October 11th, 1983, Serial No. 00707

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Monastic Spirituality Set 12 of 12

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We've been reading this homily by Jacob of Sarov in the Veil of Moses, I'd like to finish that today and then talk about some things that relate to it, that kind of theology which is symbolic theology. Let me review just a bit. He goes through, the basic image there is the veil on Moses' face in Exodus 32 or 33. And he says that all of the prophecies are veiled, which means also that the images in the Old Testament, both the words which foretell something and the images which symbolize something are veiled. He doesn't distinguish the two, it's like you've got two lines there. And when we get to that article, that other article of Brock's on poet as theologian, you'll see that there are two kinds of topology, he says. One is horizontal and one is vertical. Topology.


One moves historically forward from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and the other one moves up, from the external to the internal, or from the material to the spiritual. From the spiritual to the inner reality. Now, the inner experience. The basic prophecy in the Old Testament, as David would say, or Lent, or Buddhism itself, foretells something of the Christ that isn't in the Old Testament. And the symbol, the material symbol, in the Old Testament, contains it in some way, and


points to the inner reality. Like the baptism of John the Baptist in Washington, D.C., those things point to the inner reality of grace, which, of course, is symbolic of baptism. So we've heard about baptism. The sacraments in the New Testament are on these lines. Whereas the sites in the Old Testament are on these lines. Now, these two lines correspond to a distribution of creation. The horizontal one is the New Testament time. This one comes in through the creation of its structure. It has an inside and an outside, and a building of symbology. If anybody's interested in the theology of symbolism, there's something called the open book. I'm honored to have a marvelous article on the theology of symbolism. It's kind of a complicated article, but in it, he finds the basis of the symbol, actually, and of symbolic theology in the Holy Trinity. Because the Logos, the Word of God, he says, is the symbol of the Father.


He says, every reality, in order to be itself, must express itself in some way, in another. And this is true, he says, even of God. These are statements which, you know, they really shock you when you first hear them. And he says that even God, in order to be himself, must express himself in some way. And that expression is his Logos, his Word. So that, for him, is a basis of symbolic reality, which means that everything is symbolic, including God, even before the Incarnation. Then, of course, the Incarnation is the symbolizing of that Logos, and therefore of the Father too, in the humanity, in the body, which Jesus took from him. And so on. And the human person, also, is the body that's the symbol of the human person, the symbol of the soul, you can say, the symbol of the spirit, the symbol of the human person. So everything he says is like that, although each thing on its own level. And you can see how the symbols are in direct line with the Incarnation.


We may not immediately be ready to accept it during the whole time of the mystery of the Trinity itself, but I think that's valid. The Logos, the Word, is expression, in a way, in some way, an externalization. We can talk about that in a minute. And remember, I mentioned there's three kinds of theology. It's also good to keep those in mind. There's symbolic theology, there's rational theology, and there's epithetical, critical theology. I'll put rational over here. This is the ordinary theology of the priesthood school. Symbolic, which is what we're doing now. Epiphratic. And epiphratic theology is the theology of the mystics who say that you can't express God in words.


You can't express the experience of God in human language. So epiphratic theology is negative theology, as it were, the theology of nothingness or of emptiness. And it's surprising in a way that you find it most outside Christianity. But in Buddhism, it's straight epiphratic theology. Now, here, with a little ingenuity, you can find your four senses of scripture. Remember, we put those on a cross also, the four senses of scripture. Because remember, you've got your historical sense in the Old Testament, and then you've got the Christological sense, in which the word becomes incarnate. So we move down into the material here, in a way. And that Christological sense about God being incarnate crystallizes everything.


And then you've got your historical sense over here, or moral sense, which we live out in our own lives. The history. It's still history. It's still living. It's many. And then finally, you've got this one up here, which is the direction in which God is at the final stage of evangelism, the eschatological sense. He calls it, remember, Luke calls it as the fathers to the anagogical sense, leading upwards. Among those scripture passages that I mentioned, there's another one that should be mentioned, and that's in Hebrews. If you read the letter to the Hebrews, you're surprised. It's to the Hebrews, and then it seems very Greek. It seems very Platonic sometimes. Especially if there's a symbolic dimension in it. I forgot to bring my Bible. Notice how many times in the letter to the Hebrews he talks about the thickness on earth,


and then the real thickness on earth. That the things on earth are just shadows of the things on earth. So he's using this kind of pathology. But he's using this one too, because the old things somehow are just shadows of the things to come. And then he talks frequently about entering in. Do you remember, there are two contexts in which he talks about entering in. From the outside to the inside, which at the same time is moving from here to here. He's moving from the old to the new. The first time is when he's talking about our life being a life in the desert. Remember? And he quotes Psalm 95. If today you hear his voice, pardon not your hearts. I swore to them. See, they were stubborn of heart, so I swore to them, never shall I enter into my rest. To enter into the rest of God is to enter into the Sabbath, and it's to enter into the promised land. So they wandered in the desert, and they died in the desert somehow, because they didn't believe. It was because their hearts were low. That's the message here. So we're not to be that way. We want to enter into God's rest.


The other place is where Jesus enters in. Remember, he enters in to the inner sanctuary through the veil of his own flesh. So these two things are not put together, but in some way they relate. See, entering into the rest of God somehow is entering through the flesh of Jesus. And you've got these images superimposed of the desert being out there and the promised land being in there, of the temple. You're outside the temple or outside the sanctuary, outside the inner sanctum, and then you're inside it. See, inside the veil. You're outside the body of Jesus, and then you're inside. You're outside of God, and then you're inside of God. See, one on top of another. And this axis runs through the other. And the notion of the veil is there, particularly when the author speaks about Jesus entering through the veil of his flesh. Remember, the veil of the temple was torn at the crucifixion, and the flesh of Jesus was torn at that same time.


He enters in his own blood, through his own flesh somehow. It's a strange image. It's in Hebrews 10, verse 19. And therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us, through the curtain that is the veil, that is, through his flesh. And since we have a great high priest over the house of God, that is drawn near with the true art and full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean. Now, the reference to the heart there is not accidental either, because something else gets opened at that point, and that's the heart, you see. The heart which was closed before is now open. Similar to 2 Corinthians 3 and 4, where St. Paul is saying, somehow that you enter in, you enter in your own heart with the glory of the goddess Shani, on the face of Christ Jesus, where you see the light which is God. A couple of other references to this.


The reason why I pay so much attention to this homily of Jacob is because it's extremely central, theologically, as well as being a very good example of his coming to Jesus. And if you want to understand it better, get background on it, one useful book is this one by Glasson, titled Moses and the Fourth Gospel. See, St. John's Gospel is the most symbolic of the Gospels. In fact, John has the same kind of taste for symbolic theology that Jacob of Sarov has. And a lot of the same symbols are in the Gospel of John, but he doesn't tip you off that they're symbols. You see, Jacob is writing about symbolism. When he writes about the removal of the veil, he's writing about passing from symbolism to actuality, to reality, the illumining of the symbols. John doesn't tell you, he just puts the symbols there and leaves it for you to find your way around. He leaves it up to the reader to discover that they are symbols. When he talks about the symbol of light, the symbol of water, the symbol of bread, and


many other symbols in the Gospel of John. Well, I say many, there's a limited number of key symbols, like the water symbol, the bread symbol, and the rest. This book is useful because what he's doing is finding the relationships between Moses and Jesus, Moses and Christ, in St. John's Gospel, which is the same thing that Jacob is doing. Only this man does it with the help of contemporary Biblical criticism. He's got a chapter on the prophets. See, Moses was the prophet, and Jesus was the prophet, too. And he's got a chapter which was especially enlightening for me on the serpent in the wilderness, then another one on the living water in the rock. Moses and Joshua, see, Joshua's got the same name as Jesus, and just as Joshua is the successor to Moses, Jesus is the true successor to Moses, the fulfillment of God. Moses didn't enter the Promised Land, Jesus did.


Christ in the Torah, because the Torah is synonymous with Moses, and Christ is the Torah, the shepherd of the Lamb of God, and some other things, too. A lot of the same images that Jacob is coming from. The chapter on the serpent in the wilderness is especially interesting because he, it seems to me, is able to find a way to justify the central place that it's in. In other words, it's in John 3, and then it's again in John 12. It's implicit wherever Jesus is when I'm lifted up. And in chapter 3, we already covered the serpent. Jacob's wrong, I'll go back to it. In Jacob, it's on page 78, bottom, in the following page. Verse 253, in the following verses. With the brazen serpent of John 3.14, we come to a wilderness incident which is quite explicitly


related to Christ in the Gospel. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes may in Him have eternal life. Now, that's a very odd image for us to handle. In fact, see, the serpent is the same serpent that was in the Garden of Eden. It's in some way the symbol of sin. It's the symbol of carnality. And in some way, that gets elevated. That gets transformed, transfigured when it's lifted up. We talked about that last time. But the connection here is partly a linguistic connection. The lifting up is related to the serpent. The lifting up also is the lifting up on a standard. The word means standard in the Old Testament. And the comparison is with the cross. The cross is the standard. But it also is signed. This is the point that we make. Now, sign has a big importance for God. Sign is that which counts, as it were, in the Gospel.


That which makes people believe. That which really communicates God's morality. The sign is that in which God really speaks. So Jesus does these signs. They're supposed to be seven signs. The book of signs, as they say. The first one being the miracle of Canaan. According to him, the last sign is precisely the lifting up of Jesus. Lifted up on a standard. Lifted up on a sign. As a sign. So the last sign is the lifting up of Jesus on the cross. And that is, as it were, the lifting up of the Son of His heart. It's a very illumined image. The way that I could transcribe that, too, is lifting up on the Surgeon instead of... We're not touching with the Surgeon. Lifting up on the Surgeon means that people have to lift up their eyes on faith. It's going to be accepted on faith.


Not by some manual. That's right. The lifting up, the looking up at it, is the act of faith in some way. Now, the strange thing is why the serpent, why is the serpent image chosen? Because the darn thing, it's got the worst reputation of any beast in the Bible, right? I mean, a serpent is really a rascal. Like a flashback of the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden, yeah. And it's even got some kind of phallic significance, you see, the serpent. Some of the exegetes will talk about that sometimes. Sometimes they brush it aside. But somehow, that lifting up of the serpent means that everything which is created, even that which has been turned to evil, is capable of being transfigured and transformed somehow in the power of the resurrection of Christ. So it takes the lowest, it takes the bottom of the totem pole, as it were, of all of the possible symbols and lifts it up right into the sun in the sky. It seems to me that. See, the transfiguring of the whole of the earth,


including that which is lowest, and this power of God, and, of course, the resurrection of Christ. So it's an extremely powerful symbol. Even though it's hard for us to accept. It becomes the sun. See, the power of God in Jesus is the only power that's able to transfigure some things. And sin itself is capable of somehow being transfigured in this power. That's why it's the power of the sun. The thing about Christianity is that it goes right through the center of everything. It goes right through the center of suffering. Even the center of what seems like sin. St. Paul says that God made Christ, made Jesus sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God. See, that's almost the same thing, but not in symbolic language. It's symbolic in a different way, as that sign of the circle. Transformation of sin will be defeated. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So at that point, everything turns over at that point of the cross.


Another thing I ran into is that St. Peter Damian has a sermon on the Epiphany. A sermon for the Feast of the Epiphany, which is very similar to what Jacob is doing. If you want to bring it into our own familiar tradition. It's in McNulty's book here, Selected Writings of St. Peter Damian. It starts on page 147. And a beautiful homily for the Epiphany, in which he just revels in the same kind of symbolic interpretation. And he comes out with the same final symbol. That is, Christ is the sun. Here's a little sample. Remember, there was a star in the sky that the Magi saw and followed. And Peter Damian says, there was a star in the sky, a star on earth, and the sun in the major. Major, S-U-N. Christ is the sun. The star in the sky was that bright heavenly body. The star on earth, the Virgin Mary. The sun in the major, Christ our Lord. And then he goes on and on. He goes on with the characteristics of the star and the characteristics of the sun


and how they apply to Christ. Okay, let's go on and finish. We've got up to page 80, verse 331. The bridegroom's pierced side in the overthrow of Sheol. Remember, Sheol is hell. It's the underworld, but not in the sense of damnation so much just as a sense of guilt. Coppers. The wedding takes place. The bride enters the chamber. Between her and the groom, the veil is no longer required. There's a new wrinkle in the symbol of the veil. Somehow the veil separated the bride from the groom. I don't know how far we can carry that symbolism. The groom's side has been pierced,


and from it the bride has come out, fulfilling the type provided by Adam and Eve. Now here it gets very intricate and very deep. Remember Adam in the Garden of Eden. He was all alone, and God said it's not good fun to be alone. He was making a helping. So, he put him into a deep sleep, and then he extracted Eve from his side. So, the Fathers, in the patristic tradition of Saladinus, that the opening of the side of Jesus and the flowing out of the blood and water corresponds to that birth of Eve from the side of Adam. And so, somehow the blood and the water symbolize the Church. They're mistaken to symbolize the Church because in the sacraments, the baptism, the Eucharist, the two key, two pivotal sacraments from which all that has come. The correction is needed there. The groom's side has been pierced, and from it the bride has come out, not the bridge has come out. The last line down on Eve. Now, notice another thing here, and this relates to the next part too,


that the bridegroom is pierced. See, in some way it's the opposite of what happens in human marriage. The bridegroom is pierced, and similarly from the bridegroom the child is born. So, things somehow are reversed in the plan of God and in the economy of Christ, Christ taking on humanity and suffering. He slept on the cross, as Adam had slept his deep sleep. His side was pierced, and from it there came forth the daughter of light. Water and blood is an image of divine children. Now, we'd be kind of teased to try to make that more specific, the connection between the water and the blood and the divine children. I think I can't get anything more than the general sense of it. Eve, in prophecy, is the mother of all that lives, and what if not baptism is the mother of life. Now, when he says baptism he means the church too, doesn't he? And the Blessed Virgin is always there somewhere


in the background. She comes out more explicitly in the next section. The connection between Eve, between the church, Mary, and finally our own soul, in some way, is fairly constant. I thought that some of them bring out all of the poles together, sometimes just one at a time. There's a line that comes through all of this. Adam's side gave birth to a woman who gives birth to mortals, while our Lord's to the church who gives birth to immortals. They crucified him on the high hill so that the Gentiles of the earth might see him. It's as if the piercing of Jesus has to do with the lifting and removal of the veil too. You see, this opening of what is inside happens in various ways. So the piercing of the side of Jesus in some way corresponds to the removal of the veil from the face of Moses and the revealing of the hidden mystery.


They placed him like that serpent which Moses had raised up on high and the symbol of the serpent which had been hidden was explained. Our king cried out in high-walled shale which quaked and fell like Jericho before the Hebrews. It wasn't Joshua that cried out. He probably cried out. The people all cried out. The people all shouted. Now see, the parallel here is between, first of all, Jesus and Joshua who has the same name, the same name in Hebrew. And Moses doesn't enter in, but this is Jericho we're talking about, but Jericho and the promised land. You see how things just kind of fall together here because there's more than one entering in. The entering into Jericho is part of the entering and taking position of the promised land, but it's taken for the whole thing. Not Moses, but Joshua. Therefore, not Moses, but Jesus. They shouted and the walls fell down after the number of walking around in the trumpets.


It was the name of Joshua or Jesus. See, this is the name, the name, the word that brings down the walls. That's the revelation. Jesus' voice hovered through shale when he cried out to it. Remember, he cried out with a loud cry across. And I don't remember whether in one of the Gospels that's the moment when he failed or he can't close his tongue. That's the moment when he dies, when he cries out, which is surprising. He was a crucified person. All this that had been veiled he uncovered at his crucifixion, and the earth that had been in darkness became light. Now, there there's an allusion to the darkness at the time of the death of Jesus, remember. It was dark, wasn't it, for the three hours or something like that in the Gospel. It says, until his death. I don't know if it was dark after his death. Prophecy and virginity rejoice. Now, this is a fascinating little section here if you think about it.


These things have to read about ten times before they make sense. But what have prophecy and virginity got in common? And, of course, the two figures that we think of here are Moses and Mary. Moses and the Virgin Mary. And they're both somehow looking towards Christ. Now, as you think of Moses here, you can also think of John the Baptist. Moses and John the Baptist are intimately related. Moses is the first prophet, and John the Baptist is the last prophet, and he's also known as a prophet, and he points right to Jesus. And then think of those Orthodox icons, where you have Jesus in the middle, and you have John the Baptist on one side. You can put Moses wherever you want, but you have John the Baptist on one side, and you have the mother of Jesus on the other side. A male and a female. And one is prophecy, and the other is virginity, in Jacob's language. And we keep puzzling over what they had in common, which is sort of moving beneath the surface here. That hidden child


who did not loose the seals of virginity at his birth, that is Mary the younger virgin when Jesus was born, loosened the veil of prophecy at his crucifixion. Now up above we've had the piercing of the bridegroom, you see, which is equivalent to the lifting of the veil of prophecy. And here we have the virginity of Mary on the other hand, on the other side, which remains intact, even though she gives birth. Whereas when Moses, as it were, speaks the word, when his stammer is healed, and when he really speaks the word, his face is revealed, the veil is removed. So there's a veil, as it were, which remains, and there's a veil which is removed. The veil of prophecy is removed so that the word, the face of the word may shine forth, the light. The veil of virginity remains, and in some way assumes its true beauty, its true character. There's a veil that's supposed to remain, and that's virginity. We have to ask ourselves what that means. You see, when these people are writing, when poets are writing, they know a lot more


than they know. See, Jacob probably couldn't, you know, spell it out and tell you what it means, but his precision is amazing, and the truths that he carries along there, probably without being able to express them fully, maybe they'd be full, straight, rational language. He's got an intuition, which is unargued. Joy of heart that he provides to both prophecy and virginity, it's as if prophecy and virginity are being wedded to one another in some way, whatever that means. And the fact is, of course, that Jesus is the bridegroom, the Word is the bridegroom, and when Moses is unveiled, what do you find? You find the Word, which you find the full Word, the luminous Word, which is light, and that's the bridegroom. And virginity, sometimes, is not violated by that Word which enters, but it's fulfilled. So virginity becomes fulfilled instead of violated by the removal of the veil


from such a marriage that Moses unveils. As he's unveiled, he reveals the Word. That's the thing that maybe is not unveiled. For virginity is preserved intact, and virginity there signifies, for one thing, all the hidden mystery of the modesty of the human person and the hidden beauty of the interior of the creation itself, that which is reserved, as it were, for God, that which is inviolable mystery, where only God can enter. Well, prophecies basically uncover that she might not be there. Now notice, she might not be there, so prophecy right there is a woman, it's not a stranger. We don't know how much it means by that. You can think of it as a feminine wisdom, if you like, but it spoils, then, the relation between the masculine and the feminine, and the prophecy of virginity.


He preserved youth in the ranks of virginity, that is, with Mary. See, virginity and youth have a connection here. Virginity and freshness and childlikeness. Well, he lightened the burden that old age was carrying, because old age is carrying that burden of expectation, that burden of waiting, the burden of prophecy, which becomes released, and Moses becomes rejuvenated when the prophecy is fulfilled and the veil is removed. The young Mary continued on in her virginity, and so she's freshened, as it were, that which grows younger as it's fulfilled, unlike the relation between motherhood and virginity. By the age of Moses, cast off the covering that proved heavy. See, the veil was heavy because he had to wait, because he was excluded. So he grew old waiting. But when the light shines, then everything grows younger, including the prophecy of Moses. He left virginity's beauty preserved untouched. He revealed the prophecy's beauty that had been covered up. Moses leaps with joy.


When does Moses leap? I don't find Moses jumping anywhere with all this. Who leaps? Who leaps with joy? John. John, from the womb of his mother. John leaps with joy. When Jesus comes, John leaps with joy before he's even born. This guy. The way that he's able to see the connection between these things. John the Baptist leaps with joy. The beauty that had been covered up has been veiled. And notice he's in the womb, so the veil is still there. And the veil is kind of double-veiled there because both of them are in the womb. Jesus is in the womb of his mother Mary, and John the Baptist is in the womb. So there's a terrific veil and yet he jumps because some way the fullness has arrived. Mary exults. Now notice the illusion there. Just glancing to the Magnificat as well. My soul rejoices in the way of that. That exaltation. For her virginity has not been harmed.


And in the Gospel, of course, the whole business of that, how can Joseph struggle and so on? Mary Jane. God's put to shame. And yet she can keep her virginity and also work for fun. The girl and the aged man both have gained their true beauty through the Son of God who himself is the beauty of all the other things. The great prophet wore him on his face beneath the veil. Mary bore him within the gates of heaven. At his birth he left the seals unbroken. At his crucifixion he removed the veils from the prophets. He revealed their words and the earth was illumined with their revelation. Their symbols shone out and all now possess their explanation. Now here you could say that there are symbols that are in the Old Testament and then there are symbols that are just written into the creation. There are symbols that are in the Word of God and then there are symbols that are just in things. In the things that God knew. And all are illuminated by Jesus Christ.


The Unnecessary Lamp at Noonday. Now we have this triumphal conclusion in which he's got humor as well as the rest of it. The comic image of a man at a broad noonday with the sun in the middle of the sky is kind of peering around the candle in his house. The Hebrew people who read the Old Testament on Sabbath still not as aware of the veil that's on their faces. There's a curious playing back and forth between the veil that's on Moses' face to the veil that's on the face of the Scriptures to the veil that's on the face of Christ and the veil that's over the face of the person. Because when this gets revealed you get revealed too. It's like a mirror. When you see what's inside the Word and you see Christ in the Scriptures then somehow you know yourself too. It comes out more strongly again. It never goes out quite explicitly. It's only hinted at. The veil is on their faces.


They are not who they really are until they know Christ. Remember before it talked about the prophecies as being like young girls who are still veiled. When the bridegroom comes they unveil their faces and they're illumined by the bridegroom. It's not just an external illumination. It's your true self shines out. They read Moses but Moses is hidden from the Hebrews. Without the cross their veil is not removed. Their heart is darkened being covered by their veil. And they go back to the symbols as if it were night because their heart is not illumined by the sun of righteousness. That's that expression from Malachi in the end of the book of Malachi. The sun of righteousness we had it the other day. The sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings. They do not examine the image of God


that is to be found in the scriptures. They don't see it. And all of this of course is straight 2 Corinthians 3. They depict the cross of blood on their doors and they don't know what it means. That is the Passover. They burn the calf for purification but fail to see Christ. The Jews really take a beating in Christian literature. That's never because they're symbolic. It doesn't have anything to do with the Jewish people in that sense. It's symbolic. That's the way history works. That's one of our biggest time lapse actually is the way that twist of anti-Semitism and the rejection of the old covenant is written into the history of Christianity. It's still never quite worked out. It can be very hard on the Fathers to be surprised because they're God in every other way. Even in the New Testament and the Scriptures and the Gospel of John the Jews persecuted and killed Jesus for not living. A lot of people


have built an anti-Semitism philosophy. Remove the veil from your mind and look upon Moses on whose face Christ is depicted. It is night for you and you do not perceive that the sun is risen from darkness but not darkness in darkness. His touch is a very light thing at least evoking the darkness that we have. Giving light to all creation. Up to the cross the entire world was as it were a night for the law was like a torch in the dark and the whole earth was seeking for that light. By day neither torch nor lamp were needed since there is the sun which illuminates all. The Hebrew resembles a man who closes his door and with his lamp lit he is not aware that the sun is up. He does not open his door to see the creation and fill it with light. To be illuminated by the sun along with one another is without any need for a lamp. He looks for a small lamp in the middle of the day. And of course


it is not only the Jew who does not recognize Christ as that way. We are all like that in a way. Especially the kind of post-Christian but this is true of the pre-Christian Jews. It is more true of the post-Christian so-called Christian or the post-Christian Western person who is surrounded by the light that comes from Christ even in his own culture even in his own thoughts even in what he knows a lot of it comes right out of the Christian revelation. He does not know. He does not know where it comes from. He can't see it. So we go searching around with this little light of reason in the middle of the stunning daylight of the revelation of Christ. Put away your lamp which was only needed by men. Why have you become a laughing stock in a world that is filled with light? So really this is much more than just aimed at Jewish people who do not recognize Christ. Like many of the things that are said in the Bible we go beyond the beginning.


The time for lamps and torches is at an end for the sun's rising has removed and put them all away. It is he who informs the world. Who is that informed? It is the sun that gives things their forms and shines upon so they can be seen and become real as well and not themselves until the sun shines on them. It also gives them the light that becomes one. Or Hebrew down at the bottom put away your lamp that provides you a light for the daylight to spread over the mountains. It is great appearance epiphany, epiphaneia manifestation. The entire earth is filled with the light of the great sun. Now that's kind of the core of that eastern theology whether Greek or Syrian is that notion of the epiphany and of Christ as light illuminating. Sometimes it gets very intellectual with the Greeks. Here it's not. Here it's very sacramental and holistic. And that's where the point of contact with that Saint Peter Damian


epiphany sermon is. Open your doors, let them enter in and give you light and joy. The veil of Moses has been removed. It goes over and over and over, it repeats itself. This seems sometimes like a staggering or a stale repetition but what we're getting here is a glimpse of the power of the experience that's behind it. If you read some of the fathers they seem to be saying the same things over and over. Why? Because the experience is so powerful because the light that they see is so powerful that all they have to do all they're trying to do is wake you up to that light. They're not trying to put something in their words and pass it to you. They're just saying look, look, the light is there. This is especially true of early Christianity and then that power of the light sort of gets lost and especially in the West I think the West has a different destiny. The West doesn't stay in that full sunlight like the Eastern Church tries to do even as it does. The West tends to walk into the darkness and in some way it has to because


that's its history. There's a secret in the Gospel of John in chapter 21 where Jesus says to John you stay here and says to Peter you follow me. There's a secret in those two different destinies, East and West. Gaze upon him and see how he stands uncovered as someone luminous, the man in his deeds depicting the Son of God. Why is it you do not see the beauty that is clear as day? Remove that veil that is laid on your heart and you will see the exalted beauties of prophecy. He who recognizes that prophecy is veiled also recognizes that it is uncovered in the Son of God. He doesn't mention baptism here but baptism is very present in this whole thing. And somehow the unveiling you see of Moses is the unveiling of the Jew so that he sees the light of Christ in himself. You know he never quite says that. The unveiling of Moses why is it so important


this unveiling of Moses? Because it shows you the transfigured self. And that's the baptismal experience. The discovery of Jesus and that luminosity of the sun in the sky is the discovery of that sun inside of yourself. It's the discovery of who you really are in Christ. And that's so the Jew would be in a sense Moses here. And when he discovers that then he's on fire in that light. He knows himself in some way in Christ. You can't really know Christ outside yourself. The only way to know Christ really is when you discover yourself in Christ. And if we've begun to meet Christ it's because we've begun to know that we are Christ. We've embedded in what it is. That's what that light is, that sun. The hidden mystery which has revealed itself to the world in the flesh is carnation. Blessed is he who came and uncovered the prophecy and unveiled it. It's a marvel. I thought it would be


a good idea to write down just the order of the main symbols there so I did. I put them on a sheet of paper there. He starts out with the veil of Moses. Prophecy is veiled and then Jesus is the light in the scriptures and then the veil is to be removed. Then he's got the image of the bride in the bridegroom then the Passover lamb, the blood of Jesus and remember the sacramental blood of Jesus on the mouth. And maybe that has something to do with prophecy too. The crossing of the Red Sea, the wilderness journey, the bronze serpent and then a whole string of other types of Christ in the Exodus story. And Moses' stammer and the veil of Moses and both of them being relieved that is his stammer is cured and his veil is lifted and his face shines and his voice speaks out clearly. Then the piercing of the bridegroom's side and the birth of the church, the woman that's born from the side. Then prophecy and virginity and finally the lamp and the midday sun and the implicit in that, Moses is a man,


Moses is a human person you see. Moses being unveiled and a human person shining out of the sun and this which is Christ. There's a special axis of the line that runs through the bride and bridegroom thing and it would run through the serpent thing but it doesn't bring out that sexual connotation of the serpent thing. And the piercing of the bridegroom's side and then the prophecy and virginity and the final coming of the elect with his wife and the midday sun which is outside and inside and which illuminates the truth of everything in other words everything finds its true being in that light. So as Christ is revealed through it it itself becomes revealed as married to Christ married to the world married to the light in its transparency it's like virginity which finds its root in the light which shines through it. Transparency which finds its root


in the light which is Christ which shines through it as it's married to that which is its own source and that's why they rejoice in it that's why the sense of exaltation is there. The baptismal thing there is central although he only talks about it in one section so I can speak on the whole chapter especially when you bring in the figure of John the Baptist John the Baptist who brings Moses into the New Testament and at the same time unites it with the sacrament of baptism and unites it with Mary the mother of God so the prophecy of virginity binds us together and we find ourselves in a kind of icon of Jesus John the Baptist and Mary which somehow also represents the marrying of the two sides of the family not only of male and female man and woman as God and creation by God which is the word of God and the church of creation


but also the marrying of the two sides within us in other words the integration of the human person but all that's implicit in what he's talking about he's not a Jungian he's only in the 6th or 7th century any comments or questions about that? I wish we had more focus on this certainly sooner or later but this communications book somebody would trust it would change up I don't understand what Jesus is talking about the scriptures speak to them maybe talk about them more but it's


hard to talk about it because all the words stick together the scripture is like a mirror in which we aren't who we are the scripture speaks all the Bible but some people speak to different parts of the Bible more than others do some people read the whole Bible some people speak the whole Bible but it's better if they read the whole Bible see there's a danger if you only read part of it that you can even get on the wrong track because that's what heresy very often is is taking one scripture passage in isolation that is to set a scripture passage as it happens to follow along the line that I'm thinking and then disregard the rest so one yeah yeah


if you take one passage in scripture like Luther took Romans Romans 1 or Romans 5 and say that salvation is through faith and then knock out the other side which is the whole business of works life or action now nobody in his right mind would really do that consistently I would say that just believe and do what you want because you can't do that you can't have a church or you can't have a society that thinks that way so he sort of has to come around and fill in all the rest the other side and another way afterwards but it's there you've got to take those two passages for instance the place where James says well show me your faith without your words faith is dead without words it's as if it can't be said in one word you've got to have two words and then watch the sense pass between those two words however


it's very important you see at a certain point to drive it right down to the other side and