February 18th, 1999, Serial No. 00152

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Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 2 - 1990s

AI Summary: 





Okay, before we do anything else, I'd like to take a look at R.P. Chapter 49, the beginning of that. Raniero commented on it the other day, to some extent, and you'll get to this later on when you're studying the rule. There's a reference here right at the beginning, the life of a monk ought to be a continuous length. Now Cashin writes about the monastic life as being the length of the church, sort of in the sense that the monks do all the time what the Christian community did all the time in the beginning, but stopped doing all the time when they got tepid, and therefore the monks do it 100% of the time, and the rest of the people do it 10% of the time. There's a good example of an invidious idea of monasticism as better than everybody else all the time. The monk, by definition, doing it better.


The same thing, but doing it better. So everybody should be renouncing themselves and be fervent all the time. But Benedict says that the monks have to do this 10% thing too, because Lent is 10% of the year, just about, a tie, it's quite lovely, it's theologically lovely, not Biblical at all. I can't remember the reference from Cashin, I couldn't find my copy, whether it's in the, I think it's in the Institute, rather than the conferences. Okay, you'll notice that in the footnotes to the RV19A there are a lot of references to Leo the Great, in the breviary this morning there was a Lenten sermon of Leo the Great, so you'll find that he's very strong on this. He's very strong also on some other areas, like the explanation of the transfiguration and the mystery of Christ, he's magnificent, he's a real theologian, as well as Pope. So you get a strong, kind of, the bones of the mystery presented very strongly in Leo.


But I didn't check these references to see, mostly, you know, where we have these is in Sources Chr├ętien, which is in, you find it in the Latin and the French in Sources Chr├ętien, that's that set of about 400 volumes there, in small books, whereas in English I would look in the Catholic University of America series, Fathers of the Church, okay, these sermons might be in there, if you want. Since few have ever had the strength to disreard the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure, to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times. I don't know how much of this comes from the Rule of the Master, I didn't check to see that either. Not much. No, it's mostly original to Latter-day Saints. What they will point out is that in Benedict, the positive characteristics are the mention of joy and of the Holy Spirit, especially, okay. It's quite refreshing, actually, in a chapter like this, to find that positive leaven on


the knee, lifting the whole thing up, rather than adding a burden. The Master is more likely to lay something on as a burden. Joy appears twice, and it's the only time in the whole Rule that it appears. Even though the equivalent is there in a couple of other times, at the end of the Prologue and at the end of Chapter 7, okay, but the word doesn't appear. Remember when you run with enlarged hearts, and so on. Okay, this we do in a fitting manner. Refusing to indulge in evil habits, devoting ourselves to prayer with tears, reading, and functioning according to self-denial. There are four practices. Three of them are connected in the same kind of way. Prayer and reading are close together, and compunction of heart is a kind of quality of prayer, isn't it? The matter of compunction we could talk about at some length, because I remember Father Husserl, the Jesuit scholar, felt that that was the heart of early Eastern monasticism.


Not only early, but right up to the present, I guess, the spirit of compunction. Which we usually understand as sorrow for sin. Remember, Rommel got the gift of tears at a certain point. Compunction for the monk is a kind of softness of heart, or a spirit of devotion. They probably have words for it in the Asian traditions. They have different words for it in the Greek and in the Russian traditions. I mean, I remember there's some word for that peculiar tenderness of heart in the Russian tradition. So it's got to do with piety, with fervor, and when it becomes a gift of tears, classically, that's a breakthrough into contemplative experience. Because it's given, it's infused, it's not something you do. And yet, like for Rommel, it's said that he could activate that gift of tears whenever he wanted to. So he'd just have to turn his mind in a certain direction.


It's a kind of opening of the heart. But notice, if you speak of it as contemplative experience, it's very different from a purely intellectual or purely apophatic notion of contemplation. It's very affective. And if you ask what the organ of it is, you couldn't say really the noose of contemplative intellect, could you? You can say the heart. Even to say the self doesn't quite carry the flavor, doesn't quite carry the energy of this idea of compunction. It's a matter of the heart. It's a very biblical experience. So we're supposed to add something to the usual measure. And the two sides, one side of the practices of prayer and the other side of renunciation. It's interesting that he gives about three different lists here, doesn't he? He mentions a series of practices three different times.


He'd do it again in verse seven, and more extensively. This idea of spontaneity, of doing something on your own, of your own will. Which is not to come in the will of St. Benedict. Remember in chapter four he'll say, chapter four? No, it's chapter seven, chapter on humility. Do nothing which isn't sanctioned by the tradition of the elders. So for him to encourage individual originality is exceptional. As is this mention of joy of the Holy Spirit. Notice where he says needless talking and idle jesting. Because some people have felt that St. Benedict could exclude humor completely. He sounds that way sometimes, but I don't believe so. Or some people would say that, well, he wouldn't permit you to talk hardly at all. But needless talking.


And he's talking about cutting back something that obviously exists. Earlier in the rule he'll say, there should never be any of that. But then here he says, cut back on it. Of course we don't do that at all. But during Lent we do a little less of it. Joy and spiritual longing. So he really evokes a positive spirit. And qualities of heart here, doesn't he? There's a lot of feeling in the chapter. And then of course, here comes the habit. Because even though it's supposed to be done spontaneously and yet it can only be ratified, or it can only be accepted by God if it's accepted by the other. It seems like there's a lot here with two themes that I'm trying to figure out here. There's the idea of public and private and maybe the implicit appearance of the Trinity.


And there's, like in the beginning, the first line, I think one of the books talks about, the better translation of it would be the life of a monk has a Lenten observance to it. Or should. So it's that idea of the continual Lent. And I think because of that, and because it's also kind of an urging characteristic, it's making an appeal to the individual. And then in Latin, the first two sentences are all merged into one. So it's like this movement from the individual to the communal to make up for our weakness in not being able to achieve what the monk ideally is supposed to achieve. So since few, however, have the strength for this, we urge the entire community, and omni and omnis appear. And so it's trying to get


the whole community involved with this, but mostly in a positive way, but in kind of a negative appearance to focus on the season of Lent and to sort of wash away the negative practices. And then it goes, it talks about the communal practices, and one of those lists appear here. And then in verse five, when it talks about the individual again, the individual can then sort of rise above whatever both his normal practices and whatever the communal practices, to, as you were saying, to add something, to actually exert positively his own will, the volontate, to give something to God. And how unique that is, and how also the joy of the Holy Spirit appears there. And then in verse seven, it sort of falls back into, it talks about the communal again. In other words,


each one, still individual, denying himself some food, drink, sleep, and then it gets communal. Needless talking and idle jesting. And look forward to Holy Easter with joy and spirituality. The communal dimension there, that's really in the orbit of the solitary, of the individual still, I think, because that's the individual talking, and jesting, and so on. He's not picturing the kind of matrix of the community. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting, what you speak about, the public and private, or common individual, the way they merge it in so far, that this is a communal enjoining, urging to an individual spontaneity, which will be communally somehow expressed. That is, everybody will be doing something individually. But all of us are urged to do it. It's an unusual kind. Yeah. Yeah. It's like the Word. It's kind of like a sermon on the mountain,


where he's talking about the two biblical passages, I thought the most were, you know, of course, Jesus's 40 days, and Jesus is teaching, we just heard yesterday, about the three Lenten practices, the sermon on the mountain, and it's the same thing there. He's enjoining everyone to the spiritual practice, but in a relationship of secrecy with God, and not to... Even though he's not afraid, he doesn't appear to be afraid of the same thing that Jesus is afraid of. He's not cautioning so much against shows. He's cautioning against self-will or vainglory. Now, you could say that they come together there because vainglory is a kind of private enjoyment of the same thing that a person... You know, you've received your reward. You can do it secretly by doing your own will, or you can do it publicly by making a show of your practice.


The... And then the relation added to that, it's almost like this rising emotion, this leaven is somehow receives a... I'm just kind of curious here. Yeah, the spontaneous leaven, the action of the Holy Spirit in the individual heart there, and the person's kind of creative project has to have that blessing of the authority. It's almost like the Word has to bless the Spirit and somehow recognize it. That's a good little chapter. Now, here he's adapting a practice of the Church


to the monastic life. I don't know the history of Lent and so on where it started, whether it was perhaps in the monastic life or whether it was in the Church as a whole when he became a Church practice fairly early. And then, I remember when I came here, in the beginning, there was not only Lent, but there was Quinquagesima, Sexygesima, Septemgesima. So liturgically, you'd be starting several weeks before Lent, actually, with a kind of build-up towards Lent. And then Lent builds up towards Holy Week. And also the monastic life was said to start on the feast of St. Martin's Tour on November 11th. So the whole winter period was considered to be the monastic Lent in a general kind of way. So you had all these different structures built on top of one another. I think of the monastic brief period. But even the Church, those Sundays were Sexygesima Sunday, that is, about 50 days


before Easter, and then Septemgesima Sunday and so on. So it was all, even earlier than Ash Wednesday, it was all focused towards that season. Do you recall anything of Leo's sermons on Lent? Well, I recall from this morning, because I read it in the brief period, one of his sermons on Lent is for Thursday after Ash Wednesday in the Roman brief period. It would be interesting to read it and see what he picked up from it. Yeah, you'd have to look probably several of them to find what he picked up. Sometimes there's something in between, there's Leo and maybe Cashner or somebody like that. Okay. Our main task this morning, of course, is to conclude Chapter 2. But in order not to make that too easy, I'll read you Zerub's


from B. Griffith's Marriage of East and West, which was written in 1983, published in 1983. Sometimes chronology is important for me. I've been working on B. Griffith's and that's why this came to mind. And I'm glad it did because it's a marvelous piece. What this does is give you an alternative model, you can say, which it's hard to fit even into the notion of model because it's too wide and doesn't have clear edges. Now, B. calls it the myth of the Church, and his use of the word myth of course is not a negative or belittling. Nevertheless, I find it a little difficult because myth still, for me, has a kind of leakage. There's some leakage out of the truth of something when you use the word myth. Are there parallels to Dole's concept of the mystery of the Church? Yes. Now, myth and mystery here, you can say, are very close. Okay, so what he did... I'm glad you mentioned that. You could translate his title, Myth of the Church, to Mystery of the Church


just as well. But the fact is he's used this word myth throughout this book as a dominant theme or language in talking about everything. So he'll talk about the Vedic myth and then the myth of Christ and so on. Do you think the area of ecclesiology sort of will be overhauled in the next centuries by the time we get to the next Vatican? Because it's moving very quickly. That is, what you've seen in Delos is a very quick shift. It's like one of those seismic shifts when you have an earthquake, when the whole thing moves violently all of a sudden. And from a single frozen image, you've got a plurality. But in that plurality, we still don't have the depth dimension that we should have. And that's the advantage of something like each perspective. Before, remember we had a couple of ecclesial views of monasticism. We looked at Pfeiffer's book briefly and then we looked at Marmion. That's looking at monasticism from


the point of view of the Church, where monasticism gets a little pulled out of its own juice in some way. Because it's subject to theological categories which don't flow from its insides. But here you've got a monastic view of the Church. So it's sort of the revenge of monasticism on theologians. But this view is almost, you can say it's pre-monastic. It's already patristic. If you look at the Syriac writers like Ephraim and so on, you find something very much like this. Actually, it's very fortunate that B. Griffiths was immersed in the Syriac tradition before when he was at that earlier monastery, because he absorbed this kind of thing. I felt often that he was too obsessed with the institutional Church when he writes about the Church, but this sinks my feeling about that, because it's a marvelous expression of that idea of the mystery of the Church in the early term. Do you think he had a real


breakthrough as far as seeing the Church, I mean moving from institution into a more mythological model? Did he have to have that before? The groundwork was laid before he was converted to Christianity. Because he reacted against the West already. He reacted against the industrialized West when he was young. And so he turned to the Romantic poets already when he was at Oxford. And it cohered with his first spiritual experience, which was a revelation of kind of nature, of the divine in the tree, a kind of transfiguration, epiphany in nature. And so, he set that experience, which changed his whole life, against the whole Western sense, the whole dirty Western development as he saw it. The industrialized England and so on. The whole economic, political, scientific, technological thing. Sounds like R.S. Thomas. Like who? R.S. Thomas. Well, more so. More so because he went to India. See, he just threw it away and went to India afterwards.


But before his conversion to Christianity, he was already into the Romantic poets. In other words, his religion was Keats and Wordsworth and Shelley and Coleridge. So the groundwork was already laid. Then he had a conversion to Christianity and swallowed the whole thing, including the institutional church at the time. But then he began spitting out pieces. Before long. Okay. Because his personality was so averse to institution, instruction. It's amazing, it's... It's amazing, yes. Because he'd write these letters to the tablet. They printed most of them. Wow. One, they put the type, I want a snack at Ratzinger. Okay. He's deliberately arguing with Ratzinger in a very aggressive term. He was aggressive about it. He didn't just lay low and talk about this. Did you see the recent article on the tablet? No. What's it on? Ratzinger? No. Something he's published. Dialogues, some guy.


He had written a book. A Frenchman. Anyways, the guy's Napoleon. Cartoon. He says inter-religious dialogue. And he hears like Ratzinger. Microphone line. Or the congregation. That's their job, in a way. The problem is to circumvent them. It's in a recent tablet. One way is to go 9,000 miles away to India. I'll find it. Yeah, I'd like to see it. But they never silence me. And they speculate as to why. What our superiors would say is because we defended it. But also I think they know he was a holy man. In the biography, the lady tries to figure out where that was. What's the vision of the tablet? The vision of the tablet is an open Catholicism. It's a very good periodical. It's got a wonderful kind of breadth and depth. But it tends to be very independent and critical


of Rome very often. In a loyal way. A kind of loyal opposition. So he wrote I don't know how many letters and articles to the tablet. A couple of them they didn't print because they were too strong. Or they didn't feel they were balanced. But mostly they did. What you've got here in this myth of the church, and you haven't got the whole thing here, is the idea of the church, not the institutional church, but starting from, as it were, the mind of God. And the idea of the church as the whole of creation somehow, dynamically being brought into God by the Holy Spirit. And then the imagery that goes with it, which he gets from the Bible and the Fathers. But he does it very well. And it's not just the patristic thing, because he's got the idea of evolution in here. That the spirit is dynamically bringing the whole creation back into God, particularly through humanity. And then particularly through the disciples of Christ.


But you notice first of all, two things. It's bigger than the institutional church. It involves the whole of creation. In fact, the creation itself, the material creation cosmos becomes the body of Christ. That's what Teilhard would say. Although it's got to be in a kind of different sense than humanity. Or the believers. Those different concentric circles. And secondly, it's dynamic. So I was delighted to find this. For her sake was the world made. The church as a historic institution has a very recent origin. It's only 2,000 years old. It occupies a very small part of the world. The church in herself is the eternal mother. She's the created aspect of the uncreated spirit. The created aspect of the uncreated spirit. It sounds very much like the sophiology of Bulgakov or somebody like that. Who would speak of uncreated wisdom which is Sophia, or the Holy Spirit.


And created wisdom which is the church. And I think that's a valid model of the church. He doesn't so much use the idea of wisdom or Sophia. In part, he's using a modern western evolutionary point of view. On his part, he's using the Vedanta. The idea of Jesus as the cosmic person, the fruition. And Shakti, who is the divine energy in the Hindu tradition. The spirit is the same as Shakti. So the spirit is in the creation from the beginning. The spirit is in humanity. Bringing the creation to consciousness in humanity. And then when humanity is the creation as conscious, then Jesus comes into that person. A new phase starts. And the spirit, the Shakti, is given with a new plenitude, a new fullness. And it's something that's working all the time


through the word and the spirit. The spirit is the imminent power of God within nature and within humanity. And the word is that which becomes consciousness and then which becomes, which interacts with the spirit. You get a kind of paternity, once again, that's why I put this up here. Of nature down here. Think of this as the eternal God. Think of this as the one forever, not in history, but above behind and outside history. And then the difference between Christianity and the Eastern religions would be all the rest in a sense. That is, for the Eastern religions, you've got a revelation and a presence, and you've got the spirit, the divine energy. But there isn't this movement into


the world of this kind. There tends to be a movement from the world up into the one, back into the divinity, by the way. Whereas in Christianity, you've got this vector, this movement down here of creation through the word and the spirit. And then even while the nature is being brought back to God, as they brought up to consciousness and then brought to faith and then brought to unity and inclusion in God, even while it's happening, you've got a continuous creative activity happening down here. Something's moving down, and something's moving up. Movement of incarnation is down in this direction. So it doesn't just get brought back. But one thing that's exciting about it is the interrelation it points out between word and spirit. It takes a while for this to soak in. You have to kind of get used to the ideas. But the word or the light of God present in


the creation and bringing the human person to consciousness and consciousness relates to that. And then the energy of God and the Holy Spirit interacting with it. And those two generating history. So that what you have as church is the eternal one unfolding itself in the course of history. In the interaction between these two in the matrix of nature, in the medium, in the substance of nature. It's quite an exciting idea. And it's a whole different notion of the church than most of the other ones we've been looking at. I've got to go back to RB49. The one time in that when scripture is quoted, and usually it's packed with scripture, is from 1 Thessalonians the joy of the Holy Spirit. So it's the word talking about the spirit in joy almost like this rising motion, that dialogue of word and spirit becoming somehow


just on fire with the spirit just rising to... The role of St. Benedict is almost pure word in a way, isn't it? In other words it's order, it's establishing order, but here and there the spirit breaks out and then you realize that inside and inside that order is the fullness of the spirit. It would be interesting to characterize word and spirit sometime, to make two clusters or two columns and just take all the words that you connect with each one, because in that way you get a kind of sense of interaction, the interplay between the two of them in history and in the world and in our own lives and in our own experience. But the word is like light and order and it's interesting that the word also becomes body in some way, the word incarnates itself, becomes the body of Christ. And on the other side you've got the spirit. You notice in that chapter from Consider Your Call he's talking about the spirit and the body, continually.


That's the two things, as it were, that remain that are definitive of the Church. So here's the spirit and then the word has become body down here, the word has become the body of Christ, which then is the whole thing but those two word becoming body and spirit making the body, spirit acting in the body but it seems to be that it's the body of the word, whether you think of it as head or whether you think of it somehow, but the identity is as Christ, the body of Christ but the energy of it which makes it, which creates it, brings it about and which fills it is the spirit. So I'm not clear on exactly how that works but it's one side, it's the word that becomes incarnate and the spirit is bringing it about. The identity the connection, the obvious what do you call it, obvious identity is with word. The spirit is subtly, invisibly bringing it about. Just as if you were to say


well, word means bread and therefore the loaf is called bread, but invisibly inside that, namelessly, works the spirit, fermenting and raising the loaf of bread but not giving it its name namelessly as it were. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be detracting, but I just keep going back to this chapter, somehow that's happening in the latter part of R.V. 49 it seems like in one way he's going back to this verbal, legalistic way when he talks about the abbot again, but just as he gives us the volontate, or lets us do our own will in a very special individual way during Lent offer God something of his own will with the joy of the Holy Spirit then after that there's some other stuff whatever is undertaken without the permission of the spiritual father the abbot, and there's that spiritual there and


his permission there, whatever is undertaken without the permission is that same word volontate, then in the last sentence therefore, and it's this imperial sentence, therefore everything must be done with the abbot's approval the volontate third time and I'm just wondering if somehow it's not talking about this transforming through this word again, Benedict might have no notion of doing this, but if right underneath this stiff, imperial model of the abbot who approves everything and stamps everything, there's not just a melting away of that of everything, of our will becoming flame, joining the fire of God's will, and if the word abbot there can be like Abba like God the Father, and if there's a melding with the greater will of God, is that there? I think it is the sometimes apparently heavy figure of the abbot is really, standing there


is really a sacrament and a symbol of the genuine abbot, and when we say abbot we can't help thinking of the spirit in other words, we cry Abba Father in the spirit, it's the spirit that makes us cry Abba Father, and when we do that we're in the person of Jesus, so the Trinitarian thing is reproduced there you can say it's implicit whenever the father or abbot is mentioned but sometimes the juridical sound is so heavy that often we forget it that's what that whole structure is about I believe, yeah so you can say the spirit is always implicit there, in that very relationship, but only once in a while does it become explicit it's like Benedict because he's writing a rule he's 99% of the time over here, ok? and the abbot himself is the figure of this work, but from time to time what leaps out also because that chapter is about the individual


now the individual belongs over here in the common sense, the regular the legislated belongs over here, but this is where one of the places where the rule is trying to jump out of its own skin, in other words a rule is trying to become more than a rule because it's getting into the individual spontaneous will which you can say is over here which belongs to the spirit so that chapter is one of them, there are several others, and like the episode of Scholastic is another time when this side becomes decisive at that point, that's outside the rule you know, yep that's what's delightful about Benedict's rule is when that happens and I don't know whether you find it built on a rule of the Master of Might in some ways it's also true that this applies I think that you seem to have this complete subjection to the figure of the spiritual father but what's inside that the secret that's inside that is the Holy Spirit and love is the other side, and that's what you


find manifest in the stories of the fathers where time after time compassion will decide over judgment over justice or something like that and what they're trying to teach really is that, they're trying to communicate the spirit the word is always instrumental to the spirit in that sense so I'll just leave this erex with you if you want to bring up anything from that next time we can talk about it, I guess we should probably try to finish our chapter this time this is typical of B's vision of the church the only trouble is that he doesn't talk about this myth and develop it often enough so often enough he seems just to be criticizing the institutional church but it's coming from that kind of vision ok let's see we got to about page 21 last time about the body of Christ formed by the spirit


it's almost like something has to happen to this kind of writing to bring it alive the most vital and life-filled things when they're talked about in this way tend to flatten out it's like it has to be inflated or it has to be raised up into a dimension of experience of reality so when he's talking about the church here as the body of Christ he's also talking about this event by which this takes place which is a kind of explosion that event which is the New Testament and if you look at St. Paul there's like one thing that's the consequence of this event and that's the body of Christ which he expresses in that language in Christ, in him, all the time so it's very dramatic this happening of the body of Christ which happens with the resurrection where the body of Christ is no longer individual but is a communal body of Christ a participated body and the way that we experience that is in the gift of the spirit and that happens in baptism


so the problem is we're baptized as infants so he's coming very much from Vatican II still but these things need to become need to become alive for you remember Owen Barfield talking about the whole of history in terms of participation and saying that what you have with Christ is a new participation or what he calls final participation that you have an original participation of the pagan religion a kind of nature mystique and then Israel comes and abolishes that within its own circle completely wipes it off the face of the earth in so far as it can that slaughtering of the pagans and so on and destruction of the idols and all of that is symbolic of that and then Jesus comes


on that scorched earth that leveled ground he institutes a new participation which starts in himself as the one child of God one natural son of God and then extends to all of humanity through participation in him so that's where humanity really goes through the needle's eye but we have a real hard time learning that idea of participation because we're brought up thinking we're individuals separate as bigger balls from one another we don't have a natural idea of the unity of all of humanity or even of family or tribe or anything else let alone church the notion of participation is not mentioned explicitly it was kind of hanging around in the back not recommended when he talks about the biblical notion of solidarity whereby Adam


somehow all humanity was in Adam or if you use the word Jacob you mean both the tribe and you mean the patriarch and the patriarch had a tremendous authority over his over everybody else the power of life and death everybody else was in his hands they all belonged to him it's very strange it's one way of organizing society but underneath that is this idea and around it this primitive idea of participation which we have almost entirely extinguished first of all with the Old Testament and then with our rationalism when the new paradigm comes along, the new science with the demo-physics and so on all of a sudden you have a new notion of participation of an organic reality of the whole of the universe being a co-existing inter-related whole


you already have it in romantic quotes or words with but what's going on there in the consciousness of the West is very important in that sense the idea of fragmentation to the extent where it becomes inconceivable to think of the unity between things we can only see them as separates a lot of the despair among modern Westerners there's a danger there's a danger in seeing all of this as stopping in the time of the New Testament and the church kind of goes on it is born in an explosion in a tremendous event but then it simply sets into a fixed form and remains forever that's dangerous because you can say the Holy Spirit you can always define the Holy Spirit as movement


as dynamism as something that never settles down is never fixed never finds a final form in contrast to the Word also it's possible to think that the church is perfect from the beginning it is growing by numerical increase but really the church has to grow and progress in a sense learn who she is in the course of time again and again I think the institutional model of the church before Vatican II was of that kind that the church essentially was complete and perfect in its existing form and all it could do was grow and progress it's like you need a new wineskin yep the new wineskin grows out of the wine I forget what it was


that defined the church as the vessel which is continually renewed by the wine which it contains continually renewed by its contents and behind that you've got this notion of the mystery that is the church is let's say 99% invisible and only 1% visible and out of that mystery continuously evolving a new visible invisible person so much tragic polarization in the church when people are just refusing incapable of allowing the church to change you know the people on the other side can just appropriate the energy of that change as if that's all there were it's hard not to do that sometimes that's where V. Griffiths tends to get he gets stuck a little sometimes over on that side of identifying simply with the change not being able to accept it existing reality it's canon law that's holding us back


no canon law is a symbol of a it's not so much the canon law it's the fact institution and law they're ok but when they're dominant it's like a bony body there's nothing but bones there's no flesh, there's no muscle there's no organs, there's no life the bones have got to be there but if the body is nothing but bones it's practically dead so the bones essentially disappear into the living body into the fact of life, the event of life the activity of life but canon law can easily I forget who it was that said at a certain point the church began to be ruled by canon lawyers instead of theologians in the time of Leo the Great you can say well there's a theologian who's ruling the church with Gregory the Great but in the middle ages


there was a they say one of the 11th century 12th century there was a great revival of legal thinking, the legal mind there was an enthusiasm for law, enthusiasm for getting things codified and the church set itself in that form probably not so much that it's there it's just that there isn't enough beside it it's choking the spirit once things get written down it becomes law and there's a feeling that it's not changeable and so word takes precedence over spirit and change and just like any institution it ends up killing itself by its nature frozen nature it's the easy thing to hang on to you can say that the


Roman Catholic Church is the kind of juridical backbone of Christianity that the most stable, hard durable elements of the church are in the Roman Catholic Church with its structure so it tends to have kind of a surplus of that, it's got enough bones for everybody else so it can be pretty heavy sometimes inside the church but actually people get I think they get shadowed and tyrannized by that fact, and the shadow bothers them a lot more than the reality so many people have a kind of a paranoid attitude about the institutional church, and the institutional church has never touched them they've never received a punishing telegram from the Pope it's just especially women nowadays and they have a legitimate belief who? women I guess so whenever they go into the church and they hear a reading that's not in an inclusive language it seems like it's


one of the drawbacks of a society that allows and certainly there are great things about free press or about being able to have opposition in the church or something like a tablet or something but another part of that is that it can too easily be grafted into the fearful parts of our nature or the parts that are trying to evade responsibility and just constantly be putting blame on everything and like you said, the shadow bothers them more than the reality and it becomes too easy a way of making excuses yeah, there's an immaturity that takes hold there I've noticed it in that paper especially in past years, in the National Catholic reporting, sometimes it would go along as a kind of juvenile rejection of the parent, you know, a juvenile rejection of authority the idea of the Pope or the idea of the institutional magisterium is enough to drive them wild enough to make them turn in another direction there's an emotional block there that's true on both sides but the thing very easily turns into an emotional


armageddon yeah, there wasn't much of that before Vatican II, there wasn't much express criticism or opposition or any tolerance okay, so there's a good deal here about the Holy Spirit and a subject which is well worth meditation never get finished meditating about that the gift of the Spirit is the radically new reality that's it think of the Spirit as newness itself think of the Word as enduring as like the principle, the structural principle and so on, and think of the Spirit as the moment, as the now as the energy of God in the moment which can't be anything but energy, can't be anything but now can't be anything but life okay the other correlation there


is masculine and feminine to see the Word as masculine and the Spirit as feminine, we've talked about this before I know, but because the Word is what it is, and people call it patriarchal and so on, okay the biblical revelation, and because the Word ultimately is incarnate in a man in a male human being you need to look for the what would you call it, the equivalent look for the corresponding term on the feminine side, and what can it be with the Spirit, there's no other candidate, no other possible I think expression of God which could be on the feminine side and so, I tend to see the two interacting not as masculine and feminine, but as the archetype of masculine and feminine the inner energy in life tends to be the feminine side and the feminine side is never getting an even break because it's invisible just as the Word


is, I think the biblical Word has got to be patriarchal in some way because the Word is a masculine expression the Spirit is the rest is the invisible, is the space between the the words in the biblical text it's also the breath in which the words become living words, in which they become life Some of the Gospel appearances of women sort of have to break out of their silent mode as perceived by men like the woman at the well is in some ways flippant with Christ but they have a most profound meaning that the woman with the hemorrhage reaches out and grabs Christ from behind and then the woman in Mark who asks for scraps from the table from her daughter and sort of responds to Christ's rebuke powerfully


They always have to break out of something the equivalent of that in the Old Testament I think is deception that is the woman has to arrive at her end by tricking somebody it happens time after time well think of like Judith and Esther one after another every victory Patriarch's wives Rebecca, I remember the thing about Isaac or Jacob and Esau and tricking Isaac by putting skins on his hands time after time and Tamar there's that thing somehow but that says it's like a caricature of the hidden activity of the feminine the hidden caricature in the New Testament they have to break out of something and they always seem to be anticipating something because time hasn't come like in John's Gospel Mary says


my hour hasn't come yet it isn't time but he does it anyway the feminine is before it's time because I think the feminine is like the fullness anticipating the fullness Scholastica going to heaven right after the meeting with David anticipating him well she had to get out of the story the Benedictine tradition doesn't have couldn't give her much space her air time was over and she had to be assisted through the feminine very carefully circumscribed place and there had to be monks there present to witness this thing so anyhow that's a direction of reflection which I think hasn't been followed enough that masculine feminine thing because also then it comes into our own lives in questions of sexuality and celibacy so that sexuality can open up


to something bigger than itself behind itself so suppose we discover that the interior life is related to the human relational life insofar as behind masculine and feminine are these trinitarian realities and that we can penetrate the veil and realize our participation see that would have a lot to do with making celibacy meaningful and livable if you can penetrate the symbolism of the reality if the patristic and monastic writers spent so much time commenting on the Song of Songs I think they were intuiting that the only problem there is that we end up being the bride all the time a little unsatisfactory it's true because the soul is the bride of the words the bride of God, humanity is the bride of God there's something else there the other side hasn't been brought out and the Sophia side hasn't been brought out in that whole tradition there's the feminine side of God


and the masculine side of the human person are both suppressed in that mystical tradition anyhow but I presume you've read it it's a really cool thing Church is the people of God we talked about that somewhat a couple of weeks ago and the switch the change in center of gravity that it presents it's very important bringing the Church down to our level so that we realize we are the Church I like the sense of pilgrimage yep, that's the other thing that the Church isn't there yet, we're not there yet but we're on pilgrimage people of God is a down to earth idea it means it's not totally fulfilled it hasn't fully realized and that's very real see that's a conversion for the Catholic Church in the time of Vatican II because before it was too apt


to consider itself as the fulfillment already having arrived now the rest of you out there haven't arrived but we have, so what you have to do is come into our be converted and submit to what the Church has to offer you now the Church itself is making this confession of humility still on the road with pilgrim people characterizing Vatican II how much more drugs how much more, during Lent during Lent especially, Lent is the time of pilgrimage it's the exodus you're right so we should all go on the road OK, the Church and the Kingdom I like something that he says here down the bottom of page 25 he's talking about future and present reality present in Jesus' person his miracles revealed his power to break the rule of Satan and bring men under the reign of God his parables reveal something of the nature of the Kingdom the Kingdom is mystery


and that's what the parables reveal and that's the kind of the fascinating aspect of that sort of beads aspect of and the miracles reveal the power, so the wisdom and the power the wisdom and the power the power and the miracles the miracles also often have a signification, a kind of symbolic meaning like the healing of a blind man or of a paralytic or of a leper they've all got some kind of symbolic resonance but each one of them is that kind of lightning flash of the power of God coming out of Jesus coming out of a human being because Jesus is not only divine, he's human and it's always exciting we're both in a way breaking to experience sort of the parables break our mind the expectation of our mind


healing sort of affects the body the heart Jesus will preach he'll be teaching the people and then he'll heal somebody as if the wisdom has to be vindicated by the power as if what he says to the mind has to be proven by what he can do with the body because that's the real that's the manifestation of the power of God you raise the body up and ultimately that's the resurrection you raise the body up, you're really proving what you're saying and he does it time after time is it easier to forgive sins or to speak it up and walk get up and walk it's very exciting remember Paul talks about Jesus has the power and the wisdom of God remember in 1 Corinthians 1 but we can also associate the wisdom of Jesus with the word and the power of the spirit because those miracles, those healings are all done in the power of the spirit you see that in Mark


you see this in Luke now behind both of these there's something that's immediately exceeding what we can understand so it comes out especially with the word mystery or wisdom but also the power the power is something that simply boggles the mind it's simply we can't do anything with it it's just actuality, pure actuality like when Thomas Aquinas defines God as pure act that's what it is often the author here will terminate with a vision of the church in terms of the sacraments in terms of baptism and especially of Eucharist and that's another good thing to reflect on for our whole lives I guess we'll be reflecting on what baptism means, what Eucharist means my inclination


is to see baptism as the beginning, as the gift of the fullness and Eucharist as the end as the incarnation of the fullness of divinity that's given to us and the incarnating of that in our body and then the handing over of the whole thing in service and then finally in death so the martyrs would be the kind of extreme or full signs of that as well as Jesus himself who in his death becomes food so Eucharist in the end although often Eucharist is talked about as what we're given along the way and that's true It's good to get kind of familiar with the New Testament passages behind what he's talking about here they're buried in the footnotes they're in the endnotes at the end of the book a lot of them in this chapter


are from Colossians and Ephesians and a lot of these references are to those two saints and I think that is ok maybe we should terminate for today and next time we can go on to that third chapter consider your call the concept of the kingdom of God seems so central to Jesus' message it incorporates both the parables and the healing in one package yeah the kingdom is in him when he's there the kingdom is there that's how he starts his preaching in Mark and continues going nowadays a lot of times they like to use the translation reign of God sometimes even they use some awkward expression like imperial dominion of God I know that scholars version of Mark does that but the whole word kingdom


has a lot of reverence a lot of resonance even from fairy tales it is that kind of mysterious reality enchanting reality I like kingdom for that reason maybe the reign is a little more powerful and then reign tends to drains the myth out of it because you can't picture it it becomes a power which is invisible in the world now and later theologically that may be more exact but mythically speaking it's not as good as kingdom because from the time we were kids we read about kingdoms we have a whole personal mythology of kingdoms very rich yeah it is as is the king image people hate it nowadays but also it's so deep in us it pertains to ourselves in some way there's a kingly archetype within us that's a very energizing thing, not only for men


and a servant I think for Americans it's hard because we're not really bonded that type of servant they work for us we are the kings that servant is right for everybody that notion so any one of those models is not adequate without its counterpart without the accompaniment ok thank you very much