The Subject Believing is “Part of Revelation:” Ratzinger – Francis

Joseph Ratzinger wrote in his memoirs that “the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of ‘revelation. Where there is no one to perceive ‘revelation’ no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it.”

‘For my purposes here, I would like to give an account for this apparently radical remark. The act of prayer is the act of revelation because the Person of the Son is the relational act of obedience to the Father. Christ as Son is Relation to the Father and His whole Person becomes radiant light when He transcends Himself in the act of prayer to the Father. At the Transfiguration Luke (9, 28) reads: “and as he prayed, the appearence of his countenance was changed, and his raiment became a radiant white.” That is, the Person of the praying Christ gives off light as a material manifestation of His Person being the Revelation of the Father. The logic follows on this: Since we are sons in the Son as imaging Him, when we pray as the action of giving ourselves, imaging Him Who is Himself the act of prayer to the Father, we become other Christs (little by little) and experience Him in experiencing ourselves. That is, we know Christ by becoming Christ; we give off divine light from our very persons And we know Christ  by experiencing ourselves imaging Him .Therefore, I am part of the revelation of Christ by sharing in the action of Christ. Recall, Ratzinger’s remark: “the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of ‘revelation.” “Where there is no one to perceive ‘revelation’ no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it (J. Ratzinger “Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, Ignatius (1998) 108-109). And let it be clear: the only person we experience is ourselves because in the subject, the only one who can determine me in my freedom is myself experiencing the action of determining myself. Grace as divine Love affirms and makes me capable of the gift, but only I can exercise and experience my freedom. And in this behold, the the deep meaning of Christian freedom. Therefore, the only way to experience God is to experience Christ, and the only way to experience Christ is to become Christ by self-transcending prayer.

Consider this theological epistemology in Luke 9, 18 where Simon and the Apostles are with Christ in prayer to the Father. He asks them: “Who do men say that I am?” They answer: John the Baptist, Jeremiah, Elija, one of the prophets. He then asks them: “And who do you say that I am?” Simon as elder speaks: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” By being in prayer with Christ, Simon “knows” the Persona of Jesus Christ. And Christ responds: “Blessed are you Simon-Bar Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. [Recall: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him” (Jn. 6, 44)]. And I way this to you, you are Peter (as I am cornerstone), and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and what ever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven? Then he strictly charged his disciples to tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matt. 16, 14-20).

And so, if you don’t pray, you don’t know God, or anything else in depth because you do not have an epistemological context which we understand as “meaning.” This epistemological workup is in the very DNA (metaphysics) of Christian anthropology.The meaning of meaning is the experience and consciousness of the self. Hence, reason and abstract analytical thinking are inadequate and secondary to the experiential knowing that is Love. At first we don’t what or who is calling or drawing us out of ourselves All we know is that we are being drawn out and beyond ourselves by who we are as images of God.

I would add briefly here that the above is not a collapse into subjectivism or what some have called “Modernism.” It is the scriptural (and in its place) the grounding of the development that ook place in the Second Vatican Council and I would dare way that it is a thumb-nail sketch of what is referred to as the “new eveangelization.”

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