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, 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

Friday, August 07, 2015

Father Antoine Levy and Jews in the Church: A Hebrew Catholic Insight

Father Antoine Levy a  French Jew , a Dominican priest and a Theological Professor in Finland writes: 

"Although some Christians like to tell Jews who became their fellow believers that they are “doubly chosen”, they have no idea what this dual election means in theory as well as in practice. As far as I know, the embryo of a Catholic – let alone a Christian Orthodox – reflection on the purpose and role of Jews in the Body of the Church has yet to see the light of day."

Father Levy is part of a team of  Jews in the Church involved in the Helsinki Consultations. In his recent paper titled "Christophoric Flesh" presented in Moscow he also said: 

" In some way, I think the role of Jews in the Church is essentially negative. In virtue of their own flesh or through their mere presence, Jews are called to exorcize the pagan spirit that still haunts the minds of so many Gentile Christians. There is – this belief is the fruit of my private experience as well as the experience of the Helsinki Consultation- an instinctive knowledge about God, a familiarity with Him that is equally shared by Jewish disciples of Christ and is neither communicated nor communicable to Gentile Christians. As I said before drawing on Paul´s teaching, it does not confer any status of superiority to Jewish disciples over Gentile disciples, just as being a man does not confer any privilege over being a woman when it comes to the reality of Christ´s Salvation. "
Father Antoine also speaks of the insights of Soloviev the great Russian thinker. Soloviev said that it would be the Jews in the Western and Eastern churches that would bring about the reunion of Eastern and Western churches. Father Antoine uses the Slavic idea of a Christophoric (Christ bearer) nation or people but instead of applying it to Poland or Russia he applies this to the Jewish people in connection with the Pauline passage in Romans which is quoted in Nostra Aetate about the Jewish people belonging to the Messiah in a unique manner according to the flesh.

Of course this emphasis on the flesh is a deeply mystical concept intrinsically linked to the Incarnational mystery of the Word becoming flesh in the Messiah Yeshua and the Eucharistic mystery of the flesh and blood of Yeshua which is Jewish flesh and blood. Many have linked the passion and via dolorosa of the Messiah in time with the passion and via dolorosa of the Jewish people throughout history. Jews are connected to the Messiah as a passion people before their baptism whereas Gentiles (as individuals or even as peoples) enter through embracing that passion through baptism. Of course this opens us up to the Marian mysteries of Our Lady as the unique Jewish God bearer and Jewish passion embracer (at the foot of the Cross- the Co-redemptrix) as Jewish Mother of God. This then using the concept of "like wife, like husband" (used by Father Francis L. Filas) opens us to a deeper penetration of the mystery of St Joseph as Jewish Hidden Tzadik and Jewish virgin father of the Messiah. 

From what I am reading from some of the discussion from the Helsinki Consultation on Jews in the Church- that there is some kind of unique "feeling" (not sure that is the right word) as Jews in Mashiach that bonds the Jews participating whether they are in the Messianic movements or in the Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant churches. Father Levy speaks of his difficulties with his Gentile Catholic Domincan brothers:

"I imperturbably continued my path in the same state of mind within the Dominican Order. However, through the years of study and ministry, some sort of new awareness arose and started growing deep inside. I could clearly see that not all the divergences and sometimes clashes between me and my Dominican brothers could be put to the account of my difficulties, as an exotic new-comer, adjusting to the objective standards of Christian charity. I was under the impression that increasingly often the fact that I did not see eye to eye with them stemmed from my being a Jew and them not being such, so that it had hardly anything to do with the norms of Christian charity. Rather it had to do with what I would call an ontological difference, something that derived from the creative will of God. In other words, what surfaced was the inability of these brethren to acknowledge and value a feature which, at its core, could not have been intended to destroy the bonds of charity within the Body of Christ but on the contrary, to bolster and strengthen them.  Of course, these good men were not personally to blame..." 

Father Levy then discusses the relevance of the Jews in the different churches and the Messianic movements coming together. 

"This being said, nothing would have come out of this new awareness, had I not had two simultaneous encounters several years ago. The first was with a group of Finnish Orthodox believers who viewed Jews and Judaism in a favourable light. The second was the discovery of Messianic Judaism as a religious phenomenon. If there is such a thing as a Jewish way of being disciples of Christ and if this way has a value in itself, as Messianic Judaism claims, should this reality not prompt historic Christian denominations to re-assess the status they currently grant, or refuse to grant, their Jewish members?  Jewish disciples of Christ have something to say to the whole Body of Christ by dint of merely being who they are. Accordingly, I was led into thinking that the commonality of their human and spiritual experience would be sufficient to give Jews affiliated with different Church bodies not only the duty, but the desire and the ability to speak with one voice. ... We, Jewish followers of Christ, experience a human and spiritual commonality the depth and the power of which are definitely superior to that of the division between our denominations...".

I think that the reflections of Father Antoine Levy are very relevant to many of us who are Jews in the Church even if one doesn't see it in the same way as he does on every detail. We are at the beginning of a great project and we need prophetic voices and more importantly we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit who leads us into deeper and deeper dimensions of our Faith. However I don't think the unique place of the Jewish people as a Christophoric people "in the flesh" means that Poland or Russia or the Slavic peoples in general are not also Christophoric peoples "in the spirit" with a unique mission of their own. In fact I think the Slavic people have embraced this concept of being Christophoric or passion bearing nations due to interaction with the large Jewish presence in their midst during the centuries. One day the envy or jealousy will depart from between Judah and Ephraim and they will embrace one another and all Israel will be saved. 

We are not Gnostics and thus flesh and spirit, body and soul, must always go together. Unfortunately in much Gentile Catholic spirituality there is a Gnostic tendency that needs this Jewish "enfleshment" that renews our spirituality in the Scriptures and Tradition as received from the Jewish apostles of the Mother Church of the Circumcision. Unfortunately due to Gentile pressure and also the Jewish converts own misunderstanding, the Jews in the Church for too long tried to metaphorically hide or remove the cut of the flesh, which is circumcision (symbolising the brit (covenant) and their Jewishness), contrary to the advice of St Paul. Many of us Jews in the church became like the Hellenizers of Maccabee times rather than like the mother of the seven Maccabean sons. Many a Gentile Catholic has been like the Torturer of the Maccabean sons saying "Go on - a little taste of pork won't matter, fit in, don't make waves, don't be different". The Torturer of the Maccabees starts to look very like the Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. 

Father Antoine Levy asks some very important questions:

"...is it the will of God, as manifested in Jesus Christ, that the Jews should retain their identity as they form one Body with other disciples? If it is the will of God, then the existence of Messianic Jews must have a precise purpose in God's providential plan. But what could it be?

This is the heart of all the discussion - the Divine Will and its coming on earth as it is in Heaven and how that Kingdom of the Divine Will shall come in its fullness through the ingrafting and ingathering of the Jewish people as laid out in Romans 11 and confirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Father Elias Friedman the Carmelite founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics saw that the restoration of  Israel and Jerusalem to Jewish control and the rise of the Messianic Jewish movement as part of the signs of the times that would reverse the regime of assimilation and create a space for a Jewish community in the Catholic Church that would eventually lead to the ingrafting.