July 8th, 1981, Serial No. 00692

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Monastic Spirituality Set 4 of 12

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We're in this chapter of Robert's where he synthesizes the spiritual way, the Benedictine
spiritual way, and it's kind of slow going here, I hope you'll pardon me, but this is
rich material in which forms kind of a doctrinal background for everything else that we talk
about.
So it's kind of important to get it straight.
It's a different approach from when we talk about the vows, because here we're looking
at this kind of ontological, you might say, instead of thinking of what we have to do
directly or immediately.
It's a question of thinking of how we're made, of how things are, and then going from there.
We've done that before, too, but this anthropological approach is especially important to us.
We were talking last time about the difficulty that we don't really have a monastic theology.
There was one at one time, but it disappeared, it sort of disappeared, I mean, it grew kind
of, what do you call it, kind of stiff, and became neglected in favor of another theology,
and it finally sort of disappeared from the scene.
If you read Leclerc's book, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God, you find how there
were, in the Middle Ages, alongside one another, a scholastic theology of which Thomism is
typical, and the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas is probably the best example of the scholastic
theology, and a monastic theology which gradually sort of faded out or disappeared in favor
of, particularly, of Thomism, and St. Thomas was really the peak, and after St. Thomas,
Thomism itself tended to become kind of rigid, to fragment it, but he built up a beautiful
synthesis based on the concept of being, a magnificent synthesis, but it's different
from monastic theology, and as you'll see a little bit in Roberts, it's really a question
of two ways of looking at reality.
Monastic theology had been biblical, but then it had borrowed a certain kind of Greek philosophy
to express itself, which was largely Platonism and Neo-Platonism, which is a very otherworldly
philosophy.
I'd like to refer you to Fourier's book Introduction to Spirituality.
In the bibliography of Roberts here, he refers to a chapter there which is called Christian
Asceticism and Christian Humanism, and it starts on page 143.
There's a very good little history of the doctrine of Christianity on man, the monastic
tradition, the patristic tradition on man, how it evolved, and Fourier is a very incisive
thinker and a great teacher, so he puts things side by side so that you can really pick them
up and compare them.
Maybe he's a little over-clear sometimes, but I don't find any flaws here.
And the part that is particularly important, particularly relevant to what we're talking
about, goes from 144 up to 156 here, and it goes on after that talking about the fall
and the state of fall in nature.
But this is the basic anthropology.
The anthropology of the Bible, which he talks about somewhat, and the various Greek anthropologies,
the one which became preferred by the West, then what happens with St. Thomas Aquinas
and with Palamas in the East.
Those are the two great syntheses of the Middle Ages, and that's the way that it is.
He doesn't talk much about the disappearance of the monastic theology, and he ends up quite
seemingly satisfied with the synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas and that of Palamas, not
lamenting the disappearance of another kind of theology, the disappearance of a symbolic
theology, a kind of gnostic theology, in favor of the more rational scholastic theology,
which is sort of outward looking and horizontal looking.
We compare Aristotle with Plato.
Aristotle tends to look straight out to be the realist, looks at things as they are in
themselves, and hence his view of reality tends to correspond to what we see around
us, tends to correspond to reality in this world, whereas we remember that Plato tends
to see everything in this world as just a shadow of something in another world.
And this is a very crucial question for us nowadays, because it's as if we're on the
verge of a new vision of reality, and it's not Platonic, it's not Aristotelian, it must
in its core, of course, be Biblical.
But what does that mean to us?
And how does it relate to all of the thought that's going on around us, including the new
physics?
Because that's got something to do with the movement of the spirit in our times, even
though it may not seem so.
What kind of a cosmology will fit into our picture today?
Now it won't be a synthesis of a system in the same way that St. Thomas could write a
system.
The attempts to write theology now are more likely to be more sporadic, more disconnected,
a kind of series of insights somehow circling around an unspoken center, an unexpressed center,
leaving mystery in the primary place.
This is Ronan, who puts the core of man, the core of the understanding of God, the core
of theology and mystery, and then he sort of hovers around that basic point of view
continually with his insights, always moving back towards that center.
And that's typical, I think, of a good theology in our time.
But he doesn't attempt to grasp the thing, circumscribe it, and put it out before you
completely in sight.
No.
He's got a respect for history.
And he's able to hover around the central truth and let you try to find it yourself,
because you can't really express it.
A respect for the unexpressible, that's really what he's going for.
And this is in contrast to all the rationalism of our day, of course, which tries to say
it all, to just the wilderness of words that we have in our time, in which often there
is a respect for mystery, but there's no longer a respect for Christian mystery, let's say,
compared to a respect for other mysteries, the mysteries of the East.
So if we give a little time to this, be patient with it, because it will be worthwhile for
you afterwards.
You see, it's a question of really how we look at reality.
It may not seem important.
It may seem that we can plug ahead with good will, with determination, with fervor, with
piety, and reading the scriptures and doing what we do.
But, George, we've got a philosophy whether you know it or not.
We've got a way of looking at reality, which we've inherited from somebody.
And sooner or later, we have to take our way of looking at reality and look at that.
We have to put it out in front of us and say, well, how am I thinking?
We don't realize that our thinking is limited, but we've got a framework to realize that
already is a liberation, to realize that your way of thinking in some way is circumscribed.
Now, this is true on the intellectual level, and it's true on the existential level, but
it's true on the psychological level, okay, because intellectually, to realize that your
thinking is limited and that you do have a philosophy means that you can start moving.
Because until we know our viewpoint, until we know the framework and the limitations
of our way of thinking and of looking at things, we're trapped, because we absolutize where
we are.
That's why the study of history is so important.
But this is true also on the psychological level, because we realize, we come to realize
that our mental world, our emotional world, is not the ultimate world.
This whole business of discovering your false presuppositions, your false ideas, your hangups,
your neurotic problems, and so on, what does that mean?
It means that the way that you've been responding to reality is not the true way, but you've
been seeing and judging and feeling and experiencing reality in a way which is not true.
And therefore, to begin to discover that begins to liberate you from that trap, which psychology
does, of course, by analyzing away the histories of those things, trying to get the place where
they started, those hangups, those problems, those things which have constricted your response
to reality and your viewpoint of reality.
But the Word does it in another way.
The Word does it by bringing in the light somehow, and positively somehow showing you
the truth, which is the simple truth, and meanwhile inviting you to liberate yourself
from your own way of looking at things, and to sort of abandon yourself to that white
light that comes to you in Christ, in the Word, and in Christ himself, and in prayer.
Okay, there's more apologetics for doing this kind of thing.
But once again, it's an argument for returning to fundamental legitimacy.
It's as if we could spend all our time, not contemplating on April's, but contemplating
sort of the basic thing that we're talking about, the mystery that we're talking about,
and picking away the ways that we've fossilized it, the ways that we've allowed it to be in
prison, the constructions that we've put upon it.
And a lot of those constructions, we need them, but they're scaffoldings.
And the people who build them usually realize that.
The people who build the scaffoldings realize, well, this is a scaffolding, you know, this
is meant to help us through the war.
And then other people come along, and they live in the scaffolding, and then they begin
to build around it.
Now, I presume the scaffolding is the building, and everyone's part of it.
That's happened a lot in tradition.
Okay, we were talking about the importance of monastic theology.
The importance of using the mind in order to relate to different things in our life.
I was talking about three different sectors of life.
These are a little different from Robert's three sectors.
The sector of interior experience of prayer, of meditation, call it of the spirit.
Then the sector of external practices of life, of spiritual, of methods, monastic methods,
that kind of thing.
And just the way that you live your life on the external level, also with other people.
And then there's something in between us, too, which is the layer of the mind, or of
the word, or of understanding, of thought, and of theology.
And that one in the middle is supposed to relate the other two, and to keep the channel
open between the other two, and to keep liberating the other two.
So each of them liberates the other, and each of these layers liberates the other.
And if all three aren't functioning, then somehow the person isn't going to function
as well, either.
It's a Trinitarian setup.
Now, of course, what comes to us is the word, the word which frees us interiorly and frees
us externally, and sets us up already.
Now, it's not just a matter of receiving the word, it's a matter of thinking about it.
It's a matter of chewing it, digesting it, and then somehow relating it both to what
we're doing and to what we're experiencing.
It's been said that theology is an attempt to express the truth of revelation, that is,
what comes in the Scripture, in terms of our present experience, our present-day experience.
And that's why you need theologians all the time, is because they have to keep retranslating
what God said in the Bible, what God said in Scripture, what he did in the New Testament,
in terms of our experience of today.
And our experience is continually changing, and that's the reason.
So it can be disturbing that people seem to have to change the terms in which truth is
expressed, but that's not fair enough, because our experience is changing all the time.
The mere fact that you have one experience means that the next one is not going to be
the same, because of the one that's already there.
And so our experience changes all the time, and that's history.
And sometimes we go around in circles, and we repeat the patterns of earlier times, but
nevertheless, it's always the same.
And we tend to reject that which has come just before.
We tend to have contempt, for instance, for the way of experiencing, the way of living,
the way of thinking of a hundred years ago.
But then we'll be back there sometime, on another level in the sky.
Whether it's an upwards spiral or a downwards spiral.
So, in Christianity, we tended to have a loss of contact between these three layers, okay?
Between the inner layer of spiritual experience, talk about it as an inner layer for a while,
between the intermediate layer of thought, theology, and the exterior layer of action,
and of life, and of spiritual practices and exercises.
And what happens?
The middle one tends to harden.
The layer of thought tends to harden, and the external one tends to harden too.
It tends to harden so that the channel is like sclerosis, it's like arterial sclerosis,
so that the channel and the communication is clogged between those various layers,
and the inner one is quenched, the life is quenched.
It's like when the arteries become so choked with sediment that they shut off the blood
and circulate through the heart, and then the life is quenched.
And the external one of practices rigidifies too.
Like the liturgy tends to rigidify, and the way that monks live,
and the things that they do tend to rigidify.
The things that Christians tend to do.
Not that the practices always aren't basically the same.
I mean, fasting and prayer, and those things will always be with us.
But when a particular set of practices, a particular lifestyle rigidifies,
then they're in trouble.
Or when somebody becomes completely enslaved to the way that he's been living,
then they're in trouble.
And that's what tends to happen.
And when there isn't that freedom there,
either on the external level of action or on the intermediate level of thought,
then the life in the core, which is essentially freedom,
which is essentially freedom, is quenched.
And you have a hollow shell, which is what tends to happen with traditions.
No. The prayer doesn't rigidify.
The interior one can't really rigidify.
If it goes askew, something else will do that.
It'll be like that wild enthusiasm that's going to do that.
So that there isn't any thought,
and so that external behavior becomes capricious or something like that.
The two outside ones rigidify.
It's just the circulation of life between the three.
I wasn't talking about where the life goes in and goes out.
There has to be a freedom of circulation between those three layers,
among those three layers.
And it flows somehow through that intermediate layer of thought.
Not entirely, but very often, usually.
If the thought isn't somehow freed up,
and if the person isn't using his mind,
then rigidification happens on the outside,
and the person becomes imprisoned
both by what he's doing and by what he's experiencing.
And what happens to that interior experience?
It tends to turn into sentiment,
tends to turn into piety instead of consecration.
Because somehow the liveness of the truth
is essential to the liveness and the authenticity of our experience.
If the truth becomes hardened for us,
it's no longer the truth, it's something else.
It's our truth, it's not God's truth anymore.
And then the spirit can't really be a light.
And similarly with the external practices.
We get into a kind of a pharisaic rigidity of customs and so on.
The only thing that you can do is the thing that we're doing right now,
the thing that we have been doing many years now.
The spirit just doesn't have breathing space.
The spirit which somehow is essentially freedom.
And that doesn't mean it's freedom to do any old kind of thing,
all kinds of things. No.
It's the freedom of the truth.
It's the freedom of love.
The freedom of the spirit doesn't have both of those things.
For which there is no law, because it doesn't need a law,
because it is a law already.
It's the law of perfection, in a certain sense.
The law of love.
And that makes it worth doing what you want to do.
You can't be careless and so on.
Yeah, at least it keeps it all living, you see.
Because there can be a flow between them.
Because there's the freedom so that if you see that what you're doing
is ridiculous at a certain point,
but doesn't match up with your inner experience,
then it's possible to change it.
That kind of thing.
But also there's that light so that if you realize
that your inner experience is going off the beam,
you can detect it.
But if the mind isn't awake, and if theology isn't there,
so what I'm doing is arguing favorably against the theology.
If there isn't a theology that relates to your experience,
then you can't do that.
Because your experience is going to be split from your way of thinking.
Your experience is going to be split from your theology
if your theology is not alive.
It has to be a theology of experience.
And at the same time, it has to be a theology that relates to what you're doing.
We don't really have that too much.
But theology hasn't done that a lot.
It has to be open.
It's very often what happens is,
as the prayer starts to dry up and decay,
then you need something that's more rigid.
It tends to get more rigid, sure.
Because if your experience isn't motivating you,
if you're not being motivated by the live experience,
what have you got to guide you in what you're doing?
Nothing, except what's turned down.
Or what somebody else says.
And so if you don't have the verification of interior experience,
if you haven't interiorized it in that sense,
if it's not alive inside of you,
then you go by outside of you.
You go by the rules.
I've got the rules.
You have to go along with that interior experience.
Some of us have already learned a lot of theology,
but it turns out that it says that
there's no extra-territorial experience.
If you've got the interior experience,
and you get all these experiences,
and you get told those,
and that's the only way to find out what these guys are.
Yes.
Then you've got an external guide through it.
You tend to look at that being outside of you.
When the interior experience of God dries up and disappears,
then we tend to turn back to that spiritual thing
and think of God as just being an external force.
And what it is, is the loss of a sense of what is real.
So we need a kind of rediscovery of monastic theology today.
I think probably the key is in rediscovery of this whole,
what do you call it, center of gravity of Christianity,
structure of Christianity, which is rooted in the Trinity
and in baptism in the Eucharist.
I've said that often enough.
It's important for us to pass the point where those things are boring us,
the repetition of those things, and really begin to open up for us,
so that every time we hear about them,
there's a kind of light that comes on, and we say,
well, yes, that's where the light has to be sought,
that's where the enrichment is going to happen,
that's the fount where the flow of light and of life is going to come from.
And so it is with the baptism in the Eucharist and the Trinity.
Roberts continually hints towards this Trinitarian view here,
because you'll find that he's continually getting into schemes of three terms.
And it's a mysterious thing, it always eludes you,
but it's a matter of somehow finding,
when we're talking about these three levels of our being,
we're talking about the kind of image of the Trinity, of course,
and to discover actually what that means,
in terms of experience, in terms of theology, in terms of what we do.
And somehow it's between those two sacraments, the whole thing.
And we talk about the sacraments which should immediately relate to our life,
to our experience, to what we're doing, to what we're thinking.
And that's something that hasn't been with us, why?
Because we've got split off into so much of an intellectualized thing,
which has put the body away,
and an individualistic thing, which has put the community away,
the church away, mankind away,
and hence the Eucharist.
The Eucharist somehow has the key to getting all that together.
Monastic theology is certainly rooted in baptism.
Remember those Assyrian studies,
but somehow its key, its enlightenment, its consummation,
is, like the consummation of all Christian life, in the mystery of the Eucharist.
And we have to discover that, whether it's the Eucharist of our hearts,
or whatever, it's got to be the Eucharist.
And there we find a convergence of all things.
Because the tendency, the risk of a monk, of course,
of monastic spirituality is to get pragmatic,
is to get gnostic, to get individualistic,
to get only interior,
and has to get pragmatic to get way out there,
to become a real isolation.
And our theology should guide our experience
of what we do into the convergence.
Because that other thing isn't really tolerable.
You can't really live that with conviction.
And a monk's Eucharist is really largely an interiorized Eucharist,
but we have to discover what that means. Anyway, we'll get back to it.
Theology, remember, in primitive, patristic theology,
theology meant the knowledge of the religion.
This comes from a comment about Alexandria the first time,
and then we find it in origin, and then we find it in evagration, and so on.
It has taken on a whole different meaning in that time.
We've got a split from...
Father Bagagini, when he talks about theology,
talks about three different levels.
You've got patristic theology, where monastic theology
is still one level of theology of the Church pretty much.
In fact, monasticism doesn't have a separate theology,
not very much. Evagration really is the beginning.
Then you have scholastic theology.
Theology is thought of as a science thing.
It's no longer thought of really directly as life,
not as experience, but now it's a science.
And here the split is beginning.
And then in modern times you've got something else.
You've got what he calls a positive theology, which is defensive,
which is polemical, which is trying to prove that you're right
and that the other guy is wrong.
And so you go to Scripture and you find a text
which proves that, I don't know,
proves the authenticity or the papacy or something like that,
which is true.
But if you use the Scripture only that way,
by that time you're completely losing touch
with the definition of Scripture
and you're fighting on the surface of Scripture
instead of peacefully descending into its core.
Is scholastic theology a commonly applied experience?
No, I don't think so.
There was experience in it for a long while.
And St. Thomas Aquinas, I think, had a deep experience of that.
His theology is really very deep.
But after that point, there's a direction
which can easily lead to the hedgehog,
to simple rationalism,
and then finally to a kind of nominalism
which breaks everything down
and then it believes in individual realities.
It's kind of an inevitable historical process, I think,
that had to happen.
A kind of splitting,
which just comes about in many ways in the Church.
St. Thomas has a marvelous synthesis
of inner experience and external observation and reason.
But after him, the tension is no longer conserved
and the thing explodes and flies apart.
And even in St. Thomas,
his theology is not as saturated with experience
as the theology of Bonaventure, for instance.
St. Bonaventure has a whole other style.
He's a scholastic theologian
who, however, is always talking about experience.
He's always talking about spirituality, really.
But St. Thomas goes in the other direction.
St. Bonaventure is a scholastic
who is still at heart a monastic theologian.
Bonaventure.
We have a balancing factor in the West, actually.
The expansion in the West,
which has opened into the world,
and together with the split,
we get an opening into these three dimensions
that Bergaglio talks about
when he talks about the trouble
with medieval spirituality and theology.
The trouble with medieval Christendom.
He says there wasn't enough room for freedom,
there wasn't enough room for creativity,
there wasn't enough room for compassion.
And when he says that, he's really saying something.
Even though we may find all of those three things
in the medieval literature, medieval theology, and so on.
Nobody can say that medieval theology wasn't created.
But at a certain point,
those things, there's a restriction,
there's a wall beyond which they cannot grow.
And then what happens?
You get the Renaissance, you get the Protestant Reformation,
you get a split between the Christian and the secular.
You get this enormous schism
in the middle of Western Christianity,
in which Christianity is over here, the Church is over here,
and the secular is over here.
And in the secular you have unlimited freedom,
you have what looks like unlimited creativity,
you have what looks like a kind of unification of man
outside the ecclesial unity, okay?
All these things.
And somehow there's been a breakdown of sacramentality at that point.
There's been a breakdown, for one thing,
in the translation of the Word of God.
It's been limited to a particular culture,
to the Latin culture, and so on.
But then there's been a breakdown of sacramentality
in that that secular sphere
should be permeated with the divine in some way.
It should have been a Eucharistic sphere.
That is, the world and everything that happens in it
should have a Eucharistic sense to it,
but somehow it couldn't happen, it didn't happen.
And so that's the gap, as it were,
that has to be filled up today,
is that gap of the Word of God,
which has stopped short and not permeated the secular culture,
all of our, you know, science and everything up to date,
and the sacramentality which has stopped short
and not made of the development of man,
the development of the world,
a Eucharistic transformation.
That may sound kind of idealistic,
but I think somehow it's important for us.
Yes?
Eastern Christianity?
Ok, now he's a Russian, of course,
but a Russian exile, and a pretty wild writer.
He's not an approved Orthodox theologian,
he was a philosopher, a religious philosopher
with some very wild ideas.
But a lot of his intuitions are right on,
like this one here.
And the East is barely grappling with those things now,
it hasn't really faced them.
It hasn't really faced them.
It's still, I think, trying to stay within that sacred circle
of a kind of medieval Christianity.
It hasn't really faced that secular snap,
that secular schism,
and then tried to reintegrate the secular.
At least not on a general scale.
I'm talking about the church as priests, as bishops,
as a church in an official sense.
But you've got people like Dostoevsky,
and Dostoevsky is one who in some way
has been able to enter into the heart of secular man,
like in a Buddhist aramasa,
and somehow get the whole thing together.
With a kind of poetic, mystical vision.
But that's one man, that's one genius
who's hundreds of years ahead of his time.
Remember that Russia is on the boundary line
between East and West, right?
So Russia has a Byzantine Christianity,
with the Byzantine monastic tradition,
and all of that mystical theology,
Palamus and everything, of the East.
And then it's got the exposure to the Western culture
and the Western enlightenment and everything, okay?
When Russia opened up, I guess we're on the 18th century,
something like that,
it was just at the point of this explosion
of rationalist enlightenment in the West.
So they're between those two things,
which kept them in a terrific turmoil culturally,
but also bred some very fertile things.
Dostoevsky especially.
I don't know if there are others on that.
Well, Gurdjieff is another example.
A hundred years later.
But you can't find, really,
a theology that's accepted by many people
that integrates those things.
I think Clamato's got it together better than anybody else.
And he, of course, draws from Gurdjieff
and he draws from Dostoevsky.
He puts Dostoevsky as the prophet, really, of our time,
as far as the needs of our spirituality.
And yet, what does he give you?
He gives you sort of scattered insights in his books,
and that's all he knows now.
And it's not that it's all that generally accepted.
But he certainly puts a lot of light on that,
and I think that's the way to go,
together with Gaudaccio more than most other people.
But by and large, the East hasn't confronted it.
I think it's sort of,
well, lots of times it's buried inside in the sand.
Which is not to say that everything they're doing is invalid,
heaven knows, but it hasn't faced that way.
Whereas our church has really been tormented by it.
We've been pushed back sometimes
and then had a moment of courage, like Vatican II,
and really faced it.
Then there's a lot of trouble digesting it.
I mean, since Vatican II,
it's like it's a massive case of indigestion for the church, you know?
Trying to take 500 years of secular culture
and get it all down, you know, and get it all processed.
So it tends to bloat us and to confuse us.
We have gas paint.
A lot of it has to be spit out, probably.
I think we've swallowed a lot of stuff that we don't need.
Let's go on with this.
So, we have to try to see what the lesson is
that we have to learn from the modern West.
And Thomas Merton picked up a lot of it.
I'll just get back to him in a page or two.
But he's got a lot to say to us.
Even though he may not be able to buy his message wholeheartedly,
he didn't get it all together.
He's a proper person.
Now, anthropology is a way to theology.
By studying man, you come to know God.
And conversely, theology is a way to anthropology.
By studying God, you come to know what man's about.
I read an article by this Philip Sherard once,
which was a revolution for me.
It's called The Christian Understanding of Man.
Some of you may have read that article.
Where he says, well, the key to understanding what man is, is Christ.
So the key to understanding what man is, is the resurrection.
So if you start from Plato or Aristotle or anybody else,
short of Christ, short of the Transfiguration, short of the Resurrection,
you're going to get a phony understanding of man.
And especially if you start from something like modern psychology.
You're not going to find out who man is.
Now, who man is, is determined by who he's going to be,
by who he's supposed to be,
not who he has been in the experienced past, in our own experience.
So that's a real revolution.
So we start from revelation in order to understand who we are.
And of course, that's the basic revolution in our thinking.
It's just like when Jesus said, you know,
be converted and believe in the gospel, believe in the good news,
because the kingdom of heaven is here.
Well, that's it.
It's a conversion of mind, a revolution of mind,
by forgetting what we know and learning what God tells us and what he does.
What he tells us in his word, what he does in our history,
also somehow in the psychic sphere of conversion.
So, anthropology is a way to learn about God.
Let's go on with Roberts here.
He says, this page 130 up at the top, where he starts on this,
there is a certain anthropology or vision of man in monastic tradition,
which has led to a common motive expressing the art of spiritual growth.
His vision results from monasticism's interest in the whole man.
But this is kind of relative,
because monasticism and monastic theology
hasn't always kept a hold of the whole man.
You'll find that medieval Cistercian anthropology
turns into a psychology larger.
They're mostly interested in the faculties of the soul.
They've had a real hard time keeping a hold of the body.
They still don't know what to do with it,
as far as Christian anthropology is concerned.
Man is seen as totally dependent on the word of God,
but let's go on with Christ Jesus.
Okay, the word reverberates in different parts of the brain.
But the word somehow is the key to what we are.
And yet, we have to be very careful
that we don't forget that dimension of the spirit.
We're always forgetting, because the word is intelligible.
The word we can chew on.
The word gives us something to put in our hands,
something to put in our minds,
something to deal with.
It gives us a sense of possession and satisfaction.
But the spirit frustrates us,
because all it brings is somehow emptiness and liberty
that we can't get over.
And so we tend to forget it all the time.
But in the end, it's as if we have to think of
this deification that he's going to talk about
as a kind of assumption by the spirit,
as a taking up in the spirit,
and not get everything that we learn about man from the word,
but also learn from the spirit,
which means learning also from experience.
And learning from what God tells us about the spirit
that leaves a dimension of openness, which is very important,
and also a dimension of unity and of dynamism.
This process of integration and interpenetration
has been called by different names.
Divinization in the Eastern tradition,
transformation, unity of love,
heights of doctrine and virtue,
there's some names, but that's very vague.
Heights of doctrine and virtue,
that doesn't seem to say the same thing.
That's not an anthropological statement.
Unity of spirit, or the cessation of the 12th century.
There's some old notes that Father Hausser
made from his spiritual theology.
He gave a course in spiritual theology of the East
at the Biblical Institute in Rome,
and lived there.
I got a copy. I didn't take the course,
but I got a copy of his notes.
And he talks about the end of the spiritual life,
and he likes to get, as you know,
the fundamentals and so on.
He says, first it's called salas or soteria,
that is salvation.
But that means the whole blessedness of man.
Salvation is not just getting over the line,
getting over the finish line,
just passing, you know,
salvation is the whole thing.
Integral beatitude to the glory of God,
or eternal life.
And then he takes it from different aspects.
This, you can negatively incorporate liberation
from faith, from sin, from death, from the devil.
Positively, you can look at it ontologically
as being assimilation to God.
That is, ontologically it's deification.
Gnosiologically, according to the mind, that is,
how else would you say it?
Intellectually speaking,
it's contemplation of God.
Affectively, it's charity,
agape, love of God.
Historically, it's the restoration of nature.
All those different points of view
towards the same thing.
And this is the central mystery
of the whole course that he's talking about.
Tying all of this together,
it's deification or union with God.
And then he gets into this threefold description
of human existence.
And there's that music playing continually from now on.
Corresponding to the trilogy
of body, soul, and spirit,
which St. Paul applies to Christian life
in his first canonical letter.
So it's as if that was going to be his program.
But that's the only time
that you find that expression
in all of the letters of St. Paul.
In fact, I don't know if you find it
anywhere else in the New Testament.
That threefold expression.
But somehow it's balanced.
Somehow there isn't any better expression.
Because the alternatives are
either you talk about man
as being a twofold being or a threefold being.
Either he's soul and body,
or he's body and something in between
soul and mind and spirit.
And the spiritual division,
the monastic division,
is always referred to as threefold,
usually referred to as threefold division.
Let me read from Boyer.
May the God of peace himself
sanctify you completely,
and may he keep in wholeness
your spirit, your soul, and your body
without reproach,
with the parousia,
or in the parousia,
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Keep in wholeness your spirit,
your soul, and your body.
The difficulty is understanding
how these three elements are related.
Because at one time
people would talk about them
as if they were three parts.
But they're not three parts.
They're not separate from one another.
At another time,
they look like three ways
of talking about the same thing,
the same whole of man.
If you read a book on biblical anthropology,
it's very frustrating
because the Jewish way
of thinking about things
is you just can't get them straight,
and you can't get them separated.
Because at one moment
they're talking about the body,
and you find out it's the whole man.
Another moment they're talking about
the soul, and it's the whole man.
Another moment they're talking about
the spirit, and it's still the whole man.
You can't get anywhere with it.
There's a book...
This is the Bible reference?
It's 1 Thessalonians 5.23.
Boyer quotes it at the beginning
of his treatment of anthropology,
page 144.
Boyer's a very sharp analyst
of these two,
and he goes into it quite in some detail.
We want to think of them as parts,
but they're not parts.
And yet in some way,
once again it's this trouble
that we run into
when we talk about faith
and hope and love,
and when we talk about
the persons of the Holy Trinity
who are one and yet
in some way distinct.
It's the same thing
reproduced on different levels.
And when we talk about the sacraments,
and we talk about baptism and Eucharist
and try to say what's different about them,
we can't apply certain concepts
and we can't really distinguish.
Can't separate.
Can't pull them apart.
So you find this in St. Paul
and then Origen picks this up.
I don't know whether it's picked up
by the father before Origen.
And St. Paul doesn't...
Sometimes, of course,
he'll talk about the flesh and the spirit,
but that's a whole different thing.
The flesh and the spirit
is not a division of man
or a description of man as he is,
a description as he is ontologically,
but it's a description
of the pickle that he's in now.
That you can be totally in the spirit,
as it were,
or you can be totally in the flesh.
Those are two different kingdoms,
two different states of man,
rather than being two parts.
And somehow we seem to be in between
having the option
or not having the option
because we're captured early.
So Origen and then Evagrius.
Now, with Evagrius and Cassian,
these people,
okay, they may talk about spirit or noose.
They tend to talk about noose,
the intellect, instead of the spirit.
And then the soul or the mind.
And then the body.
But they've also got another threefold thing,
which you find more often
in, I think, Churchill and Evagrius.
And that's the noose or the intellect.
And then there's two parts of the soul.
And then he forgets about the body altogether.
He talks about the noose and intellect
and then the irascible part
and what they call the compulsible part.
That is, the will part and the desiring part.
The anger or strength part
and the attraction part of the soul.
And then the body is left out of the consideration.
So there are two trilogies here.
And with Evagrius and Cassian,
I won't go into it in any more detail,
but Boyer talks in some depth about Evagrius here.
In fact, he talks about the two formulas
that really last in the Christian tradition
as being the one of Evagrius
and the one of Augustine.
That's on page 151 of 150 in the volume.
For Evagrius, man's soul, psuche,
is the link between his spirit, noose,
and his body, soma.
Depending on the soul's inclining
toward one or the other of these poles which attract it,
it conforms to God or to the devil.
The noose, as he conceived it,
is not so much a part of the soul
as the image of God within it.
More precisely, the place of his presence
as he expresses it.
Hausser puts it very concisely when he says it.
For the Greek, man is intellect.
Man is noose.
That's very hard for us to see.
I mean, that's Christian history.
I mean, it's part of whatever history.
But it sure makes a dent in Christian theology
because it's very much accepted
as a part of everything.
Now, if Evagrius does that
and Cassian Christianizes him,
instead of talking about apatheia,
instead of talking about conglomeration of the noose,
he talks about purity of heart.
And he makes the center more the heart.
I don't know if he talks very often about the intellect.
The soul must therefore free itself from the body,
or more precisely from the apatheia, the passions,
emanating from the body which have enslaved the soul.
Now, this is not really the Christian,
not the biblical point of view.
The soul must free itself from the body.
You see, people have picked up St. Paul's
in Romans 7 about the warfare between
the flesh and the spirit.
And then they translate it as
the warfare of the soul against the body,
or the body against the soul,
by reason of which the soul has to free itself from the body.
So again, they're both...
Yes?
I'm wondering about...
In the sheath of his flesh.
Oh, I see.
And they talk about ecstasy.
St. Paul talks about being in the body or out of the body.
He doesn't know it.
He talks about his experience of gladness.
That mystical ecstasy.
Whether I was in the body or out of the body.
And also in the experience of the mystical.
The difficulty is that the Greek thing
is so close to the experience,
both, as you say, in Daniel,
and the experience of the mystical.
But somehow,
there's something radically wrong in it
because of what it does to the body and the mystical.
What it does is it gets you into a separated thing
where you are split within yourself
and there's a whole operation going on within yourself.
It's almost like the other side of the same thing
that happens in yoga,
where everything is put in terms of unification
of the organism,
the harmonious unification of man.
In the Greek theory,
it's the division of man,
the separation of man,
by which he succeeds,
that you can almost oppose it to,
I don't know how far it goes.
But Christianly,
neither one of them really matches up
to the Christian things,
which is very subtle.
Mm-hmm.
Yeah, kill it or at least get beyond it somehow.
Either by contemplation or by asceticism.
For the Christian scheme,
you've got to remember it was a historical scheme.
So, St. Paul says,
if your body is dead,
and if your body is dead,
then certainly there is a problem.
And yet,
you have a new body within you in some way.
So it's a very subtle thing.
And since we don't know
about this new body which is planted within us,
the spiritual body,
about the resurrection body,
we simply don't have any perception of those things
without really hanging them in a mystery.
But the Christian thing is historical and dynamic,
in that sense.
The Holy Spirit comes in
and begins to transform the whole organism,
spirit, soul, and body.
The whole thing somehow is picked up.
The essential part about the Christian thing
is that it's not a division,
but it's an integration.
But the integration is an assumption by God,
a total picking up by God,
so that as it were, nothing is lost.
Even though the body has to die,
it rises again.
And somehow the resurrection begins all over again.
And the goods of the body is great, too.
No one wants to know
that that's called transformation,
and that happens on top of it.
That's how it seems to me,
the Eucharistic transformation.
What?
What happened to the spiritual body?
You know, it was crushed.
Who created the spiritual body?
I don't know.
I don't know who first did it,
but I'll bet they started it right away.
Because it's already
latent in the Greek thing, right?
Where St. Paul uses two different words
for body and for flesh.
Sarx is flesh,
and he gives it a negative sense in Romans
that it doesn't necessarily have in the Bible.
Sarx is flesh in that sense.
It's not negative.
It's not always there in the Bible.
Sometimes it is,
but usually it just means
poor human flesh,
a poor human body.
But then St. Paul uses sarx for the flesh
as a negative thing,
as a whole man dominated by the spirit of evil,
influenced by his passions and so on.
And he uses soma for your body,
which is,
and he'll say at one point
that your body is dead,
but then he'll say also
that your body is holy,
that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,
that your body is Eucharistic,
and so on and so forth.
It's not, it's not.
Why is it dead to sin?
No, it's dead to sin,
but it's still got to die.
That's the problem.
In other words, it's mortal
in the sense that it has to die.
And if there's something in you
that's already risen in Christ
and it's going to,
it's going to rise again, is it?
The body is dead in a sense
because it's dead to sin, yes.
And it's also, in some way,
died in Christ
so that it has to run out
the term of its mortality still,
because our body still has to die.
And therefore we can't be attached to that
which has to die.
But there's something bodily
which also already has a seed in us
and which is to be our risen body,
our spiritual body after all.
It's not picking at details
to talk about this
because it's critical for the way
that we think about it.
I like that.
You'll find yourself probably returning
to this time in your memory.
I like this question
of how we're put together
and how we're related to God.
Okay, St. Paul says,
And part of it,
like the way that Gregory interpreted
that your body is dead there,
your body is dead to sin,
that's the same thing as saying
that the flesh is dead, okay?
Sars is dead.
And therefore you are free to live unto God.
And there is the idea
that the flesh is somehow,
it's a living,
it's a growing, expanding, polluting thing.
So there's a growth in evil.
If you read about the fruits of the,
and I call them the works of the flesh,
Galatians 5,
these things which are like fruits
of this thing,
this expansive leaven of evil,
which in some way has been cut at its root
by baptism,
killed at its root by baptism,
potentially,
but can always arise again.
The theologians talk about
fomas peccatum.
Fomas is tinder, okay?
So the tinder which is there
ready to be ignited.
And when it's ignited,
then this flesh is born.
St. Augustine has written a lot about this one.
That experience of the pull of the flesh.
Not for immorality.
Yeah.
It's for immortality, yeah.
But he said it's for the world and for the body.
Yes.
Now this is,
this is a mysterious and fascinating,
well, it's in 1 Corinthians, right?
Do you know?
1 Corinthians, what?
7 or 10.
It's about,
it's about adultery.
It's about a fornication.
And he says,
well,
well,
I better not hunt too far for it.
But,
it's as if he were saying,
I think it's not far from
a passage on the Eucharist.
It's as if he were saying,
your body is,
here we are, here we are.
All things are lawful for me,
but not all things are helpful.
The body is not meant for immorality,
but for the Lord,
and the Lord for the body.
And God raised the Lord
and will also raise us to pray.
Oh, do you not know that your bodies
are members of Christ?
Your bodies as they are now
are members of Christ through the Eucharist,
okay?
Now how we get that together
with this whole business
about the body having to die,
about him sometimes being dead,
oh, I don't know.
But our present bodies as they are
are somehow consecrated
as temples of God.
Shall I therefore take the members of Christ
and make them the members of the prostitute?
Never.
Do you not know that he who joins himself
to a prostitute becomes one body with him?
For as it is written,
the two shall become one.
And we don't know what this means,
because we don't have any sense
of that ontological level of being,
what it means to be one body.
But he who is united to the Lord
becomes one spiritually.
Shun immorality.
Every other sin which a man commits
is outside the body with him.
If an immoral man sins against his own body,
what does that mean?
Because lots of other,
most of the other sins are bodily sins, you know?
You rob, you kill,
you do a lot of other things.
Those are sins of violence.
Those are sins you would think
are in the body and it's nothing.
No, he says this in some way
touches the body itself.
Now there's something in the body,
in other words,
which is personal
and which either relates to another person
in marriage,
sacramentally and validly,
or relates to God in some way.
And he says you're one spirit with God,
one spirit with the Lord.
That being one spirit
somehow involves the body in it, you see?
Spirit and body are together there
in a way which we don't understand.
And he switches from one to the other.
It seems like it goes on
into thinking of purification
and such that,
I don't know,
he says you're joined to the prostitute
in one body with her.
In other words,
you're one with the corruption of the body.
That's kind of the way it seems to me,
I understand.
It's kind of a defilement.
Well, it is, yeah.
And it's as if,
it's not only a defilement,
there's some kind of a personal union there
which is a union in defilement in some way
so that you're personally tied to that person
in some way.
And then there would,
there wouldn't be ways of being freed from that
through confession or something like that,
but
that reality of the body
and that level of union,
we simply don't understand.
It's invisible to us.
Just as invisible as,
you see, we've got a mystery on the side of the body
and we've got a mystery on the side of the spirit.
Here we are in between with our little brains.
The mystery of the opaqueness of the body, okay?
And the bodily reality,
we don't really see into it.
And science doesn't see into it.
None of that.
And the mystery on the other side of the spirit.
And in some way they mirror one another,
like the heavens and the earth.
And strangely,
body is,
in some way, it seems to me,
an inverse reflection of
God as Father, as Creator, okay?
Somehow the mystery of matter
mirrors in negativity, as it were,
in darkness
and in heaviness,
the mystery of spirit as Father.
If you retire this Trinitarian scheme,
but that's kind of the speculation.
Yes.
...
So this is a matter of experience for them.
That's interesting.
We don't understand our spirits in our minds
or talk to our bodies with them.
I'm going to come up to you.
Just as you said,
it seems that this thing about policy
is addressing the questions of,
I guess, the use of the body,
or proper use of the body.
And in a certain way,
I feel like you can substitute the word you
for the word body parents.
And that you are for the Lord
and the Lord is for you.
I think he's trying to make that
people aware that
the body is to serve the Lord
and the Lord is to serve the body
in the sense that the Lord is responsive to your body
in the way that the Lord is responsive to you.
So I think you're simply trying to say that
your complete self,
all dimensions of yourself,
are to be given to the Lord,
and that the Lord, in turn,
gives Himself to your complete self.
He's not only for, like, say, the mind,
He's for your body.
Yeah, the particular focus here is on the body.
It's as if he's saying,
well, look, your body is not just like your clothing.
It's not something outside of you,
but it's your whole person that's involved, right?
Your whole person is involved
when you engage your body,
when you commit your body in a sexual way, okay?
So you cannot be one spirit with the Lord
on the level of spirit,
and be one flesh with a prostitute,
on the level of the body,
and think that those two things are indifferent
because it's the same person
who unites both of those factors.
The body is person, fully person,
which is, I think, what you were saying,
just as much as the spirit is.
And yet there are other things
which are outside the person.
And so the sexual level of the body
is a special level there for him.
Because just before then he said,
food is meant for the stomach,
and the stomach for food,
and God will destroy both one and the other.
That's a funny saying.
There aren't any cooks in heaven.
But anyway, the stomach is something else.
Because the stomach is transitory,
but this other level of the body is permanent.
It's personal.
The stomach is impersonal.
It's sub-personal in some way.
Now that doesn't mean
that there's no sacramentality
on the level of food.
Obviously, we take the Eucharist also.
He says the stomach will be destroyed.
It's for food.
It passes away in some way.
But the body remains.
So there are two levels of bodilyness.
Two levels of physicality.
That's a good one.
Remember that one.
What does that mean?
I'm supposed to answer you.
Hang on to that one for later.
It says something about this perspective
that everything is an assumption,
which means it's not so much
that you reduce and save a part of you,
but the whole of you is picked up.
See, this is typically biblical.
Rather than thinking of yourself
going through a needle's eye
where part of you survives
and the rest of you disappears, okay?
And then is resurrected.
It doesn't say you're going to be
unclothed or stripped in some way,
but that you're going to be clothed
over what you are now in some way.
What you are now is like
going to be picked up
in the fullness of this Spirit
or going to be clothed
in the resurrected body
or something like that.
That's what it sounds like to me.
Even though he says
to be away from the body
at a certain point,
I can give the glory.
And he's close to that point.
So it's as if it is possible
for us to be separated from the body.
And yet what's going to happen really
is a clothing as if this body
is to be clothed still
with another body,
something like that.
But he really doesn't.
No, I don't think so.
I think you have to distinguish
more than one level of body.
Philip Sherrard,
I don't know if it's the same article
as this or not,
talks about several levels of body.
A lot of the ESP people and so on
talk about different,
they talk about astral bodies
and all those things.
And there's nothing that says
that we can't believe
in that kind of differentiation
also for ourselves
within different levels of body,
something of which is to survive
even when the physical body
as we know it falls away.
Jesus, too.
But I think that there's
something of a bodily kind
that goes with us
even when this body dies probably.
Some kind of a sheath,
something like that.
But it's very difficult to calculate
because you get practically nothing
in the scriptures about that.
And then this kind of,
not this kind of body,
but another kind of body
is regenerated around that one.
Okay?
It's like you have a core body
or an essential body
that goes with you.
And then it,
when it passes into glory,
when it passes into that other realm,
is reclosed,
something like that.
But it's not,
I don't think,
just the soul or the spirit
is simply separated from the body,
because I don't even know
that's possible.
You can ask yourself,
is it possible for a soul or a spirit,
a human soul or spirit,
to live without any body at all?
Okay?
I'm not sure that it is.
People used to think so,
but it's disputed.
Okay?
It's got all, as it were,
all the positive properties
of the body we have now.
But then he appears
in a number of different forms,
so whether his body is special
in a way that ours won't be,
or whether those are,
that changeability
or that different freedom of manifestation
is a property of God,
but probably not.
You know, very little.
And it wasn't Virgin Mary
talking to him,
but maybe it's about people
in the news now,
but it's about the black man
and her life.
It's funny,
because it's seminary,
and we didn't understand
what it was all about.
But I was thinking about
Christ's multiplication of the bread
and also the way his body reacted
according to his will
after he was resurrected.
And maybe
that he ended up
more falsely accepting
that the body is for God.
In that case,
that when you're on that level
of complete,
when you're completely Christified,
so to speak,
and you become Christ-like,
that the body is for you
in the sense that you have
complete control over it.
Just as he had complete control
over matters
which he couldn't talk about directly.
To say the spiritual body,
as he says in 1 Corinthians 15,
is to say that the spirit has autonomy
over the body.
So the body takes on the freedom
of the spirit at that point.
I think
those two levels of body,
the one level that would stay with you
may be the same as what he's talking about
when he says that the body is for the Lord
and the Lord for the body.
It's kind of a central body
which would stay with you.
When he says food in the stomach
will both be destroyed,
that could be the other body
that crosses the line,
that goes with the thing that it's with.
Because you have to realize
that all of matter,
all of physical reality
is going to be transformed in some way.
It's not going to be the way it is now.
In some way it will resemble
the way it is now,
but it's going to be different.
It's going to have other properties.
And similarly, our body.
So that dimension,
that level,
that layer of the body
at least has to be completely changed.
There's something
that remains in the sense already
and which evidently is connected
both with the sexual
and with the spiritual.
Okay, so it's some kind of a core body.
We didn't get very far this morning.
I guess we'd better quit now.
Next time we'll have to
keep to it.
Question.
Go ahead.
Yes, go ahead.
That would require
a careful historical study.
I imagine that
the theologians are doing it nowadays
because they're worried about questions
that I can't answer you.
I think all that they want
to usually what they do
is defend the minimum.
And they don't define things
they don't have to.
In other words,
they don't say any more,
they don't themselves do any more
than they have to.
They don't narrow it down.
So what they wanted to
probably defend
was simply let's make false
assumptions about things
that they do.
The body does rise.
We have a physical resurrection.
We have a fatherless existence
after death.
And that's all.
Now they might even say
at some point
they might even say
it's the same body.
But then you have to
make another distinction.
They didn't mean the same molecule
in the same atom.
They didn't know anything
about molecules.
But they knew in some way
it would be related to this body.
Certainly the body
that we have
in the resurrection
would be related
would be in continuity
with the body
that we have now.
Even though it won't be
literally
the same body.
The same particle.
Okay.
No.
The trouble is
when you think of it
it stretches your imagination
and you think about
people whose ashes
were burned
and their ashes
were scattered over.
All of that being
pulled back together
into the vastness.
Oh you can do it.
Fortunately
fortunately
we don't have to
answer those questions.
We can just leave them open.
Sure.
If they wanted to
but
he's also independent
of that kind of thing.
Because if one atom
is the same as another atom
why have to call
the same ones back again?
Yeah but is it
is it you
if atom number
1,423,000,000
is out there
in the ocean somewhere
is that still you?
He's got it.
He's got it.
I'll tell you when I'm 18.
It's still directly there.
And there are people
who have that
limbs amputated
and they still stretch
you know
and there's nothing there
but they can feel that
in there.
Well somehow the
the essence of the person
is not in a particular
physical step
I don't know about it.
The personal
form
and identity of the body
is one thing
but the particular
particle
the particular
chemical step
is something else.
Anyway
next time we'll do it.
What's that?
One and the same
it's all part of the
physical body.
Amen.