictions of Fatima would begin soon after.

Many Australians are now worried that now that our third sitting Prime Minister in their first term has been treacherously been removed by their party colleagues in the last five years, has now made Australia weaker. There is a strong push for homosexual marriages and to open the floodgates to refugees which many Australians fear are hidden ISIS and other fundamentalist Muslims who wish to disrupt Australia like they have in many other places around the world. Australians are happy to take genuine refugees from the Christian and other persecuted minorities such as the Yezidis in Syria and the middle east but they are worried about Muslim ones, especially the single young men. Two nights ago I had a dream of two Tsunami waves hitting Sydney. Is this a prophetic warning? Are the Tsunamis literal or are they more symbolic for something else of a spiritual nature? As Padre Pio said, "Pray, Hope and Don't Worry", pray your Rosary and try to discern the sign of the times as advocated by Pope Paul VI.

The Three 7's and the Great Tribulation: A Hebrew Catholic Speculation

Added on 25 September 2015: I today saw this article published yesterday.

Nobody Likes a Stock Market Crash, but This Is Why We Need One

 Added 26 September 2015: No obvious crash of the New York stockmarket on Friday and the Pope leaves America on Sunday evening so it would seem at this stage that the locutions mentioned above may turn out to be mistaken.
Added on 29 September: It would seem the locutions mentioned above (Locutions to the World) are indeed not true locutions. The locutionist and the spiritual director while probably sincere have mistaken prayer thoughts, imaginings and meditations for authentic locutions. The website seems to have been removed. God can speak through charismatic words of knowledge and wisdom and prophecy but these are more open to human and demonic input and twists. Locutions are a higher level in which an interior voice speaks in the heart and genuine ones are without error. Apparitions is an even higher form in which Heaven in some form appears to the visionary and the visionary hears and sees them with their exterior senses as well as perceiving them interiorly.  However no matter how true the message the visionary and others often misinterpret the meaning of such messages. Time and the fulfillment of them is often different to people's expectations.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mark Kinzer, Kedushah and Our Lady: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

Messianic Rabbi Mark Kinzer in his new book "Searching her own Mystery: Nostra Aetate, the Jewish People and the Identity of the Church" in his eighth chapter entitled "Jewish Life as Sacrament" writes of what he calls Judaism's Five Fundamental Sacramental Signs. He associates the Catholic term sacramental with the Jewish "kedushah"(holiness or sanctity). Here I will use his categories in a Marian interpretation.

This whole concept  of kedushah has a Marian dimension as Our Lady is known to Hebrew Catholics as Miriam ha Kedoshah (Holy Mary). This feminine word kedushah is associated with the feminine terms Shekhinah (Dwelling Presence) and kavodah (glory) in Jewish mystical thought. Catholic faith teaches us that the Church herself is the Universal Sacrament of Salvation which contains the seven sacraments. Pope Paul VI declared during Vatican II that Our Lady was the Mother of the Church. In the "Our Father" the Church longs for the Kingdom of the Divine Will which Judaism also calls the Kingdom of Holiness (Malchut Kedushah). Kinzer lists these five "kedushot" or sacramental signs as 1)Israel the holy people or gathering 2) Sabbath as holy time 3) Israel and Jerusalem as holy place 4) Torah as holy word and 5) the mitzvot (commandments) as holy deeds. And I would add two more 6) Tabernacle and Temple as holy sign 7) Priesthood as holy service. 

Thus these seven "kedushot" can be linked to the seven "Razin" or "Sodot" (mysteries/ sacraments) of the New Covenant. They could be listed as 1) Baptism as holy people or gathering 2) Confession as holy time 3) Eucharist as holy place 4) Confirmation as holy deeds 5) Anointing of the sick or Healing as holy word 6) Marriage as holy sign and 7) priesthood as holy service. 

The first mention of kedushah in the Bible is in Genesis 2 in regards to the Sabbath. This alludes to the Sabbath Queen and Shekhinah who is Our Lady in Eternity manifesting in time. As the Lecha Dodi song that greets the Sabbath Bride and Queen proclaims: "She is last in act, first in thought". Our Lady can also been seen as Kneset Yisrael (Gathering of Israel) which is mystically linked to the gathering of waters on Day 3 in Genesis 1. She is the Mother of the Church or people of God.  She is also the Holy Daughter of Zion, Israel and Jerusalem linking her to the concept of holy place as the dwelling place of God in the flesh in her womb. She is also the concept of the oral Torah or voice (Bat Kol) which is linked to the concept of the hands and heart actions of the mother which is linked to the concept of keeping or doing the commandments. The arm tefillin that points to the heart represents this female heart/action dimension. 

As Holy Temple and Holy Ark she is a sign as the Great Sign in Heaven as the heavenly Ark of the Covenant (Aron ha Brit) and the Woman in labour in Revelations 11 and 12. Judaism links the priesthood to being servants of the Shekhinah and her mysteries of the heart who is the Son. If the priest is not united in mystical nuptial union with Shekhinah when he offers he will be destroyed like the sons of Aaron who kindled strange fire. Our Lady is also called Mother of the Priests in Catholic devotion who are called Our Lady's beloved sons. 

Through the power of her Son's resurrection (which is the mystery of "on the third day") Our Lady the human Ark of the covenant, Sovereign of the whole world, was assumed into Heaven and it was from Eternity united in synergy with the Holy Spirit that she manifested as the Shekhinah and Matronita throughout salvation history. She is the Bat Reshit (the First Daughter or Daughter of the Beginning). Her synergy with the Spirit proclaimed in Genesis 1 as the  Spirit of God hovering over the "face upon the Waters" on the first day. These divinised, fruitful and creative waters are the tears she shed throughout her life and at the foot of the Cross as the Mother of Sorrows-Miriam (Bitter Sea) united to the waters that flowed from the pierced side of her Son- the "face upon the deep" enveloped. These waters are mystical, metaphorical and conceptual and are also the sanctified waters of her womb. These are her seas of mercy, love, purity, wisdom, understanding etc. this is the Well of Miriam that is hidden in the text between the twilight of the first and second day.

On the third day of the "gathering of waters" (kneset maya in Aramaic) there is a burst of fruitfulness as a type of the first springtime. This alludes to the third Messianic millennium as a new spiritual springtime and resurrection for the Church with its new and divine holiness (kedushah) as taught by St. Pope John Paul II. This spiritual resurrection will lead to the gathering or ingrafting of the Jewish people or Kneset Yisrael. This is also called by Catholics the Triumph of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart and the Eucharistic Reign of Jesus when the Glories of Joseph will be fully revealed (the mystical "rakia"). This new and divine holiness (kedushah) is the Marian grace and gift of living or dwelling in Divine Will. This ushers in the Kingdom of Divine Will (Malchut Ratzon) and the Kingdom of Holiness (Malchut Kedushah) that is the "World that is Coming" (Olam haba) within time. A world in which the fulfillment of the "Our Father" (Avinu) has come with the Divine Will reigning on earth as it is in Heaven.

This third day of the Messianic era is the seventh Day of Creation. This is a day of Sabbath Rest and the Sabbath Bride and Queen. The third Messianic millennium is the seventh Millennium of  mankind. The three days of the Messianic Resurrection is linked to the seven days of Creation. The  creative light of Genesis is the light of the Resurrection of the Messiah-who fresh from the exile (galut) enters Eternity and creates the universe as part of the blast or big bang of his Resurrection power. This resurrection blast is the blast of the mystical shofar (trumpet). This sound or music of the shofar accompanies the Song of Creation of  primordial Rosh haShanah that echoes forth in resurrection power "on the third day" of Exodus 19 with the giving of the Torah on Sinai and culminates in intensity with the spiritual resurrection and gathering of the Jewish people in the third Messianic millennium. "He will revive us after two days: on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. We shall know, and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light, and he will come to us as the early and the latter rain to the earth." (Hosea 6:3 in the Douai Rheims Bible)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Mark Kinzer and Nostra Aetate: A Hebrew Catholic Viewpoint

I am presently reading Mark Kinzer's new book on Nostra Aetate 4. Kinzer is a leading American Messianic Jewish Rabbi and theologian. I think the book is important for all those interested in the Hebrew Catholic and Messianic Jewish movements. His analysis of Lumen Gentium and Nostra Aetate 4 is very insightful and how they connect and don't connect is an important area of further theological exploration and speculation. We have only started on the theological journey of understanding the role of Jewish believers in the Body of Christ, which is the Church, in the light of the development of doctrine on the role of the Jews in  recent magisterial teaching. 

I think Kinzer makes a very important and valid point about Jewish identity and Torah observance of Jewish believers in Jesus. Lumen Gentium 9 speaks about  the Church being the people make up of Jews and Gentiles, united in one in the Spirit through the blood of the Messiah. Kinzer then draws our attention that this renewed messianic people of God are to be made up of Jews and Gentiles.  Kinzer then refers us to the writings and teachings of Cardinal Lustiger who speaks of the full Catholicity of the original Church containing both Jews as the church from the circumcision and Gentiles as the church from the nations, as two corporate environments in the one Body of the Messiah. Kinzer states: 

"If the Body of Christ is an eschatogically renewed and expanded form of genealogical-Israel, rather than a separate entity created by God ex nihilo and only prefigured by the Israel of the old covenant, then one would expect that the presence of Jews in her midst would be an essential component of her identity. Along with Mary the daughter of Zion, and the apostles, these Jews would serve as an extension of the Jewish identity of the risen Jesus in the heart of the Church...The Jewish members of the Church are a prophetic sign of the church's historical continuity with " the people of the Old Covenant, never revoked by God"....The "people of God" will not reach their destined fullness till the Jewish people- as a corporate reality- and the ecclesia come together as one flock with one shepherd...The presence of the gentiles in this people is essential to its universal vocation: however, the presence of Jews is just as essential..."

Rabbi Mark Kinzer then challenges us with these questions:

"...Is it sufficient for these Jewish members of the Church to be hidden like leaven in her universally expanding dough? Should their identity as Jews not be treasured, celebrated, and visibly expressed? And is it sufficient for these Jewish members of the Church to live dispersed among their gentile brothers and sisters, isolated from one another and without any distinctive corporate identity among themselves? Is the ecclesia ex circumcisione an invisible community of unrelated individuals, or is it called to be a manifest social reality, like the universal ecclesia of which it is part?..."

These concerns of Rabbi Kinzer is one of the main reasons it would seem that he has not formally entered the Catholic Church. Father Elias Friedman the founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics was also concerned with this idea of the Jews in the Church having a judicially approved corporate identity in the Church. This was why Friedman opposed any forms of active evangelisation that targeted Jewish people at this stage of salvation history. It is a point of great frustration for many Catholic Jews that it is very difficult at present to live out fully their Jewish vocation or election in the Church. The best we can manage is to, in a limited way, become more observant of some of our Jewish traditions and customs as a form of private devotion. This is a great first step but the communal aspect of our election and calling as Israelites can never be fully satisfied in a gentile dominated environment of faith.

I look forward to reading the rest of Rabbi Kinzer's insightful book "Searching Her Own Mystery: Nostra Aetate, the Jewish people, and the identity of the Church". This is a book every Catholic theologian should read and contemplate. Cardinal Schonborn of Austria writes the foreword to this book and also asks the Catholic reader: "Will we hear the essential question he [Kinzer] raises, he and the movement of Messianic Jews in whose name he speaks?" 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Signs of the Times: Jews, Joseph and Our Lady

 According to the private revelations given to the great Italian mystic and servant of God Luisa Piccarreta we entered a new era in September 1889 when for the first time since the Assumption of Our Lady the grace or gift of Living in the Divine Will was restored to earth. Through Luisa as the new born of the Kingdom of the Divine Will the grace became available for all which 2,000 years ago had only been given to the inhabitants of the Holy House of Nazareth. Jesus told Luisa that the Roman Church will give this gift of Living in the Kingdom of the Divine Will to the Jewish people.

According to Blessed Pope Paul VI we should be surveying the signs of the times. "By carefully surveying the signs of the times, we are making every effort to adapt ways and methods to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society..." The promise of a new and divine holiness (as articulated by Pope St John Paul II) given to mankind is part of the signs of our times. "God himself had provided to bring about that “new and divine” holiness with which the Holy Spirit wishes to enrich Christians at the dawn of the third millennium, in order to “make Christ the heart of the world.” Pope Francis following the example of his predecessors stated. "God is not afraid of new things! That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways."

Another sign of our times according to Father Elias Friedman, the founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, is the return to Israel in 1948 and Jerusalem in 1967 of Jewish rule, another sign that he saw was the rise in America of the Messianic Jewish movement. Another was the second Vatican Council and Nostra Aetate 4 with a new understanding of Jews and Judaism.  Today there is a ongoing dialogue between Catholics and the Jewish communities as well as dialogue with the Messianic Jewish communities as well as the Helsinki Consultations between the Messianic Jews and the Church Jews. These are all signs of the times.

Another sign of the times is the Charismatic, Eucharistic Adoration, Marian and Josephine movements which are enriching our understanding of the Holy Spirit, the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Alongside this is a movement of understanding the Jewish roots of the faith. Yeshua, Miriam and Yosef were devout practicing Jews and today there is a move among many Messianic Jews and even Church Jews to a return to Jewish observance in the life of the Jewish believer in Yeshua. A new move towards the believer having a mystical and intimate union with Yeshua is also part of these signs of the times.

The private revelations to Sister Neuzil in regards to the devotion of Our Lady of America unite the longing for intimate union with obedience to the Torah and its connection to Living or Dwelling in Divine Will.   Our Lady Miriam a devout Jewess told Sister Mary Ephrem Neuzil 

“My poor child, you have suffered much, but do not fear. Take courage, for soon a haven of rest will be given you — not a refuge from suffering and pain, but a nest of solitude for the little white dove, so dear to me and the Heart of my Son. Patience, sweet child! The Will of the Father must be dearer to you than all else. This is the lesson every soul desiring intimate union with my Son must strive to learn.” 
 St Joseph himself a devout Jewish Tzadik (Righteous One) also told her:
It is true, my daughter, that immediately after my conception I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future Virgin-Father, cleansed from the stain of original sin.

I was from that moment confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men.

My Pure Heart also was from the first moment of existence inflamed with love for God. Immediately, at the moment when my soul was cleansed from original sin, grace was infused into it in such abundance that, excluding my holy spouse, I surpassed the holiness of the highest angel in the angelic choir. My heart suffered with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Mine was a silent suffering, for it was my special vocation to hide and shield, as long as God willed, the Virgin Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men.

The most painful of my sorrows was that I knew beforehand of their passion, yet would not be there to console them. Their future suffering was ever present to me and became my daily cross, so I became, in union with my holy spouse, co-redemptor of the human race. Through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary I co-operated, as no other, in the salvation of the world.
St Joseph also said:
" ...Mine was perfect obedience to the Divine Will and it was shown and made known to me by the Jewish law and religion. To be careless in this is most displeasing to God and will be severely punished in the next world...".
 Our Lady told Sister Neuzil that: "My holy spouse has an important part to play in bringing peace to the world." This role of St Joseph is very connected according to the renewal of fatherhood and the family and Pope Francis' calling of a special Synod on the family is part of these signs of the times. St Joseph also reveals to Sister Neuzil his role in teaching about Divine Will:

 "The cross, my little one, upon which my heart rests is the cross of the Passion, which was ever present before me, causing me intense suffering. I desire souls to come to my Heart that they may learn true union with the Divine Will. It is enough, my child; I will come again tomorrow. Then I will make known to you how God wishes me to be honored in union with Jesus and Mary to obtain peace among men and nations. Good night, my little one."
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov a devout Hasidic Jewish Tzadik, who died in 1810, proclaims Joseph as the Hidden Tzadik who is the Master of the House (Home) in Likutey Moharan 67. 

"And all this is an aspect of "The Concealment", when the beauty and splendour of the whole world becomes concealed. However there is a Tzaddik who is beauty, splendour and grace of the entire world, and who is symbolised by Joseph, who was "beautiful in form and handsome" (Genesis 39:6), "a beautiful sight, the joy of the entire land" (Psalm 48:3). When the beauty and splendour of this genuine Tzaddik, who is symbolised by Joseph, is revealed in the world by becoming renowned and esteemed, then the eyes of mankind will be opened. And whoever is included in the genuine grace of this Tzaddik, the world's grace and beauty, by following him and surrending his self to become part of this Tzaddik's soul, will have his eyes opened, and he will be able to see... And with this we return to BeREShYT, the beginning, the RoeSh BaYiT, the head and master of the house of the world, namely, the genuine Tzaddik, who is beauty and glory of the world, represented by Joseph, alluded to in the verse, "Joseph is the ruler...he supplies food..." (Genesis 42:6), because he is the RoeSh BaYiT, the master of the house of the world. For he is the one who maintains the Temple and every Jewish house and home...And when the name of this Tzadik, who represents the head of the house, becomes esteemed, the eyes of the Jewish people are opened, as above. So this is the connection of "bereshit' to "l'einei kol Yisrael". Bereshit- this is the master of the house, the Tzaddik, who is the glory of the world, through whom are opened "einei kol Yisael", the eyes of all the Jewish people."

see St Joseph in the Divine Will

Sunday, August 09, 2015

From Punk to Catholic Jewish Consecrated Brother: A Hebrew Catholic Spiritual Journey

Me in my punk days at 21

I came from an assimilated Australian family of Anglo-Jewish and Anglo-Celtic ancestry. I am one of seven children. My brothers are Perry, Dean, Regan, Adam and Nathan. I have one sister Tamara. My grandparents were not religious but my parents became devout Evangelical Anglicans. One of my Jewish ancestors who has played and continues to play a great role in my spirituality is Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and his teachings. My crypto-Jewish, Frankist and Marrano ancestry has also made a deep spiritual impact on me and drew me to the books of Cecil Roth when I was a teenager. 

My father's great-great-great great uncle Sir Moses Montefiore
There was an oral tradition that my mother's ancestress Hannah Mayer (Maher) a Frankist belonged to the Rothschild family and was the daughter of the famous Amschel Mayer Rothschild founder of the great Jewish Banking dynasty. Instead she turned out to be a paternal granddaughter of Hannah Rothschild a rather poorer first cousin to Amschel Mayer Rothschild! Imagined riches found and then lost due to further genealogical research. Oy vey! Both my parents descend also from the famous Sephardi Jewish family called Montefiore. Their common ancestor was Moses Vita (Chaim) Montefiore. He was an Italian born Jewish merchant who moved to London in the 1740's and was the grandfather of the wealthy Sir Moses Montefiore. 


My great great great grandfather Thomas Williams grandfather of Henry Bartram. His father Solomon was an artist and his grandfather also Solomon was a Jewish glazier and goldsmith. He traveled with the Hebrew Christian evangelist Joseph Wolff to Palestine in the 1820's where he met and married his wife whose family were converted by Joseph Wolff.

My great great great grandmother Eliza wife of Thomas Williams. She was the daughter of a Jewish Rabbi from Safed in Palestine. They left Palestine after the huge earthquake of 1837 to join her husband's family in Wicklow Ireland. Her family used the surnames of Segal, Pollard and Leason. Her grandmother Lea Segal was a daughter of Rabbi Leibush Segal who married Moses Pollard an American merchant who converted to orthodox Judaism in Palestine. Her father Rabbi Pinchus Segal (aka William Pollard/ Leason) married Miriam a daughter of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. She and her brother were removed from the Breslov family tree.

My more immediate ancestors left their homes in the British Isles in the 19th century so that I was born in Subiaco (a suburb of Perth) in Western Australia in 1963. When I was a baby my family moved to a small north-eastern wheat-belt town of Morowa where my parents took up wheat and sheep farming for a couple of years. Both my parents were from another small south-eastern wheat belt town in Western Australia called Dumbleyung. Dumbleyung was first settled by the Kersley, Cronin and Bartram families. For many years George Kersley and Henry Bartram (both my maternal ancestors) drove their sheep from Beverley to Lake Dumbleyung. The Kersley and the Irish Catholic family of the Cronins settled there permanently in the mid 1870's. My great aunt Essie who I was very close to and loved dearly married one of the Cronin boys even though she was very bigoted against Catholics. However her husband John Cronin was my grandfather Hillyer Bartram's best friend who he went shooting with on many weekends. Hillyer's grandfather James Bartram was also friendly with the Catholic Presentation nuns in Beverley. When I was in Thailand I became friends with a Presentation nun and while staying with her I found a book on the history of the Presentation nuns which mentioned James Bartram as well as the Williams family of his wife Jane.

My great great grandfather James Bartram father of Henry with his relatives on a visit back to England in 1858 (aged 31). His paternal grandmother Lady Bartram (on the far right) was born an Italian Jewess. 
Dumbleyung had been home to my mother's paternal Bartram family since 1886 when they arrived from another farming town called Beverley. My mother's paternal great grandfather James Bartram had arrived in the Swan River Colony in 1843 as a 16 year old from the village of Aylmerton in Norfolk. James' grandfather Robert was a Jacobite supporter and involved with James' father in the Albury Park movement of Sir Henry Drummond and his grandmother Lady Bartram was born an Italian Jewess and she attended secretly the Jewish synagogue in Norwick. These Bartram grandparents were fascinated with the search for the Lost Tribes of Israel and went to America for a visit around 1800 in search for the Lost Tribes of Israel among the American Indians of the Ojibwa in Wisconsin.They treked in to the wilds of Wisconsin with two of their children with Captain Anderson as their guide. I wonder if I inherited my interest in the lost Tribes partly from these intrepid ancestors. In 2006 I attended the Bartram family reunion in Dumbleyung where we celebrated the 120th anniversary of the Bartram's permanent settlement in Dumbleyung and the 163rd anniversary of their arrival in Western Australia and the launching of a new Family history book at which my Aunty Faye was honoured for her research into the family history.

My grandfather Hillyer Bartram. His father Henry was of Spanish Jewish and Scottish ancestry and his mother Elizabeth (Bessie) Kersley of English and rumoured Aboriginal ancestry
My mother's maternal family had arrived in Dumbleyung around 1908 when they left Corowa in New South Wales via Melbourne. Many of my mother's direct maternal ancestresses had been teachers and midwives for many generations. My mother's maternal grandmother Hannah (b. 1874) had been both a teacher and a midwife as had her mother Anne (b.1849) before her. Anne had established a school in Echuca in Victoria and then a maternity nursing home in West Melbourne and then another maternity nursing home in Wagin (a town near Dumbleyung). Hannah (Johanna was her birth name but she was always known as Hannah) in later life was a midwife to the group settler' families in the Northcliffe area among the huge Karri trees. My father's family moved to Wagin and then Dumbleyung during the Second World War when my father was a little boy.

My great-great grandmother Anne Ennis at 19 years of age. She belonged to a Frankist (Catholic Jewish) family descended from Jacob Frank via her grandmother Helena Moran.
My father's paternal ancestors arrived in Fremantle in 1865 on the "Racehorse". My father's direct paternal great-grandfather Edward Bloomer had been a soldier ( a bombardier) and came as an enrolled pensioner guard to the convicts on the ship. He must have been a terrific horseman as was my grandfather, my uncles and father. Edward as a bombardier rode on horseback with three other riders dragging a cannon with them, then they would jump off their horses, fire the cannon at the enemy, then leap back on their horses and charge to the next position. Edward spent 20 years in the Army in British India.  Edward's ancestors were also soldiers and his direct paternal great grandfather James Alexander Bloomer (b.1754) was a Loyalist soldier in the American Revolution (he fought under the name of Captain James Alexander). His Irish born father James (O'Reilly) Alexander (of Scots ancestry) had come from Spain to America where he died in the Indian Wars in 1756. He married Abigail Bloomer an American Jewess from whence the Bloomer surname entered my family's male line.

My grandfather George Bloomer (standing) with his father Christopher Edward Bloomer. He was a non-practicing Catholic of Hasidic Jewish ancestry. Many of his ancestors were followers and descendants of Reb Moshe ben Zalman the Son of the Alter Rebbe who became a Catholic with many other Hasidic Jews (mainly Chabad and Breslovers) in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was also descended from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and from Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov. They joined with and intermarried with the Papal Frankists in Ireland.
 James Alexander Bloomer himself married a London born Jewess - Judith Cohen of Savannah in Georgia. They settled in Cavan Ireland as soldier-settlers after 1783 but in 1795 James went to Russia (Tartu, Estonia) with his son John to fight in the Czarist armies under the Russian General Orurk. John's son Edward (the father of Edward the Bombardier) married General Orurk's daughter Henrietta Maria as his first wife. Most of the family returned from Russia to Cavan after 1815 and settled in the Rooskey area of Knockbride parish in Cavan. In Russia the family had become Frankists and John's son Edward (snr) (aka Efraim Zvi Barzel)) who was born in Russia in 1798 later went with his second wife and his children to live in Palestine after 1827 where they reverted to orthodox Judaism using the surname Barzel. After the huge earthquake of 1837 Edward and his wife re-embraced belief in Jesus as Hebrew Christians and fled Palestine with some of their children and leaving some with their relatives. He was the father of my great great grandfather Edward (who came to Western Australia) by his first wife.

My paternal grandfather was also a soldier in World War One and two of my father's brothers were soldiers in World War Two and my father was a soldier in the Korean War. My grandfather George and my uncle Colin featured in a episode of  "Who do you think you are?" as my uncle Colin's granddaughter is a famous Australian actress Lisa McCune. Many of my father's ancestors on both sides were soldiers and some of his ancestors fought in the Battle of Waterloo. One of my mother's ancestral uncles John Pollard of the Royal Navy had written on his grave stone "the man who shot the man who shot Nelson" according to the tradition handed down in Australia and told to me as a young boy by my mother and Aunty Faye. We used to visit a very old relative Mr Pollard who had retired to Kelmscott who told me many stories about our ancestors.

My maternal grandmother Linda Lewis aged 15. Daughter of Leonard of Anglo-Jewish ancestry and Hannah Lewis of Irish Frankist and Jewish ancestry 

I also used to visit my great uncle Charlie (Leonard Charles Lewis) and quiz him about our family history which I would write down in a notebook when I was a teenager. He was a mine of information. My aunty Faye and I went on many journeys together to visit relatives in search of the family history and I spent hours in libraries researching in the days before the internet. We also were in contact with a relative called Wesley West in New South Wales who was also researching our family history. I also wrote to many distant relatives who also sent me much fascinating information. I had been inspired to begin the search into my family tree when I was 13 or 14 in Year 9 Social Studies when we had to do an assignment on our family tree. 

In 1980 when I was in my last year of High School our family attended a huge Whittington family reunion celebration of the 150th anniversary of our ancestor Daniel Whittington's arrival in the Swan River Colony on the "Wanstead" ship from England to the Swan River Colony in Western Australia. My mother was descended from his daughter Eliza Whittington who was born in 1834 at Upper Swan (a name which caused much amusement to us). This was during the first very difficult years of the new colony when many children died due to starvation as all the crops failed due to the poor soul on the coastal strip. They established a farm at Guildford (where Eliza married her husband George Kersley in 1851) but later moved to the more fertile lands of the Avon-dale region discovered by the early explorers. 

My father's maternal family came from Victoria in the 1890's to the Western Australian goldfields and then Perth where they were brick-makers, like they had been in Victoria. Some of both my mother and father's maternal ancestors had been publicans back in England among the crypto-Jewish families. An inn or pub was a good place where the publican doubled as a crypto Rabbi or Hazzan (worship leader) and the minyan could meet without drawing much attention. The publicans also were often farmers as well so they could provide kosher products to their crypto-Jewish flock.

 My ancestor Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Like all my brothers, I was circumcised on the eighth day after birth. My mother told me that her parents insisted that all their grandsons should be circumcised on the eighth day. My mother in turn was very upset when some of her own grandsons were not circumcised. After a couple of years in Morawa we returned to live at my parents house (on three acres) in the hills of Perth. We had chooks, a milking cow and calf, sheep, goats and even a horse at one stage and of course cats and dogs. My mother's sister Faye lived next door to us with my 6 cousins (5 girls and one boy). It was an exciting childhood with many adventures to be had. Many of my holidays throughout my life I was to spend in Dumbleyung at my father's sister Shirley's house, my mother's sister Una's house, my mother's sister Faye's house, at the farm where my sister Tamara lived or my mother's little house in town. It was a place I often went to renew my energy for life while walking and praying around the shores of Lake Dumbleyung. My three younger brothers Regan, Adam and Nathan all spent time living in Dumbleyung and attending some of their schooling at the Dumbleyung School where my parents had been educated. My sister and her husband still lives on the farm near Dumbleyung to this day as do many other relatives.

Lake Dumbleyung in rural Western Australia

At the age of seven I was baptised in the Anglican Church (St Luke's) with my father (a former atheist) and brothers. Sadly when I was nine my sixteen year old brother Dean died in a car accident in Tasmania. This sad event affected me greatly and it would take a lot of inner healing over many years to fully recover from this tragic event. Fortunately my family was like a huge clan and I had many wonderful cousins who are a treasured part of my life. Over the years people have complimented me on my eclectic knowledge and intelligence, however I would have to say that both my mother and my brother Regan were much more naturally intelligent than me. My father was a master storyteller and jack of all trades and he could do anything if he set his mind to it. 

Me with parents and siblings in chinese dressing gowns

My brothers and sister have been the bedrock of my life and the best of friends too. All my family were gifted and champions at every sport known to man except for me, even though I was good at athletics and swimming when I was young. My father and brothers were all brilliant footballers (Aussie Rules) which I also played until I was 14 at which I was mediocre (on a good day), which caused me great anguish as a child and teenage boy. I honestly believed nobody actually liked me (except maybe my mother and sister) but that they tolerated me. I was the only one of my siblings that was shortsighted which meant I was pretty useless at ball sports of all description. This combined with the trauma of the death of my brother Dean caused me to have a death wish until I received deep inner healing. This probably drew me to escaping into myself by reading which didn't make one the most popular of boys in a bogan school. It was only later that I realised my family did care for me and love me (with all my shortcomings) and I became very close to my father during his last ten years of life.

Me at 18

Me aged 14

Me aged 17 at my high School Graduation

My mother and her sister Faye also belonged to a Jewish Christian group ('Jewish Evangelical Witness' founded by Lawrence Duff-Forbes) as well as the Anglican Church. She and her sister Faye had become Evangelicals through the preaching of Billy Graham when he came to Perth in 1959. Many of my mother's cousins were becoming Jehovah's Witnesses in those times. My eldest brother in the 1970's married a daughter of one of these Jehovah's Witness cousins and he is to this day a devout JW.

My mother's maternal grandmother Hannah (Johanna) Kissane (Kassin). She was a teacher and a midwife. Before her marriage she lived in Melbourne with her Jewish great aunt where they attended the St Kilda Synagogue and she worked for Rabbi Blaubaum.

I first remember being aware of my Jewish ancestry when I heard my mother discussing her strict Anglo-Jewish great-grandmother Matilda West at one of the Jewish Evangelical Meetings (also called the David House Fellowship) when I was about 8 or 9. Matilda's brother Simeon Levi West (who we called Uncle Levi) had been a devout crypto-Jewish Rabbi in rural New South Wales who was famous for his racehorse "Tradition" who came second in both the 1888 Melbourne and Caulfield Cups. Recently one of my mother's elderly cousins told me that his and my mother's great-uncle James Lewis (a nephew of Uncle Levi) had also been a crypto-Rabbi in Queensland. When I was about 13 I started to wear a gold Magen David that belonged to my mother. Today I still wear a gold Magen David under my habit in memory of my mother. I was also a co-owner of a race horse with my brothers Regan, Adam and Nathan. He was born a day after my mother's death and we named it Law Rain in her honour. When he came 1st in a 50,000 dollar race at Ascot in Perth it was a very exciting time!

Me at age 13. Necklace in the picture had a gold Magen David on it that belonged to my mother.
Besides the meetings of Jewish Evangelical Witness my mother and aunt were supporters of  The Leprosy Mission and I and my brothers and cousins attended the Leprosy talks with slides and films at the Ryan's house all during my childhood and teenage years. It seemed as if our lives alternated between Jews and Lepers. I had a real horror and fear of leprosy and could never after that read any books which had a leper in it and was always fearful that any strange mark may be the start of leprosy. As a young adult I attended a dinner with my mother and aunt for the Leprosy Mission at which two of my best friends at University's parents were there and I realised that they had also been involved in the Leprosy Mission as missionaries in Ethiopia.What a small world!

The grave of my parents and brother

In my teens I became very interested in religion and politics. I became involved with right-wing conservative groups such as the Australian League of Rights which were often anti-semitic and I believed that there was a worldwide Jewish conspiracy and that Jewish bankers were controlling the world. I even started to doubt the extent of the Holocaust after reading David Irving and I became friends with mad Jack Van Tongeren who later blew up Asian restaurants. Of course I never told Jack about my Jewish ancestry as he was very anti-Jewish and adored Hitler. It can be difficult to convince people caught up in these anti-Jewish ideas as it can become like an obsessive compulsion, but I am proof that prayer, conversion of heart and discussion can change such thinking.

My mother and aunt and their mother were supporters of the British Empire Loyalist movement and the Australian League of Rights and other right -wing organisations even though they did not agree with the anti-Semitic elements or Holocaust revisionism. They also supported the Free China Association and Australian Rhodesian Society. They were traditional conservatives as was my father (who did not like the Australian League of Rights) who were pro-God, Queen, country, family and the English Common Law.  Both my parents did not like the ideas of Jack van Tongeren and were concerned at my friendship with him. 

Looking back I am amazed at how my mother and aunt could ignore the elements they didn't like in these organisations but support them because of their defence of the Queen, Empire and other conservative values. I remember as a teen coming across a huge pile of old copies of "Candour" the League of Empire Loyalists newsletter in my mothers wardrobe and read them secretly and avidly and came to admire their efforts to save the British Empire in the days before I was born and just after. Most of the people in these groups were kind, respectable, cultured and intelligent middle and upper middle class people who abhorred violence or any breaking of the law. It troubles me now when people demonise either right or left wing people and exaggerate their ideas. There are sincere, caring and wonderful people on all sides of religion and politics even if I think them mistaken. And unfortunately also corrupt ones on all sides too.

At fourteen years of age I read a British Israelite book belonging to my mother called "Christians Awake" by Gilbert Saddler and I became interested in the Bible and a supporter of the British Israel World Federation. I later found out that my great grandparents Leonard and Hannah Lewis and many of my grandmother's siblings had been believers in the British Israel Identity which was popular before World War Two. This earlier form of British Israelism was pro-Jewish and pro-Zionist but later forms became anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist which also influenced me in a negative way. 

At this time I was also starting to get interested in the occult and reincarnation. I shared this interest with my Russian Orthodox step-grandmother Madame Nadine (Nana Wuffa) who was a co-founder and past president of the Western Australian Ballet Company and a choreographer. We would discuss together the world religions among many other subjects and I became fascinated with the books of Edgar Cayce and Paul Brunton among others. Since I was a child I have had a passion for reading and for history. At this time I was anti-Judaism and anti-Catholicism. 

I also went through many fashion phases such as punk, goth and Prince (in his purple phase) and Billy Idol. I spent a lot of time with friends wildly dancing at night clubs. Even though I did learn ballroom dancing, I belong more to the Isadora Duncan style of dancing. All of my family love to dance. Due to my grandmother and mother's influence I still love attending the Ballet to this day especially with my second cousin Gaye who reared as a Jehovah's Witness was the first after me to become a Catholic - she now considers herself and her six children as Hebrew Catholics and each year keeps the traditional Jewish Pesach. One of the last lovely times with my mother before she died was when Gaye, her daughter Sophia, my mother and I attended the Ballet together. It was a wonderful night and I ended up spontaneously going back to my mother's place and staying a couple of days.

Perry, Me (the little blonde boy), Regan (baby), Tamara and Dean

Me aged 19

At 18 I had an experience of the Holy Spirit which instantly revealed to me that the occult direction was a false path. I felt loved for the first time and I started to speak in a strange language which I later found out was called the gift of tongues. I also lost my anti-Judaism and anti-Catholic prejudices. I started to attend the Jewish Society meetings at the University of Western Australia and I attended Jewish camps on Jewish identity. I completed a Bachelor of Arts at UWA majoring in History and minoring in Ancient History, English and Music.  I had previously learnt the piano for six years. In 1984 I had my first full-time job as a teacher in New South Wales where I taught English, History, Drama and Physical Education at a private Protestant College. Strangely it was in the very town where my ancestral Uncle Levi had lived for many years.

After I moved to Melbourne and was studying there in 1985 I was introduced to the Jewish chaplain at Melbourne University, Rabbi Michael Katz, who started to teach me the Hebrew alphabet. I became friends with Benjamin Hurwitz a young orthodox Jewish student who took me to the East Melbourne Synagogue and I would sometimes attend the service of this very Anglo-Jewish Shul and I also attended their community Passover celebrations. Rabbi Katz introduced me to some Rabbis at the Beth ha Talmud Kollel who were from Lakewood , New Jersey. At first I couldn't understand the Rabbis at all and Rabbi Katz had to translate for me. I asked him what language they were speaking and I was shocked when he said "English". This seemed like a very different world to the more English-style Anglo-Judaism of the East Melbourne synagogue and very different to my very Anglo-Australian upbringing but I loved it.

After my first encounter with the Lakewood Rabbis in Balaclava, I started to attend their Orthodox Jewish Synagogue and joined the Kollel with these ten Litvak Rabbi's from Lakewood New Jersey as well as studying with Lubavitch (Chabad) Rabbis. I spent every weekend at the home of my "adopted" orthodox Jewish family. I started to become an observant Jew at this stage even though I was still very alternative in my dress which must have tested the tolerance of the Rabbis. Though they may have liked the challenge of this strange young man who wore stud-arm bands to synagogue. I loved the orthodox Jewish community and everyone was so kind to me especially the Rabbis. They told me not to reject Jesus but to have a little talk with him and tell him I was not rejecting him but that I was going to be concentrating on his Father for awhile. However I went through real inner turmoil as I wanted to be fully orthodox Jewish but I still loved Jesus and believed as my parents had taught me that he was the Jewish Messiah. 

Strangely enough my parents were more upset at me becoming a Catholic than when I had joined the orthodox Jewish community. In fact my mother forbade me to become a Catholic. However over the years they softened and would attend Mass with me on occasions. By the time of her sudden death my mother was almost a Catholic in belief without formally joining the Catholic Church. Not long before my mother's death in 2005 she was very happy when one of my sister-in-laws (Regan's wife) with her two teenage sons were baptised in the Catholic Church along with the two year old son of my brother Nathan and my cousin Gaye's youngest son Levi (who was a baby). What a happy day that was! My mother was most amused when one of her newly baptised grandsons (he was 15) asked her cheekily why she wasn't a Catholic as the Catholic Church was the original one. She responded, "He has only been a Catholic an hour and he is already a bigoted one". My brother Nathan has had all three of his children baptised as Catholics even though he and his wife are not Catholics at this stage. In 2011 my Aunty Faye who was in her eighties with her eldest daughter, one of her granddaughters and her four great grandchildren all became Catholics and at the same time her daughter's marriage was blessed and her son-in-law received the sacraments after a 40 year break.

Another Punk picture of Me

Me in my 30's

One day after studying at the Beth ha Talmud Kollel in Melbourne and out of curiosity I went into the Catholic Church opposite where I felt the Divine Presence in the empty Church. I was puzzled as I had felt His Presence in the worship of both synagogue and Protestant church but when the synagogue or church had no service it just felt like an empty building. Why did the empty Catholic Church have this Presence? This began my journey into the Catholic Church. Just before my entry into the Catholic Church I attended some Messianic Jewish meetings where a Messianic Jewish lady (Betty Baruch) told me about a Hebrew Catholic group led by a holocaust survivor Andrew Sholl [cofounder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics]. So right from the start of my Catholic journey I was able to meet with other Hebrew Catholics regularly. This was in 1987 when I was 24 years old. I also had studied with a Rabbi at the Chabad Yeshiva in Melbourne and I sometimes attended the Chasidic services.

My former gothic/alternative girlfriend Yasmina attended my reception into the Catholic Church at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1987 in all her gothic splendour. We had broken up not long before as I was still considering a calling to religious life. She was a nominal Catholic whose father was Muslim and her mother was a Catholic and her maternal grandmother Jewish and a terrific actress. She was my first serious girlfriend since I had left Parkes in 1984 where I was dating two girls- one a Baptist and the other a Catholic. I was more serious about the Catholic one and we continued to write for some time after I left Parkes. When I was in Israel in 2002/3 I met and became close to Amy who was a young orthodox Jewish woman from Texas-we were very keen on each other but we realised that my being a Catholic would be a problem for her so that was that. In 2007 I dated in Israel two Hebrew Catholic women- one an Israeli Professor and the other an orthodox Jewish woman who was secretly Catholic (who I met through a friend who was an orthodox Jewish rabbi but secretly interested in the Catholic faith). But God had other plans for me than the married life.

I also joined a Charismatic Catholic lay community in 1987 that worked with street kids, prostitutes and drug addicts for many years. I had been working among the poor in Melbourne since 1985 before I became a Catholic in 1987. It was in 1984 that I felt a call to work with the poor and to be a religious brother. However in 1985 I first attended Synagogue and started to gradually live as an orthodox Jew in Melbourne. In 1986 I had trained and worked as an actor in an International Theatre Company in Sydney where I also attended Synagogue and learnt with some Chasidic seminarians in Bondi. In 1986 I met one of my closest and dearest friends Patrick who is now a priest promoting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration all over the world. He is such an inspiration to me. He and I were also in the Street Kid community together and later in the Philippines where I was to meet Father Doug. Patrick and I also spent time together promoting adoration in Thailand. He  also was my sponsor/ godfather in 1987 when I became a Catholic.

In 1988 I visited the UK, Europe and Singapore with my mother. I also lived in the Philippines for three years (1993-1996) as a seminarian for a community that promoted Perpetual Adoration. I completed a number of studies in Philosophy and Theology there. Before going to the Philippines I had studied at the Australian Catholic University in 1990 and 1993- completing my Graduate Diploma of Education. My father died on February 4, 1994 of a brain tumour when I was in the Philippines. This was a very difficult time for me.  It was in the Philippines as a fruit of my Adoration that I started to write from a more mystical perspective on the Jewish roots of the Catholic Faith. I was also invited by a group of upper middle- class Filipino ladies led by June Keithley (who later I found out was a famous personality in Manila) to teach them about the Jewish roots of the Catholic Faith. After leaving the seminary in 1996 and my return to Australia I became engaged to Miriam an Australian girl that I had met when I lived in Melbourne but we broke up due to her desire to consider being a nun (which she later did). 

After teaching Law (among other subjects) at a Catholic College in Western Australia to Years 9-12 I applied and was accepted to study Law but at the last minute felt that was the wrong decision and ended up going to Thailand as a teacher where I taught off and on for many years.  In Thailand I was very involved with my Bishop and some priests since 1997 in giving talks promoting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, and the Marian and Charismatic movements. In this time I prayed over thousands of people for healing with the permission and direction of the Bishop and my parish priest. My last teaching stint in Thailand was in 2008 and I last visited Thailand for a month in 2011 (when I was already a consecrated brother) to see the Bishop who was sick and he died soon after. During my time in Thailand I had over the years attended the Synagogue in Bangkok for Shabbas and Pesach and other festivals on occasion.
Me at 21 or 22 at University of Western Australia

Me in Thailand with Bishop Manat and Greek orthodox visionary Vassula Ryden

Me teaching in Thailand

My Jewish journey also continued and later I was blessed to have lived in Israel three different times where I helped found 'Catholics For Israel' group in 2007 with my friends and neighbours Ariel ben Ami and Countess Marie (in Nachlaot in Jerusalem). I also was involved in starting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Armenian Catholic Church in the Muslim quarter in 2002 as well as studying Hebrew in Ulpan and did Jewish studies in an Orthodox Jewish Yeshivah (I also studied there in 2007 and 2008). Tragically my nephew committed suicide at 23 years of age while I was in Israel just before the wedding of my youngest brother Nathan. I received the news when I was in Haifa just after visiting the Cave of Elijah at the Stella Maris Monastery where Father Elias Friedman (founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics) had lived. I later also spent fruitful time in America four times with David and Kathleen Moss of the Association of Hebrew Catholics (in 2005,2007,2008 and 2009). While in the US I was privileged to meet two wonderful orthodox Bishops who were supportive of Hebrew Catholics- Archbishop Burke of St Louis (the former Cardinal Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome) and Auxiliary Bishop Cordileone of San Diego (now Archbishop of San Francisco).

Me and friends[Jeff Ryan, Sister Briana and Mary Hills] in San Diego giving talks on Jewish and Catholic mysticism in 2008

Me with my mother in the 1990's

At the time of deciding to become a Catholic I read the book "Communion in the Messiah" of Father Lev Gillet a Russian Orthodox priest who was influenced by the Hebrew Christian Anglican priest Paul Levertoff. It was their vision of a Hasidic Jewish branch of the Catholic Church that helped make my leap into the Catholic Church. As my step-father and step-grandmother had been Russian Orthodox I at first considered becoming Russian Orthodox as I loved their spiritual tradition and as a ultra-monarchist I had a devotion to the Czars of Russia. 

After becoming a Latin-rite Catholic I discovered that there was a Byzantine Russian Catholic Church in Melbourne and I attended it on a few occasions. I treasure all the spiritual journeys I was led on and till this day appreciate the richness of the Litvak Jewish, Chasidic Jewish, Messianic Jewish, Anglican, and Russian Orthodox spiritualities which complement my Hebrew Catholicism rather than substract from it. 

About 20 or more years ago I became fascinated by my ancestor Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and his teachings. However I only met Breslovers in person for the first time when I went to Israel in 2002. I had a spiritually significant experience talking with a young Breslover in King David's Tomb (in the room below the Cenacle of the Last Supper) where I often went to pray. In 2007 I was to attend an orthodox Jewish Passover Seder there. I consider myself as a Catholic Breslov Hasid and Ushpizin is my favourite movie.David and Kathleen Moss introduced me to Ushpizin when I was staying with them at the Hebrew Catholic center in St Louis in 2007- I watched in about 6 times. Strangely when I was living in Israel later that year- my neighbours decided to watch Ushpizin and we suddenly realised that our street -Rama Street in Nachlaot- was in the film. I later also realised that the Yeshiva used in the film was one near my place in Nachlaot where I studied Talmud with some Breslovers.

My mother Laurie with her brother Garry

My mother Laurie

My parents Gil and Laurie 

After my return to Australia from Jerusalem in 2003 I first learnt of the Divine Will movement. When I was teaching at a Seventh Day Adventist School in Thailand I was given the "Hours of the Passion" and started to use these wonderful meditations in my prayer life. When I then returned to Australia I was invited by Jenny and Michele of the Casa de Luisa Piccarreta to give a talk on the Jewish Roots of the Catholic Faith. Since then I have become very involved in the Divine Will movement and given numerous talks (many of them sold on DVD) on Jewish and Catholic Mysticism both throughout Australia and overseas. In 2005 I gave a very successful talk to the Hebrew Catholic connections group in Jacksonville Florida. Sadly my mother died later in 2005 about a month after my return from America. She died in my sister Tamara and my arms while I recited the Divine Mercy chaplet over her.  She received the Sacrament of Anointing from a Catholic priest friend of mine the day before her death. Her funeral had Anglican, Catholic and Jewish elements. My mother was a very spiritual and mystical person who had a deep impact on my own faith journey and her death left a great hole in my life. For the next few years I kept busy traveling the world ( I think I was in shock) and in 2009-10 the loss of my mother struck me deeply and was one of the worst times of my life.

Me aged 23 in Melbourne in Jewish kippa and Tallis.

Me in Melbourne aged 21 with friends Natalie and Jane

In 2007 I was invited by a community of Carmelite hermit nuns in the USA to give a series of talks on Jewish and Catholic mysticism and I also gave a talk to the enclosed Carmelite nuns in St Louis. The next year in 2008 the Carmelite nuns in St Louis invited me to give 10 talks on the connections between Jewish mysticism and Carmelite spirituality and another Carmelite nun invited me to give a series of 10 talks in San Diego to a Divine Will group as well as speaking to her enclosed Carmelite nuns and also giving a talk to a community of active Carmelite sisters. On my trip to San Diego I was accompanied by Jeff Ryan (who I met in Jerusalem in 2007 and ran into him again at a Hebrew Catholic meeting in St Louis in 2008) a graduate of the Franciscan University of Stubenville who is an expert on Catholic mysticism and he also gave some inspirational talks. Back in St Louis Jeff and I gave a series of talks at the Hebrew Catholic Center as the foundation talks of the Bnei Miriam Kollel with the encouragement of David and Kathleen Moss. Strangely enough talking with Jeff's mother we realised that we were distant cousins through the Payne, Walsh and Montefiore families. Before this earlier in 2008 after leaving Israel I visited Ireland where I gave a talk to a Catholic group in Waterford. In Ireland I also visited Cavan and the Ring of Kerry. I have also given a series of talks in Queensland, country New South Wales, Sydney, Canberra and Tasmania in recent years including the Marian Valley Shrines in New South Wales and Queensland.
Me with my brothers Perry, Nathan and Adam in 2009 in Australia

Me with my mother in Singapore in 1988

My cousin Shaun (far left), held by my brother Dean, and Me (far right) held by my sister Tamara

I pray for the reunion of all into the one Faith expressed in many different ways. Unity but not uniformity. I thus look forward to the further development of the Anglican ordinariates and look with excitement at the fruits coming from the discussion between Messianic Jews and other Jews in the Churches that began in Finland in 2010 at the annual 'Jews in the Church of Christ' conference. I have been described as a spiritual troubador and trouble shooter. I have also realised I have the calling of a fool for Mashiach (Messiah) and I have learnt much from the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and Luisa Piccarreta in recent years. The constants in my life have been the Hebrew Catholic apostolate and the promotion of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with the friendship of two priest friends Fathers Patrick Barry and Doug Harris among others.

In 2009 I was a candidate with the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Land in Washington DC which did not work out as I expected and I later returned to Australia after spending some time at the Hebrew Catholic center in St Louis. In 2010 I taught at St Clare's Catholic Girl's College in Canberra and in 2011 on Feb 4 I became a consecrated Brother as Brother Gilbert Joseph of the Divine Presence with the 'Apostles of Perpetual Adoration'. [I had been a member of the APA since it was founded in 2006.] My birth name was Athol. In 2012 I renewed my promises as a consecrated brother. On February 4 2013 I took life promises as a consecrated brother. 

On May 13 2013 the consecrated contemplative-active brothers within APA took the name of 'Little Eucharistic Brothers of Divine Will'. In 2013 I completed my Master of Arts in Theological Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle. In 2014 the Brothers moved to Tasmania. I think since I became a consecrated brother I have been at my most happiest and fulfilled than at any other stage of my life. There are still the daily struggles and the ups and downs of life but I have an inner peace that I didn't have in the past. However the first couple of years as a consecrated brother were very difficult and I almost didn't continue after the first year. Coming to Tasmania has only increased that peace and the wonderful way God has cared for us and provided for us (through so many kind and lovely people) has helped me grow in faith, hope and love. At the same time I embrace the Divine Will where ever he takes me next in life.
 Me celebrating Pesach with some of my Hebrew Catholic relatives
Me with Br John-Joseph in Tasmania