Wojtyla’s Encounter with St. John of the Cross: “In 1941, one year a before he entered the underground seminary of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, twenty-one years old, and a student of Polish literature, had a profound… More
|The Ascent of Mount Carmel, by St John of the Cross [Juan de Yepes]|
|In Christ, God has spoken to us [Bk. 2, ch 22]|
“The principal reason why the Old Law permitted us to ask questions of God, and why prophets and priests had to seek visions and revelations of God, was because at that time faith had no firm foundation and the law of the Gospel was not yet established; and thus it was necessary that men should enquire of God and that he should speak, whether by words or by visions and revelations or whether by figures and images or by many other ways of expressing His meaning. For all that he answered and revealed belonged to the mysteries of our faith and things touching it or leading to it.
“But now that the faith is founded in Christ, now that in this era of grace the law of the Gospel has been made manifest, there is no reason to enquire of God in that manner nor for him to speak to us or answer us as he did then. For, in giving us, as he did, his Son, who is his one and only Word, he spoke to us once and for all, in this single Word, and he has no occasion to speak further.
“And this is the meaning of that passage with which the Letter to the Hebrews begins, trying to persuade the Hebrews that they should abandon those first ways of dealing and communicating with God which are in the law of Moses, and should set their eyes on Christ alone: At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, in the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son. That is, God has said so much about so many things through his Word that nothing more is needed, since that which he revealed partially in the past through the prophets, he has now revealed completely by giving us the All, which is his Son.
“Therefore if someone were now to ask questions of God or seek any vision or revelation, he would not only be acting foolishly but would be committing an offence against God – for he should set his eyes altogether upon Christ and seek nothing beyond Christ.
“God might answer him after this manner, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I have spoken all things to you in my Word. Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in him you shall find more than you ask for, even more than you want.
“I descended upon him with my Spirit on Mount Tabor and said This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. You have no reason to ask for new teaching or new answers from me because if I spoke to you in the past then it was to promise Christ. If people asked questions of me in the past then their questions were really a desire of Christ and a hope for his coming. For in him they were to find all good things, as has now been revealed in the teaching of the Evangelists and the Apostles.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — President Trump gave the following address at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on Thursday, November 30, 2017. LifeSiteNews is pleased to bring you his address in full.
Today’s the day that I’ve been looking very much forward to all year long. It’s one that we have heard and we speak about and we dream about and now as the President of the United States, it’s my tremendous honor to finally wish America and the world a very Merry Christmas.
I want to thank everyone who has come together here right in front of the White House, that beautiful, beautiful White House, and everyone watching from home to see the lighting of this incredible national Christmas tree.
For nearly a century, through good times and bad, every president has taken part in this wonderful tradition, first started by President Coolidge. But I was informed tonight that the weather we have is the best it’s been in 25 years. In fact, I said, ‘Is it always like this?’ And the secretary said, ‘Hasn’t been like this for a long time.’ So, we are very lucky.
Finally, in 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation making Christmas a Federal holiday. And I sort of feel we are doing that again. That’s what’s happening.
From the earliest days of our nations, Americans have known Christmas as a time for prayer and worship, for gratitude and good will, for peace and renewal.
Melania and I are full of joy at the start of this very blessed season. We’re thrilled to think of the people across the nation and all across the continent whose spirits are lifted by the miracle of Christmas.
For Christians, this is a Holy season – the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Christmas story begins 2000 years ago with a mother, a father, their baby son, and the most extraordinary gift of all, the gift of God’s love for all of humanity.
Whatever our beliefs, we know that the birth of Jesus Christ and the story of this incredible life forever changed the course of human history. There’s hardly an aspect of our lives today that his life has not touched: art, music, culture, law, and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person everywhere in the world.
Each and every year at Christmas time we recognize that the real spirit of Christmas is not what we have, it’s about who we are – each one of us is a child of God.
That is the true source of joy this time of the year.
That is what makes every Christmas ‘merry.’
And that is what we remember at today’s beautiful ceremony, that we are called to serve one another, to love one another, and to pursue peace in our hearts and all throughout the world.
And so tonight, I thank the millions of Americans who light our lives and brighten our wonderful communities. I thank those who are serving the needy during the season and throughout the year. I thank our military men and women who are stationed around the world keeping us safe.
I thank our law enforcement officers who protect our streets and secureour homeland. I thank America’s teachers, pastors, and all those religious, and those people that have taught us so much, for their leadership in our communities and our society.
And, especially tonight, I thank America’s families. At Christmas, we are reminded more than ever that the family is the bedrock of American life.
And so, this Christmas we ask for God’s blessings for our family, for our nation. And we pray that our country will be a place where every child knows a home filled with love, a community rich with hope, and a nation blest with faith.
On behalf of Melania, myself, Barron, all of my children, all of my grandchildren — they’re here with us tonight — I want to thank you.
God bless you and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.
Merry Christmas everybody. Merry Christmas. Happy new year. Thank you.
See JP II in “Witness to Hope” p. 102 – Letter to Teresa Heydel: “After many experiences and a lot of thinking, I am convinced that the (objective) starting point of love is the realization that I am needed by another. The person who objectively needs me most is also for me, objectively, the person I most need. This is a fragment of life’s deep logic, and also a fragment of trusting in the Creator and in Providence.” That is, what most reveals your value is to be needed by another. And Wojtyla applies this to God: what most gives him glory is to go to Him needy/needy/needy. Go! Be needy! What glory you give Him.
For me, the deeper truth of Francis comes from my alignment with John Paul II and Ratzinger. I have literally cut my teeth on them after my initial formation in Toronto chewing on Maritain’s and Gilson’s highlighting of the esse of St. Thomas. That’s “meaning” for me. “Esse” is the act of all acts and perfection of all perfection because it is unlimited act tending to infinity and I always had the gut feeling that it was reason’s account of person. Maritain and Gilson never got to this because they viewed phenomenology as subjectivist and relativist. In this, they lacked courage and openness, or fearful with a kind of intellectual clericalism.
For me, the huge swing I took was in 1989 reading Ratzinger’s “introduction to Christianity” which left me breathless with: the Father is not the Father and then engenders the Son. Rather, the Father is the action of engenderng the Son, and as such is not “substance” as thing-in-itself but Relation. The conclusion was: To be = to be relation, and the knowing of this is not reductive conceptual, but experience-consciousness., and unless I get out of myself to become relational in prayer and apostolate, I don’t really know – or I don’t know reality. Without dragging you further through this, my perception is that Francis is living out the above – the above being what really took place in Vat II, which in its turn, buried the substantialist (Stoic) metaphysic that has been the stuff Catholic higher education has fed on for at least 1,000 years. The scholastic has been useful, but it is, at root naturalistic and progressively useless for accounting for the reality of Jesus Christ – who is reality Himself (and as triune God, constitutively relational. The Greeks – without the revelation of the Transcendent God – could never get this, or if they did (maybe Plato got some of it), they got it from the Jews in 6. B.C. in Babylon: the Exile) . So, for me, Francis is not an ill advised heretic but a courageous champeon who has taken on 1000 years of inadequate thinking (not like St. Thomas, but thomism [neothomism]) and blowing it apart. He is basically taking on the Church of the Second Millennium and moving it into the third as glimpsed by John Paul II
So, my chagrin with Royals’ review of the Colonna critique is that it is a critique at street level and looking awfully like political and ideological reductive. But as Francis says: Who am I to say?
I don’t mean this as nasty, but I am surrounded by the critique of Francis by very good people who are trapped in the same Stoic mindset that coheres with the technological and unredeemed mind. My response is: go to Wojtyla and read his phenomenology of the I as metaphysical reality; go to Ratzinger’s “introduction to Christianity;” and to his “Highlights of Vatican II”) to see what happened between 1962 and 1965. Francis and “Amoris Laetitia” #304-305 may become intelligible for converting the Church to a Christian anthropology.
The reality of it is not found in Scripture. The Church’s awareness of it as the believing subject grew with faith as lived experience from the time of Christ until proclaimed by the Magisterium in 1854. The statement: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”
Today we celebrate the total openness of Our Lady to God for us. She is nothing for herself and totally relational. As relational, she is all “Yes.” Cardinal Ratzinger: “We may say that original sin is not an assertion about a natural deficiency in or concerning man, but a statement about a relationships …. Preservation from original sin therefore, signifies no exceptional proficiency, no exceptional achievement; on the contrary, it signifies that Mary reserves no area of being, life, and will for herself as a private possession: instead, precisely in the total dispossession of self, in giving herself to God, she comes to the true possession of self.” Grace, which is the divine Love that not only creates us but affirms us, gives her identity as person and enables her to dispossess herself entirely to engender the total humanity of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, and in engendering the humanity which is completely assumed by the Person of the Word, she is most intimately related to Him as Mother. Since she had no sin, which is the contradiction to “gift” as “take,” she was able to obey the annunciation of the angel immediately and completely. Her whole existence was/is “Yes” to God, as is His to her. She heard the Word of God, and did it. If we do the same, we will also become mothers of God and most truly engender Jesus Christ in us, such that we become “other Christs.” This is the blueprint of the true future which is beginning to emerge. All the changes that are taking place now are at the service of this.
 Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, DS 2803,
 Consider Gaudium et Spes #24: “man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds himself only by the sincere gift of self.”
After all the smoke from criticizing Pope Francis’ Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” clears, where do we go from here? This was a question someone asked me yesterday. And I would answer with Bp Robert Barron’s remarks on today’s gospel:
The insight has to do with the non-conceptual, non-empirical clarity involved in knowing Jesus Christ. And how else could it be when the Person of Jesus Christ is the Creator of the world and not susceptible to created categories as transcending creation? God without creation is not less; God with creation is not more. And so, the morality of marriage is not reducible to moral categories but to the assessment in conscience whether what one is doing is “for” others or merely “for” self.
* * * * * * * * *
On the occasion of preaching on the season of Advent, Joseph Ratzinger: made a presentation of John the Baptist in Herod’s jail, who [John], according to St. Matthew, had his doubts and sent messengers to Christ saying: “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Mt, 11. 3). Ratzinger insists: “Are you really he the Redeemer of the world? Are you really here now as the Redeemer? Was that really all that God had to say to us?”
Ratzinger: “”In answer, Jesus reminds John’s messengers that the prophet Isaiah had foretold precisely this kind of peaceful, merciful Messiah who ‘will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street’ (Is. 42, 2), but will go about preaching and doing good. Jesus adds the significant words: ‘Blessed is he who takes no offense at me.’ This means that it is in fact possible for men to take offense at him. Even when he comes he does not bring such absolute clarity to the human situation as to eliminate all questions and solve all riddles; people can take offense at him, but ‘Blessed is he who takes no offense.’ Blessed is he who ceases to ask for signs and absolute certainty.[my emphasis]. Blessed is he who is able, even in this darkness, to go his way in faith and love.
“This was probably the final task set the Baptist as he lay in prison: to become blessed by this unquestioning acceptance of God’s obscure will; to reach the point of asking no further for external, visible, unequivocal clarity [concepts of “Yes,” “No,” clarity] but, instead, of discovering God precisely in the darkness of this world and of his own life, and thus becoming profoundly blessed. In point of fact, we cannot see God as we see an apple tree or a neon sign, that is, in a purely external way that re quires no interior commitment. We can see him only by becoming like him, by reaching the level of reality on which God exists; in other words, by being liberated from what is anti-divine; the quest for pleasure, enjoyment, possessions, gain, or, in a word, from ourselves. In the final analysis it is usually the self that stands between us and God. We can see God only if we turn around, stop looking for him as we might look for street signs and dollar bills, and begin looking away from the visible to the invisible
John, then, even in his prison cell had to respond once again and anew to his own call for metanoia or a change of mentality, in order that he might recognized his God in the night in which all things earthly exist. ‘Blessed is he who takes no offense at me.’
“The Christian of our day, too, can be shown no other way to friendship with God than the way of ceasing to look for external clarity [blogger: that means conceptual clarity] and beginning to turn from the visible to the invisible and thus truly finding the Lord who is the real foundation and support of our existence. Only when we act in this manner does another and doubtless the greatest saying of the Baptist reveal is full significance: ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (Jn. 3, 30). We will know God to the extent that we are set free from ourselves. This brings us back to the main theme of Advent. We will know God to the extent that we give him room to be present in us. A person can spend his life seeking God in vain if he does not enable God to continue in his life the presence begun” [J. Ratzinger “Dogma and Preaching” Ignatius (2005) 324-325].
Something must be said here. We can see Christ “only by becoming like him, by reaching the level of reality on which God exists [i.e. Trinitarian Relations]; in other words, by being liberated from what is anti-divine [i.e. what is not relational and turned in on self]; the quest for pleasure, enjoyment, possessions, gain, or, in a word, from ourselves. In the final analysis it is usually the self that stands between us and God. We can see God only if we turn around, stop looking for him as we might look for street signs and dollar bills, and begin looking away from the visible to the invisible.”. The point is that Truth is the Person of Christ, the Word of the Father, and the Life. Revelation – read Truth – only occurs when we go out of ourselves and become like the Son. We begin to become relational as going out toward the Other and the others. When we do that, we begin to experience ourselves “like” Christ. And since we are the only persons we can experience (as determining their own freedom), when I experience myself as gift, I begin to know myself as “other Christ” and therefore, to know Christ. I am experiencing this as image anthropologically. It is primarily non-conceptual but experiential and consciousness accompanying the experience. This is why Ratzinger says that the Baptist has yet to go through another conversion, “to stop looking for him as we might look for street signs and dollar bills.” In this conversion, we know Christ by becoming “another Christ” – only God knows God. And this is what Christ meant when He said: “no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him: (Mt. 11, 27), This is the task of Advent.
“We may of course, ask whether that change was no more than a verbal change. would the recourse to the church’s authority not have the practical effect of leaving everything as it was, despite all the new verbiage? Though this objection is not entirely unjustified since it point to the text’s avoidance of the concrete problem of birth control, yet it does not do justice to the text as a whole. There is a decided difference between a total moral statement based on the concept of the race and the propagation of the race and on the concept of “accordance with nature,” and a view “which focuses on individual conscience, on the Word of God and on responsibility toward children, toward the husband or wife and toward the community of mankind. The context within which conscience operates, the entire atmosphere in which all decision and moral commitment is made, differs radically in these two cases. It is simply not the same, whether a person asks himself if his actions are ‘in accord with nature’ or whether he must ask whether his actions are responsible actions in view of other persons with whom he is related in the marriage community, and whether his actions are responsible in view of the Word of the personal God who has indicated the fundamental pattern of conjugal love by comparing it with love for the Church as exemplified in Christ (Eph. 5, 25-33).”
I (blogger ) offer this in view of the onslaught of misunderstanding of many faithful in the Church who have been diligently formed in the naturalist scholastic doctrine which has the Greek Stoic metaphysic as its grounding insight and not the Christian mystical and scriptural consciousness of the early Fathers of the Church. The text of Joseph Ratzinger below can begin to lay the foundation for a correction of the intellectual culture of the Church which has been scandalized by the truly Christian moral assessment made in chapter 8 (with footnote) of Ämoris Laetitia.”
“(…) (E)arly Christianity in working out its concrete moral norms, largely resorted to contemporary models of ethical thought for guidance. It leaned chiefly on the Stoic ethic. The recourse to classical antiquity, and especially to Stoic philosophy, resulted in the emergence of two chief principles in Christian teaching on marriage.
(1) There developed a view of marriage which was essentially ‘generative’ in outlook – generative in the double sense that Marriage was entirely subordinated to the genus humanum, the human race as such, and was thus subordinated to human procreation in the social sense. From this viewpoint, procreation pertains to man as a being of his particular kind, and as such has no thing to do with any individual or personal consideration. This generative approach largely relegates marriage to the biological level, seeing it chiefly as a means to the end of procreation. Thus the concept of the end supplies the basic norm for judging marital ethics. Thus a terminology which sees procreation of offspring as the primary end of marriage has until now characterized the classical positions of Catholic moral theology and canon law.
(2) The basic approach of Stoic ethics, despite all its sublimity, can be termed naturalist ic because the Sotics saw in nature the directive activity of the Logos; the natural order revealed an all-pervasive divine meaning. Accordingly, the Stoics considered the overriding moral norm to be nature; a thing was right if it was according to nature’(kata physin).
“The moral teaching of the Church largely follows Stoicism in this, so that we may say that both the procreative function of mar riage and the habit of judging ín accordance with nature’ constituted the dual dowry bestowed by the world of antiquity on Christian marital morality. Up to the present these principles have determined the categories of Catholic moral theology.
“With this as a background, we can begin to see the great significance of the fact that the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the modern World eliminated both these categories. Neither the concept of the ‘prime end of procreation’nor the concept of marital behavior according to nature’ has any place in the Constitution. This elimination of ancient categories was the result of struggle and effort and clearly marked a radical turn toward new modes of moral teaching and a turning away from forms that have up to now characterized moral theological tradition. The procreative view is here supplanted by a personalistic view which of course must not overlook the essentially social meaning of marriage if it is not to become one-sided in the other direction. Even more important is the fact that a moral teaching whose norms came ‘from below’(from a concept of nature that was not all that unequivocal) was now supplanted by a teaching whose norms came ‘from above,’ from a spiritual view of marriage and family. And so, the text points to conscience, to the Word of God, to the Church interpreting t he Word of God, as proper guides for morality in marriage.
“Advent tells us that the presence of the Lord has already begun, but also that it has only begun. This means that the Christian looks not only to the past and what has been but also to what is coming. Amid all the catastrophes of this world he has a transcendent certainty that the seed of the light is growing in secret, until some day the good achieves a definitive victory and all else is made subject to it. On that day Christ will come again. The Christian knows that the presence of God which has now only begun will some day be a full and complete presence” (J. Ratzinger, “Dogma and Preaching” Franciscan Herald Press (1985) 72-77)
The figure of John the Baptist: The prophet of the Messiah and the key to understanding Advent:
John was the last prophet of the Old Testament. He links the Old Testament to the New and ushers in the fulfillment of the Old in the figure of the coming Messiah. He preached with vigorous masculine clarity and force.
The Ratzinger Text:
“In words of burning power, John had prophesied the coming of the judge and had painted in fiery colors the great day of the Lord. He had portrayed the Messiah as the judge with winnowing fan in his hand that would separate the chaff from the grain and throw the chaff once and for all into eternal fire. He has portrayed him as one who would cast out this adulterous generation and, if need be, raise up children of Abraham from the very stones to replace the faithless people who called themselves the children of Abraham. Above all, amid the fearful ambivalence of this world where we are constantly waiting and hoping in darkness,, John had expected and proclaimed a clear message: the the day would finally come when the hopeless darkness would be dispelled in which human beings wander to and fro and know not where they are going. The ambiguity would disappear, and men would no longer have to grope their way in the endless mist but would know for certain that this and no other is God’s unequivocal claim on them, that this and no other is their situation in relation to God. “Meanwhile at
God’s command, John’s prophetic finger was pointing out a man. ’Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (Jn. 1, 29). God’s presence had begun but what a difference from what John had imagined! No fire fell from heaven to consume sinners and hear definitive witness to the just; in fact, nothing changed at all in the present world. Jesus went about preaching, and doing good in the land. But the ambiguity remained. Human life continued to be a dark mystery to which people had t o entrust themselves with faith and hope amid the world’s darkness. “Clearly, it was this utterly different personality of Jesus that most tormented John during the long nights in prison: The history that was so often a slap in the face to believers. In his distress John sent messengers to the Lord: ‘Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?’(Mt. 11, 3)… ‘Are you really he: the Redeemer of the world?’’ Are you really here now as the Redeemer? Was that really all that God had to say to us?’
“In answer, Jesus reminds John’s messengers of what the prophet Isaiah had said in foretelling precisely this kind of peaceful merciful Messiah who ‘will not very or lift up his vice, or make it heard in the street’ (Is. 42, 2), but will go about preaching and doing good. Jesus adds the significant words: ‘Blessed is he who takes no offense at me.’ This means that it is in fact possible for men to take offense at him. Even when he comes he does not bring such absolute clarity to the human situation as to eliminate all questions and solve all riddles; people can take offense at him, but ‘Blessed is he who takes no offense.’ Blessed is he who ceases to ask for signs and absolute certainty. Blessed is he who is able, even in this darkness, to go his way in faith and love.
“This was probably the final task set the Baptist as he lay in prison: to becvome blessed by this unqueswtioning acceptance of God’s obscure will; to reach the oint o asking no further for external, visible, unequivocal clarity, but, instead, of discovering God precisely nthe darkness of this world and of his own life, and thus becoming profoundly blessed. IN point of fact, we cannot see God as we see an apple tree or a neon sign, that is, in a purely external way that requires no interior commitment. We can see him only by becoming like him, by reaching the level of reality on which God exists; in other words, by being liberated from what is anti-divine: the quest for pleasure, enjoyment, possessions, gain, or, in a word, from ourselves. IN the final analysis it is usually the self that stands between us and God. We can see God only if we turn around, stop looking for him as we might look for street signs and dollar bills, and begin looking away from the visible to the invisible.”
Blogger: The above is all Ratzinger. It is also Francis in action looking for Christ in the peripheries. In short: This is the conundrum at this moment in the heart of the Church. Pope Francis is the daring advocate of Christi’s presence in the world as Mercy beyond the clarity of clear and unambiguous clarity of doctrine. He is saying that mercy is in the world and transcends the clarity of the stated doctrine without denying it.. John gave doctrine but Christ did not come but in the clear terms of the announcement. John sends out messengers from Herod’s jail to Christ: ‘Are you he who is to come?” Jesus answers: “Go and report to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not scandalized in me.” (Mt. 11,5-6).
This is Francis’ answer to all who demand moral clarity over mercy.’ What is needed in Advent? Conversion to uncreated divine Mercy over created moral assessment.