"Like" One Under the Law

Should Catholic Jews (and Messianic Jews) keep the Torah? How should Catholic Jews relate to rabbinical authority?

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Hadassah
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"Like" One Under the Law

Post by Hadassah » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:14 pm

1 Corinthians. Specifically 9:19-20. So without getting into Romans and Hebrews, we can begin here to say that Christians who come from Judaism are certainly not bound by the Law. A related question is this: with the proper understanding of law and freedom in Christ, would it be acceptable for a Christian to live a Torah-observant life? I suppose the answer would depend on the intention and disposition of the individual, would it not?

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Post by Athol » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:43 pm

Dear Hadassah,

I just posted a long answer that disappeared so I will just write something short for now. 'under law' [hupo nomos] is not the same as 'bound by Torah'. One needs to remember that PAUL IS A MYSTIC AND THAT MYSTICAL LANGUAGE IS NOT THE SAME AS THEOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL LANGUAGE. Paul mystically related to the Torah in a new or renewed way as the Redemption is now a reality for him and all the baptised, which it is not for the unbaptised - they are still aiming for the light of the Redemption. For the baptised jew the outward observance of the Torah is the same but the mitzvot are not just vessels to the light of the Redemption any more. For the baptised Jew has already that light. Now he observes the mitzvot in union with the Messiah so that now the mitzvot have a certain redemptive power for others and the mitzvot observed with redemptive light and power start the process leading to the Kingdom of sanctification. Paul has glimpsed this coming sanctification in what he calls the third Heaven- he calls this the Mystery of the Will.(see Ephesians).
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Post by Hadassah » Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:59 pm

Hello, Athol:

Perhaps I need the longer version of your reply to better understand your point. At the very least, I think need some frame of reference or clarification for the following statement:

"For the baptised jew the outward observance of the Torah is the same..."

From where do you draw this statement? Do you mean that this can be a personal choice which one makes ~ one path among others that can serve to glorify God and to contribute to the spiritual treasury of the Church? Or do you mean that a baptized Jew is legitimately bound to observe the commands of the Torah which now serve a different spiritual purpose and have a different meaning?

I am somewhat confused only because I read St. Paul as very clearly willing to take or leave observance of at least portions of the Torah (I am not advocating antinomianism), depending on the situation (e.g., 1 Corinthians 8:7-13).

Thank you,
Hadassah

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Post by Athol » Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:29 pm

Dear Hadassah,

I thought I would share something I wrote a long time ago on Paul so that you can see where I am coming from before I discuss Paul and Torah observance in more detail.


I Beheld The Lord Through The Mirror

“But all of us, with open (unveiled) faces, behold (see/adore/contemplate) the magnificence (Beauty/Glory) of the LORD (YHVH) like (as) in a mirror, and we are being transformed in to that Likeness from glory to glory by the Spirit who is the Lord (YHVH).” 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Thus writes St Paul in his second letter to the followers of the Way in the city of Corinth. Paul was his Roman name but he was also known as the Pharisaic Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus. He was trained by one of the greatest Torah scholars of his age – Gamaliel. This one verse in 2 Corinthians has a deep richness when examined in the light of the Jewish mystical tradition. This tradition was very familiar to Rabbi Sha’ul. Paul reveals in veiled terms his own ascent to the third heaven where he beheld unspeakable Divine mysteries. Many scholars in my opinion make a mistake with Paul and other New Testament writers by examining the meaning of the Greek words without realizing that the ideas are Hebraic and Paul and the other writers are choosing Greek words that best express the Hebraic meaning. This verse demonstrates this perfectly. In order to understand this verse one needs to understand the Jewish concepts of ‘open faces’, ‘the magnificence of YHVH’, ‘Likeness’, ‘glory to glory’ and ‘Spirit of YHVH’.

Open Faces

The verse begins “But all of us, with open faces….” What does Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus want us to understand? What does it mean to have an open face or an unveiled face? He refers to the veil that Moses (Moishe Rabbenu) wore after his encounter with God when he beheld the Divine Presence also called the Divine Face and Divine Glory. The Divine Face was also veiled and Moses could only behold the back of the Divine Glory. Paul comments further that a veil covers the minds and hearts of the Rabbinic Jews when they read the Old Covenant hiding from them the identity of the Eucharistic Lord. But the New Covenant believer who receives the Holy Spirit can now with unveiled and open faces adore the Beautiful Presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The Letter to the Hebrews* (i.e. Hebrew Catholics) confirms Paul’s insights:

“Let us then approach the Throne of Grace (i.e. Jesus in the Eucharist) with confidence, so that we may receive Mercy and attain grace to assist us in the time of need.”

In Jewish thought the face (panim) is in the plural form. This is connected with the idea of the right and left profiles of the face. However a deeper understanding found in the mystical tradition is the concept of the outer and inner faces (panim). The face in the Jewish mystical tradition has a deep symbolism. Even the outer face mirrors or signifies the 10 major Divine Attributes of the Divinity as Divine Man (Adam Kadmon). Paul calls this Divine Man who is to become the Messiah Jesus the Second Adam. Each feature of the face signifies one of the 10 Attributes of the Godhead. The inner face however in adoration of the Shekinah (Divine Presence) shines forth as a shining light from the inner to the outer face. This is why Moses’ face shone and why many Eucharistic adorers leave the chapel with a glow on their face. This inner face reveals the person’s soul which mirrors the Divine Attributes of the Son of Man (Ben Adam). In the Torah Jacob in Genesis 32:31 Jacob beheld (raiti) God face to face. In Hebrew this is ‘panim el panim’ (faces to faces). Here we understand that the face is not just limited to the physical face but the face represents the whole person body and soul. It is their whole being. Jacob wrestled with the Divine Man in prayer and adoration with many tears according to the Jewish tradition. Jacob refers to this as seeing God face to face. In the verse we are discussing from Paul (2 Cor. 3:18) he alludes to this passage about Jacob. The verse in Hebrew in which Paul probably composed his draft copy refers to the words of Genesis 32:31 and even makes a pun of them. Jacob uses the word raiti (I beheld/saw) and Paul also uses it for we behold and also mariah (mirror/from or through the mirror). The Jewish mystical tradition associates the concept of the Divine Face with the Divine Glory (Kavod). One’s glory shines through the face. This is why Paul calls a womans hair her crowning glory. For her hair is like a crown surrounding her face.

The Divine Man or Likeness

When the Jewish mystics such as the prophet Daniel and John the Beloved ascend to the Divine Realms through adoration they behold the Divine Likeness in the form of a Man. Daniel calls him Ben Adam (Son of Man) as does Enoch. In the Jewish mystical tradition this Celestial or Divine Man is called ‘Yosher’ and also Adam Kadmon (Primordial Man/ God -Man). The ‘Yosher’ is the visible manifestation of the invisible deity in his 10 chief Attributes. This is visualized as a Divine Man or Body and it is also called the Tree of Life. St Louis de Monfort calls Mary the mirror of the Tree of Life. God’s Attributes are infinite but the Jewish tradition groups them into 10 types or emanations. They are called the Sefirot. The root of Sefirot is SPR (samech peh resh) which is connected with the words for counting (numbers), book and Sapphire. In a sense the Sefirot are the source of all mathematical knowledge (counting), the Sefirot are also the divine Book or Living Torah and the Sapphire (Blue) Sea in Heaven is linked to the Sefirot. Each one of the 10 Sefirot are seen as crowns, garments, fruit and mirrors of the Divine King – YHVH.

The first Sefirot (Attribute) is the highest or deepest level of the Divine Likeness and is called Keter/Nezer (Crown) and also it is the Sefirah of Divine Will (Ratzon Elohee) This Crown of the Divine King is linked directly with the last and tenth Sefirah of Malkut (Kingdom) which is also the Shekinah (Divine Presence). In a sense the union of the Crown (Keter/Ratzon) with the Kingdom creates the white cloud of the Divine Presence that encompasses all of the Sefirot in an inseparable unity (echad). The Divine Will uniting with the Kingdom of the Divine Will is Shekinah. For the Catholic this white cloud symbolizes the White Host of the Eucharist. However this process of Shekinah is also connected to the ‘concept of the heart’ which is the mirror known as the heart devotion of the Mother. Catholics call this the ‘alliance of the two hearts’ or ‘two hearts that beat as one’. This in time is the face (mirror/glass/window) of the Mother beholding her Son’s face at his birth, during his life and especially at the Cross on Golgotha. At Golgotha her Heart became one with his wounded heart, her face in Adoration became one with his disfigured face- his Divine Glory was mirrored in her. Mary became and is a Living Host and in Eternity she is always united to her Son. The ‘Divine Will to Create’ is the son and he chose to create his Mother as the perfect and unblemished mirror of the Divine Likeness. At the foot of the Cross on Golgotha the Mother’s will became one with his Divine Will in recreating and restoring Man to his place beside God. This is why the ‘Divine Will to Create’ is also called Gulgalta (the Aramaic for Golgotha) in the Jewish mystical tradition. This adds understanding to St John’s concept that Jesus is the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. This uniting of the Mother and Son at Gulgalta is taken up into Eternity in the heart of the Divine Will. This is God’s Plan from all Eternity. This is the Blueprint (Adam Kadmon) which is the Living Torah. This is why the whole of Creation is made in the image of this unity of the Mother and the Son through the powerful action of the Holy Spirit. This is the single act of the Divine Will and the Divine Desire (Volition) to Create.

The second Sefirah (attribute) that blazes forth from the Divine Will is Wisdom and the third attribute is Understanding (Binah). These first three attributes make up the divine Head are also called the Higher Glory and the higher or inner Face of the Godhead. The next seven Attributes make up the Divine Body. However the first three of these seven are called the Heart or Torso of the Body. The whole ten are also called the Divine Heart and Body. The fourth Sefirah is Divine Mercy (Chesed) and the fifth Divine Judgement or Justice (Din). The Attribute that most closely represents the Heart or the inner heart is Tiferet/ Rahamim (Beauty/Compassion). This Heart unites the Divine Mercy with the Divine Justice and they shine forth from the Divine Heart as rays of white and red light. In time this is the blood and water gushing forth from the heart of Jesus on the Cross at Golgotha. The Divine Mercy is perceived as the right white arm of the Divine Man and the Divine Justice/ Judgement is the left red arm. This is our right and left as we gaze on him in the Mirror.

The lower three attributes are Victory (Netzach), Majesty (Hod) and Foundation/Righteousness (Yesod/Tzaddik). They are associated with the two legs and phallus of the Divine Man. The last attribute of Malkut (kingdom), as mentioned above, unites with Keter/Ratzon (Crown /Will) and manifests in time and space as the Shekinah. These 10 Sefirot (Attributes) are one essence with God – they are three Lights (or persons) in the one Godhead. This Divine Man or Likeness is the Divine Face known as the Prince of the Face (Sar ha Panim) in Jewish tradition. The inner face of this Divine Face or Prince of the Face beholds the Father’s glory and mirrors it to us through and with and in the Heart and Face of the Mother united and consumed with the Holy Spirit. The lower or outer Face of the Divine or Holy Face is the face that beholds man’s face with love and mercy through the face of the Mother who is Queen and Mother of all mankind. In beholding her face at Golgotha he beholds the face of her children and this appeases his Divine Judgement/Justice.

Magnificence of YHVH

The word that Paul uses for magnificence is the same word used in the Aramaic (Peshitta) in 1 Chronicles 29:11 ‘teshbuchta’. In Hebrew this is Tiferet (Beauty/magnificence). This is also the inner heart of the Divine Man- the Heart of compassion. It is the heart that we are called to console or compassionate. However we can only behold this Divine Heart ‘as in a mirror’. This mirror is the heart devotion of the Mother. Mirror is Mariah in Hebrew. This mirror is also in Catholic terms the Eucharistic Host/Bread which is the body and blood of Jesus. This body and blood he receives uniquely only from his mother. He is blood of her blood, bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh and heart of her heart. Paul is alluding to the fact that when we gaze on this magnificent and beautiful Divine Heart as/like in a mirror then we activate or transform the Sefirot of our being more closely to this Divine Likeness which is the Divine Glory (Kavod). The inner light of the Attribute of Tiferet is the ‘light of glory’ (Or Kavod). The higher or deeper glory is the Divine Face or Head beholding (seeing) the Father- and the Father beholding his Son’s Face. This is the glory of the Father. The lower or manifesting glory is the concept of the Son, through the power of the Spirit, united with his Mother beholding the Spirit working in and through and with the Mother of Mankind. This is the glory of the Son. The divine glory perceived as uniting the Father and the Son and uniting the 10 attributes as one form or body is the glory of the Holy Spirit. Thus we have three glories that are One Glory and three faces that are one face and three heads that are one Head. Glory of Glories, Faces and Faces, Head of Heads, Lord of Lords, Holy of Holies, Sanctity of Sanctities and Eternity of Eternities are all terms of a Trinitarian nature.

Likeness

The Divine Likeness is mentioned in Genesis and is the Divine Man. Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4 states “…the Messiah who is the likeness of God.” Thus Jesus is the Divine Likeness mentioned in Genesis. The concept of going from ‘glory to glory’ is connected with the spiritual ascent of the Divine Tree or Body seen as/like in a mirror. This begins with entering the Kingdom (Malkut) and immersing ourselves in the Divine Presence (Shekinah) in the Blessed Sacrament. As we gaze at or adore our Eucharistic King, through the Mother’s Heart, we ascend the spiritual Tree or Ladder ascending from one glory to the next level of glory along the 32 paths of Wisdom which are the Divine Heart. Thus the use by Paul of the term ‘glory to glory’ is referring to the Divine Attributes of the ‘Likeness’ which our faces/souls/inner being receive from on High by the Spirit of YHVH. Here Paul is alluding to Isaiah 11:2 which links the Spirit of YHVH with the Divine Attributes. Thus this single verse of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians reveals the Triune God at work. With open or receiving faces/souls/hearts we behold the Divine Beauty of the Lord (God the Father) in the mirror of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. We are transformed into a ever purer mirror of the Divine Likeness (God the Son) through his Divine Attributes (glory to glory/Divinization). This beholding and transforming is achieved by the Holy Spirit (spirit of YHVH). Thus the only way of being transformed into Christ as other Christs and as living Hosts is through adoring (beholding) the Divine Trinity in the mirror that is Mary’s Heart in Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

This Divine Likeness is also called by Paul in Romans 8:29 “the Likeness of the Image of his Son” and in Colossian 3:10 “the Likeness of his Creator” and in 1 Corinthians 15:49 “the Likeness of the One who is from Heaven”. This is how we put on Christ. We were created in the Divine Image but in Adam we lost his Divine Likeness and now through the second Adam we can regain that Divine Likeness in our souls or beings. Man was made in a unique way in the Image of God revealed in his chief 10 Attributes as a vessel that could receive the Divine Likeness or Glory to the greatest extent and give that glory or likeness as a reflected light to others. By living in the Divine Will we enter in to the highest level of the eternally ‘new and Divine Holiness’ so that we participate by adoption as co-Creators, co-Redeemers and co –Sanctifiers in and with and through the Mirror which is the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Last edited by Athol on Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Athol » Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:54 pm

Hadassah wrote:Hello, Athol:


"For the baptised jew the outward observance of the Torah is the same..."

From where do you draw this statement? Do you mean that this can be a personal choice which one makes ~ one path among others that can serve to glorify God and to contribute to the spiritual treasury of the Church? Or do you mean that a baptized Jew is legitimately bound to observe the commands of the Torah which now serve a different spiritual purpose and have a different meaning?
Dear Hadassah,

I mean that the Jewish people as a collective are legimately bound to observe the commands of the Torah appropriate to their calling- this applies to the whole of the Jewish people which in God's time one day will as a collective embrace Yeshua as the Messiah and they will observe the Jewish way of sanctification. As individuals whether baptised or not individual Jews are at different levels of understanding. In the past baptised Jews were forbidden by religious authorities to observe the Jewish ways of sanctity and forced to observe in the Gentile way. Many baptised Jews understanding is a reflection of those who taught them who did not understand the unique place of the Jews in God's plan of salvation- so they observe in Gentile ways.

In recent years the Church has come more and more to reflect on the mystery of Israel and the role of the Jewish people in God's plan of salvation and thus they have created a place for baptised Jews to observe in Jewish ways. However I hope that one day the church will allow and create the space necessary for the Jews as a people - a collective- to live out their vocation. For the Jewish vocation is collective even if it does had an individual dimension.

Cheers Athol
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Post by Athol » Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:23 pm

Hadassah wrote:Hello, Athol:


I am somewhat confused only because I read St. Paul as very clearly willing to take or leave observance of at least portions of the Torah (I am not advocating antinomianism), depending on the situation (e.g., 1 Corinthians 8:7-13).

Thank you,
Hadassah
Dear Hadassah,

Paul is a mystic that has been transformed by his encounter with the Lord and he glories in his new freedom in the Messiah. He knows that the Jewish food laws and the mitzvot are only the vessels to the light not the light itself- this is why it is not necessary for Gentiles, children and Jewish women to observe certain mitzvot that Jewish males do. He knows that the outward understanding of food laws is secondary to the inner meaning just as Jesus did in Mark 7.

Neither Jesus or Paul meant that Jews should now start eating non-kosher food. To think they did shows that one has missed the whole point and slipped back into the mundane. Paul knows that it is the spiritual fruit of observing the food laws that is the goal and that is why he allows (and the Jewish church allowed) non Jews to not observe the food laws in the Jewish way but to develop their own customs or vessels which would produce the spiritual fruit of the food laws. Both Paul and Jesus know tht it is not the actual food that pollutes but the heart intention. The food just passes through the body and is purged and dumped in the toilet as jesus said in Mark 7. Paul in Corinthians warns his readers not to misunderstand him or they could cause much spiritual damage to souls.

It is obvious from Acts 21 that both Paul and all the early Jewish Christians continued to observe the Torah in a Jewish manner most zealously while allowing Gentiles the freedom to live out their calling in the Messiah according to their own customs. The inner principles are the same but the outward manifestations will be different in different cultures. However for Jews God has already given a culture for godliness so it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel so to speak. this is the culture that Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived out faithfully though with a heart intenion (kevanah) that noone at the the time would have understood. Outwardly they observed Torah as every other Jew did- but internally that was another story- the were living internally that third heaven that Paul only glimpsed in his ascent. It is like when Jewish Catholics observe passover- outwardly they may observe exactly as they did before they came to Catholic Faith but now the Passover's signs and symbols and realities have a new freshness and understanding connected with the Eucharisitic passover Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. and so it is for all the Jewish festivals and customs.

Cheers Athol
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Ritual and Juridical Observances

Post by Hadassah » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:29 pm

Hello Athol:

You said: “Neither Jesus nor Paul meant that Jews should now start eating non-kosher food. To think they did shows that one has missed the whole point and slipped back into the mundane.”

I think that you’re making a real leap here and that much of Paul’s writing suggests (even states outright) that he can take or leave these ritual observances. Acts 21 only makes sense in light of what he says in 1 Corinthians 9:19ff. Perhaps you have a deeper understanding than I do... In humility, I will just leave this point where it lies.

However, in response to my request for clarification you said: “I mean that the Jewish people as a collective are legimately bound to observe the commands of the Torah appropriate to their calling...” and “In the past baptised Jews were forbidden by religious authorities to observe the Jewish ways of sanctity and forced to observe in the Gentile way.”

And so for you, this would include the Magisterium, I suppose? That may sound a little sarcastic in e-mail, but I don’t mean it so. I mean it as a sincere question. I am reminded of paragraph 1972 in the Catechism:

“The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law...”

In your view, does this paragraph apply only to non-Hebrew Catholics?

Given this, it would seem to me that CHOOSING to abide by the “ritual and juridical observances” of the Torah (again with a proper understanding of law and freedom in Christ) may be a perfectly reasonable and beautiful way for a Hebrew Catholic to glorify God, pursue the path to holiness, and honor and respect the faith of his fathers. However, I must say that feeling BOUND to observance seems to contradict magisterial teaching (and modern, very recent magisterial teaching at that).

Good day,
Hadassah

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Post by Athol » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:38 pm

Dear Hadassah,

Maybe I am not expressing myself well. I believe all Catholics -Jews and Gentiles -are bound or obliged to observe the Torah. Gentile Catholics are free to observe it in Gentile ways and Jewish Catholics are free to observe it in Jewish ways. There is only one Torah or Law of God revealed in Divine Revelation. When one speaks of Old law and New Law it must be clarified. The Catechism associates the Beatitudes as the new Law- it means that in the Messiah and his Gospel it is a renewed and deeper spiritual way of interpreting and understanding the Torah in the messiah- old LAW IS THE OLD WAY OF interpreting the law using fear as a school master- the new way is a way of freedom and love as sons of the redemption. In the church an individual Jew who becomes a Catholic is free to choose which way they want to observe but if one wishes to embrace the Jewish vocation then that means following the Jewish spiritual way given at Sinai and freely chosen by Jews of course interpretated in the new way as reveal by Yeshua. I am not talking about individuals being forced to observe the jewish ways but about those who have freely chosen that as their vocation. Just as a priest in an order choses to be one and thus is bound by the observances of his calling.

Cheers Athol
Last edited by Athol on Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Athol » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:42 pm

I think Cardinal Lustiger of paris says it much better than I.

"The Church appears in Jerusalem, after Pentecost, as an "assembly"
kahal in Hebrew, ecclesia in Greek. It is unthinkable that she would
claim to replace Israel. She is not another Israel, but the very,
fulfillment, in Israel, of God's plan...The Church is then faced
with the question of the extent to which these pagans who share in
Israel's Election should be obliged to observe the laws which are
Israel's trust, responsibility, and privilege. To what extent should
these pagans be associated with the totality of Israel's mission?
This is the major problem facing the first generations of
Christians, as all the New Testament writings testify...In this
early Church, the status of the pagan-Christian assemblies begins to
be established. They are not dispensed from observing the Law- if
the pagans did not observe the Law, they would have no share in
either Israel's Election or grace. But the gift of the Holy Spirit,
a grace of the messiah, enables pagans to observe the law
differently from Israel, which remains charged with
this "delightful" burden of observance. The Church of Jerusalem is,
in the Catholic church, the permanence of the promise made to
Israel, the presence of the fulfillment of that promise, an
attestation of the grace bestowed on the pagans. Thus, the church is
that of both Jews and pagans. The fact that this church of Jerusalem
was to survive only until the sixth century is one of history's
great mysteries and may well be a great spiritual tragedy-whose
final outcome remains hidden. For this matter the separation of the
church into Eastern and Western branches, cannot be considered
settled. These mysteries are a part of the wounds, the sins, that
we must acknowledge...The commandment to love as Jesus loves is not
to be substituted for the other commandments. That would make no
sense. There is only one holy Law. The law is the revelation of
God's commandments. The newness is in God's act, in that he sends
Israel his obedient Son... Jesus obviously spent much time
meditating on the commandments. Everything psalm 119 has to say
about the "delights" of the Law was certainly an essential part of
his prayer...The commandments were constantly being meditated by
Jesus as word of life...Why do these commandments have such
importance? How can we increase our understanding of them? The words
from Leviticus – `You shall be holy; for I am holy (11:44;19:2)- are
echoed in the Sermon on the Mount...It makes no sense to understand
the Sermon on the Mount as the substitution of one commandment for
another...It is essential to understand what is meant by the
expression "a new law". If the novelty meant is that the Holy Spirit
enters the heart of the one who participates in Christ's life –
the `law of the spirit' ,as Saint Paul expresses it- then, yes, the
expression "new law" is appropriate. However to maintain that the
revelation has been substituted for another is to understand
absolutely nothing of the mystery of Christ. It is to deny the gift
of God.

Why have these commandments been given to us?...The Law
enables us to act as God acts. And in Jesus meditation, the law
reveals how God acts. Just as much as the law is a precept given to
man, it is also revelation of God's action and his mystery...How can
it be suggested that by observing the Ten Commandments, we act as
God does, unless the commandments reveal to us how God acts? We have
to enter into Jesus' prayer – the gospel makes it possible – to
understand what the commandments tell us about the way God acts, how
they allow us to participate in God's own action...Undoubtedly,
there are several ways of observing certain precepts and practices
in religious life: that of the Church of Jerusalem, as described in
the Acts of the apostles in the first days of Christianity, a
community composed of observant Jews; an example of this way today
is monastic life – whereas the pagan- Christian communities do not
have the same obligations. All however, being ordered by love, which
is the greatest good of the church. This diversity is given for the
edification of all; but there is only one way to observe the will of
God and that is to obey the commandments." ( Cardinal Lustiger `The
Promise' JESUS AND THE LAW)
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Re: Ritual and Juridical Observances

Post by Athol » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:06 am

Hadassah wrote: I am reminded of paragraph 1972 in the Catechism:

“The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law...”

In your view, does this paragraph apply only to non-Hebrew Catholics?

Given this, it would seem to me that CHOOSING to abide by the “ritual and juridical observances” of the Torah (again with a proper understanding of law and freedom in Christ) may be a perfectly reasonable and beautiful way for a Hebrew Catholic to glorify God, pursue the path to holiness, and honor and respect the faith of his fathers. However, I must say that feeling BOUND to observance seems to contradict magisterial teaching (and modern, very recent magisterial teaching at that).

Good day,
Hadassah
Dear hadassah, I thus understand 1972 as meaning that those who are in the Messiah Yeshua are now free to observe the rituals and jurdicial obsevances in the new transformed way of love rather than in the old legalistic way appropriate to young students. Of course those connected with the sacrificial aspects of Judaism are now transformed into the sacrificial rituals of the New covenant - however the inner meaning is the same but deeper, outwardly they are transformed to suit the new reality. However that does not mean the old forms are of no use. for example the mass s the transformed Passover Seder but the old form of the Passover also has value and in fact helps one to understand and appreciate the New in a way otherwise impossible. This is why i believe God has preserved Judaism outside the church so that the living tradition of Judaism is not lost due to the Gentiles not being ready to receive them. When the Church has developed its theology in order to allow this heritage to continue in the Church then there is no need for Judaism outside the Church. Sadly that day has not dawned just yet but at least we are on the way.

Cheers Athol
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Post by Athol » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:15 am

Also this is from Cardinal Lustiger.

"Pagans also have a right to the Law , as
a holy law inscribed in their hearts. It is by acting through the
Messiah , with him and in him who made himself obedient to the Law
to death on the Cross, that they obey the Law. The discipline of the
church dispenses them from Israel's observances, a burden to heavy
for them, and which remains Israel's privilege. It is not for the
pagans to take on the physical history of the Hebrews, since they,
through Christ, have become spiritual offspring of Abraham, but not
his physical descendants. Nevertheless, in Christ they have access
to the plenitude of the law, and receive the Holy Spirit which
allows them to fulfil it." (Cardinal Lustiger "The Promise" ACCESS
THROUGH CHRIST TO ALL THE RICHES OF ISRAEL)
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Post by Ariel » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:54 pm

Yes, I would generally tend to agree with Athol, though I might formulate it a bit differently. I do believe that one of the main reasons for the 'failure' of the Church to bring Christ to the Jewish people was that this would have caused their assimilation and practical dissolution of their Jewish identity.

This is why, as stated on some of our mission statements, I think that it's important for the Church to prepare a "space" where Jews who wish can become Catholic can do so without them forsaking the Jewish heritage.

Now on how exactly to do this, I certainly don't pretend to have all the answers...

Ariel
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

Athol
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Post by Athol » Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:18 am

Here is a link for Cardinal newman's writings on the Development of Doctrine.

http://www.newmanreader.org/works/development/
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Post by Athol » Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:33 am

Both Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Schonborn see no opposition between the Torah and the Gospel. They both quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1968 “The Lord’s sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts.” Cardinal Schonborn states that the Torah “is the plan of God’s heart, the plan by which he created the world, the plan that he revealed to his people. That is why there is no greater happiness than to be faithful to God’s Law. Jesus will even say that this fidelity is his ‘food’ (John 4:34).”

cheers Athol
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Post by Athol » Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:36 am

Father Aidan Nichols another leading orthodox Catholic theologian also speaks of the Jews in the Church: “Since Judaism is not in the fullest sense a different religion from Christianity, there can be and are such a thing as Hebrew Catholics, Jews who have entered the Church but with every intention of maintaining their Jewish heritage intact…Hebrew Catholics…have a special place in the Church; their association enables them to experience a common identity as the prototype of the Israel of the end, and not merely a random collection of assimilated Jews…”. Father Aidan sees that “Judaism’s distinctive continuing light can add to the Church an orthopractic concern with mitzvoth, the divine precepts, whose actualization is a sign that makes present the Creator’s reign and so consecrating it to God through human agency.”


Cheers Athol
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