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, October 23, 2014

The Etrog and the Immaculate Heart in the Zohar

I was in the Succah of some Orthodox Jewish friends last week and we performed the Jewish ritual of waving the four species for Sukkot- the Jewish festival of Tabernacles. They had a diagram showing how the different species symbolised different parts of the body. The lemon or citron is called a etrog or esrog and is considered feminine and represents the heart and also the breast due to its shape.  During the ritual one holds the etrog in a manner which reminds one of those pictures of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart in which Jesus and Mary hold their heart in their right hand.

However for me as a Catholic Jew I perceived the etrog as symbolising the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady rather than the Sacred Heart of Yeshua to fit with its feminine meaning in Judaism. Of course in a sense all our hearts and souls can be seen as feminine. One of the most beautiful of literary icons is Jesus describing his loving heart as a Mother Hen gathering its chicks under its wings. These wings invoke the imagery of the wings of the Shekhinah (female Presence). In fact there is a mosaic icon of this literary icon at the Dominus Flevit (The Lord Wept) Church on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

 In the past I have written much on the opening line of the Zohar referring to the Song of Songs 2:2 about the Mystical Rose (Shoshanah) among the thorns. Imagine my delight in reflecting on Zohar 3: 38a which also mentions this verse about the mystical Rose in a mystical commentary on Leviticus 9:11 "It happened on the eighth day".  In the preceding section Rabbi Eleazar asks "Who is the eighth day?" and as the text unfolds it reveals that the eighth day is Binah (Understanding or female Wisdom the Celestial or Upper Mother) who fills and encompasses the lower 7 Sefirot (attributes or emanations or energies) which are linked to the seven days of creation and the seven days of priestly ordination. Binah is the 8th Sefirot when counting from below to above. The seventh Sefirot when counting from Binah to below is Shekhinah/ Malkhut the lower Mother.  The Upper Mother (Maiden) fills the Lower Mother (Maiden) and together they are Kneset Yisrael (The Lady of Israel who is the Community or Assembly of Israel). This Lady of Israel is also Mother of the Ecclesia (Church/ Kehilla). Lady and Mother referring to the Celestial Upper Mother Binah and Israel and Ecclesia referring to the lower earthly Mother Shekhinah. Of course the Upper Mother can also be referred to as the Upper Shekhinah. This alludes to the mystery of Our Lady and Luisa in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.

The idea of the rose lily among the thorns represents the concept of the Immaculate Conception and Heart. This Immaculate Heart is represented by the Etrog. 

 וְעַל דָּא שְׁבָחָא דְּקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא דִּמְשַׁבַּח לָהּ לִכ"י, כְּשׁוֹשַׁנָּה דְּאִיהִי בֵּין הַחוֹחִים, דְּאִיהִי מְעַלְּיָא וְסַלְּקָא עַל כֹּלָּא. כַּךְ כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּין שְׁאָר אוּכְלוּסִין, בְּגִין דְּהִיא סַלְּקָא וּמִתְעַטְּרָא עַל כֹּלָּא. וְדָא שׁוֹשַׁנָה בֵּין הַחוֹחִים, וְאֶתְרוֹג בֵּין הַחוֹחִים, לְאַחֲזָאָה שְׁבָחָא דִּכ"י, עַל כֹּלָּא.   "Thus, the praise offered by the Blessed Holy One to the Lady of Israel: Like a rose among the thorns - which is the finest, transcending all- so is the Lady of Israel among all of the legions, for She ascends and is crowned over all. Surely a rose among the thorns and an etrog among thorns, showing the praise of the Lady of Israel above all." (Zohar Shmini 3:37b-38a) 

The etrog or lemon is a bitter-sweet fruit which represents the bitter sorrows and joyful sweetness of the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Miriam (Bitter sea).

It is important to remember that the mystical interpretation of Scripture has 70 faces and we could look at this passage from the Zohar from different alternative perspectives. For example we could read this passage from a Marian perspective and see the Upper Mother representing the Holy Spirit and the lower mother Our Lady or the Upper Mother seen as Our Lady's role in the Celestial realm and the lower Mother as Our Lady's earthly mission. A Trinitarian reading could see the Essence or Ousia (Atzmut) of God as the Upper Mother and the Holy Spirit as the lower Mother. Or we can see the Upper Mother as Our Lady and the lower as Luisa or Nukvah (parztuf called Female), or the Upper Mother as Our Lady and the lower mother as the Church or Israel.We see this further on from our passage in the Zohar where the mysterious boy called Yeisa gives a number of alternative mystical interpretations of Scripture verses from the Creation account in Genesis1. 

Of course there are certain limitations in reading mystical interpretations which differ for the Orthodox Jew and the Catholic. The Catholic interprets Scripture and other writings in the light that the Messiah has come as the God-Man Jesus in the incarnation and limits ones interpretations within the framework of the infallible teachings of the Church on faith and morals. The orthodox Jew interprets them within the accepted consensus of the Rabbinic authorities teachings. 

It can be very spiritually dangerous for a person that is not submitted to the practical disciplines and moral teachings of their faith to delve into the mystical realm. We see this in the case of the Gnostics and Sabbateans who end up departing from the laws of God and open themselves up to the Other Side (Sitra Ahra) and sexual immorality. Instead of the true Mother they serve the demonic substitute and mockery of the feminine called Lilith.  This section of Zorah warns us of this in regards to the fate of Nadab and Abihu the priestly sons of Aaron who were not espoused to the Shekhinah in their service and they instead evoked alien fire (esh zara) which the Zohar reads as alien woman (ishah zara) of Proverbs 2:16 as the Lilith demoness.

Many Christians find Leviticus rather hard going and boring to read. However if one studies it from a mystical perspective as taught in the Zohar then they would have a much richer and thrilling experience of the text. However I am one of those strange people who have always enjoyed Leviticus on the literal historical level even before I learnt how to read it at the mystical level. But then I have always loved the genealogies in the Bible too and find them fascinating. Ah there is sure to be something for everyone as the Scriptures (Torah) are alive and the living fire of the mystical and Divine Heart (Oral Torah).

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Synod and Homosexual Inclination

On facebook earlier today I made this comment in a discussion about the Synod on the Family and the "Relatio post disceptationem".

There are too many second guessing the Pope and Bishops- let them get on with it - it is important they thrash out these things together for the greater good of souls. Let us not get so locked into our own prejudices and approaches that we can't sit back and consider a different pastoral approach which is more merciful and fruitful for souls. We must embrace and love the sinner while hating sin. Of course people with a homosexual inclination brings gifts and talents to the Church due to the unique nature of the Cross they bear. The CCC doesn't say that the person is intrinsically disordered or gravely depraved but that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. Acts such as sodomy are intrinsically disordered whether one is homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual in inclination or whether it is practiced in a same sex manner or a heterosexual manner. We are all sinners in need of mercy and let us be with those who seek to lift and bear the burdens of others rather than being like those Pharisees who won't lift a finger but burden the broken with ever more legalistic interpretations of the laws and rules.
Many are concerned at the language of some of the Bishops who are saying that we should accept and value the gifts and talents of people with a homosexual attraction or inclination. However some have got upset because the Italian word translated value should be translated as evaluating.

 In 2011 on a blog post about Andre Raffalovich I wrote about this issue.

Marc-Andre Raffalovich advocated a Catholic spirituality of channeling same -sex or homoerotic desires into sublimation through divine intimacy with the Messiah Jesus. He saw that there were two major kinds of homosexuals -a higher or elevated kind who had a high sense of art and beauty and those who were lower and were absorbed in the lustful homosexual activities. It would seem this was based on a Jewish understanding of the animal and divine souls in men.  These lower homosexuals or inverts live out acts only according to their animal or base nature of man whereas those who united themselves to divine beauty through the power of the Cross and the dark night of sublimation (bitul and mesirut nefesh) could attain to that part of man that connects with the Divine. One could then have intimate and life-long spiritual and mystical friendships with those of the same-sex as advocated by St Aelred. 
Raffalovich considered that those of the higher type of homosexual to be the ones who made the best priests followed by heterosexuals who were also able to embrace celibacy. The lower type of homosexual he considered unsuited and dangerous to religious life. His life-long friend John Gray a former lover of Oscar Wilde was to become a Dominican priest supported by Raffalovich. Raffalovich himself became a Dominican Tertiary taking the name of Sebastian in honour of St Sebastian. 

In Raffalovich's understanding of homosexuality I perceive his Jewish sources in Hasidic Judaism united with Catholic mysticism. Uniting Raffalovich's insights with those of John Paul II's theology of the Body and the teachings of Hasidic Judaism can lead to a new understanding of the homosexual and his potential for holiness and becoming a living icon of the crucified Messiah and a great Tzadik who can enter into the suffering of others in a deep way and make tikun (reparation) for them.
Hasidic Jewish teachings warn of the dangers of p'gam ha brit (spilling the seed/masturbation) which feeds the animal soul (or inclination)of the homosexual (this also applies to the heterosexual) whereas the divine element is fed by reflecting on beauty in nature, religion, music and the arts. Masturbation and lustful thoughts distort ones spirituality and leads to loneliness and an obsession with the self.

Priests and religious are called to focus on the perfect male who is the God-Man and when they shift their focus from divine intimacy with him, it may lead to them focusing on the closest thing to the manliness they find in Christ- young, handsome men. Instead of using their sexuality as a way to give selflessly to God and others they fall into the power of the evil inclination and hurt themselves, others and God.

The man or woman caught in the lower form need only to start to desire the higher ways and God will respond and send them help if they remain open and avail themselves of the sacraments and Eucharistic adoration. It is not the case of denying who they are but of embracing it and using it for a higher purpose.

Raffalovich and Gray may have started out as physical lovers before Raffolovich's conversion to Catholicism (but this is not clear)but after his conversion they grew into a deep, celibate and spiritual friendship that lasted their entire life by sublimating their homoerotic desires to a higher purpose rooted in the Cross of the Messiah.

In the case of Marc Andre Raffalovich, John Gray and Oscar Wilde (as well as Lord Alfred Douglas) who all embraced Catholicism we have wonderful models of hope for those struggling in this area of their lives. Oscar Wilde seems to give hope for those caught up in the lower form who then embrace a desire to be transformed by the Messiah. 
If the acts are intrinsically disordered then the homosexual inclination to desire to do such acts itself is objectively disordered . However we have to understand what the term disordered means in the Catholic understanding of natural law. It is that inner law based on man's reasoning ability that can discern right and wrong.“The natural law, present in the heart of each man, and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men.”(CCC 1956) 

However we should be more careful with our language. It is natural and ordered to have a desire or inclination to be loved and be intimate both spiritually, emotionally and physically with people of both sexes. All human beings have sexual desires. How one expresses these desires and inclination can lead to depraved and disordered acts. Heterosexual inclination and desires that lead to acts of lust and the using of the other are disordered. Homosexual inclination and desires that lead to acts of lust and using the other selfishly are also disordered.

King David is an example of this. He fell in love with Princess Michal and he married her and consummated that love in a right ordered expression of physical sexual union that is only appropriate in marriage. He also fell in love with her brother Jonathan (in a different way) and was very intimate with him both emotionally and physically. David and Jonathan even made a 'covenant' of love between them. Where David went wrong was in his disordered lust of wanting more than one wife or woman to be intimate with which disordered his relationship with Michal and led to his murder of Uriah due to his lust for Bathsheba.

Jesus and John the Beloved were spiritually, emotionally and physically intimate and all priests are called to a virginal and celibate same-sex spiritual and mystical desire, attraction and intimacy with Jesus the perfect Man no matter what one's sexual inclination is/ was. It is important not to limit the healing power of Jesus in redirecting all our disordered desires to wholeness and holiness. In fact all of us are called as Christians to virginal nuptial unions of intimacy with Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the saints as well as with each other. 

Thus a person who has a homosexual or same sex attraction should order it towards the higher way of beauty, truth and love. They will have to allow God to give them self control in regards to their own sex but will have more freedom from certain struggles in developing virginal nuptial unions with the opposite sex. Heterosexually inclined people will have to surrender and let God give them self control and discipline in regards to the opposite sex and they will have more freedom from certain struggles in developing virginal nuptial union with their own sex. Those with a bisexual inclination will have to doubly surrendered as one can imagine. However it is not only sexual disorderliness we should be concerned about but also spiritual and emotional disordered acts that misuses ourselves or others in a selfish and utilitarian manner.

Many of us are so hardened by the moral and culture wars of our time that it is hard not to retreat to a siege mentality and ignore the wounds and hurts of others that we wound by our combative words and almost demonic misuse of Scripture, Tradition, magisterial teachings and canon law to accuse our brothers and sisters who are struggling. Pope Francis wants the Church to be a loving and caring field hospital for wounded sinners in which the Divine Mercy flows without man-made limits. He wants the Church through the Bishops to develop merciful and healing pastoral approaches that embrace rather than reject our fellow wounded sinners. As Catholics we believe in the theological development of doctrine- always going deeper and being open to the reality that we have only begun to understand. 

Much is promised to those who through God's grace surrender their fallen disordered will to the Divine Will and overcome and conqueror their disordered desires and inclinations. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a sparkling (white) stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." [Rev 2:17]. Blessed John of Ruysbroeck writes: " By this sparkling stone we mean Our Lord Jesus Christ...Now to him that overcomes and transcends all things, this sparkling stone is given; and with it he receives light, truth and life." This is the mystical Eucharistic Host as Divine Life revealed at its most hidden and deepest depths as the Bread of the Divine Will (Hidden Manna). As we gaze into this mirror or icon like mystical Host, we behold ourselves transformed as God created us to be in Eternity as 'other Christs' or 'Living Hosts'. All disorder is gone and we are able to receive our true name in God's heart as a bride receives her bridegroom. We in a mystical sense become enthroned with Jesus in the Monstrance through our sublimation of our disordered passions through the Cross as vessels of reparation and sanctification for our wounded brothers and sisters. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne..."[Rev.3:21] "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new...I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." [Rev.21:5-7)

I, for one, will try to be open to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church through the Pope and Bishops and will be more than happy to adhere joyfully to the authentic Magisterium's final discernment. I will also try to respect the views on all sides of the Bishops' discussion as given sincerely and for the love of souls. Of course I draw the line at those interpretations that do not hold to the infallible teachings of the Church but wish to replace them with something else. Those I will oppose with prayer and spiritual warfare in my holy hours of Eucharistic Adoration united with Our Lady and St Joseph, redoing all in Divine Will for the Glory of God and the salvation and sanctification of souls. 
I will also meditate and reflect on the wisdom of Pope Francis:

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

 “The thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds.”

 “So we grow in the understanding of the truth. Exegetes and theologians help the church to mature in her own judgment. Even the other sciences and their development help the church in its growth in understanding. There are ecclesiastical rules and precepts that were once effective, but now they have lost value or meaning. The view of the Church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.”

 "One who accompanies others has to realize that each person’s situation before God and their life in grace are mysteries which no one can fully know from without. The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions (cf. Mt 18:15), but without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37). Someone good at such accompaniment does not give in to frustrations or fears. He or she invites others to let themselves be healed, to take up their mat, embrace the cross, leave all behind and go forth ever anew to proclaim the Gospel. Our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others, and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and their readiness to grow." 

And my favourite one: 

"Formation is a work of art not a police action. We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are forming little monsters. And then these little monsters mould the People of God. This really gives me goose bumps... Just think of the religious that have hearts as sour as vinegar: they are not made for the People. In the end we must not form administrators and managers but fathers, brothers, traveling companions"

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Little Eucharistic Brothers and APA New Website

Brother John-Joseph of the Immaculate Womb and Brother Gilbert Joseph of the Divine Presence at Joseph's Place in Queensland

Brother John-Joseph of The Immaculate Womb has been working hard on developing the new website for the Apostles of Perpetual Adoration and the Little Eucharistic Brothers of Divine Will. If you want to learn more on this apostolate do click on the link above. Click on this link to see the parish newsletter welcoming them to Tasmania earlier this year.

Brother John-Joseph, Father Doug Harris and Br Gilbert at St Bernadette's Glendalough in Perth Western Australia

Monday, September 29, 2014

St Bernard on Church and Synagogue

A few years ago in an interview for the Association of Hebrew Catholics, Father Donald Arsenault told me about St Bernard of Clairvaux's view of Judaism.

Q. In that same line, St. Bernard says that the Church is the daughter of the synagogue, and that the Church wishes with all her soul to bring her mother into the chamber where she was conceived and wants to give to her mother the bridegroom.

A. I like that because the way many people think, they want to make the mother wear a mini-skirt and hot boots and dress like the daughter. They don’t actually want her to come as a mother with all her dignity and richness. They want her to come stripped and enter the Church. I want to see her come into the Church, Judaism coming into the Church, as a mother. We don’t need her to come in as a daughter, like two sisters. If she comes in as mother, she has her role, her dignity, in the body of Christ.

Q. I believe that St. Bernard keeps saying that the mother and the Church form the bride for the bridegroom … Who is seen as the bridegroom in Israel?

A. God.

Q. In the Church there is no divorce. So there can’t be any divorce between God and Israel when the Church comes into being …

A. Israel is the bride of God but then enters into the Church which is the universal bride. They live together.

Today I found the reference in St Bernards Sermon 79:

"...`I have hold of him and will not let him go until I bring him to my mother's house, into the bedchamber of her who bore me.' Great is the charity of the Church, who does not grudge her delights even to her rival, the Synagogue. What could be kinder than to be willing to share with her enemy him whom her soul loves? But it is not surprising, because `salvation is from the Jews.’ The Saviour returned to the place from which he had come, so that the remnant of Israel might be saved. Let not the branches be ungrateful to the root, nor sons to their mother; let not the branches grudge the roots the sap they took from it, nor the sons grudge their mother the milk they sucked from her breast. Let the Church hold fast the salvation which the Jews lost; she holds it until the fulness of the Gentiles comes, and so all Israel may be saved. Let her wish that the universal salvation come to all, for it can be possessed by everyone without anyone having less. This she does, and more, for she desires for the Jews the name and grace of a Bride. This is more than salvation.

This charity would be unbelievable, but that the words of the Bride herself compel belief. For you will observe that she said she wished to bring him whom she held not only to her mother's house but into her bedchamber, which is a mark of singular privilege. For him to enter the house would be enough for salvation; but the privacy of her bedchamber betokens grace, `This day has salvation come to this house,’ said our Lord. Salvation must necessarily come to a house once the Savior has entered it. But she who is found worthy to receive him in the bedchamber has a secret for herself alone. Salvation is for the house; the bridal chamber has its own secret delights. `I will bring him to my mother's house,’ she says. What house is this, unless it is the one foreshadowed to the Jews. `Behold, your house shall be left for you desolate.' He has done what he said, and you have his words in the writings of the prophet: `I have left my house and my inheritance,' and now she promises to bring him back and restore its lost salvation to her mother's house. And if this is not enough, hear the promise of good things which she adds: `and into the bedchamber of her who bore me.' He who enters the bridal chamber is the bridegroom. How great is the power of love! The Saviour had left his house and his inheritance in anger; now he has relented and inclined towards her in love, and thus returns not only as Saviour but as Bridegroom. You are blessed by the Lord, O daughter, for you have softened his anger and restored the inheritance! You are blessed by your mother, for it is through your blessing that his anger is turned away and salvation restored with him who says `I am your salvation.’ Nor is this enough. He goes on to say, `I will betrothe you to myself in justice and righteousness; I will betrothe you to myself in mercy and pity.' But remember that it is the Bride who has brought about this reconciliation. How can she give up her Bridegroom to another, and choose to do it willingly? But it is not so. She is a good daughter, and desires to share him with her mother, not to give him up. The one is enough for both, for they are one in him. He is our peace, he who made both one, that there might be one Bride and one Bridegroom, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is God above all, blessed for ever. Amen"
St Bernard's understanding owes much to his mystical Marian devotional reading and contemplation of Scripture. He also was a defender of the Jews of his time.

Also Brian Patrick McGuire discusses this in his book "A Companion to Bernard of Clairvaux".

There is a new discussion group on facebook called Messianic Jewish Catholics.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Binah, Emunah and Lev: Our Lady Zohar

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov often spoke about the importance of spiritually awakening people by the means of song and storytelling. His Hasidic way was the way of the Heart (Lev) and his teachings draw their main source from the Zohar which is itself a book of the Heart of the Mother crying out to waken up the sleeping minds, hearts and souls of her children through the stories of the Bible, Talmud and Zohar. The Zoharists of the 18th century would sing the Zohar in honour of the Shekhinah. This motherly Heart is called Binah (Understanding) and Imma (Mama).

Zohar Parashat Kedoshim links the terms of Binah (understanding or sense) with the Heart (Lev). This concept of the loving maternal and holy Heart that awakens sleeping souls is discussed by linking Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27) with Psalm 32 and Proverbs 9. Zohar is the maternal Dark Light that is called the feminine Oral Torah. She cries and sings forth to awaken.

Rabbi Eleazar opened with: "Be not like a horse, like a mule, without sense (havin)...(Psalm 32:9). How often does Torah awaken man, how often does she raise her voice in every situation to arouse them! Yet they all sleep, with a slumber in their eyes, not seeing or discerning...For they are all completely flawed, having no knowledge of faith (emunah) in the Divine King... For Torah cries out to them saying: "Whoever is simple, let him turn aside here, he who lacks sense (Lev / Heart)-she says to him..". (Proverbs 9:4). [Zohar Kedoshim 3:80 a]

Just as a mule is the infertile offspring of an act of unnatural lust between a horse and a donkey, so those who do actions that are not in union with the Holy Heart who is Our Lady Torah, lacks faith (emunah) and understanding (Binah) and are spiritually unfruitful and sterile. The Zohar sees our actions as our offspring or children. 

When we do our acts in her acts we live in Divine Will as all her acts dwell in Divine Will. She is the Torah in action, she is the personification of the mitzvot (commandments) done from the heart (symbolised by the lower heart tefillin). She is the sign and vessel for the One Act or Command that encompasses all acts in her mystical heart and womb.

 When our acts are done from the heart (lev) and with deep spiritual understanding (Binah/ havin) and complete faith (emunah) in the Divine King we become saints (tzaddikim) and we draw down the Holy Spirit into our acts, thus united in virginal nuptial union with the Lady Torah who is also the Lady Wisdom (Hokhmah/ Sophia) who focuses all on the Divine King. The bread and wine she offers us is the Divine King himself.  

"Whoever is simple, let him turn aside here, he who lacks sense (Lev / Heart)-she says to him: Come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine I have mixed.." (Proverbs 9:4-5). 

This is both Marian and Eucharistic mystery that is only understood and believed by faith by those who eat the Heavenly Manna discerning the mystery of the Heart.

Happy are the righteous (tzaddikim), who engage in Torah, know the ways of the Blessed Holy One, and sanctify themselves with the holiness of the King, becoming completely holy. Thus they draw down the Holy Spirit from on high, and all their sons are truly virtuous and called 'sons of the King', 'holy sons'. [Zohar 3:80b]

These sons do not refer to biological offspring but to one's acts or actions. Thus holy sons are one's acts done in accord with the Divine Will and wicked and impure sons are those acts done contrary to the Divine Will. Our holy acts open them to being divinised or filled with the Holy Spirit, our impure acts open us to the 'other side' (demonic side) which invest those impure and wicked acts with evil. When Jewish tradition states that Lilith is the mother of the demons who are the offspring of Adam, it is referring to these acts done contrary to the Divine Will by Adam and his sons.

When the Blessed Holy One unveiled the world and sought to reveal the deep from within the hidden and light from within darkness, they were intermingled - for out of darkness issued light, and out of the hidden was revealed the deep, one issuing from the other. Out of good issues evil, out of compassion issues Judgment. All is interwoven - the good impulse and the evil impulse...The world appears as a single clustered garland interlaced; and when the world is tried, it is judged with mingled Judgment... [Zohar 3:80b]

Most of our acts as fallen sons of Adam are a mixture of good and bad. However goodness has priority as first Adam lived in Divine Will and his acts were pure and holy- but from this came his fallen act. However the motives or impulses that led to this act were a mixture of good and bad but resulted in an act contrary to the Divine Will. By engaging with the acts of the Lady Wisdom our acts can be turned back to the Divine Will and be purified and divinised in her Heart by faith (emunah). Thus the lost princess called Emunah is restored to her Father's Kingdom, where the Divine Will is in all acts on earth as it is in heaven.

see Divine Melody: A Theology of the Body

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dating of the Council of Jerusalem and the Zohar

St Peter's Cave near Antioch

The dating of the of Acts and the lives of St Peter and Paul is of debate among scholars. The dating of the Council of Jerusalem is usually given as 49 or 50 AD. I would date it to 55 AD. St Peter left Rome in 43 AD with St Mark after Peter was accused of anti-Roman speech. St Mark went to Alexandria and Peter to Jerusalem in 43 AD. St Peter (Shimon bar Yochanan of Beit Yonah) then went into hiding with his son Eleazer ben Shimon (St Mark) in a cave near Antioch for the next 13 years until after the death of the Emperor Claudius. After the death of Claudius, St Peter came out of his cave and was in Jerusalem in 55 AD for the Council of Jerusalem (Idra Rabba) and St Mark returned to Alexandria after the Council. St Peter writes: "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. (1 Peter 5:13)"

St John the Apostle (not to be confused with St John the Beloved (Yochanan) of Ephesus) the son of Zebedee was martyred before 49 AD and at the time of the Council of Jerusalem in 55 AD the Apostle John is not mentioned. Galatians mentions that Peter, James and John are the three pillars of the Church. However we see that at the time of the Council of Jerusalem the leaders are St Peter and St James the Just "the Lord's Brother". At this time it is possible that Peter as Kepha (died 67 AD) declared the replacement pillars as St Mark (Eleazar) leader of the Church in Alexandria (died 68 AD) and St Joseph of Arimathea (died 82 AD) the Abba Abbot of Sumer (Somerset/ Glastonbury). 

St Joseph was the Rosh Golus (Glas) of Britain. He or his son Josephes (Gilead bar Joseph) was the originator of R1b-M222 ydna which passed to their descendants in England, Scotland and Ireland. Arimathea was Aram-Tehama which was the capital city of the now sunken land in the Indian Ocean near the Seychelles and Madagascar (Mauritia). His brother Nathan (Tenaufen/ Tasciovanius/ Nascien) was a Romano-British Jewish Prince in charge of the Tin Mines of south-west Britain (Cassi). Nathan did not carry the M222 ydna but was R1b-L21 ancestor of the Davidic House of Nathan in Britain, Europe and the Babylonian Exilarchs. 

St Joseph of Arimathea's daughter Chana (Anna) married St Mark (Eleazar bar Shimon) and their son Petrus was a companion of St Joseph in Britain. St Mark (Marcus) had a sister (Osnat/ Aurelia) known after her baptism as Petronilla. She married Titus Flavius Sabinus a friend of General Aulus Plautius and brother to the Roman Emperor Vespasian. St Peter opposed her marriage to the Roman and locked her in her room. She went on a hunger strike until her father relented and allowed the marriage. She was the mother of Pope St Clement I (Titus Flavius Clemens). She was most likely martyred in 95 AD with her son Pope Clement I and other members of her relatives by their cousin the Emperor Domitian. 

Rabbi Gamaliel and Rabbi Akiba with other leading Jews and Jewish Christians went to Rome in 95 AD to seek to undo a decree by Domitian against the Jews. They met with Pope Clement I whose mother was a Jewish Christian to beg his help. He was encouraged by his mother and wife Flavia Domitilla (St Domitilla) [who was a granddaughter of the Emperor Vespasian] to defend the Jews. They spoke up on behalf of the Jewish community and in a fury the Emperor unleashed a persecution of his Christian relatives and their followers as well as the Jews. Pope Clement was martyred and his wife sent into exile.

The Zohar was originally a Jewish-Christian (Nazarean/ Chaverim/ Galileans) text of Marian and Eucharistic mystical reflection on the Torah. The original Rabbis were St Peter and some of the other early Jewish Christian leaders who were later disguised by Rabbi Moses de Leon by 2nd century Jewish figures. These zoharic traditions were preserved by the simple black-clad "Mourners of Zion" who were devoted to their Lady (Dame/ Matronita) in the Southern lands of the Indian Ocean as mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela in the 12th century. They were known as the Achim (brothers) who dwell in the South and as the holy Bond of the South. The Zohar was bought to Spain in the 13th century.

St Peter is disguised as Shimon bar Yochai of the 2nd century who was also a follower of this Jewish Christian mystical tradition. Rabbi Akiva was a son or grandson of St Joseph of Arimathea who was a Jewish Christian bishop or shepherd who apostatized and left Britain (London/ Lud) for Palestine. He rejected his upbringing and opposed the Jewish Christians in the Jewish community. He proclaimed Bar Kokba (Koziba) as the Messiah. After Bar Kokba's defeat and the death of his disciples Rabbi Akiba fled to the south in 135 to Aram-Tehama taking with him the original copy of the Zohar which he had been given by his grandfather St Joseph of Arimathea in Britain. He re-embraced his Jewish Christian faith and taught it to Shimon bar Yochai of Aram-Tehama. 

The Zohar was seen as a literary Holy Grail that contained the mysteries of the mystical and Eucharistic Cup of Blessing. The Cup representing Our Lady and the blessing representing the Eucharistic Messiah. Thus the first layer of the Zohar was written by Joseph of Arimathea (Rabbi Abba) about the mystical teachings of St Peter, himself and the other early Jewish Christian leaders. This collection was then edited and enriched by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of the 2nd century and his school of mystics in the South. The two Shimons were later confused into one as were other Rabbis in the Zohar. They were two different generations of Rabbis- one group who lived and taught in Galilee in Second Temple times and the others in post-Temple times before the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Father Michel-Marie Sorkine-Zanotti moves to Paris

I have written in the past about the wonderful French Hebrew-Catholic priest Father Michel-Marie Sorkine-Zanotti of Marseille. He has announced on June 8 that he will step down as the parish priest of his St Vincent de Paul parish after 10 years. In September he will move to the Rue de Bac in Paris. His parish in Marseille will receive three new young priests in their 30's from the charismatic Emmanuel Community to build on the wonderful foundations established by Father Michel-Marie. 

The Rue de Bac is the famous pilgrimage site of St Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal. This is good news for international pilgrims who will be able to take advantage of the gifts of this holy priest. Let us keep Father Michel-Marie in our prayers for the suceess of his move and for the work of the three new priests in Marseille.