Saturday, January 29, 2011

"in these last days"

"But now that the faith is established through Christ, and the Gospel law made manifest in this era of grace, there is no reason for inquiring of Him in this way, or expecting Him to answer as before.  In giving us His Son, His only Word (for He possesses no other), He spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word and He has no more to say. . . .
"Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would [therefore] not only be guilty of foolish behavior but also of offending Him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty."

St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel II.xxii.3, 5, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez.

I have taken this out of context to be sure:  out of the context of the Spirit-led and in that sense mystic "ascent" ("God is leading them by these means" (19, italics mine)), but out from under the role of "the Church or her ministers" as well ("One should [therefore] disbelieve anything coming in a supernatural way, and believe only the teaching of Christ, the man, as I say, and of His ministers who are men" (11 and 7, both of which I would interpret as a call for submission to divinely instituted checks and balances)), among other things.

Still, the Christocentrism is very striking.

This appears in the Liturgy of the hours for the Second Monday of Advent (vol. 1, pp. 212-213) as follows (translator unspecified, so maybe the ICEL?):
     "Under the ancient law prophets and priests sought from God revelations and visions which indeed they needed, for faith had as yet no firm foundation and the gospel law had not yet been established.  Their seeking and God's responses were necessary.  He spoke to them at one time through words and visions and revelations, at another through signs and symbols.  But however he responded and what he said and revealed were mysteries of our holy faith, either partial glimpses of the whole or sure movements toward it. 
     "But now that faith is rooted in Christ, and the law of the gospel has been proclaimed in this time of grace, there is no need to seek him in the former manner, nor for him so to respond.  By giving us, as he did, his Son, his only Word, he has in that one Word said everything.  There is no need for any further revelation. 
     "This is the true meaning of Paul's words to the Hebrews when he urged them to abandon their earlier ways of conversing with God, as laid down in the law of Moses, and to set their eyes on Christ alone:  In the past God spoke to our fathers through the prophets in various ways and manners; but now in our times, the last days, he has spoken to us in his own Son.  In effect, Paul is saying that God has spoken so completely through his own Word that he chooses to add nothing.  Although he had spoken but partially through the prophets he has now said everything in Christ.  He has given us everything, his own Son. 
     "Therefore, anyone who wished to question God or to seek some new vision or revelation from him would commit an offense, for instead of focusing his eyes entirely on Christ he would be desiring something other than Christ, or beyond him. 
     "God could then answer:  This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him.  In my Word I have already said everything.  Fix your eyes on him alone for in him I have revealed all and in him you will find more than you could ever ask for or desire. 
     "I, with my Holy Spirit, came down upon him on Mount Tabor and declared:  This is my well beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him.  You do not need new teachings or ways of learning from me, for when I spoke before it was of Christ who was to come, and when they sought anything of me they were but seeking and hoping for the Christ in whom is every good, as the whole teaching of the evangelists and apostles clearly testifies."

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