February 24th, 1999, Serial No. 00146

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Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 2 - 1990s

AI Summary: 





So this is the survey that was voted on? Yes. This is the $16,000? Yeah. How much are they going to ask for the road survey? It might be included in this or they might do more full inquiry. Was this... Jeff Nolan and associates. Was this what they talked about as the whole property or was it just a specific area? Not the whole property up here. It was a specific area up here. Behind the kitchen. Okay. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Father, give us your spirit. Help us to understand the way. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of Jesus. We ask this in his name. Amen. So we're going to start on the mystery of the church this time. Chapter 2. The pressure's off somewhat because Veed isn't going to be starting as early as I thought. So first we had an introduction which kind of jockeyed around the different approaches


to monasticism, especially between the universal approach and the Christian approach, the Ecclesial approach. The author opted, or authors opted for the second approach, of course, the Ecclesial approach. And this chapter really dives into that, doesn't it? It dives into that theology. So it asks you about the change in language between what's gone before and this, especially the last chapter. Remember, the last chapter was talking about the world, contemporary world, from a more or less empirical perspective, not from a theological or specifically religious thing. But of course, you know, with that in mind. Whereas this is diving distinctly into what you would call theology, ecclesiology, because it's moving from scripture, from tradition, from Vatican II. So it's an entirely different perspective. I find this chapter is pretty dense. And you'll find that it uses a lot of language which is routine for the author, for the people that are into that. But for new people approaching it, every word probably is new. So there's that whole matter of getting used to the language.


So it's hard to gauge how difficult that will be for somebody. The other problem is, often I find, like in church documents, the theological language is so dense and so consistent and so, what do you call it, carefully thought out and so on, that you can almost skate right over it, slide right over it without understanding what's being said. It's hard to penetrate the surface sometimes. It's a little bit true here. It's hard to get yourself into the process of the development of the chapter sometimes. Did you pass out questions for this one? Yeah. Let me see if I've got another copy in here. I hope I have. Oh, maybe not. I might have to give them to you later. But I'll read them out, OK, as we go along. Yeah, I'm sorry. It's a separate group from the ones on the introduction and the first chapter.


I've got the ones for chapter three, but I didn't bring them in. Maybe I could just go Xerox one if you have a copy. There are a couple of notions in here that come out right away, which are sort of technical notions. But before that, let's go back to that part of the parenthesis at the beginning there. He talks about the different language, the drastic change in language. Now, here you have to be listening to the biblical music, sort of. But it's not only Bible, is it? Because a lot of these notions are subsequent developments, where there's a seed in the Bible, like the idea of sacrament. But then it develops into something quite different later on. He talks about three phases of the self-awareness of the Catholic Church. That needs a little bit of opening up. First the kingdom, then the body of Christ, and then the new people of God, and then finally the sacraments. So he's really talking about four phases, the last one following Vatican II.


Now, what he means by the first phase, the preliminary and earthly form of the kingdom, I think would be like tridentine Catholicism, okay? That is, the Counter-Reformation Church, which emphasized the fullness of all truth and salvation in the Church. So it was a Church which had to kind of draw up its defenses and so on, and consider itself as fulfillment, as fullness, and therefore as, practically speaking, the Kingdom of God on Earth. Now, the notion of kingdom there would be kind of vertical, kind of institutional, and therefore emphasizing authority, okay? So the ring of kingdom, the King, would have quite a strong resonance there. Whereas that's not necessarily true in the New Testament. If you read the Gospels of Jesus talking about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom is something not so vertically construed usually, even though there's usually an authority figure in the


parable of some kind. The second phase, the Body of Christ, it seems to me, is just before, like the 40 years before Vatican II, maybe Cyprian can say more about this, when they were developing, in a couple of papal encyclicals, because a lot of doctrine came out of those papal encyclicals, they were developing the notion of the Church as the Body of Christ, rather than, it's a little bit of a move over from institution towards something else. Thanks. Good, thanks. You just started talking about this bit in parenthesis, which, the introduction here, which has a lot of history compressed in it. The second paragraph there, where he talks about two phases of self-image of the Church. When he says the earthly form of the Kingdom, I think he's talking about the Tridentine Church there, the institutional model of Church, where it's really the plenitude of truth and of salvation in a Church, more or less.


Realized or fulfilled Kingdom, more or less. The Body of Christ, what was it, Mystici Corporis, the encyclical, was it Pius XII? Sounds right, yeah. Yeah, that was in the 40s or 50s, where that notion of the Church starts moving over from the institutional, going back into the patristic tradition and Pauline writings, and starting to transform itself, also in the light of the Eucharist, I think. It's amazing how far we could get away from that vision in the time of post-Reformation Catholicism, when the institutional accent was so strong. And then, with Vatican II, I don't know that it's much before Vatican II. It appeared to me, at that time, that the idea of the people of God, that is new in our tradition. Now, the people of God, there's a change in the center of gravity, okay? If you think about the Church as institution, its center of gravity is very high. It's in the authority, it's in the magisterium, it's in the pope and the bishops, but largely


right at the top. It's a pyramid, it's a monarchy. With the center of gravity at the top, it seems to me, if you talk about it as the people of God, the center of gravity suddenly drops way down, doesn't it? It's right in the center of the people. It's striking that before, like Vatican II, normally when you said Church, you thought of institution and authority, and, well, priests too, even, okay? Rather than your being the Church. In other words, the Church was something that you listened to, something, it's also something you went to in a sense, but you didn't identify yourself with the Church that much. You're a member of the Church, but not thinking of yourself as Church so much. But with Vatican II and this idea that people of God, it switches over so that we think of ourselves as the Church more. I don't know if I said that properly. It's a dramatic change. But, of course, that's only one model. People of God is only one model. It's by no means the dominant model, I think, since Vatican II.


So, it's very popular among the people. There's a sense of liberation, a sense of taking possession of the Church and of yourself as being part of the Church. You know how so many people can get alienated from the Church and they say, well, I no longer consider myself part of the Church. I no longer consider myself a Catholic or something like that, because they're maybe angry at the institution or angry at the authority of the Church. But that would be inconceivable at another time, because they thought of themselves as the Church, because people knew that they were the Church. You don't just walk out of that. You don't just renounce it. Nor can anybody take it away from you. Nor, in a sense, can you get alienated from it, because it's what you are. The early Christians could hardly think in that way. For them, it would be to abjure Christ or something like that, maybe. But to be the Church was in their blood. That gets into something else that will come up later, the idea of participation, that kind of consciousness. It seems in all this that the movement from institution to body of Christ to people of


God, and then with Vatican II to even just realizing that the Church has only been available to a small percentage of humanity, that it's almost like you have a glass of water and you cut the bottom out and the water is all piled up and then it just spreads out. It's like that. Because it's entirely vertical. The glass of water is entirely vertical in its container. If you punch a hole in it, it tends to spread out. And of course what's needed is some kind of organic equilibrium between those two dimensions. Also so that it can pulsate, live and breathe between the two. So that they arrive at their own kind of adjustment by a living process. What's the significance, and maybe you're just going to get into it, or the difference between the body of Christ and the people of God? How are the phrases used differently? The body of Christ tends to attach you to, first of all, the egoistic emphasis. Secondly, it's a concrete unity, a concrete body in some way, which does it so it can


be a little more abstract. It's a little more of a metaphor. But when you talk about the people of God, you're looking at people. And it tends to come right back in the middle of you. And the shared social dimension tends to predominate. See, the body of Christ can still be a little abstract, still a little removed from us. If we talk about the people of God, then that's us. So we kind of take possession of the idea, take possession of the church in that sense. And the body of Christ is still kind of, it seems like it's still kind of objective. That's right. People of God as subject. There actually seems to be other people involved in the relationship. You come back into the act somehow yourself. That is, I identify with that. Whereas my identification with the body of Christ may be a little bit abstract, a little bit secondary or objective in some way. But if you say people of God, that's what I am. It's an I, a first person thing. It's not a first person plural. Because you can see the body of Christ is out there still. That's right. And we tend to do it as an idea.


It's part of the church, the people of God. But the body of Christ is just very much present. It's not out there. You mean of the body of Christ. In the intention, it would seem that people of God, in a sense, to me, is more out there. Yeah, that's interesting. The body of Christ seems much more biblical. Well, they're both biblical. But I think the body of Christ is much more distinctly New Testament. In other words, that's gospel language. Okay, so it's people of God more salvation history sort of idea. Israel. Yeah, yeah. So that's where it comes from. That's interesting. Just like talking about the church as the new Israel. People of God is very close to that. But people of God makes it more personal and social than new Israel, which can also be a bit of an abstraction. So you insist on the people aspect. Yeah, it comes right back down under the ground and right back down among us. Well, for me, the body of Christ seems least biblically in the way it's used.


Yeah, very much so. Well, one of the problems was that the notion of the body of Christ got detached from concrete reality and abstracted it. David Luback has got a book called, what is it, Corpus Mysticum, in which he goes into that idea of the mystical body and shows how it got transformed in history. I don't think it was translated into English. It's only in French. But first, see, the Eucharistic body and the community were thought of as the same thing. And so the mystical body was thought of in a very concrete way, just like the bread and wine and just like your community, okay, like the people of God. Then gradually the idea of mystical body gets abstracted until it's only a kind of thin abstraction, maybe a hundred years ago or something like that. Then it begins to recover its biblical concrete. Still people of God seems to be so much more separate. Here's God and here's the people. Yeah. It's separate where the Christ, the body, is such a beautiful metaphor. No, you're right about that.


It's a real combination. The fact is, though, that you don't have to decide between them, okay, because these are different facets of the same reality. So he speaks about them as successive phases, but they're actually all facets of the one mystery. And there would probably even be criticism of just what you're saying, that people of God is more removed from transcendent and the body of Christ would be a more organic. Yeah. Yeah. I think that would be a criticism. It's all organic too. Yeah. And it origins through a particular theologian or a particular… You mean the idea of people of God? Yeah. Springs. I don't know who proposed it. It's all over the place. It came out of the biblical theologians, I'm quite sure. It must have. I think it would be Eve Conger again. Okay. This is a big Paul Ford, this is Paul Ford's big class in ecclesiology, Eve Conger. So, see before, I was looking for that book, Models of the Church by Avery Dulles in the library. Somebody's got it out. I'll try to come down.


See, that for me was a kind of groundbreaking book because he says, well before Vatican II basically we had one model of the church which was the institutional model. Now he says we have at least five. One is institution, second is mystery of communion, the third one was sacrament, the fourth one was herald of salvation, as I remember, or God's word, and the fifth one was servant. Okay. But you could extend that list. You can keep extending it. He wrote another book in which he listed, let me see, basically, that's where this came from. It looks like it came from Dulles' second book. These, the body of Christ, the people, God, and sacrament. Okay. All of these coming out of Vatican II. Not exactly. The body of Christ was emerging in the encyclicals before Vatican II. Augustine, it looks like you have it. Finally we get to the one of sacrament which is kind of mysterious, kind of hard to understand. In an elementary way it's easy enough.


What's hard to understand is how it works. And it's in the context of the church not just being for the people that are inside it, but also having a general significance and effect for all of humanity. So even for those who don't believe in Christ, never heard of Christ, the presence of the church has a sacramental effect in the world, in their life. And you ask, well, how can that be true? How can that work? I'm not sure whether, but I think actually the sacrament model for the church came more from, more for the people inside the church than it did outside, and then it was developed on the outside too, particularly by somebody like Rahner. Do you know Supreme? Remember that book by Schiller, Christ, the Sacrament, and the Encounter with God? I think maybe that was behind the sort of powerful emergence of this model. And that's very, it's a pretty old book. Oh yeah, 60s.


Early theology. Yeah, 60s anyway. But this may have come from him actually. But the whole explosion of using the word sacrament outside of the seven sacraments anyway. So the order is that Christ is a sacrament of God, then the church is, in the body of Christ, is also the sacrament of Christ and of God, the sacrament of salvation itself. I like that. I always thought fellowship should be, between saints, should be a sacrament. So now you can't put it into canon law or whatever, but there's such a powerful, I mean it's all over the Gospels, Epistles, is how God's love becomes manifest to different people. That's right. Interject action. With the people of God. With the body of Christ, in the flesh, here and now. And that takes you into the mystery. And that's sacrament. Yep. I think the sacrament thing I think is going to come up here so we can go into it more


than that. If we look at these historical phases, then we'll probably enter into each of them pretty much. There's a small point too, is that how you organize your time in the church, when people come into the church, it's very interesting how contrasted it is between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church. They put a high emphasis and realization of the mystery of Christ present in the body. And therefore they'll give a lot of time to interaction in small groups. You mean the Protestant Church? Yeah. Yeah. In small groups and so forth. In contrast to the Catholic Church, you go in as a big group, you know, the Mass is said, I'm not criticizing the Mass or anything, but there's little room for that sacred talk over a scripture or something like that. There's little room for that. And I think it needs to be learned. And we're sort of doing it in Colossio, and they sort of do it in specialized adult education things, but it's rare and it needs to grow. Yeah, that's the thing. I've got to paraphrase. That's the thing that's been growing only since Vatican II is Catholics learning how to do


just that. Yeah. Even this Renew program, which maybe now they do in parishes, I mean so many pastors get real jittery about it, but it's that kind of thing, and people accuse it of being too Protestant. You know, Catholicism emphasizes the mystery in the sense of that which is hidden, you know, that which is... Even the Latin language, imagine having all the liturgy in the Latin language. The people were praying, but they were praying with a prayer which was not informed by the content of the liturgy language. So it goes along with the recovery of the word, the recovery of Scripture in the Catholic Church, direct reading of the Scripture. Okay. Let me see. I'm going to use these questions because I find the chapter is so dense, but you're welcome to bring up all kinds of other points. I wasn't mean to say the Church is a mystery. I've got some references in it, by the way. It's more than the sum total of the individuals.


Well... There's something else there. Yeah. You can't fully... All of that. There's something hidden about it. It's kind of like trying to describe God with names, you know, it could go so far. There's that other part, the unknown. Rahner defines God as sacred mystery or holy mystery. So you can say that somehow the Church is a manifestation of that holy mystery, which is God. I'm not being rigorous. He asks how many mysteries are there. He ends up with ultimately there's only one mystery, and it's God. Absolute mystery. And then there are the mysteries of, what he says, incarnation and grace. So there's a Trinitarian structure in his idea of mysteries. And then we talk about the mystery of Christ, which is a Pauline expression. And there I refer you to... There's a little section of Bagheggini on there. This is Bagheggini's monumental time.


Theological dimensions, I believe. And in the beginning he talks about the notion of mystery, mystery of Christ, Paschal mystery, and so on. Quite a useful discussion. But what you'll find very useful in the back is an index, which is actually a kind of a summary of the book. So if you look up mystery... It's bigger than the Bible. It is. It's bigger than the Bible. It's more authoritative. It's not as big as the Summa, though. If you look up in this index, look up mystery, you'll get Mysterion first, which is the Greek word. He's coming from there. Then you get Mysterium, which is the Latin word. You get a long paragraph on each one, sort of summarizing his assertions about it and then referring it to the various sections. But there's a brief section in the beginning, near the beginning, on mystery. What is it? About pages 13 to 18.


Okay. And he practically equates the mystery of Christ with sacred history, with the mystery of the Church, and with the Paschal mystery. He says he's going to use all of those terms practically indistinguishably in talking about the liturgy. But they have different shades of meaning, obviously. Say, mystery of Christ is not quite the same thing as, say, sacred history, which winds up and is somehow all compressed, concentrated into the mystery of Christ. And the Paschal mystery usually means precisely the death and resurrection of Jesus, doesn't it? Whereas the mystery of Christ is the whole thing. It's somehow everything as centered in Christ, and especially the way it works out and is expressed in the New Testament. But it's Paul's language, the language of a lot of the Ephesians and Colossians. Then there's a book by Bouyer called The Christian Mystery. Somebody's got it out right now. It's an old book, and there's one of his useful polemics there,


fighting against the idea that the Christian mystery is derived from the pagan mysteries. But it's a useful book when it gets down to talking about the Christian mystery. The only appearance of the word mystery in the Synoptics is in the early Mark, in between the parable of the sower and the explanation of the sower. And there, it's almost like the pagan use of the word mystery, where it's the rites and rituals where you're initiated into a mystery. And it's only those in the know who have the parable of the sower. To you, it is given to know the mystery. The mystery of the king. And Paul has all sorts of different applications. Yeah. If you look in a biblical... One good one is that Dictionary of Biblical Theology by Xavier Leon Dufour. If you look in one of those, you're likely to... Is that the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament? Yeah, that's the problem. Yeah, that would be the most massive... That's Kittelberg, I think. That would be the most massive treatment you'll find.


Yeah. Under the Greek words of the Mysterion. Can you give a thumbnail of the New Testament, like Paul understanding the Mysterion? I can't quite grab it. Okay. Ephesians 10, I thought you had given us to understand the mystery. The way Paul understands it, as I understand it, is the mystery is the whole plan of human salvation as centered in Christ, therefore as, how would you call it, almost like the field of action of Christ, or the field of effectiveness of Christ. Because remember that all salvation for him is in Christ. It's a unitive inclusion in the body of Christ. That's the only way to get to salvation. It's the only way to get to God, ultimately. So the mystery for him, the mystery of Christ, is the whole history of salvation drawn into Christ, in that union with Christ, but particularly expressed, and this is surprising,


in the movement from the Jews to the Gentiles. Because he's often writing to the Gentiles. And what he'll say is, to me it is given to reveal to everybody the mystery of God or the mystery of Christ, which is salvation given to the Gentiles. As if the whole mystery were just the movement of salvation from Jews to Gentiles. But really, that's not the whole mystery. That's the explosion of the mystery out of its container into the whole world. And he's the apostle of that. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. If we think of the word over here,


and if Paul is over from the Jews to the Gentiles, he tends to speak of the mystery as if it were this movement, this explosion of salvation from just the people of the word, just the Jews to the Gentiles, who represent all the peoples of the earth. But actually it's the whole thing. In other words, it's all of the dimensions. And he'll express it that way in Ephesians and Colossians, where he says that Jesus on the cross joins God and creation, God and humanity, everything in heaven and on earth is joined in him. But he's thinking of the joining largely of Jews and Gentiles, because he's in the middle of that. It's like Paul is stretched on that same cross between the Jews and the Gentiles, fighting the Judaizers and so on. And God, meanwhile, is joining everything. God joining himself to all of creation, but this expressed in a dynamic historical movement of salvation from the words of the Jews to the Gentiles, as it were the direction of the Holy Spirit. So it's curious, and it sounds kind of, what would you call it, uninteresting when he expresses it just that way.


But what he's really talking about is the whole thing. His concept of everything in Christ somehow, everything eventuating in Christ. He's pleased to offer in Christ, to bring all things into one. Like in those first 13 verses of Ephesians or something like that, in Christ, in him, in him, in him. And actually the whole thing is summed up in those two words. But he is caught in that historical breakout, and that's his job, that's his charism, and so that's the way he tends to describe it. There's a couple of verses from Ephesians, talking about God the Father. He has let us know the mystery of his purpose, according to his good pleasure, which he determined beforehand in Christ, for him to act upon when the times had run their course, that he would bring everything together under Christ as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Sometimes he uses the language of head, and sometimes he uses the language of fullness or body,


everything in him. Also that word, that's the famous, that's Ephesians 1.10, isn't it? The famous one, anakephalaiosai, anakephalaiosai is the Greek word, to recapitulate everything in Christ. And it may have more than one meaning, so I don't think it would be just reunite everything under him, it's also implicitly in him. It's like a recapitulation, that's Irenaeus' term, remember recapitulation? That's what that is, he gets it from there. That's the idea, not so much of the vertical headship, but everything in him, everything drawn together in him, summed up. I don't know, what would we say? And even more in Colossians' canonical, through him all things are made, he holds all creation together in himself, he's the image of the unseen. The headship is there, but it's only one of the images, and the one that remains with me is him at the center, but also encompassing everything. He's the center which draws everything around itself, but he's also the body which encompasses everything within itself. Here's an interesting note in the New Jerusalem Bible commentary.


The main theme of this letter is how the whole body of creation, having been cut off from the creator by sin, is decomposing, and how its rebirth is affected by Christ's reuniting all its parts into an organism within himself as the head, so as to reattach it to God. The human, Jew and Gentile, and the angelic worlds are united in the same salvation. So that diagram is Jew and Gentile on the horizontal, and creation in the angelic, godly realm brought together. Yeah, yeah. Now, one image is Jesus as head, the other image is Jesus as center, especially on the cross, and that image is in Paul's mind, okay? At least in Ephesians and Colossians, that image is there and keeps coming out. The figure, the geometry itself of Paul's mind. So the head thing, I think, is only part... Also, when we say recapitulate, we don't have the idea of a head when we say recapitulate. It may have been the same for him in the Greek language. Although he does certainly use the word head again and again.


Obviously, moving between those two, the vertical idea and the central idea, I find the central thing much more powerful. Even to speak of Christ as the heart of all reality, rather than the head as if above it. Rather somehow within it, and the center of it, and drawing it together into himself, than simply seated above it. It's like the movement from that institutional frame of mind to the more organic perspective. Also, you can think of head and body as almost like center and body, almost like nucleus and totality, in a sense. But Paul is using the language that was available at the time. And not in intellectual terms, but in almost terms of the nerve system that unites the body, it's almost like the principle of organization, the principle of bringing it all together. It's like the nucleus in the atom, or the nucleus in the cell, or something like that. And the number of times he uses that in-language, I noticed there's a new book on the theology of Paul.


He says, I forget how many times, in Christ and in him. It's maybe a hundred times, something like that. It's by Donne, I think. Donne, yeah. Theology of the Apostle Paul. Especially in Ephesians and Colossians, which are called, what are they called? Deutero-Paul, I know, because they say that he probably didn't actually write them himself, but done by the disciples. Okay. So that notion of mystery, I would urge you to mark it in your mind and to return to it. It's very important also for a sapiential Christian view, for a monastic Christian view. Interesting. One other thing I can't resist. Interesting. In the prologue of Ephesians, he talks about Christ's head.


In the latter part of chapter one, May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit, so he's talking about glory and spirit, of wisdom and perception of what is revealed to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind, but really it's heart. So he switches from the head to the heart there. May he enlighten the eyes of your heart so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, how rich is the glory of the heritage he offers. So he's switching there to a lot of wisdom figures and a lot of glory, and then he goes from the head to the heart. He does something like that at the end of chapter three. Remember that famous kind of, almost a canticle, right? From 3.14 to 19. So, that Christ may dwell in your hearts, you being rooted and grounded in love, may have the power to comprehend. And then those four dimensions, you know. You get the idea of a center and a fullness.


Even though the four dimensions don't quite work. Breadth and length and height and depth. You can't draw those in two dimensions. You can do that textually. The whole idea is emphatically again and again towards a center and then the fullness which that center brings together. And he uses, I think it's plural, I didn't check in chapter three, but he says that you may be filled with the utter fullness of God. And then at the end of chapter one, he uses variations of the word plural twice. He says the head of Christ, but of all things under his feet, above all things, the head of the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who is filled all in all. So, there's just this language of total fullness emanation. Which is completely sapiential language. It's very hard to reduce that into systematic theology in some way.


You can't do it. In fact, when you get back to this point, as in Bagagini's book, I think, it's like you're going back close to the Big Bang. It's like you get into quantum mechanics, where the ordinary Newtonian system doesn't work. You have to switch to another kind of language, which is really unitive language. Where things are kind of fusing into one another, and you realize that your language is always a little outside of the mystery. And all you can do is look at it. And it's going to keep sending out sparks of light. But you can't... What we're always trying to do is translate things into other terms. I notice there's that wrestling match with the word sacrament. To talk about baptism and Eucharist and then the other sacraments as sacrament, and then define sacrament carefully. We're trying to almost pull it out of its own seat. And translate it into another thing, which will be a system for us. Which will work. We've got a machine alongside the organism. We're making a systematic machine, which doesn't quite work. Because you always have to go back


into the fullness that's in the original reality. Rather than abstracting it. Useful and necessary as it is, the idea of sacrament. But it's already an abstraction. I want to remove from the mysteries themselves. Also, we speak of Scripture as a sacrament. In the church of the language. Church as sacrament. But this is why I think the skill of that just the title of that book brings us back to the core of it. Christ as the sacrament of the incarnate. That's right. And that sacrament thing all comes from incarnation, doesn't it? I mean for a Christian. It's based on, first of all, creation. And then incarnation, in which salvation comes into sensible matter. Comes into what we are physically. So it's extremely... Languagini is so much, what would you call it, his genius is so much directed in that direction. Like that book you were recording, The Flesh, the Instrument of... Caro, caro salutis. Remember that?


Flesh, the hinge of salvation. So, sacrament means earth, world, body, matter. That's the emphasis there. And see, the coming back of the word sacrament by Vatican II represents what would you call it, a re-covery, beginning of a recovery of that dimension. We've gotten so vertical and so far away from that before. And I'm thinking about the supernatural. So that's another change in the center of gravity, but it's parallel to the first one. We talked about the movement from the vertical, like, institutional model to the people of God. The parallel one is from that institutional model and supernatural society, let's say, of the Church, to sacramentality, which is physical, which has got to be bodily, okay? Because I'd like the Eucharist too. But to the incarnational principles, so the arrow is heading downwards. Yes, I think it's hard for the Western mind to think of people as mysteries


because we have so much scientific analysis of the body and all of the emotions. We've got all kinds of scientific tools and professionals. And so the horizontal dimension, we can stretch a little bit and say, yeah, we don't fully understand the cosmos. Well, maybe God's like that, and we can't fully understand God, okay. But to put it in this direction, that's really hard for us. To see every encounter as somehow a mystery of Christ, that's really hard for us. It takes a lot of energy because it goes against the grain of our Western... It demands hope, apparently. It demands an intellectual conversion, in a way, and a kind of submission to simplicity. Kind of becoming a child, in a way. The mind has to become a child, in a way. Be willing to accept things as one. And it's continually moving beyond this. It's like you're reminded of it, but then it usually slips up, slips back into your consciousness. You've got to kind of force yourself back into it. Somehow Christ is very mysteriously present


in any given encounter. That's just really hard. I remember a notion that was very important for me is the notion of participation. Because, see, primitive consciousness is just naturally, instinctively participating. You think of yourself as a member of a tribe, and so on. It was Owen Barfield that opened this up for me. He says Israel, the purpose of Israel, what would he call it, was to abolish participation, the first participation, like in pagan rituals and so on, where you had a kind of nature mystique, natural mysticism, where you felt yourself as one with everything. So Israel comes in like a sword, like a blade, and just cuts that all off. It's like a circumcision, in a sense. So you're in this sacred environment which is separated from nature, only consecrated nature can enter into it. And it's a very human thing, the anointed people of God. And then Christianity readmits participation in a way,


in a universal way, and it does it sacramentally also, and in other ways, the incarnation. But that whole notion of participative mind and non-participative mind. See, the Greek mind begins to be non-participative, because it's analytical, objective, dualistic, and so on. When you talk about Asia, you're talking about a mind which is not only participative, but unitive and so on, seeing all reality as one. But now we're recovering participative consciousness in the West and in the Church. So a lot of this is moving out of the analytical consciousness, which couldn't understand the unity of all things, and couldn't understand our participating in something. It had to be an object in some way. True with the Church. The institution was an object, and an object outside us and above us was. We have a sense of belonging, but still not the sense of participation that's in primitive Christianity.


So it's like Barfield talked about an original participation, and then it's elimination until you go through this kind of needle's eye of the Jewish tradition, and then the Christian tradition. And then, what he calls a final participation, which starts with Christ, and then enlarges like another comb, enlarging at the other side of this needle's eye. And the final participation is in Christ, in that sense, in Pauline terms. It's a very interesting idea. But our consciousness goes along with it. See, we go through a needle's eye of consciousness. Not so much at the time of the New Testament, but later in the Enlightenment and so on. And then it begins to enlarge again into participation. What is the meaning of divine adoption? Paul uses that word, doesn't he? It's very much like human adoption, isn't it? He talks about Christ reaching out


and joining us to himself. That's just from this book. Yeah, yeah. Well, I think Paul's idea is that God adopted us as his children, simply, okay? And it's a little imperfect, isn't it? Because it doesn't express the unity with God that you have in being a child of God. To be an adopted child. Sounds like it's not quite real. I used to have trouble with that term myself. To me, what Paul is trying to convey is that we're brought into the same relationship that Jesus has with the Father. That's right, that's right. But somehow engrafted on the divine, and not kind of bastard stepchildren, and not quite comfortable. Well, he's talking to Gentiles and he enjoys putting his foot on them. But somehow, the reality is we get to share that same relationship


because the same spirit is poured into us. Exactly. So it's not really a secondary move. The whole core of the thing is that it's unitive. The whole essence of the thing, somehow, is that there isn't that distinction in levels. We have the mind of Christ, he'll say at another point. So sometimes he'll use that kind of restrained language. Other times he'll just go all the way with the unitive expression. Maybe he's even being careful to show that it's God's initiative that's doing it. That's why the notion of adoption. It's God doing it, we're not making ourselves divine. It's God's primacy of this act, which is what Paul is about. And it's interesting, John doesn't use that language of adoption. He says, he gives us power to become children of God if we... But to those who did accept him, Jesus, he gave power, God, he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name. And then all these separations


were not from human stock, or human desires, but from God himself. Yeah, and the implication in John is that it's completely unitive. The identity of Jesus somehow becomes ours. I think it's implicit in Paul too, but John really steers you towards the course of his gospel. Just that idea of adoption, also maybe that's important for Paul because exactly he's speaking to the initiation of God. Now it's a movement from Jewish to Gentile. The strangeness of this message calls for adoption. Just think about Jeremiah and the prophets, what you said about that non-participative thing, never thought about that before, but the way that they're all... It's almost like the Israelites


stand out among all their neighboring religions because they intentionally do stand out, they see themselves as separate. And they're cutting off from everything. Jeremiah was on those incredible tirades against the people under the trees who were doing the fertility rites, and it's almost... It's interesting, we keep using that image of the blade, and circumcision, the metaphor of circumcision is almost exactly what happens to Israel. They're cutting around so that they're separated. Separated from everything around them. It's strange. But it seemed like that had to happen so that then going through the needle's eye and being collected into the tight jar, that had to happen so that the message of the universal invitation to divine sonship could be heard by all people so that the jar did have to crack,


because somehow this message couldn't have been delivered just to all people at once, it almost had to happen in a way that involved different cultures, especially bringing this tight one into a certain development and then blowing it out. It's like God needed a people to do what he wanted. He needed a model people in some way for his pilot plan operation. But then the container on that model people, obviously had to go at some point, and that's what happens. They had to be separated out and given all these things which distinguished themselves from the pagans, and their identity was formed in that way. And then for that to be broken. And the word adoption, Paul loves to say you were way out there, you were without God in this world, you were all dirty sinners, Gentiles, okay. So the word adoption goes with that. As if only the Jews hadn't got it before. Sometimes he talks


in the other way too, like in Romans where he says anybody who lives according to God has the law of God written in their hearts. Whether they're pagans or not. And before hearing about Christ too. Where in the New Testament can we find the fullest expression of the mystery of salvation? Yeah, that's where I remember we had Bagagini for dogmatic theology as they called it in those days. But before he disappeared into the council. And so it was a course on grace. Dei gratia, okay. What he did was just use Ephesians 1. His class was a commentary on Ephesians chapter 1. Basically there's 13 verses I think telling about grace. That's in Latin? It was in Latin in those days. Okay, we talked about the notion of the mystery of Christ. My reference for that was


Bagagini himself. The Christian mystery. The dictionary of biblical theology cutting through the container of the theological system and opening it to those vast skies you might say of mystery of the unknown. He does it by calling God holy mystery. And then talking about God is the holy mystery which is present to you all the time. So you get some kind of spirituality out of that. That's something of a revolution. Because we had a theology which is very largely contained in inward looking. And a consciousness also which was contained systematic, analytical, rational, conceptual, and so on. And then people start breaking down those walls. Rahner being one of the better demolition people. Also, there are those twin things in Sacramento Mundi which is by Rahner and company. It's a theological encyclopedia. And the one volume edition which is the Encyclopedia of Theology.


The articles, you can find articles on mystery and sacrament. Often by Rahner himself for those key terms. What's proposed by Ephesians is the ultimate reason for the mystery of Christ. It may not be an idea that appeals to us right away. Praise and glory of God. Yeah, isn't that interesting? It's interesting. That's the ultimate reason. Laudam gloriae Dei or something like that. That's coming from Ephesians, that final verse. It sort of rounds it off. But you know, that's something more than God's own glory. I think you could call it it's almost like the third dimension, the dimension of the spirit as consummation.


Which means that the glory is you also as it were, aflame with divinity like the burning bush. It sounds, once again it sounds too vertical, as if God was going to suck all the being out of creation and just ornament himself with it or something like that. It's not what it's about. But Irenaeus says that glory of God is a man fully alive. I think that's what Paul's got in mind. Interesting. The very first psalm ends in the individual fighting against everything that's fighting against him to try to persevere according to the Torah. And then it consummates in a gathering of other people with him. All these people gathered in the assembly


probably praising God. And that's also the way the whole psalter ends. The whole psalter with its roller coaster ride. And then the whole end of it is just sheer praise. The last five psalms. And that praise is hard for us to understand. I think because we don't have it's not an objective thing exactly. It's like not just a medium or an energy field. It's a world. Praise is a world. It's a mode of being. It's like a final state of being equivalent to glory. And you can have images like a sea or like a flame or something like that. But it's just the way things are when they arrive at their consummation. Which can be equated also with the Holy Spirit. Some way. That word glory is very important in the New Testament. It's worth following it up like in Paul and also in John. Because there's a real substantiality.


There's a real solidity to it. It has a very very solid meaning. What's the relationship between the church and the Christ mystery? Well, that's sort of asking what the book says about present realization of the mystery. He's obviously talking about the church on earth, isn't he? Because you can have another notion of the church in which the church is that whole mystery itself, can't you? Not only the present realization of the mystery in this world, but the whole mystery has the church in some way. I think Paul will talk about the church in that way. What do you understand by the term sacrament? Now, he's got a definition there which is Morgan Ovid. It sounds like


it was influenced by Scolabes. Towards the bottom of page 19. Sacraments is external signs by which God encounters man, and man encounters God. Notice that word encounter. The key word for me for sacrament is that the sign is an effective sign. It has impact. It has power in it. It's not just a symbol. That's right. It impacts you. I think that's more or less the classical definition of catharsis. It's a sign, an instrument of divine reality or grace. It's an instrument that while it has some real substance of the encounter in it, which means it has divinity in it. But exactly because it's made impact on human lives, that divinity


might not be entirely recognizable so that it begs for an act of faith to believe that something has happened, something has changed substantially in the order of things because of this encounter. So it's a manifestation, a sign but not a sign which brings the reality all the way into palpable. It's a visible sign somewhere, doesn't it? There's got to be something visible about it. There's got to be concrete physical in some aspect. And yet it doesn't bring the reality totally out into the open so that faith is not needed in order to make contact with it. That language of sign and instrument is beginning to take on a coldness, isn't it? It's beginning to lose something of the original reality that we're talking about. If you think about the Eucharist, you think about baptism. It's beginning to lose, what would you call it, the fullness, the roundness, the depth, the sense of Purima of the sacrament, which is inevitable when we try to talk about the analytical language. We just have to realize that we're moving out


of the immediate field of the reality into the world of language, of an analytical language which is constructing a system, especially when you talk about seven sacraments using the same language for all seven. Yes. It's interesting, he really stresses the notion of encounter. Yes. And avoids that kind of the mystic language completely. It has to be some kind of a definite, some kind of decisive, definite point. Concrete. And that brings it into the physical version. That concreteness implies physicality, bodily character. Now he's personalizing it, isn't it? Because sign and instrument is pretty impersonal. And what Augustine said is important, it contains the reality. So when you say encounter, there's an immediacy there, isn't there? It doesn't say union, but at least there's


an immediacy of the two. So there's presence. Presence and encounter seem like two sides of the same reality. And that something is signified and something is communicated or achieved. Nowadays we'd say communication more than just effect, efficaciousness or instrument, that's called language too. That's dualistic language, it's somewhat mechanical sounding language. Instrument, or efficacity, isn't it? If we speak of communication of God's love, especially to inventors in Eucharist, it's not quite so true in the other sacraments. Encounter is like more of a two-way experience than just a simple presence. That's right. It seems like more of a two-way thing going on. That's right. And if you speak of encounter, communication is natural. Although we tend to think of the communication of the sacraments as being one-way, that is God communicating. Self-communication of God,


you might say. That's right. It's more like this. So notice he's not trying to give you ten words that will be a perfect definition of sacrament. He's kind of moving around there. First he talks about encounter, then he talks about the definite point, the concrete point, which is a physical point. It's essential to the sacrament to have this physical aspect. You could say, well, what's the physical aspect of the whole confession or sacrament of reconciliation? There's a physical transaction between the priest and the penitent. I think probably the words. Because the laying of the hands on the head is not necessary. What's the language


you're trying to articulate? It's the res at sacramentum. Yeah, that's the Thomistic, three-level thing. The res at sacramentum. The sacramentum is the external, isn't it? The res is the interior, ultimate interior mystery that's communicated, or grace communicated. The sacramentum, on the other hand, is the external sign. It could be the bread and wine, for instance, in the Eucharist. And in between those two is something else. The res at sacramentum. The res at sacramentum. Which, as I remember, for the Eucharist is the body of Christ. Yeah. It's very subtle. I never can remember all seven, so... No, I can't remember what it is for the other sacraments. The res at sacramentum. There's the thing, and then there's the sign. And then there's the thing and the sign together. That's Thomas' language, but it's very subtle. The third one is always very subtle. The res at sacramentum. And the thing is


the essence, okay? That's the interior substance of the sacrament. The res. What does res translate as? The thing, or stuff. Yeah, yeah. It's the thing itself. Okay. Christ is preeminently the sacrament of God because in his single personality there resides the fullness of God and the completeness of man. Well, I would have liked it if he could have accented incarnation a little more, because I always tend to think of sacramentality in terms of physicality, in terms of, say, an extension of the incarnation, of the movement of the divine into the material body, the word became flesh. A unique point where the divine initiative and human responsiveness perfectly meet. That's a great point. Yeah.


In fact, they're kind of, it's moving in both directions, definitely, at that point. He's manifesting God, communicating God, and at the same time he's responding to God. Christ is the sacrament of God, and the Church is the sacrament of the suffering, dying, and risen Christ. You can almost hear Vaggini there with his four dimensions of the sacrament. Vaggini says, I guess he says that about the whole liturgy, about the sacraments in particular. He goes through all seven of them. There are always four dimensions. There's the declarative, demonstrative. That's the present


reality. There's a past, present, future. And a moral. Obligatory. So there's commemorative of the past. Jesus' death and resurrection. The future is the eschatological hand that's had on the Jerusalem. The moral, obligating dimension. And then there's the what he calls the demonstrative, which is the present grace which is manifested. You can say, in a sense, it's the most important. The present grace which is manifested communicated in the sacraments. I'm not going to make a monologue. Mostly because I tried it. It didn't work this morning. I remember it. I remember it worked before. It wouldn't work for me. I'm not even going to bring it up. I like it. The past, the future, and the present. The past and the future work perfectly. But remember that. The future is the absolute future. It's not future history. It's the consummation.


I always have to say the past, the moral. It doesn't work. I'm glad it doesn't work. I mean, something's real. Then he quotes Vatican II on the sign, on the sacrament thing. There are two places in Vatican II. One is Lomagentium No. 1. That's the chief one. And that's where he gets this expression in the central paragraph. The other one is in Lomagentium No. 48. There's about time for us to quit. Church is a kind of sacrament or sign of intimate union with God and the unity of all mankind. And instrument. So it's sign and instrument. But it's interesting that the definition of sacrament goes beyond the traditional. This is the unity of all mankind. Unity of all humanity. So that's become more than the usual ecclesial use of the word sacrament.


It sounds very much like Paul's idea of the Christ mystery there in Ephesians and Colossians. This is where you get to that difficult question of, well, how does the sacrament work for those who don't know anything about Christ? For those who don't believe. You said nothing about the Christ mystery. Look, there a sign and instrument for unity and union. Well, it's almost it may have played too much with the words, but it's almost it's almost in that state, it's almost downplaying the process. Because if the sacraments are a sign and instrument of unity and union, this unity and union is what it's all about and more important.


And it's almost like the sacraments are done for something beyond themselves. Which would be exactly the opposite of what the hierarchical church was really doing with the sacraments. Although maybe there were good things that were there too. It's almost like they're downplaying the importance of the sacraments themselves and almost that they're re-performance into the mystery of Christ. It's almost like it's just almost inviting you into the future, inviting you into a jump or something like that. Into the mystery. Well, it's true that there won't be any sacraments in heaven, isn't it? Even though somehow the reality of the sacrament like the body of Christ will be there and that's what will be known immediately without the mediation of sacraments. That's right. And yet it has to be physical, doesn't it? In other words, it has to be incarnational,


therefore it has to be sacramental in the sense of physicality and bodilyness in the next life. That's part of the contract from Christianity. But you know, I think what this is is a breakout, a deliberate breakout from the more specific notion of sacrament before, which was focused more on the rite itself. So it represents, it's got that movement of a breakout which doesn't extend, doesn't intend to exclude the other or to play it down. It's a moment of movement. Almost a realization, an awakening that it happened and it's expressed in a powerful way. Okay, maybe we'd better quit there and pick up next to you. Thank you. As it was in the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.