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.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Incarnational Circle, St Lawrence of Brindisi, Franciscans and the Jewish Fathers

I became a Catholic in 1987 from an Anglican and Orthodox Jewish background. At the time I was a Torah- observant orthodox Jew and I joined the Association of Hebrew Catholics. Before this in 1985 I had read Father Lev Gillet's "Communion in the Messiah" which inspired me to become more Torah observant and opened my mind to a more mystical approach to understanding the inter-reaction of Judaism and Christianity. I started reflecting on the Catholic Faith in the light of Jewish mysticism though reading and joining a study group in which the Chassidic ideas of the 6th Chabad Rebbe was being taught. Then when I was studying in the Philippines in 1993-1996 I started to research and write more on the mystical Jewish insights to the Catholic faith. I had also been inspired by a Hebrew Catholic book by Levi Khamour called "The Revelation of the Son of Man".

I now realise it is the concept of the "Incarnational Circle" which would explain some of my thought. This is also at the heart of the theological approach of St Lawrence of Brindisi a great Franciscan Doctor of the Church. I first learnt of St Lawrence of Brindisi and his writings in 2007 though my friend Jeff Ryan in St Louis Missouri when I was there staying at the Hebrew Catholic Center. I had begun to realise why I had always felt a great attraction to St Francis and the Franciscans. They followed an incarnational approach to theology. 

I realised in reading some of the Marian writings of St Lawrence that his Mariology was of a level with St Maximillian Kolbe a much latter and influential Franciscan. Some believe that St Lawrence of Brindisi was the greatest mariologist of all time. However I realise now that his Mariology is one very important part of his understanding of the Incarnational Circle. I loved how Scriptural were his writings. He used over 90,000 scriptural quotes in the writings that we still possess. St. Pope John XXIII in making him a Doctor of the Church in 1959 wrote: "Especially pleasing to us is the book "Explanations of Genesis", in which Lawrence, employing the doctrine of the Jewish masters, the Fathers of the Church, and that of the scholastics, examines the Divine Truth...". This use of the Jewish masters and commentators is unique so far in the writings of the Doctors of the Church. However one can see that the Scriptural, faith with reason and mystical Christ centred approach of St Bonaventure his Franciscan forerunner influenced St Lawrence.

The "Incarnational Circle" refers to the role of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the primordial eternity or beginning. Before all things in the primordial world of Genesis 1 is the Incarnational Circle. All creation is linked to this Incarnational Circle and is subject to it. Thus St Lawrence also had a very developed Josephology as well as his extraordinary Mariological perspectives. St Lawrence taught that Joseph was predestined in the blueprint of Creation (Torah) in Eternity in the highest place after Jesus and Mary. Father Burkey calls him the Doctor of the Incarnation and wrote: "Lawrence has surely covered all the principle facets of  Josephology. Moreover his Christocentric conception of creation has given a new insight into Joseph's position in creation...".

Both St Bonaventure and St Lawrence are under utilized Doctors of the Church which have much to offer modern day theology and philosophy and its development of doctrine which is Christocentric and Scriptural. St Lawrence further adds to this with his use of the Jewish and Catholic Fathers of the Church as sources for taking us deeper into the texts of Scripture for greater insights that help to illuminate the deposit of faith entrusted to the Church. While many today are perceiving the Jesuit influences on Pope Francis I think it would be equally important to see the Franciscan influence and inspiration on his pontificate and teaching. Pope Francis is very Scriptural and Gospel focused with a strong Marian and Josephine devotion. I would propose that Pope John Paul II was more Carmelite, Pope Benedict was more Augustinian and Pope Francis is more Franciscan, in their approaches to the Catholic teaching and faith.


1 comment:

Katarzyna Kern Pereira said...

Hi, did you heard about the Sanctuary of Saint Joseph in Kalisz, Poland? There is a wonderful image of Holy Family where all the 3 (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) have a royal crown. The 3rd of December 2017 will begin the Extraordinary Year of Saint Joseph for Poland and all the Poles all over the world. Welcome to Poland in this time! I can be your helper in such a pilgrimage - please, let me know when. God bless you with all His Merciful Love+

P.S. My e-mail address is: katarzyna.pereira@gmail.com