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, September 16, 2005

I Beheld The Lord Through The Mirror: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection


I Beheld The Lord Through The Mirror: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

“But all of us, with open (unveiled) faces, behold (see/adore/contemplate) the magnificence (Beauty/Glory) of the LORD (YHVH) like (as) in a mirror, and we are being transformed in to that Likeness from glory to glory by the Spirit who is the Lord (YHVH).” 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Thus writes St Paul in his second letter to the followers of the Way in the city of Corinth. Paul was his Roman name but he was also known as the Pharisaic Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus. He was trained by one of the greatest Torah scholars of his age – Gamaliel. This one verse in 2 Corinthians has a deep richness when examined in the light of the Jewish mystical tradition. This tradition was very familiar to Rabbi Sha’ul. Paul reveals in veiled terms his own ascent to the third heaven where he beheld unspeakable Divine mysteries. Many scholars in my opinion make a mistake with Paul and other New Testament writers by examining the meaning of the Greek words without realizing that the ideas are Hebraic and Paul and the other writers are choosing Greek words that best express the Hebraic meaning. This verse demonstrates this perfectly. In order to understand this verse one needs to understand the Jewish concepts of ‘open faces’, ‘the magnificence of YHVH’, ‘Likeness’, ‘glory to glory’ and ‘Spirit of YHVH’.


Open Faces

The verse begins “But all of us, with open faces….” What does Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus want us to understand? What does it mean to have an open face or an unveiled face? He refers to the veil that Moses (Moishe Rabbenu) wore after his encounter with God when he beheld the Divine Presence also called the Divine Face and Divine Glory. The Divine Face was also veiled and Moses could only behold the back of the Divine Glory. Paul comments further that a veil covers the minds and hearts of the Rabbinic Jews when they read the Old Covenant hiding from them the identity of the Eucharistic Lord. But the New Covenant believer who receives the Holy Spirit can now with unveiled and open faces adore the Beautiful Presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The Letter to the Hebrews* (i.e. Hebrew Catholics) confirms Paul’s insights:

“Let us then approach the Throne of Grace (i.e. Jesus in the Eucharist) with confidence, so that we may receive Mercy and attain grace to assist us in the time of need.”


In Jewish thought the face (panim) is in the plural form. This is connected with the idea of the right and left profiles of the face. However a deeper understanding found in the mystical tradition is the concept of the outer and inner faces (panim). The face in the Jewish mystical tradition has a deep symbolism. Even the outer face mirrors or signifies the 10 major Divine Attributes of the Divinity as Divine Man (Adam Kadmon). Paul calls this Divine Man who is to become the Messiah Jesus the Second Adam. Each feature of the face signifies one of the 10 Attributes of the Godhead. The inner face however in adoration of the Shekinah (Divine Presence) shines forth as a shining light from the inner to the outer face. This is why Moses’ face shone and why many Eucharistic adorers leave the chapel with a glow on their face. This inner face reveals the person’s soul which mirrors the Divine Attributes of the Son of Man (Ben Adam). In the Torah Jacob in Genesis 32:31 Jacob beheld (raiti) God face to face. In Hebrew this is ‘panim el panim’ (faces to faces). Here we understand that the face is not just limited to the physical face but the face represents the whole person body and soul. It is their whole being. Jacob wrestled with the Divine Man in prayer and adoration with many tears according to the Jewish tradition. Jacob refers to this as seeing God face to face. In the verse we are discussing from Paul (2 Cor. 3:18) he alludes to this passage about Jacob. The verse in Hebrew in which Paul probably composed his draft copy refers to the words of Genesis 32:31 and even makes a pun of them. Jacob uses the word raiti (I beheld/saw) and Paul also uses it for we behold and also mariah (mirror/from or through the mirror). The Jewish mystical tradition associates the concept of the Divine Face with the Divine Glory (Kavod). One’s glory shines through the face. This is why Paul calls a womans hair her crowning glory. For her hair is like a crown surrounding her face.

The Divine Man or Likeness

When the Jewish mystics such as the prophet Daniel and John the Beloved ascend to the Divine Realms through adoration they behold the Divine Likeness in the form of a Man. Daniel calls him Ben Adam (Son of Man) as does Enoch. In the Jewish mystical tradition this Celestial or Divine Man is called ‘Yosher’ and also Adam Kadmon (Primordial Man/ God -Man). The ‘Yosher’ is the visible manifestation of the invisible deity in his 10 chief Attributes. This is visualized as a Divine Man or Body and it is also called the Tree of Life. St Louis de Monfort calls Mary the mirror of the Tree of Life. God’s Attributes are infinite but the Jewish tradition groups them into 10 types or emanations. They are called the Sefirot. The root of Sefirot is SPR (samech peh resh) which is connected with the words for counting (numbers), book and Sapphire. In a sense the Sefirot are the source of all mathematical knowledge (counting), the Sefirot are also the divine Book or Living Torah and the Sapphire (Blue) Sea in Heaven is linked to the Sefirot. Each one of the 10 Sefirot are seen as crowns, garments, fruit and mirrors of the Divine King – YHVH.

The first Sefirot (Attribute) is the highest or deepest level of the Divine Likeness and is called Keter/Nezer (Crown) and also it is the Sefirah of Divine Will (Ratzon Elohee) This Crown of the Divine King is linked directly with the last and tenth Sefirah of Malkut (Kingdom) which is also the Shekinah (Divine Presence). In a sense the union of the Crown (Keter/Ratzon) with the Kingdom creates the white cloud of the Divine Presence that encompasses all of the Sefirot in an inseparable unity (echad). The Divine Will uniting with the Kingdom of the Divine Will is Shekinah. For the Catholic this white cloud symbolizes the White Host of the Eucharist. However this process of Shekinah is also connected to the ‘concept of the heart’ which is the mirror known as the heart devotion of the Mother. Catholics call this the ‘alliance of the two hearts’ or ‘two hearts that beat as one’. This in time is the face (mirror/glass/window) of the Mother beholding her Son’s face at his birth, during his life and especially at the Cross on Golgotha. At Golgotha her Heart became one with his wounded heart, her face in Adoration became one with his disfigured face- his Divine Glory was mirrored in her. Mary became and is a Living Host and in Eternity she is always united to her Son. The ‘Divine Will to Create’ is the son and he chose to create his Mother as the perfect and unblemished mirror of the Divine Likeness. At the foot of the Cross on Golgotha the Mother’s will became one with his Divine Will in recreating and restoring Man to his place beside God. This is why the ‘Divine Will to Create’ is also called Gulgalta (the Aramaic for Golgotha) in the Jewish mystical tradition. This adds understanding to St John’s concept that Jesus is the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. This uniting of the Mother and Son at Gulgalta is taken up into Eternity in the heart of the Divine Will. This is God’s Plan from all Eternity. This is the Blueprint (Adam Kadmon) which is the Living Torah. This is why the whole of Creation is made in the image of this unity of the Mother and the Son through the powerful action of the Holy Spirit. This is the single act of the Divine Will and the Divine Desire (Volition) to Create.


The second Sefirah (attribute) that blazes forth from the Divine Will is Wisdom and the third attribute is Understanding (Binah). These first three attributes make up the divine Head are also called the Higher Glory and the higher or inner Face of the Godhead. The next seven Attributes make up the Divine Body. However the first three of these seven are called the Heart or Torso of the Body. The whole ten are also called the Divine Heart and Body. The fourth Sefirah is Divine Mercy (Chesed) and the fifth Divine Judgement or Justice (Din). The Attribute that most closely represents the Heart or the inner heart is Tiferet/ Rahamim (Beauty/Compassion). This Heart unites the Divine Mercy with the Divine Justice and they shine forth from the Divine Heart as rays of white and red light. In time this is the blood and water gushing forth from the heart of Jesus on the Cross at Golgotha. The Divine Mercy is perceived as the right white arm of the Divine Man and the Divine Justice/ Judgement is the left red arm. This is our right and left as we gaze on him in the Mirror.

The lower three attributes are Victory (Netzach), Majesty (Hod) and Foundation/Righteousness (Yesod/Tzaddik). They are associated with the two legs and phallus of the Divine Man. The last attribute of Malkut (kingdom), as mentioned above, unites with Keter/Ratzon (Crown /Will) and manifests in time and space as the Shekinah. These 10 Sefirot (Attributes) are one essence with God – they are three Lights (or persons) in the one Godhead. This Divine Man or Likeness is the Divine Face known as the Prince of the Face (Sar ha Panim) in Jewish tradition. The inner face of this Divine Face or Prince of the Face beholds the Father’s glory and mirrors it to us through and with and in the Heart and Face of the Mother united and consumed with the Holy Spirit. The lower or outer Face of the Divine or Holy Face is the face that beholds man’s face with love and mercy through the face of the Mother who is Queen and Mother of all mankind. In beholding her face at Golgotha he beholds the face of her children and this appeases his Divine Judgement/Justice.


Magnificence of YHVH

The word that Paul uses for magnificence is the same word used in the Aramaic (Peshitta) in 1 Chronicles 29:11 ‘teshbuchta’. In Hebrew this is Tiferet (Beauty/magnificence). This is also the inner heart of the Divine Man- the Heart of compassion. It is the heart that we are called to console or compassionate. However we can only behold this Divine Heart ‘as in a mirror’. This mirror is the heart devotion of the Mother. Mirror is Mariah in Hebrew. This mirror is also in Catholic terms the Eucharistic Host/Bread which is the body and blood of Jesus. This body and blood he receives uniquely only from his mother. He is blood of her blood, bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh and heart of her heart. Paul is alluding to the fact that when we gaze on this magnificent and beautiful Divine Heart as/like in a mirror then we activate or transform the Sefirot of our being more closely to this Divine Likeness which is the Divine Glory (Kavod). The inner light of the Attribute of Tiferet is the ‘light of glory’ (Or Kavod). The higher or deeper glory is the Divine Face or Head beholding (seeing) the Father- and the Father beholding his Son’s Face. This is the glory of the Father. The lower or manifesting glory is the concept of the Son, through the power of the Spirit, united with his Mother beholding the Spirit working in and through and with the Mother of Mankind. This is the glory of the Son. The divine glory perceived as uniting the Father and the Son and uniting the 10 attributes as one form or body is the glory of the Holy Spirit. Thus we have three glories that are One Glory and three faces that are one face and three heads that are one Head. Glory of Glories, Faces and Faces, Head of Heads, Lord of Lords, Holy of Holies, Sanctity of Sanctities and Eternity of Eternities are all terms of a Trinitarian nature.

Likeness

The Divine Likeness is mentioned in Genesis and is the Divine Man. Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4 states “…the Messiah who is the likeness of God.” Thus Jesus is the Divine Likeness mentioned in Genesis. The concept of going from ‘glory to glory’ is connected with the spiritual ascent of the Divine Tree or Body seen as/like in a mirror. This begins with entering the Kingdom (Malkut) and immersing ourselves in the Divine Presence (Shekinah) in the Blessed Sacrament. As we gaze at or adore our Eucharistic King, through the Mother’s Heart, we ascend the spiritual Tree or Ladder ascending from one glory to the next level of glory along the 32 paths of Wisdom which are the Divine Heart. Thus the use by Paul of the term ‘glory to glory’ is referring to the Divine Attributes of the ‘Likeness’ which our faces/souls/inner being receive from on High by the Spirit of YHVH. Here Paul is alluding to Isaiah 11:2 which links the Spirit of YHVH with the Divine Attributes. Thus this single verse of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians reveals the Triune God at work. With open or receiving faces/souls/hearts we behold the Divine Beauty of the Lord (God the Father) in the mirror of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. We are transformed into a ever purer mirror of the Divine Likeness (God the Son) through his Divine Attributes (glory to glory/Divinization). This beholding and transforming is achieved by the Holy Spirit (spirit of YHVH). Thus the only way of being transformed into Christ as other Christs and as living Hosts is through adoring (beholding) the Divine Trinity in the mirror that is Mary’s Heart in Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.


This Divine Likeness is also called by Paul in Romans 8:29 “the Likeness of the Image of his Son” and in Colossian 3:10 “the Likeness of his Creator” and in 1 Corinthians 15:49 “the Likeness of the One who is from Heaven”. This is how we put on Christ. We were created in the Divine Image but in Adam we lost his Divine Likeness and now through the second Adam we can regain that Divine Likeness in our souls or beings. Man was made in a unique way in the Image of God revealed in his chief 10 Attributes as a vessel that could receive the Divine Likeness or Glory to the greatest extent and give that glory or likeness as a reflected light to others. By living in the Divine Will we enter in to the highest level of the eternally ‘new and Divine Holiness’ so that we participate by adoption as co-Creators, co-Redeemers and co –Sanctifiers in and with and through the Mirror which is the Immaculate Heart of Mary.