Monday, November 9, 2009

No other word but the Word...

In my devotional reading in the writings of St. John of the Cross last week, I "happened" to read the following. It ties in nicely with the points I made in an earlier post about "hearing from God." I wrote what I wrote in that post ignorant of St. John's wisdom, which is not to toot my own horn, but to remark on how Catholic wisdom is unified in its depths.

Notice the strong emphasis on the linearity of history and the importance of singular events in the Christian worldview. This kind of concrete facticty and irrevocability was integral to the historical escape from ancient views of eternal circularity and endless repetitive transformations devoid of an actual beginning. The latter point is not, obviously, foremost in St. John's writing here, but comes from my reading lately of Fr. Jaki's compelling Science and Creation. The grounding of concrete, linear history is, as Fr. Donald Keefe's magnificent Covenantal Theology elucidates, fundamental to the Catholic "sacramental-incarnational" revelation, a grounding which Fr. Jaki's scholarship (along with the work of R. Stark, P. Duhem, A. C. Crombie, E. Grant, M. Clagett, et al.) has shown was integral to the birth of exact physical science in medieval Europe. Again, Catholic wisdom is unified in its depths.

"That which God spake of old in the prophets to our fathers, in sundry ways and divers manners, He has now, at last, in these days, spoken to us once and for all in the Son. Herein the Apostle declares that God has become, as it were, dumb, and has no more to say, since that which He spake aforetime, in part to the prophets, He has now spoken altogether in Him, giving us the All, which is His Son.

"Wherefore he that would now enquire of God, or seek any vision or revelation, would not only be acting foolishly, but would be committing an offence against God, by not setting his eyes altogether upon Christ, and seeking no new thing or aught beside. And God might answer him after this manner, saying:

"If I have spoken all things to thee in My Word, Which is My Son, and I have no other word, what answer can I now make to thee, or what can I reveal to thee which is greater than this? Set thine eyes on Him alone, for in Him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in Him thou shalt find yet more than that which thou askest and desirest. For thou askest locutions and revelations, which are the part; but if thou set thine eyes upon Him, thou shalt find the whole; for He is My complete locution and answer, and He is all My vision and all My revelation; so that I have spoken to thee, answered thee, declared to thee and revealed to thee, in giving Him to thee as thy brother, companion and master, as ransom and prize. For since that day when I descended upon Him with My Spirit on Mount Tabor, saying: Hic est filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui, ipsum audite (which is to say: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him), I have left off all these manners of teaching and answering, and I have entrusted this to Him. Hear Him; for I have no more faith to reveal, neither have I any more things to declare. For, if I spake aforetime, it was to promise Christ; and, if they enquired of Me, their enquiries were directed to petitions for Christ and expectancy concerning Him, in Whom they should find every good thing (as is now set forth in all the teaching of the Evangelists and the Apostles); but now, any who would enquire of Me after that manner, and desire Me to speak to him or reveal aught to him, would in a sense be asking Me for Christ again, and asking Me for more faith, and be lacking in faith, which has already been given in Christ; and therefore he would be committing a great offence against My beloved Son, for not only would he be lacking in faith, but he would be obliging Him again first of all to become incarnate and pass through life and death. Thou shalt find naught to ask Me, or to desire of Me, whether revelations or visions; consider this well, for thou shalt find that all has been done for thee and all has been given to thee — yea, and much more also — in Him.

"If thou desirest Me to answer thee with any word of consolation, consider My Son, Who is subject to Me, and bound by love of Me, and afflicted, and thou shalt see how fully He answers thee. If thou desirest Me to expound to thee secret things, or happenings, set thine eyes on Him alone, and thou shalt find the most secret mysteries, and the wisdom and wondrous things of God, which are hidden in Him, even as My Apostle says: In quo sunt omnes thesauri sapientiae et scientiae Dei absconditi. That is: In this Son of God are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge of God."

-- Ascent of Mt. Carmel, II, xxii, iv-vi.

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