Monday, December 07, 2015

St. John of the Cross and Pope Francis:The Faith is not Doctrine but the Person of Christ. Doctrine guides thought to Christ, Faith is becoming Him.

St. John of the Cross:

[From a treatise on The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Book 2, chapt. 22. God has made full disclosure and revelation in Christ]

22.4. This is the meaning of that passage where St. Paul tries to persuade
the Hebrews to turn from communion with God through the old ways of the
Mosaic law and instead fix their eyes on Christ: Multifariam multisque
modis olim Deus loquens patribus in prophetis: novissime autem diebus istis
locutus est nobis in Filio (That which God formerly spoke to our fathers
through the prophets in many ways and manners, now, finally, in these days
he has spoken to us all at once in his Son) [Heb. 1:1-2]. The Apostle
indicates that God has become as it were mute, with no more to say, because
what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at
once by giving us the All, who is his Son.

22.5. Those who now desire to question God or receive some vision or
revelation are guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending
him by not fixing their eyes entirely on Christ and by living with the
desire for some other novelty.

22.5.(2). God could answer as follows: If I have already told you all
things in my Word, my Son, and if I have no other word, what answer or
revelation can I now make that would surpass this? Fasten your eyes on him
alone because in him I have spoken and revealed all and in him you will
discover even more than you ask for and desire. You are making an appeal
for locutions and revelations that are incomplete, but if you turn your
eyes to him you will find them complete. For he is my entire locution and
response, vision and revelation, which I have already spoken, answered,
manifested, and revealed to you by giving him to you as a brother,
companion, master, ransom, and reward.2 On that day when I descended on him
with my Spirit on Mount Tabor proclaiming: Hic est filius meus dilectus in
quo mihi bene complacui, ipsum audite (This is my beloved Son in whom I am
well pleased, hear him) [Mt. 17:5], I gave up these methods of answering
and teaching and presented them to him. Hear him because I have no more
faith to reveal or truths to manifest. If I spoke before, it was to promise
Christ. If they questioned me, their inquiries were related to their
petitions and longings for Christ in whom they were to obtain every good,
as is now explained in all the doctrine of the evangelists and apostles.
But now those who might ask me in that way and desire that I speak and
reveal something to them would somehow be requesting Christ again and more
faith, yet they would be failing in faith because it has already been given
in Christ. Accordingly, they would offend my beloved Son deeply because
they would not merely be failing him in faith, but obliging him to become
incarnate and undergo his life and death again. You will not find anything
to ask or desire of me through revelations and visions. Behold him well,
for in him you will uncover all of these already made and given, and many

            Consider Pope Francis: Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts and uncertainties, but it is living, it knows how to disturb and to encourage. Its face is not rigid, it has a body that moves and develops, it has tender flesh; Christian doctrine is called Jesus Christ”
(Meeting with the Participants in the Fifth Convention of the Italian Church: November 10, 2015.)

            Ultimately, faith is an experiential consciousness that is not reducible to conceptual creeds. The creeds, the Magisterium and the theology keep one on the track of attention to Christ. But “faith” is an action of the believer mimicking Him, and only in mimicking Him is there revelation. As Ratzinger says it: To know - Intellegere in Latin - is legere ab intus:  to read from within (oneself). It is a profound point of psychology and common sense: the only person I experience as “I” is myself. Only I determine myself in my free act. Therefore, to know Christ in His “I” as the unique Son of the Father (“I Am” in Jn., 8, 24, 28, 58), one has to do what He does. And that is the dialogue with the Father, examples of which we have  particularly in John’s Gospel.). This “dialogue” is prayer that Ratzinger proposes as the very Self of Christ. That is, Christ is nothing but prayer to the Father as Trinitarian Relation. He is not in Himself in any sense, but all “for” the Father. He is nothing but Relation to the Father.
            Hence, we can know about Hin conceptually by making Him an object of thought. But that would not be “to know Him” as He is in Himself as Relation [“I” – Son ] of the Father.
            Pope Francis acuratelycalls the reduction of Christian faith from person experience and consciousness to conceptual idealogy, Gnosticism. “(Gnosticism ) leads to trusting in logical and clear reasoning, subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or  set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings (Evangelii Gaudium, #94). Gnosticism cannot transcend.”[1]

[1] Francis, Nov. 10, 2015, Fifth Convention of the Italian Church

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