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, June 08, 2015

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

John 1:51 states: "And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." This last verse of John 1 prepares us for the openly Marian chapter of John 2. As the last verse of John 1 prepares and situates us for the unveiling in John 2 of the Woman who is the Mother of the Messiah so the last verse of John's Apocalypse 11 prepares and situates us for the unveiling of the Woman in Chapter 12. Apocalypse 11:19 states: "And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail." 

We see in John 1:51 and Apocalypse 11:19 the concept of the opening of the heavens. Apocalypse 11:19 links this to the concept of the Temple directly whereas John 1:51 alludes to the Temple by referring to the angels ascending and descending just as the angels ascended and descended upon Jacob (a type of the Son of Man) at the place which Jewish tradition believed that the later Temple was built and the place in the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant stood on the Shettiyah Stone or Rock.

Thus John 1:51 united in the light of the Resurrection analogy of reading Scripture reveals Our Lady as the mystical and spiritual Temple and Ark of the Covenant as well as the spiral Staircase or Ladder. In John 2:1 the phrase "On the Third Day" alerts us that this is a prophetic sign connected to the mysteries of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Son of Man. Jesus rose "on the third day" after being in the underworld for 36 hours (he died at 3pm on Good Friday and rose at 3 am on Easter Sunday). This counterpoints the three days or 36 hours (3am Friday morning to 3pm Sabbath afternoon) that Adam and Eve lived in the Divine Will in the Garden of Eden according to Jewish tradition. The whole mystery of the Akeidah (Binding) of Abraham and Isaac (which alludes to the passion crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah) is prefaced with this "on the third day"in Genesis 22:4.  As I wrote in my essay entitled "Resurrection of Jesus: Myth or History?":  

"...Lapide [an orthodox Jewish scholar and theologian] also points to the figure of Joseph in Genesis 42:18- “On the third day Joseph said to them, Do this and you will live…”. For the Jewish Christian this has even deeper meaning in the context of the Jewish traditions of Messiah son of Joseph who will appear in the Galilee and will be killed and rise from the dead. Lapide then refers to the three days mentioned in regards to Jonah (Jonah 1:17), Queen Esther (Esther 5:1) and Hosea 6:2. He writes: “On the third day…contains for ears which are educated Biblically a clear reference to God’s mercy and grace which is revealed after two days of affliction and death by way of redemption… thus, according to my opinion, the resurrection belongs to the category of the truly real and effective occurrences, for without a fact of history there is no act of true faith…"

The second chapter of John in a mystical manner, reveals the role of the intercession of Our Lady as the Mother of the Messiah in restoring, through her Son, fallen mankind to his lost estate. Our Lady along with St Joseph and Jesus the God -Man are the first 36ers (called Lamed vavniks in Jewish tradition) who become present in all generations as intercessors and victim souls for each generation through re-doing all the generations acts in the Divine Will. 

These lamed vavniks who live in Divine Will are alluded to in Apocalyse 11:1 where it speaks of the measuring rod (also mentioned in Ezekiel 40:5) which according to Jewish tradition was 6 cubits and each cubit was 6 hand-breaths which equals 36 hand-breaths.  

"...The length of the rod is six cubits. Each cubit is six handbreadths. See, therefore, how all the lights are bound together in this light, which is called "All," since all are contained within it. There are six directions [the six ketzavot, alluding to the six sefirot from Chesed to Yesod, all of which are included in Yesod], and when they are all connected to one another, they make thirty-six, corresponding to the length of this rod [36 handbreadths]. (see the writings of Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Luzzato (Ramchal) in "The Future Temple" ). 

John reveals that those who live in Divine Will (in the 36 hours which is also hidden in the mystery of the 36 candles of Hanukkah) are those in the heart of the Church or Temple who remain in the inner sanctuary in adoration and worship even when the rest of the Temple (Church) is being destroyed and trampled. We could also say that the Bat Kol (Daughter of All) is Luisa Piccarreta as the daughter (Bat) and Our Lady being the All (Kol). Ramchal links the concept of 36 with the light called "All". Interestingly the walls of the Temple were also 6 cubits high (36 handbreaths) and 6 cubits thick (36 handbreaths) according to Ramchal.
"...The Temple Mount has five entrances, two in the south, one in the east, one in the north and one in
the west. The height of the wall is six cubits and its thickness six..."
The five entrances of the Temple Mount may symbolise the five partzufim (personas) of Jesus (Adam {Zeir Anpin/ Son} Kadmon {Arich Anpin/ Word}) as the East Gate, Mary (Imma) as the West gate, Joseph (Abba) as the North gate, Luisa (Nukvah) and the Holy Spirit (Atik Yomim) as the South gates.
John the Beloved reveals Mary as the prophetic Woman of Genesis 3:15 in John 2 with the miracle of turning water into wine, at the foot of the Cross and in Apocalypse 12. This sorrowing woman in labour or travail is found throughout Scripture alluding to the role of Our Lady as the weeping Shekhinah and Suffering Soul of all Israel (called Miriam by Rebbe Nachman and other Jewish rabbis and mystics) who followed man out of Eden into this valley of Exile. Micah also refers to this Woman in Labour who is the Mother of the Messiah born in Bethlehem involved in the restoration of Judah and the lost Israelites (see Micah 5:3) which confirms and reinforces the Marian interpretation of John 1:31.

Father Aidan Nichols tells us that our first step in authentic Catholic Mariology is the exploration of  the sources of Revelation in the Scriptures and Tradition. The second step is an applying the analogy of faith which consists in interrelating of the fruits of our Marian exploration with the other teachings of the faith. Thus Mariology does not stand alone but must be integrated with Christology and Eccesiology and many other areas of the faith. Once we have integrated our Marian insights with the whole of the faith then we can in the third step re-explore Scripture and Tradition using other helpful philosophical tools with this fruit of analogy of the faith to plumb even deeper in to the Divine Revelation for even richer Marian insights that may reveal a more hidden Biblical basis for those Marian teachings found in Tradition, the Magisterial teachings and the liturgical and spiritual life of the Church and its faithful. 

Thus there is not just one Marian theology but a number of enriching Marian theologies that complement and enrich one another in unveiling the role of Our Lady in the fiats of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification.  In fact the whole of Marian teaching is hidden in a mystical, anagogical and Marian interpretation or reading of Genesis 1-3 and its counterparts in the New Testament- John 1-2 and Apocalyse 11-12. Both Moses and St John the Beloved like St Paul caught a glimpse of the Third Fiat or Heaven which is the realm of the Woman Clothed with the Sun (Divine Will) in Eternity (Atzilut). In a future post I will endeavour to interpret the second chapter of John's Gospel in more detail based from this Marian unveiling of John 1.


Friday, June 05, 2015

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

John 1:23 has John the Baptist quoting Isaiah in regards to his mission as the Voice. In the Greek voice is a feminine word phone. In Hebrew the Voice of God is related to the Bat Kol (Daughter Voice). The words in Hebrew for 'voice' and 'all' are both pronounced as kol and thus Our Lady is the Daughter or Lady of All (Kol) and the Daughter or Lady Voice (Kol). 

Our Lady is the Voice of the Word. John the Baptist's whole mission has come to him and been invested in him when the voice of Our Lady greeted his mother St Elizabeth and he leaped as he was sanctified and cleansed from original sin. At the same time he received his mission as the prophet of preparation through this Voice of the Virginal and Immaculate Mother (Luke 1 :41). He prepares the way (hodon) of the Lord. In Greek hodon is in the feminine and this way is Our Lady that leads us the quickest and deepest to the Lord who is her son. This is in accord with the old Catholic saying -to Jesus through Mary.

John's baptism is connected with water and Our Lady is linked to the concept of waters (mayim) in Genesis 1:2 where her name Miriam is hidden in the well of the text beginning with the final mem of mayim counting 26 letters four times (Mem Resh Yod Mem = MRYM=Miriam). These waters also allude to the waters of the womb of Our Lady and Elizabeth in which Jesus and John dwelt. St John of Damascus taught that just as Jesus was not purified by the baptismal waters of John's Baptism but the waters were sanctified by him so Our Lady was not purified by the ritual baptisms of Judaism (mikva) but she purified them (see Fr Christiaan W. Kappes  "The Immaculate Conception"). 

The connection between waters of the mikva and Our Lady also is found in Genesis 1 in the concept of "the gathering of the waters called seas" (Genesis 1:10). In the Vulgate Latin it uses the word Maria for this gathering (congregation/ mikva/ kneset) of waters. She is the Kneset Yisrael as the mother and revealer of Israel and its Messiah. Kneset Yisrael is often identified as the Matronita and the Shekhinah in Jewish mysticism.

In John 1:32 it speaks of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus as a dove. The dove is in the feminine and thus alludes to the synergy of the Holy Spirit united to Our Lady in Eternity as the anointing from on high. John 1:31 reveals that at the heart of the Marian mission is the revelation of the Messiah to Israel. This mission alludes to Elijah as John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah. Carmelite tradition links the water cloud that is foot or hand (yad) shaped with Our Lady manifesting from Eternity and the water from this blessing the Holy Land in order to prepare it for the coming of the Mother of the Messiah and her Divine Son in the fullness of time. 

Today Our Lady in synergy with the Holy Spirit is also concerned with this revelation to Israel of the Messiah and the ingrafting of the Jewish people (see Romans 11). Both Catholic and Jewish tradition speak of a "final coming in the flesh" of the prophet Elijah to complete this Marian mission. 

End of Part 2- Part 3 coming soon.

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

Thursday, June 04, 2015

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


St Bernard of Clairvaux taught that Our Lady could be found on every page of the Bible. She is there in a hidden and mystical manner. As discussed in my other blogs, Our Lady is the Lady of Wisdom connected to the first word of the Bible Bereshit. She is that Reshit (Beginning/ first) - the template for all Creation when read through a Marian or Sophia prism. This word bereshit can also be read through a Eucharistic or Messianic prism as well as a Joseph or Tzadik prism and a Luisan or Divine Will prism or paradigm. The Marian dimension of bereshit encompasses the other paradigms as the Womb of the Mother which is the created Womb before the Dawn (Psalm 110:3) and Miriam's Well (Rashi on Numbers 20:2; b. Ta'anit 9a; Song of Song Rabba 1:2; 4:14, 27; Zohar II:190b etc).

John's Gospel begins with "In the Beginning" revealing this Lady Reshit (Arche in Greek, Kadmin in Aramaic) in intimate union with the Divine Word (Dabar in Hebrew, Memra in Aramaic and Logos in Greek). John 1:1 is directly alluding to Genesis 1:1 and the Aramaic targum on Genesis 1:1. This created Lady of Reshit is the "face upon the waters" who is in synergy with the Holy Spirit in Eternity, as revealed in the beautiful literary icon of Genesis 1:2. When she is in synergy with the Holy Spirit as the spouse of the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit can be referred as 'She' instead of "He". Proverbs 8 and Wisdom 7 also link this created Lady Wisdom with Creation.  

The term synergy in regards to the relationship of Our Lady in Eternity and the Holy Spirit was made popular in Mariology by St Maximilian Kolbe. It alludes to the Hebrew concept or verb of m'rachefet in Genesis 1:2 which can be translated as moving, hovering, brooding and making fecund (fruitful or fertilising), and relaxing and fluttering or shaking. It also alludes to the eagle hovering over its young one in order to teach it to fly in Deuteronomy 32:11. The young eaglet can represent Our Lady and the Eagle the Holy Spirit (also see Apocalypse 12) when interpreted through a feminine dimension. In a masculine setting it represents the synergy between St. Joseph and the Father. 

Thus m'rachefet represents the union of two or more forces performing or generating one action or work together. The concept of the Eagle and eaglet hovering together remind us that these two 'forces' that are synergising are by no means equal in origin or in performing the task. This concept of working together (co-workers) of God and man as a synergy is referred to by St Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:9 and thus alludes to the Divine divinising the human and his acts.

John 1:3 refers to the panta (all or all things) which in Hebrew is Kol (all) who is mentioned in Wisdom 7. In Wisdom 7:22 she is called the artificer or nursling mother (amon) of all. Jewish tradition refers to her as Bakol (With All) the mystical daughter of Abraham (Genesis 24:1). The Universe is made in her image and St Paul refers to the Universe as a Woman groaning in childbirth awaiting the revelation of the Sons of God (Romans 8).

In John 1:4 it states that in the Word was Life (zoe in Greek, chaya in Hebrew). The Hebrew and Greek words zoe and chaya are feminine and this life is thus feminine-it is the Holy Spirit working in perfect synergy with Our Lady in Eternity as the light radiating from Jesus the Divine Word.  This Life who is the Holy Spirit in synergy with Our Lady radiating from the Word is the light that illumines man. Today the Divine Word made Flesh dwells in the Blessed Sacrament and sends forth this light (phos) of the Holy Spirit in synergy with Our Lady into our hearts and all creation during the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. 

The Holy Spirit is the uncreated Chaya (Spirit of Life) and Our Lady is the created Chaya (female Living Creature).  Jesus as the Word is the Chai (life) or Chaim (lives) which are the masculine form of Life in Hebrew. The Bible and the Zohar speak of the four Chayot (Living Creatures). Jesus as the God-Man is the Supreme Chai who is known as the Man. Our Lady is the little Chaya known as the Lioness (Ariela). Luisa Piccarreta is the very little Chaya known as the Eagle. St Joseph is the hidden Chai known as the Ox (bull calf) or Unicorn.  In a sense we can say that the Life (zoe, chaya) that is the light for all men is the light of all four chayot working in union with the uncreated Chaya the Holy Spirit. Thus this Life and Light is the Divine Will and those who lived in it on earth. 

John the Baptist himself was not one of those who lived in the Kingdom of the Divine Will but he was the preparer of this Kingdom as one sent by God as a testimony to the Light (photos) which comes forth from the Divine Word. John himself was not the light (phos) as he didn't dwell in the Kingdom of the Divine Will on earth but he came to witness to the Light (photos) which radiated from the source of this light (phos) that animates all. The Greek uses two different forms of the word for light as phos and photos. Phos seems to be the source of the Light who is the Word. Photos seems to be the light that radiates from the source in John 1:4-9. This light (phos) is connected with the "vayhi or" (and there was light) of Genesis 1 that was hidden in Miriam's well (Or haGanuz), which concealed the dual mysteries (twilight) of the Incarnation and Immaculate Conception. This was, according to the Jewish mystics and rabbis, the concealed created female light.This light in Judaism is called the light of the Messiah. The LXX Genesis also uses these two different forms of light (phos and photos).

The Fathers of the Church such as Irenaeus, Tertullian and John of Damascus referred to a more ancient reading of John in which John 1:12-13 is read differently so that we can read it as referring to the virgin birth of Christ. These translations allowed for the use of the singular 'was' not the plural 'were' in translations of verse 13(see Father Aidan Nichols "There is No Rose" and Father Christiaan W. Kappes "The Immaculate Conception"). The word tekna (children or sons) is the Greek translation of Beni (sons), however the original text may have been ben (son) or beni (my son) alluding to the Akeidah (binding of Isaac).  Isaac is referred to as both beni (my son) and yachid (only begotten) in Genesis 22. Is John confirming a prophetic interpretation of the Akeidah as referring to the Word become flesh (the Lamb of God) who will be the beni and yachid of God himself?

I  would read John 1:12-13 as "As many as received him, he gave authority (of the Child (Beni) of God who caused all to come into being) for those believing on the Name of him. For He (the Child of God) was born not of bloods, nor the will of the flesh nor of the human will, but of God was he only-begotten (yachid)." The word in Greek for bloods is aimata which refers to menstrual bloods which the Greek Fathers taught meant that the Virgin did not become ritually impure as other women before conceiving a child. She was the all-holy and all pure one. Some of the Fathers also taught that this also meant that her hymen was intact before, during and after the birth of Jesus. Thus the Virgin had not reached the stage of fertility in puberty before the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and miraculously enabled her to conceive immaculately and virginally.

Thus from this process the Word became flesh and dwelt among us according to John 1:14. This process refers to the concept of dwelling (shekhen) which alludes to the Shekhinah (the female presence) who is the kavoda (female glory) who makes it possible for the Word in the Flesh to dwell on earth. The Greek text alludes to the Tent or Tabernacle known as the Mishkan and later as the Temple. Thus this pregnant Virgin who is the Godbearer (Theotokos)  can be referred to as the Tent, Tabernacle or Temple that houses the Divine Presence, Light or Word who is her Son the only begotten Child (yachid) of God.

The words grace (charitos) and truth are feminine and allude to the reality that the Word in the flesh is full of his mother (charitos, chen) in synergy with His Holy Spirit (alethias, emet, truth). Glory is also doxan (kavoda) in the Greek which also alludes to his mother who he glorifies or kavods according to the command of the Ten Commandments (Honour thy mother and father) as he also does in regards to his Father of whom he is the only only-begotten Son or Child (yachid). Doxan is also a feminine word in Greek. The concept of Shekhinah in Jewish mystical tradition also is linked to the concept of the All (Kol) as the 10th and unifying sefirah (attribute or emanation) of the Sefirotic array.

 In John 1:16 we again see a hint of the synergy of Our Lady and the Holy Spirit in the phrase "grace upon grace" (charin anti charitos) in which charin represents the uncreated grace of the Holy Spirit and charitos the created grace of Our Lady who is the Mediatrix of all graces. This alludes to Genesis 1 with the Spirit of God hovering (synergising) over the face (Our Lady) upon the waters (her Graces or Seas produced by this synergising process of doing all acts in the Divine Will).

End of Part One

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