That divine Darkness

Chapter 24

Good Monday Morning to this week 24 of 2021

God is his attributes in infinite measure. He is maximally alive; he could not be more alive than he is eternally. The church fathers liked to make this point by calling God pure act (actus purus). He cannot be more perfectly in act than he is, otherwise, he would be less than perfect, finite and in need of improvement.

Isaiah famously foretold prophecy was the Savior’s birth, the birth of Immanuel, and the works of Jehovah through him, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives. The book is full of symbolism and poetry making much of his teaching veiled, yet understandable with the aid of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah was the last of the major prophets to teach all of the twelve Israelite tribes before they were scattered to the north and east.

Hebrew poetry plays with repetition as an artistic device. Everywhere in the Psalms and prophets you can find two to four to six lines of “rhymed meaning”. Starting with two:

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth (Isaiah 1:1) 

Often more than a simple repetition. The mention of ear is more concrete than the first to hear.

The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib (Isaiah 1:3)

From a silhouette of a farmer to a definite picture of a donkey and crib.

They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 1:4)

To “despise” is not a more definite picture than “forsake,” but it says something more intense.

In the poetry it goes from a pair of successive lines to a succession of four lines that have alternate rhymes.

For you shall be ashamed of the oaks in which you delighted:

and you shall blush for the gardens which you have chosen.

For your shall be like an oak whose leaf withers,

and like a garden without water. (1; 29-30)

The first two lines with its oaks and gardens parallels are followed by the second with its oaks and gardens. Within each we find the familiar dynamic of concretization and intensification: the generic “be ashamed” becomes the more concrete “blush”; the more preliminary stage of “delight” becomes the further, hardened state of “choose”.

(ashamed becomes blush, from delight to choice)

Or even a more elaborate structure of text: / / Enter into the rock, \ and hide in the dust / from before the terror of the Lord, \ and from the glory of his majesty. / The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, \ and the pride of men shall be humbled; \ And the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

Notice how Isaiah balances a single line against all three previous. “And the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.” This solitary line standing in contrasting parallel to all three before, it emphasizes with this one line, so much structural weight and emphasizes how exalted the Lord’s will will be done.

This is the effect poetry can have: you do not simply know about God’s majesty, but you feel that it is in front of you like a mountain or a tree. You feel that you could close your eyes and still know where God’s majesty is, the way you can locate furniture in a dark but familiar room. It is not a knowledge primarily of the mind, not knowledge of an object, but a kind of sympathy or connection by nature with the known, knowledge in the mode of a subject.

That divine Darkness is the unapproachable light in which God dwells. Into this Darkness, rendered invisible by its own excessive brilliance and unapproachable by the intensity of its transcendent flood of light, come to be all those who are worthy to know and to see God. We pray that we may come unto this Darkness which is beyond light, and without seeing and without knowing, to see and to know That which is above vision and above knowledge. Dionysius

Coming from the poetry of Isiah we landed at mystical contemplation with Him the God of all Darkness and Light who transcends all being and all knowledge.

Wishing a week with a deep sense of this God and creator being with us.

Philemon 

Convivencia

Chapter 23

Good Monday Morning to this week of 23 of 2021

Convivencia – Coexistence

The Mezquita–Cathedral of Córdoba is located in the Spanish region of Andalusia. Due to its status as a former Islamic mosque, it is also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba. According to traditional accounts, Christian Basilica of Saint Vincent of Saragossa, originally stood on the site of the current Mosque-Cathedral. The Great Mosque was constructed on the orders of Abd ar-Rahman I in 785. The mosque was converted to a cathedral in 1236 when Córdoba was captured by the Christian forces of Castile during the Reconquista. Starting in the 19th century, modern restorations have in turn led to the recovery and study of some of the building’s Islamic-era elements.Today, the building continues to serve as the city’s cathedral and Mass is celebrated therein daily. This amazing building leads me to some thoughts on coexistence.

Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgement on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14:1-4

There is so much that divides us nowadays. This current pandemic has highlighted this in many more ways that we would have liked to be true. Its as if there was always something to disagree on right now.

A few years ago there were many attacks on Christians in Egypt. Many churches were vandalised and looted. During all of this an this image by and Jesuit writer is communicated, showing Muslim leaders backing up Christians. The picture shows several Islamic men standing in front of a large church, protecting congregants as they attend mass.

Located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is the Oasis of Peace (‘Neve Shalom, a Jewish-Arab community founded in 1970. The village is composed of about 50 families; half are Jewish, half are Arab, and the majority are secular. The Oasis of Peace serves as an example of the possibility of coexistence in Israel. The name “Neve shalom” is taken from a passage in Isaiah 32:18: “My people shall dwell in an oasis of peace.

I call for more coexistence, for the pursuit of peace, for seeking that with unites and not divides.

In Mark 4: 39, Jesus rose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Jesus commanded the wind and the waves to be at peace, and they had to obey him! He also wants us to be at peace. Many times in the scriptures, God instructs his children to be at peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the source of peace. Jesus shared with his disciples of how he would arrange peace with Holy Spirit: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Wishing you a week of blessed coexistence with much peace !

Philemon