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.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Mystery of Divine Will: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection on Unity


Pope John Paul II in 'Orientale Lumen' expresses his passionate longing for a "full manifestation of the Church's catholicity to be restored to the world". He longed for the divided Eastern and Western Churches to reunite in full unity. Traditionally the West has stressed the crucifixion and the humanity of the Messiah, the East the Resurrection and the Divinity in their respective spiritual life. How can we reunite these two spiritual ways of the human and divine so they enrich the whole Church and humanity? John Paul II the Great speaks of the East and West as the two lungs of the Mystical Body which is the Church. However it is the heart that pumps blood to these lungs and to all the Body. The heart of the Church is Judaism which pumps life giving blood to the two lungs of the East and West in their role of universalizing the faith and giving life to the whole Body of the Church. In a sense the heart is Mary as the Woman of Israel who holds within her the whole of the Israelite and Jewish heritage and faith redone in Divine Will, who in the person of her Son in the power of the Holy Spirit (the life Blood) gives life to the lungs (Christians of Eastern and Western European tradition) and the whole body (all peoples and nations).

What is the means by which Judaism, Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy can be reunited while maintaining their precious and essential spiritual traditions and understandings? Of course it is by the work of the Holy Spirit. However I believe the Holy Spirit is working through the writings of Luisa Picarretta and the other modern saints of the 'new and divine holiness' as well as some of the contemporary mystics and prophets. It all comes together in the 'Mystery of Divine Will' as proclaimed by St.Paul of Tarsus. "The Beloved... making known to us the Mystery of his Divine Will (Ratzon), according to the desire (taanug)that he set forth in Himself, according to the blueprint (aumanuta) for the fullness of times, to unite all things in Mashiach, things in heaven and things on Earth in Him" (Ephesians 1:9-10). Here the term fullness of times is in the plural and refers to two periods called 'fullness of time'. The New Testament refers in Galatians 4:4 to the first coming of the Mashiach and his mother the promised Woman of Gensis 3:15 as a fullness of time. This concept of 'fullness of time' means a period which has reach its full completion. The era in which man remained on the level of the Fiat of Creation was completed and now the level of the fiat of Redemption was beginning(which includes also the level of the fiat of Creation). John Paul II declared the Great Jubilee of 2000 as a "fullness of time". The level at which redeemed man can attain to the level of the Fiat of Sanctification which is the new and divine holiness has now been opened and will lead to the period of unification that John Paul so passionately longed for in the Third Millenium. In 1998 in his reflection on Creation Pope John Paul said: " For the divine plan to be fulfilled, man must use his freedom in harmony with God's will and overcome the disorder introduced into human life and into the world by sin. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit, this twofold achievement cannot occur. The prophets of the Old Testament put great stress on this. Thus the prophet Ezekiel says: "A new heart I will give you. and a new spirit I will put within you: and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances ... you shall be my people, and I will be your God" (Ez 36:26-28). This profound personal and community renewal, awaited in the "fullness of time" and brought about by the Holy Spirit, will to some extent involve the whole cosmos."

The blueprint (aumanuta)in Judaism refers to the hidden and primordial Torah. In this passage from Ephesians Paul the Great Mystic and foreseer of the third Fiat (Heaven) cryptically alludes to the 'Mystery of Divine Will' that he sees hidden in the person of the Mashiach (as the Divine Man/ Adam Kadmon come in the flesh). Paul looks ahead to this hidden mystery of the Divine Will being revealed in a future 'fullness of time', when this unification process of higher sanctity occurs. This is the fulfillment of the Lord's Prayer "As in Heaven, Yes let it be done on earth" - by the Divine Will reigning in man.

The Eastern Church speaks of the essence of God which is Incomprehensible so that God reveals himself in his divine uncreated energies which may also be referred to as Divine Attributes or Divine Activity. In Judaism these energies are called Sefirot and are considered the way God and his creation intereact (see R. Aryeh Kaplan "Innerspace"). However the Jewish mystics disagree with each other about whether the Sefirot are created or uncreated lights of God. Nachmanides (Ramban)and most of the earlier Kabbalists consider the Sefirot as uncreated lights of one essence with the Godhead. Mamonides (Rambam) and many of the later kabbalists including Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan consider the Sefirot as created lights that are the basic modes of God's creative power that constitutes the inner structure and makeup of the Universes (see "Innerspace"). They are both right to a degree. It is Paul that gives us the true solution when we read him as a master of Jewish mysticism. The Sefirot in the Divine Man (Adam Kadmon) are uncreated and of one essence with the Deity. However in the Universes(Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Assiyah) the Sefirot are the created lights that mirror the uncreated Sefirot of Adam Kadmon. This sefirotic Mirror is the Celestial Mother (Imma) who is the created blueprint for all Creation. Paul points us to the Mashiach in his humanity and divinity as the blueprint for comprehending this mystery. In the Mashiach we see the created Sefirot of his humanity that is in the likeness of his Mother as it is of all men. She is the true Mother of all the Living. In the Mashiach's divinity is seen the uncreated Sefirot of one essence with the Godhead. Paul reveals to us that we must enter the humanity of the Mashiach, but not as a complete end in itself but in order to move into participation with his divinity in order to reenter the Mystery of the Divine Will so that Heaven and Earth may be reunited in Dwelling in Divine Will.

Often in Western spirituality one moves spiritually and mystically into the humanity of Jesus and one begins a spiritual imitation of his life adapted to one's own calling and state in life. This is a good first step and many myriads of lay Catholics have embraced this form of spirituality. However they often haven't moved on to the higher participation in the Divinity of the Messiah. Thus the liturgical and spiritual life of the Western church can seem somber, restrained and rationalistic. The Eastern Christians however enter the Divinity but they may bypass the humanity of the Messiah. Thus their spirituality tends to be monastic with the majority of the laity left behind. Their liturgical and spiritual life has a lightness and a joy but is not often rooted into the reality of human life for the average Christian. In order to fertilise each one's strengths to the other, a going back to the scriptural and Jewish roots of the faith is essential.