Unknown year, May talk, Serial 00980

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.



AI Suggested Keywords:

AI Summary: 





Very important thoughts that are more theological from the father's origin, Agostine Gregory, but also extremely in contact with the classics of the monastic heritage, like what we've been reading at table this today, the Apothekata, and Hesiod, and, of course, the rule, and Romulus, immediate contact with the disciples of Romulus. All these flow into St. Peter David. So a more theological and a more experiential. Father Bruno did, I think, fascinating reflection about how these are different. This current, the early current, is so taken from the mystery of Christ, the mystery of the church, just absorbed in that. It doesn't talk much about personal experiences and disciplines and prayer methods, et cetera. But as you get into the mystery, then you do want to interiorize it and claim it. And then this whole current emerges.


He's got both, and I think that's a real richness. I think it's a challenge to us. We're not anti-theology, but we don't want it to just be a head trip. So we always want this to be claimed and verified by the personal, interior, experiential. So you don't always have that. For instance, in the Apothekmata, you have a certain real suspicion of the more theological. One of the sayings I jumped over was the father who said, the best answer when asked anything about what scripture means or what the fathers mean in this particular text is to say, I don't know. That's real wisdom. Well, in an ultimate sense, it probably is. But it's not precisely the rigor of this journey. I think also in the other traditions, there's always this dialectic between a more theoretical, speculative, almost dialectical,


and a more personal existential. He came out again of Ravenna. So he might very well have had immediate contact with these Italo Greek monks who were wandering around. They had been in exile in Italy and were spreading kind of the richness of the Byzantine heritage. And Thomas Mattis has done a great deal about that. But through origin, he has the whole Eastern church in him, the more speculative, through the Apothekmata and Cassio, he has the whole Eastern. And this is also the case with Romulo. We want to look at one of his tracts. He has two huge volumes in Ming, the classic collection of the fathers. But I think the classic in everyone's book is the Dominus Fulbiscus. You've all read this. How many have read the Dominus Fulbiscus?


A few. I think it's always worthwhile passing over again. Remember, this comes out of a concrete, kind of funny pastoral question. Several of the letters of St. Paul are this way, a specific problem should Christians eat meat sacrificed to the idols? Questions that don't mean anything to us. But given this concrete pastoral problem, he weaves a whole theology that is rich and universal. Well, St. Peter Damian does the same thing. So you remember the incident, perhaps. Here's a hermit in his cell who's a priest who's wondering when he should celebrate, when he celebrates alone, should he use this formula, the Lord be with you and with your spirit? He says, I turn around and say that, and there's no one there. So why should I say it if there's no one there to be there with me? Now, a kind of post-Vatican II, ultra-modern answer is, well, you shouldn't even say it.


You shouldn't even be celebrating in your cell. There's no legitimacy to a solitary Eucharist. That's what many hold, because we're appalled by that. I did my master's at St. John's, and there was a monk there who claimed, to my horror, that he couldn't even pray alone. If he was alone, obviously he couldn't pray, because Christian prayer is essentially communal. So I was appalled and quoted, the Lord be with you to him. But it is a debate. But the Kamali's heritage is very much on the side of the legitimacy of solitary prayer, because it isn't just an individual cut off, but it's one modality of being always in the one body. Thomas Merton loved this tract. He said it is the final theological justification for Christian solitary prayer. I knew an Anglican priest who felt very liberated by it


in the sense of the legitimacy and the urgency of solitary prayer, and also the legitimacy of solitary Eucharist. I'd still hold by that whatever the latest theologians said. Any questions, discussions? Now, he's facing this very, it's not just how I feel. I get in there, and it feels good to me. He's basing it on the solid, Christological, ecclesiological models. You've got your central, and this, of course, is all origin of Augustine Gregory. The basic method of reading scripture or Christian theology starts with Christ as the center. Remember, everything in the Old Testament points in some way to Christ. If you're talking about Moses, if you're talking about David, any of these great Abraham, Isaac, Jim, they're pointing to Christ. And if you're talking about the people of God, after Moses, or David, or Abraham,


God, this is, of course, in preparation for the new Israel of the church. Now, also, in the Old Testament, there's a kind of a faint awareness that all this also has relevance for every individual Jew. What happened to Moses and the crossing of the Red Sea, et cetera, is about the synagogue today. But it's also about me as devout Jew today. And so Christ, church, and individual. That's not a good way to put it. So this is one mystery. And this is one mystery, preparing for it outside of time, outside of the time of this, but not outside of the history of this, as Gregory the Great says. So this is the basic presupposition. We're going to talk about what you should say, the Lord be with you yourself.


Well, it's not about how you feel, or don't feel, or what you see, or what you don't see. It's about the ultimate theology of Christ, and church, and person in that context. So it's extremely rich theological. And the whole Pauline and Johannine theology of the mystical body, we are members of Christ. Hello? Yes? Is this an architecture you do? Ah, it's consistent class. Oh, I have no idea. I didn't know what time it was. I heard a bell, and then. Yeah, it's 725. OK. Yeah. I thought it was 6. OK. So the Pauline theology of the body of Christ. And we're members, each one of us. Remember, this comes up several times, very eloquent terms in the Pauline corpus. And it evolves in a fascinating way.


Remember in John, the whole image of I am the vine, you are the branches. Both of them get to this organic unity of us with Christ. And biblical scholars say you can hardly exaggerate how real Paul and John mean this. They don't mean this in some kind of poetic, extended meaning. But we are really members of Christ. We are made Christ, as St. Augustine says so eloquently. Not just Christians, but Christ. And so we are parts of the whole. But I think what St. Peter Damian does very creatively is turn this around. If we are parts of the whole, somehow the whole is radically present in each part. The whole of the mystery of Christ, the whole of the church is present in each individual Christian. Indeed, the church of Christ is united in all her parts by such a bond of love. This is what bounds us together, that her several members


form a single body. And in each one, the whole church is mystically present. So that the whole church universal may rightly be called the one bride of Christ. On the other hand, every single soul can, because the mystical effect of the sacrament, be regarded as the whole church. This is just classic patristic reading, when we read about the body, or the spouse of Christ. That's about the church. It's also about every individual. Now what he works out in a new, explicit way is therefore the whole church, the whole mystery of Christ is present in each individual in some kind of mysterious, mystical way. I think we Camaldolese are supposed to particularly wrestle with that, and ponder, and chew on it. And I think there's some kind of mysterious intuition of it, when someone like Abhishek Gananda just goes wandering off into solitude, and lives in a cave. Somehow that's the whole mystery of Christianity in India, struggling with the mystery of India.


When the, recently the Polish soldiers terribly tortured that priest unto death. What they were trying to do is get at the whole of Catholicism in their wrath. He summed up the whole of Catholicism. And so in every case of the martyr, I think, when they struck out at Martin Luther King, it was supposed to be the whole of what he stood for, of kind of the black people, and this nonviolent, et cetera. In any act of violence, it's not just against that individual, it's against the whole of the Christian church that that individual Christian represents. And when you think about it, it can't be that Christ is divided. So one 10 millionth of Christ is in Michael, and one 10 millionth is in Jerry, et cetera. That's not the way it works. It's not like dividing up a pizza, or something like that.


For by the mystery of her inward unity, the whole church is spiritually present in the person of each human being. Truly, the fact of aloneness cannot make the unity of faith a solitary thing, nor can the presence of many, cause Christ to be divided. So this is, when we go into the solitude of the cell, we're not cutting ourself off from Christ, or the church, and thus we're not cutting ourself off from any other member, because all is mysteriously present in us, in the person. So each one of us, to use a different beautiful language, that he shifts the whole Greek tradition, each one of us is a microcosm, a little miniature universe of the Christian universe. There's the macrocosm of Christianity, and there's the microcosm. Now just as the Greeks called man a microcosm, that is to say a little world, because his body is comprised of the same four elements,


the universe itself, so each of the faithful is a little church, since without any violation of the mystery of her inward unity, each man receives all the sacraments of human redemption, which are divinely given to the whole church. The whole of Christ is present in baptism. The whole of Christ is present in the Eucharist. So when we receive the mystery of Christ, we receive the whole mystery of Christ, not again one little part of it. And so we receive the whole mystery of the church. So it's a tremendous mystery, and so when I see one other hermit, I see the whole of Christianity in that particular facet, through that particular angle. And so it is a great mystery. I thought that was beautiful, that apothegmata reading we had at noon about, well, it's very curious. This father, Desert Arsenius, who was very ascetical, he sends Christians away in the name of Christ, and Moses, who was this warm-hearted,


he greets them, who's right? And then that mystical vision the guy has, that, well, they're just different little angles of the kingdom, and that's what each one of us is. But of the whole kingdom, not of a little part of it, because of Christ and the kingdom and the church can't be divided up. And I think this is important. We often get into a, why did the church do that? Well, I'm the church, the whole church is in me, the whole church is in each one of us. So it's a great mystery. So the question is, where am I as church? So it's a very Christological ecclesia. It's also a very pneumatological, charismatic, if you like. This all happens through the Holy Spirit, which is the bond that binds us together. For indeed, although the Holy Church is divided in the multiplicity of her members, that she is fused into unity by the fire of the Holy Spirit.


It's both and. One individual is a unique individual. And here, we use with caution the image of the drop, then, that just merges into the ocean. That uniqueness for the Christian mystery is safeguarded for all eternity. B. Griffiths works with this and thinks this is a unique insight that Christianity has to offer to the Eastern heritage. But on the other hand, it is this mystery of the whole in each, the whole ocean, is mysteriously condensed in that one drop of water. What's that phrase, as the embryo grows, the whole course of evolution is summed up? It's a famous phrase. Something recapitulates. Marvelous. Anyway, it's something like that in a dynamic way. So, it's this fire of the Spirit that is of love, which binds us.


So, this is clear in our liturgical. This is a Christological, ecclesial, spiritual, also liturgical optic. And again, it's the only theology of the liturgy. In our Eucharist here, this isn't carving up Jesus or the Paschal mystery. This is the whole Paschal mystery and the whole church rendered present. That's why in the preface we invoke the angels and the archangels and all the heavenly hosts and the saints, et cetera. They're all present in this community, which is the church. Remember, church can be used for the universal church or church can be used for the local church. In St. Paul, it's almost always for the local church and then the universal church seems to come out of this. We presuppose the universal church and we see local churches. But this is somewhat debated by biblical scholars, but it seems to be that the first experiences of a local community, when they go and they find this other local community, they are both ecclesia, they are both churches.


Then there's this church. And then they realize, well, it's all church. So, it's this mystery of the one and the many and the many are in the one and the one is in the many. And this, particularly in this culminating mystery of Eucharist or baptism. For the fathers perceived, whatever is reverently offered up in Christ's service by any member of the church is sustained by the faith and devotion of the whole body of Christ. Since the spirit of the church, which gives life to the whole body, which is preserved by Christ its head, is one. So, it's only the spirit that through Christ can offer worthy gifts to the father, this whole Trinitarian. So, if I say an authentic prayer or if we celebrate an authentic Eucharist or if the individual hermit celebrates Eucharist, it's the whole Trinitarian action there, it's the whole Christ action,


it's the whole church. So, this is the response to that Benedictine at St. John's who said, I can't pray in solitude. Well, God is there when you go into your room. The spirit is in your heart and you are a member of Christ still. You don't cease being that when you're no longer in physical proximity to another. That's just a bizarre materialism that has nothing to do with the Christian heritage. So, and this is obviously then also true of the priest who celebrates in solitude. This is made clear by another passage in the liturgy itself. We beseech thee therefore, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation of our service and that of thy whole church. So, this is being offered as our offering, this community, but also the whole church. These words make it ever clearer that the sacrifice which is placed upon the holy altar


by the priest is offered up by the whole of God's family. The whole, we all celebrate. Thomas was citing this weird phrase they use in some, this in the German tradition? Will you, no, will you read Mass for me? He was trying to say, well, it's not that one priest goes off and reads Mass, but it's the community celebrating Mass together with this diversity of ministries in that celebration. But it's not like someone in one's room sitting down and reading a book or something. So, it's the whole church that celebrates this Eucharist. This unity of the church was clearly proclaimed by the apostle when he said, for we being made, I'm sorry, for we being many are one bread and one body, verse Corinthians. For so great is the unity of the church in Christ that throughout the whole world there is but one bread, which is the body of Christ, one chalice, which is the chalice of his blood.


This is extremely powerful. There's only one bread. Now, obviously, in another sense, there's many breads and many chalices, but they do express the one bread, which is the one flesh of Christ, and the one chalice, which is his blood, which is to say his one mystical body, if you like, in which we are all incorporated. So, physical distance, the bottom line is this. We seem to be out of touch. We seem to be separated, but that is what the Buddhists would call illusion. At the deepest level, we are profoundly united. Something like this image, that this is Christ, and this is the church. All this comes around. And the area that extends outside of Christ is the area of sin in reality, which is a very mysterious area, which the Buddhists would call illusion,


which Thomas Aquinas would say in a ridiculous sense is not the absence of being, but the whole of Christian life is to pass from a depression of being separate on my own, having one individual thing, to be aware of it uniquely. I am in Christ, but not Christ. And again, it's this dialectic. As Satyagraha says, true unity differentiates, and true differentiation unifies. It's this dialectic, but it's not the thing as we have as a rather individualist society, just an isolated movement that's out there. In other words, it's a kind of accidental link-up to some kind of mutual self-interest or something. So, very profound and rigorous theology, and so distance doesn't separate. If anything, as I go deeper into myself,


deeper into the mystery of Christ, I go deeper into my bonds with others. If, therefore, we are all one body in Christ, we who dwell in him cannot be separated from one another in spirit, even though we are separated in the flesh. I can see no harm in our observing, when we are alone, the common custom of the church, since by the mystery of our undivided unity, we are never apart from her. When I, in my solitude, utter the common words of the church, I show that I am one with her, and that by the indwelling of the spirit, I truly dwell in her, and if I am truly a member of her, it is not unfitting that I fulfill my universal duty. So, it's all one body of Christ. So, in the cell, we're almost too crowded there. We've got the archangels and the angels and all the saints and all the sinners, and I think this is a glorious idea, and we want to bring it to the level of, I think, of experience and commitment.


The church is primarily sinners. Christ says he came not for the just, but for the sinner. I find it a very moving thought that all the thieves and prostitutes and addicts all through history are, through me, praying to God, asking for mercy, glorifying God. And all the saints, through me, are some mysterious way of glorifying God. Saint Francis and Saint Benedict and Saint Anthony and Abishek Denanda and B. Griffiths and Tony Manuele and the whole thing, my father and mother, et cetera, are all glorifying, and people in the future, and people who just barely make it kind of thing, those of goodwill who are groping, et cetera, are all, some mysterious way, I give voice to them in pleading for humanity, in praising God. So, it makes the moment of the hermitage not be just going off and doing my little thing, kind of thing, my little ego trip,


shifted into the level of spirituality. But it is this thing of realizing it's the whole mystery in that little cell through my little fragile flesh that sums this up. Questions, comments? You're all mellow with this. It would be interesting to explore parallels in, oh, other mystics, in scripture, in other religions, et cetera. But it's, I think, a deep mystical insight that goes quite beyond the pragmatic, common sense, me on my own two feet, self-sufficiency kind of thing. If you're at home these days, if you're not on campus, you certainly know that the G class and the G2, the importance of at least having one or the first class in the community, it seems like there's been a lot of stress on that basic style of community. Is that to make the symbolism clearer


that the G members are the whole church and not just the entire community? I think so. That's what these people would argue. And I think they probably are right. That is to say, we are also flesh and blood, so we need the outer invisible sign of community. But I don't think it's absolutely necessary. I think it's good for a certain, in a certain way, a certain greater fullness. The Anglican cannot celebrate without one other person there. If an Anglican priest goes into the church and there's not one other person there, he's gotta go back out. He can't celebrate. That's always been their rubric. Now, I think it's, I don't know where we are now. I still, I think it's still not required that there be another person, but it's very much recommended. All but. Yeah, all but. But I think there are moments when we still want to witness to this fact. And so if someone here sometimes would want to celebrate absolutely alone, I personally wouldn't be horrified.


Pardon me? Celebrating absolutely alone. Yeah. [...] Yeah, I've done it. And I find it very moving. Victor's done it. I suspect most of the priests here have done it. I suspect Joseph has done it. He doesn't like to. No. Talk to him. No. I guess he would if he had to. I think he'd want to celebrate Jesus. He doesn't like it. He doesn't know how to. I suspect Abhishek Tananda every now and then is absolutely alone. And of course Teilhard blows this into cosmic proportions with his Mass on the World. He describes one day being all alone and not even having the elements of the Eucharist. So what does he do? He takes the whole cosmos as his bread and his wine. And he offers up the whole cosmos in an offertory, in a transubstantiation, in a communion, and very mystical indeed.


But so this, in Peter Damian, he's talking about the angels, the archangels, and Christians. But you can, with also the insight of Teilhard, say that there's a sense in which the whole of creation is there. And well, Peter Damian refers to that and say we're a microcosm of the whole universe. And so we're also a microcosm of the whole church. Yeah. And of the Holy Spirit Christ. So there are other aspects. Why don't we start this other lovely aspect of the dialectic, of the relationship of sorrow and joy, of compunction and love in the hermit's life. Sometimes I think we want to try to go into one emotional state and be there, be fixed there as a sign of our kind of psychological and spiritual stability or something. And he says it's not that way at all.


It's this dialectic. It's this alternation. It's also very creative. Also that saying of the father at lunch, which I thought was delightful. If you want to stay out of trouble in terms of temptations, et cetera, pray a while and then work a while and then pray a while and then work a while. You don't just say I'm gonna work for eight straight hours. Then you'll get into trouble. You don't, unless you're rather more advanced stage, say I'm gonna just pray for eight straight hours, et cetera. So here also, it might be that quite a mood change, if you like, at the deeper level is indicated. He starts with a lovely text from 2 Maccabees. Well, by the way, his fundamental source, of course, is scripture, which is, SS is the scripture that teaches you all these. And then he uses this, as all the prophets do, by just constantly reading in and out. Now, he does get into some pretty wild allegorizations that are a little heavier and thrusts get more in the way than they illumine.


But sometimes I think it's just lovely poetry. There's a second Maccabees text where Israel is being carried off into Persia. They've been seized. So what do the high priests do? They take the fire of the altar and they hide it in this deep, deep well so that it won't be seized and snuffed out by these pagan infidels. So then they're carried off into exile. Then they come back years later and they find this well. And in the bottom, there's just this kind of murky, thick water. But they bring up the water and they take it and they sprinkle it on the wood of their sacrifice. And after a bit of time under the hot beating sun, it springs into fire again. Well, it's a marvelous image. And it's kind of archetypal. Junians would love this if it occurred in a dream or something. Well, he does a kind of a poetic thing with it that I think is very beautiful. He sees it as this alternation between the tears of compunction and the fire of love.


And he says, it's this alternation that characterizes the monastic life. So think about that a little and we'll come back and read some of the lovely texts about that as just an example on how he uses a particular image like that and then personalizes it, takes it to that final step. That's about those high priests and that water and that fire. It's also somehow about Christ in the church. That is, it's somehow about my interior life. It's that basic method of origin. And so we'll come back to that next time and then see a few other aspects of his thought and then jump over into our next theme, who I guess is the great Anselm. Amen. Questions, comments? Peter, he actually lives before the Romulans were called Indians, right? Before they were called that?


Oh, absolutely. Yeah, the term comes quite later. What did he, what did they call themselves then? The Romulans? I think so. They just said, we accept the Romulan reform. The monastery he entered, which called itself a hermitage, it was so austere, as Fonte Avelana preceded in date, camaldoli, and is kind of right at the early years of Romuald, but Romuald goes to it later and influences it into his reform. He didn't have a written rule. It was just kind of his spirit of austerity and solitude and the charismatic kind of thing. And so, they become larger family, and this is one of the first kind of proto-orders. This and the Cistercians then become the order in our sense, but until then, it's just each single Benedictine monastery on its own, so to speak, and then if monks come and visit, they're accepted as fellow monks, also following the rules of Benedict,


maybe several other rules, et cetera. But with the camaldolis, with the Cistercians, you start to get a sense of a gathered particular family within this larger, what would you call it, not even confederation, but larger sprinkling of monasteries. Did Romuald have a large hall in his monastery? I mean, like, not certainly like what we know in the Francis, but, and also, did he write a rule? He didn't, no. He says the only rule he leaves him is the rule of St. Benedict. He seems to have written, according to St. Peter Damian, a commentary on the Psalms, but we don't have it. That would be interesting to rediscover. But basically, he was this charismatic figure who would go to a monastery and say, hey, in the name of our Lord, in the name of the Spirit, renew, and they would say, we want to renew, and give us your Spirit kind of thing, and then they would be associated, maybe he would revisit it some years later. He was very often on the road. He must have had a hall. Oh, indeed, yeah.


He had many monasteries up and down Italy. Because we could, we could give to him as the founder. That's right, with St. Benedict. He's the founder of this particular branch of the Benedictines, so he's specifically of the Carmelites. Absolutely. In the second term, it's just lovely, the first two windows are Benedict here, and Romulus there. All right. Then, of course, Peter David gives us And then, of course, in Peter David, he gives us the life of Sopramune. So, all right. And then, of course, St. Peter gave the gifts