Jean Daniélou: The Realities of the Old Testament are Figures of Those of the New Wednesday, May 7 2014 

JeanDanielouSJThat the realities of the Old Testament are figures of those of the New is one of the principles of  biblical theology.

This science of the similitudes between the two Testaments is called typology.

And here we would do well to remind ourselves of its foundation, for this is to be found in the Old Testament itself.

At the time of the Captivity, the prophets announced to the people of Israel that in the future God would perform for their benefit deeds analogous to, and even greater than those He had performed in the past.

So there would be a new Deluge, in which the sinful world would be annihilated, and a few men, a “remnant,” would be preserved to inaugurate a new humanity;

there would be a new Exodus in which, by His power, God would set mankind free from its bondage to idols; there would be a new Paradise into which God would introduce the people He had redeemed.

These prophecies constitute a primary typology that might be called eschatological, for the prophets saw these future events as happening at the end of time.

The New Testament, therefore, did not invent typology, but simply showed that it was fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. With Jesus, in fact, these events of the end, of the fullness of time, are now accomplished.

He is the New Adam with whom the time of the Paradise of the future has begun. In Him is already realized that destruction of the sinful world of which the Flood was the figure. In Him is accomplished the true Exodus which delivers the people of God from the tyranny of the demon.

Typology was used in the preaching of the apostles as an argument to establish the truth of their message, by showing that Christ continues and goes beyond the Old Testament: “Now all these things happened to them as a type and, they were written for our correction” (I Cor. 10, 11). This is what St. Paul calls the consolatio Scripturarum (Rom. 15, 4).

But these eschatological times are not only those of the life of Jesus, but of the Church as well. Consequently, the eschatological typology of the Old Testament is accomplished not only in the person of Christ, but also in the Church.

Besides Christological typology, therefore, there exists a sacramental typology, and we find it in the New Testament. The Gospel of St. John shows us that the manna was a figure of the Eucharist; the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians that the crossing of the Red Sea was a figure of Baptism; the first Epistle of St. Peter that the Flood was also a figure of Baptism.

Jean Daniélou, S.J. (1905 – 1974):  The Bible and the Liturgy, Liturgical Studies, 3 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1956), pp. 1-2.

John Paul II: Heaven is Communion of Life and Love with the Trinity (2) Monday, Nov 25 2013 

jp2Continued from here…

The fatherhood of God, who is rich in mercy, is experienced by creatures through the love of God’s crucified and risen Son, who sits in heaven on the right hand of the Father as Lord.

After the course of our earthly life, participation in complete intimacy with the Father thus comes through our insertion into Christ’s paschal mystery.

St Paul emphasizes our meeting with Christ in heaven at the end of time with a vivid spatial image: “Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thes 4:17-18).

In the context of Revelation, we know that the “heaven” or “happiness” in which we will find ourselves is neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but a living, personal relationship with the Holy Trinity.

It is our meeting with the Father which takes place in the risen Christ through the communion of the Holy Spirit. It is always necessary to maintain a certain restraint in describing these “ultimate realities” since their depiction is always unsatisfactory.

Today, personalist language is better suited to describing the state of happiness and peace we will enjoy in our definitive communion with God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church sums up the Church’s teaching on this truth:

“By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has ‘opened’ heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ” (n. 1026).

This final state, however, can be anticipated in some way today in sacramental life, whose centre is the Eucharist, and in the gift of self through fraternal charity. If we are able to enjoy properly the good things that the Lord showers upon us every day, we will already have begun to experience that joy and peace which one day will be completely ours.

We know that on this earth everything is subject to limits, but the thought of the “ultimate” realities helps us to live better the “penultimate” realities.

We know that as we pass through this world we are called to seek “the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col 3:1), in order to be with him in the eschatological fulfilment, when the Spirit will fully reconcile with the Father “all things, whether on earth or in heaven” (Col 1:20).

John Paul II (1920-2005): Wednesday General Audience, 21st July 1999.


Ambrose of Milan: Naaman Sought Healing for his Body and Won it for his Soul Monday, Aug 19 2013 

ambrose_of_milanThere were many lepers in the time of the prophet Elisha, but none of them was healed except Naaman the Syrian (Luke 4:25).

Clearly this saying of our Lord and Saviour teaches and exhorts us to be zealous in worshiping God; it shows that no one is healed and set free from a disfiguring illness without having earnestly striven for health by acts of piety.

Divine blessings are not accorded to the som­nolent, but to the persistent. The Lord uses an apt comparison to deflate his envious townsmen and to show that his actions are in harmony with the ancient scriptures.

We read in the Book of Kings that a Gentile called Naaman was cleansed of leprous spots by the word of a prophet, although leprosy of body and soul was carrying off many Israelites;

in fact the history relates that the four men were lepers who, driven by hunger, were the first to enter the camp of the King of Syria.

Why then did the prophet not cure his brothers, his compatriots and comrades, when he healed foreigners, men who did not observe the law or share his religion, if not because healing depends upon the will, not upon one’s nationality, and because the divine gift is gained by prayer, not granted as a birthright.

Learn to ask for what you wish to obtain; heavenly blessings are not bestowed upon the proud.

[…] Rightly, therefore, was Naaman said to be greatly esteemed by his lord, and in high favour, for he foreshadowed the future salvation of the Gentiles.

A devout slave-girl captured by the enemy when her country was defeated advised ­him to seek healing from a prophet; and he was healed not by order of an earthly King, but by the generous mercy of God.

What is the reason for the mysterious number of times he was required to immerse himself? Why was the river Jordan chosen? As Naaman said: Are not Abanna and Pharphar, the rivers of Damascus, better than the Jordan?

Anger made him prefer those ­rivers, but reflection led him to choose the Jordan: wrath remains ignorant of the mystery, but faith understands it.

Understand from this the saving grace of baptism: he entered the water a leper and came forth a believer. Recognise the symbol of the spiritual sacraments:

Naaman sought healing for his body and won it for his soul. His flesh was bathed and his wrong dispositions were cleansed.

In my view he was cleansed as much of the soul’s leprosy as the body’s, for after his baptism, ­when the impurities of his former false religion had been washed away, he declared that he would no longer offer sacrifices to alien gods, but promised them to the Lord.

Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397): On St Luke’s Gospel, 4, 49-50, 1, 33 (SC 45:170-171); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Monday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1.

Augustine of Hippo: Solomon’s Temple was a Type and Figure of the Future Church and of the Lord’s Body Sunday, Jul 28 2013 

St Augustine of AfricaSolomon had built a Temple for the Lord that was a type and figure of the future Church and of the Lord’s body.

That is why the Lord says in the Gospel: Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Since Solomon had built that Temple, Jesus Christ, the true Solomon, the true man of peace, also built a Temple for himself.

The name ‘Solomon’ means ‘man of peace’; but the true man of peace is he of whom the Apostle says: He is our peace, who made the two one.  

He is the true man of peace who united in himself as their cornerstone the two walls coming from different directions – the believers coming from the Jews and the believers coming from the Gentiles.

Out of these two peoples he made a single Church with himself as its cornerstone; that is why he is the true man of peace.

Since, then, he is the true Solomon and since the earlier Solo­mon, David’s son by Bathsheba and King of Israel, simply prefig­ured this true man of peace when he built a Temple, do not think that Solomon was the real builder of God’s house, for Scripture shows you a different Solomon at the beginning of the psalm: unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.

It is the Lord, then, who builds the house; the Lord Jesus Christ builds his own house. Many labour to build it, but if he does not build it, its builders labour in vain.

Who are the labourers engaged on the building? All those in the Church who preach the word of God, and all the ministers of God’s Sacraments.

We all run, we all toil, we are all building in our own day; and before us others have run and toiled and built. But unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.

We speak to the outer ear: he builds within. We notice whether you are listening, but only he who sees your thoughts knows what you are thinking. He builds, he teaches, he frightens; he opens your minds and draws your thoughts toward faith.

The house of God is also a city. For the house of God is God’s people; and because they are God’s house, they are his Temple. What does the Apostle say? The Temple of God is holy, and you are that Temple.

[…] All ­the holy believers who are to be taken from mankind to be the ­equals and companions of God’s angels, who are not pilgrims now but await us when we return from our pilgrimage – all these together form a single house of God and a single city.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Commentary on Psalm 126, 2-3 (CSEL 40:1857-8); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1.

Georges Florovsky: Within the Church, through an Acquisition of the Spirit in the Fellowship of Sacraments, the Ascension Continues…Until the Measure is Full Tuesday, May 14 2013 

FlorovskyThe revelation of the Holy Trinity was completed. Now the Spirit Comforter is poured forth on all flesh.

“Hence comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of mysteries, apprehension of what is hidden, distribution of good gifts, the heavenly citizenship, a place in the chorus of angels, joy without end, abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, ,the being made God!” (St Basil, On the Holy Spirit, IX).

Beginning with the Apostles, and through communion with them – by an unbroken succession – Grace is spread to all believers. Through renewal and glorification in the Ascended Christ, man’s nature became receptive of the Spirit. “And unto the world He gives quickening forces through His human body,” says Bishop Theophanes.

“He holds it completely in Himself and penetrates it with His strength, out of Himself; and He likewise draws the angels to Himself through the spirit of man, giving them space for action and thus making them blessed.”

All this is done through the Church, which is “the Body of Christ;” that is, His “fullness” (Ephesians 1:23). “The Church is the fulfillment of Christ,” continues Bishop Theophanes, “perhaps in the same way as the tree is the fulfillment of the seed. That which is contained in the seed in a contracted form receives its development in the tree.”

The very existence of the Church is the fruit of the Ascension. It is in the Church that man’s nature is truly ascended to the Divine heights. “And gave Him to be Head over all things” (Ephesians 1:22).

St John Chrysostom comments: “Amazing! Look again, whither He has raised the Church. As though He were lifting it up by some engine, He has raised it up to a vast height, and set it on yonder throne; for where the Head is, there is the body also.

“There is no interval of separation between the Head and the body; for were there a separation, then would the one no longer be a body, nor would the other any longer be a Head.”

The whole race of men is to follow Christ, even in His ultimate exaltation, “to follow in His train.” Within the Church, through an acquisition of the Spirit in the fellowship of Sacraments, the Ascension continues still, and will continue until the measure is full.

“Only then shall the Head be filled up, when the body is rendered perfect, when we are knit together and united,” concludes St John Chrysostom. The Ascension is a sign and token of the Second Coming. “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Georges Florovsky (1893-1979; Eastern Orthodox): And Ascended Into Heaven…; originally published in St Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, Vol. 2 # 3, 1954; full text @ Mystagogy.

Maximus of Turin: In the Feast of His Baptism the Lord is Reborn Sacramentally Thursday, Jan 10 2013 

Maximus_TurinThis feast of the Lord’s baptism, which I think could be called the feast of his birthday, should follow soon after the Lord’s birthday, during the same season, even though many years intervened between the two events.

At Christmas he was born a man; today he is reborn sacramentally. Then he was born from the Virgin; today he is born in mystery.

When he was born a man, his mother Mary held him close to her heart; when he is born in mystery, God the Father embraces him with his voice when he says: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: listen to him.

The mother caresses the tender baby on her lap; the Father serves his Son by his loving testimony.

The mother holds the child for the Magi to adore; the Father reveals that his Son is to be worshiped by all the nations.

That is why the Lord Jesus went to the river for baptism, that is why he wanted his holy body to be washed with Jordan’s water.

Someone might ask, “Why would a holy man desire baptism?” Listen to the answer: Christ is baptized, not to be made holy by the water, but to make the water holy, and by his cleansing to purify the waters which he touched.

For the consecration of Christ involves a more significant consecration of the water.

For when the Saviour is washed all water for our baptism is made clean, purified at its source for the dispensing of baptismal grace to the people of future ages.

Christ is the first to be baptized, then, so that Christians will follow after him with confidence.

I understand the mystery as this. The column of fire went before the sons of Israel through the Red Sea so they could follow on their brave journey; the column went first through the waters to prepare a path for those who followed.

As the apostle Paul said, what was accomplished then was the mystery of baptism. Clearly it was baptism in a certain sense when the cloud was covering the people and bringing them through the water.

 But Christ the Lord does all these things: in the column of fire he went through the sea before the sons of Israel; so now, in the column of his body, he goes through baptism before the Christian people.

At the time of the Exodus the column provided light for the people who followed; now it give light to the hearts of believers.

Then it made a firm pathway through the waters; now it strengthens the footsteps of faith in the bath of baptism.

Maximus of Turin (d. between 408 and 423):  Sermon 100, 1, 3 (CCL 23, 398-400) from the Office of Readings for the Friday between the Feasts of the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord @ Crossroads Initiative.

Silouan the Athonite: The closeness of the saints and the presence of the Holy Spirit Tuesday, Oct 23 2012 

In heaven all things live and move in the Holy Spirit. But this same Holy Spirit is on earth too.

The Holy Spirit dwells in our Church; in the sacraments; in the Holy Scriptures; in the souls of the faithful.

The Holy Spirit unites all men, and so the Saints are close to us; and when we pray to them they hear our prayers in the Holy Spirit, and our souls feel that they are praying for us.

The Saints live in another world, and there through the Holy Spirit they behold the glory of God and the beauty of the Lord’s countenance.

But in the same Holy Spirit they see our lives, too, and our deeds. They know our sorrows and hear our ardent prayers.

In their lives they learned of the love of God from the Holy Spirit; and he who knows love on earth takes it with him into eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, where love grows and becomes perfect.

And if love makes one unable to forget a brother here, how much more do the Saints remember and pray for us!

The holy Saints have attained the Kingdom of Heaven, and there they look upon the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ; but by the Holy Spirit they see, too, the sufferings of men on earth.

The Lord gave them such great grace that they embrace the whole world with their love.

They see and know how we languish in affliction, how are hearts have withered within us, how despondency has fettered our souls; and they never cease to intercede for us with God.

The Saints rejoice when we repent, and grieve when men forsake God and become like brute beasts.

They grieve to see people living on earth and not realizing that if they were to love one another, the world would know freedom from sin.

And where sin is absent there is joy and gladness from the Holy Spirit, in such wise that on all sides everything looks pleasing, and the soul marvels that all is so well with her, and praises God.

Call with faith upon the Mother of God and the Saints, and pray to them. They hear our prayers and know even our inmost thoughts.

And marvel not at this. Heaven and all the saints live by the Holy Spirit and in all the world there is naught hidden by the Holy Spirit.

Once upon a time I did not understand how it was that the holy inhabitants of heaven could see our lives.

But when the Mother of God brought my sins home to me I realized that they see us in the Holy Spirit, and know our entire lives.

Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938; Eastern Orthodox): from St. Silouan the Athonite, by Archimandrite Sophrony Chap. XII, pp. 395-397; longer extract @ Kandylaki and Full of Grace and Truth.

Bede the Venerable: Let Us Seek His Face Always Friday, May 25 2012 

icon_bede-When Elijah was raised up to the heavens, he let the cloak with which he had been clothed fall to Elisha.

When our Lord ascended into heaven, he left the mysteries of the humanity he had assumed to his disciples, to the entire Church in fact, so that it could be sanctified by them, and warmed by the power of his love.

Elisha took up Elijah’s cloak and struck the waters of the river Jordan with it; and when he called upon the God of Elijah, the waters were divided and he crossed over.

The apostles and the entire Church took up the sacraments of their Redeemer that had been instituted through the apostles, so that, spiritually guided by them, and cleansed and consecrated by them, they too learned to overcome death’s assault by calling upon the name of God the Father, and to cross over to undying life, spurning the obstacle of death.

Let us the, with all devotion, dearly beloved brothers, venerate this glory of the Lord’s ascension, which was first expressed by the words and deeds of the prophets, and was afterward brought to fulfilment in our Mediator himself.

And that we ourselves may become worthy of following in his footsteps and ascending to heaven, let us in the meantime become humble on earth for our own good, always mindful that, as Solomon says, Humiliation follows the proud, and honor follows the humble in spirit (Prov. 29:23).

Behold we have learned in our Redeemer’s ascension whither all our effort should be directed; behold we have recognized that the entry to the heavenly fatherland has been opened up to human beings by the ascension into heaven of the Mediator between god and human beings.

Let us hurry, with all eagerness, to the perpetual bliss of this fatherland; since we are not yet able to be there in our bodies, let us at least always dwell there by the desire of our minds.

In accord with the words of the great preacher, let us seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God; let us savor the things that are above and not those that are upon the earth (Col. 3:1-2).

Let us seek him and be strengthened; let us seek him by works of charity, and be strengthened by the hope of finding him.

Let us seek his face always, so that when he who ascended peacefully returns terrifying, he may find us prepared, and take us with him into the feasts of the city on high.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735): Homilies on the Gospels, 2:8 (Easter), Homilies on the Gospels, Book Two, Lent to the Dedication of the Church, trans. Lawrence T. Martin and David Hurst OSB (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1991).

Nicholas Cabasilas: Through Jesus we are made sharers in the Holy Spirit and are led to the Father Saturday, May 12 2012 

The purpose of Chrismation is to enable us to share in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This anointing brings the Lord Jesus ­himself to dwell in us, our only salvation and hope.

Through ­him we are made sharers in the Holy Spirit and are led to the Fa­ther.

Unfailingly it procures for Christians those gifts that are needed in every age, gifts such as faith, reverence for God, prayer, love, and purity.

It does so even though many are un­aware of having received such gifts.

Many do not know the power of this Sacrament or even that there is a Holy Spirit, as it says in the Book of Acts, because they were anointed before reaching the age of reason and afterward they blinded their ­souls by sin.

Nevertheless, the Spirit does in truth give the newly initiated his gifts, distributing them to each one as he wills; and our Lord, who promised to be with us always, never ceases ­to shower blessings on us.

Chrismation cannot be superfluous. We obtain the remis­sion of our sins in Baptism and we receive the body of Christ at the Altar. These Sacraments will remain until the unveiled appearance of their author.

It cannot be doubted, then, that Christians also enjoy the benefits that belong to this holy anointing and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

How could some Sacraments be fruitful and this one without effect? How can we be­lieve that Saint Paul’s words: He who promised is faithful, apply to some Sacraments but not to this one?

If we discount the value of any Sacrament we must discount the value of all, since it is the same power that acts in each of them, it is the immolation of the same Lamb, it is the same death and the same blood that gives each of them its efficacy.

The Holy Spirit is given to some, as St Paul says, to enable them to do good to others and to edify the Church by prophesying, teaching revealed truth, or healing the sick by a mere word.

The Spirit is given to others for their own sanctification, imparting to them a shining faith and reverence for God, or making them outstanding in purity, charity, or humility.

Nicholas Cabasilas (1319/1323–after 1391): The Life in Christ, 3 (PG 150:574-575); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Thursday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide, Year 2

Nicholas Cabasilas: “It is no longer I who live: it is Christ who lives In me” Saturday, May 5 2012 

We approach the Holy Table, the consummation of our life in Christ, which leaves no further happiness to be desired.

Now it is no longer a question of sharing in Christ’s death or burial or in a higher kind of life, but of welcoming the risen Lord himself.

It is no longer the gifts of the Spirit that we receive, insofar as we are able, but our benefactor himself, the very temple that enshrines all gifts.

Christ…leads communicants to his Table and gives them his body to eat he completely transforms them, raising them to his own level.

This is the last Sacrament we receive because it is impossible to go beyond it or to add to it anything whatever.

We remain imperfect even after Baptism has produced in us its full effect because we have not yet received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are given in Chrismation.

[…] Yet even among those who had been filled with the Spirit and who prophesied, spoke in tongues and displayed other such gifts, there were some in the time of the Apostles who were so far from being divine and spiritual as to be guilty of envy, rivalry, contention, and other similar vices.

This is what Paul referred to when he wrote to them: You are still unspiritual and are living on a purely human plane.

They were indeed spiritual by reason of the graces they had received, but these graces did not suffice to free them from all sinfulness.

With the Eucharist, however, it is different.

No such charge can be brought against those in whom the Bread of Life, which has saved them from death, has had its full effect and who have not brought to this feast any wrongful dispositions.

If this Sacrament is fully effective it is quite impossible for it to allow the slightest imperfection to remain in those who receive it.

If you would know the reason for this, it is because through communion, in fulfilment of his promise, Christ dwells in us and we in him.

He lives in me, he said, and I in him.

When Christ lives in us, what can we lack? When we live in Christ, what more can we desire?

We at once become spiritual in body and soul and in all our faculties because our soul is united to his soul, our body to his body, our blood to his blood.

The consequence is that the higher prevails over the lower, the divine over the human.

As Paul says, referring to the Resurrection: What is mortal is swallowed up by life.

And elsewhere he writes: It is no longer I who live: it is Christ who lives in me.

Nicholas Cabasilas (1319/1323–after 1391): The Life in Christ, 4 (PG 150:582-583); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide, Year 2

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