“Christian unity and the cancer of rationalism”. A short lecture at the True Life in God retreat for Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants in Athens. {Text and audio.}

Recording:-

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Divine Love for one another binds us in Unity together in God.”

‘Love in the Spirit’ binds us in unity

FRAGMENTED PEOPLE, FRAGMENTED CHURCH

Two questions flow from our title. What can help us in our quest for the ‘Love in the Spirit’ which binds us in unity, and what acts to hinder or block it?

At this retreat we are bringing our fractured selves, suffering as we do from what St Paul called our bifurcation of spirit, between our new and our old selves; the spirit and the flesh. We might even call this struggle our particular version of a metaphysical multiple personality disorder, since very often we have more than just two versions of ourselves struggling for the upper hand to define who we are and how we live; in Christ or out of Christ.

As individuals then we are fragmented. And so it is no surprise that the Church which comprises of fragmented people should also be fragmented.

Aware of these serious fractures in our own souls and in the Church, we bring our personal and corporate brokenness before God asking for healing.

HEALING FOR THE BROKEN CHURCH

The brokenness of the Church is a scandal we have long tried to heal. But the remedy was seen as lying in the hands of professional Ecumenical theologians. Their record of success has been very limited.

This healing can almost never be achieved in the same terms that it was fractured. History can never be undone. Committees and synods have no great antidote to miscommunication, thwarted ambition and misunderstanding. Nor do they contain enough discernment to call out the work of the evil one where he sets out to pitch one person against another, one group against another, with the fostering of sectarian interest.

 

Yet God does not abandon us to brokenness. He sends us His Holy Spirit and through the charism of prophesy He speaks to broken and hardened hearts calling us to repent and warming us with the forgiveness we need for our own souls to be able to be generous with each other.

 

That is why we are here. Through the Messages the Holy Trinity is drawing each of us into an ever-deeper intimacy of the Divine Love we have come to celebrate.

 

But this Love is not just a warming of the heart or a soothing of the soul. God’s love is fire. Fire to warm, and fire also to purge.

 

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10.31)

There is a privilege in being called into this renewal movement but it does not come without pain.

PERPETUATING THE CONFLICTS OF OUR ANCESTORS

Is it just our own brokenness that causes the fractures in the Church? If only it were so simple. In fact we continue the schismatic campaigns of our national and spiritual ancestors. In the Messages ,the Lord rebukes us for our complacency in perpetuating the sin of our ancestors.

In November 13 2001 speaking first to the wider church the Lord invites us to bring an end to the complacency with which we live in our fractured antipathies and remember that our divisions bear the stench of sin. We are to share his dismay:-

 

“the shepherds are divided, opposing one another; they are living in a spiritual decay and if some still bear My Cross willingly and with zeal for My House, these too are persecuted by these transgressors; can they6 say that they punctiliously obeyed Me? if they say ‘yes’, then explain to Me your division; division is a sin; surely you know the meaning of: “every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand;” 7 the distinctive sign of faith in them is missing: love is not there anymore …”

 

Some of us are tempted to defend ourselves by protesting our own broad mindedness, our warm and generous hearts, our inclusivist tendencies. But the Lord reminds us that we come bearing the institutional and confessional baggage of our ancestors.

 

“Even if this division has not come directly from them but from their ancestors,”

 

Many of the identities we enfold ourselves in perpetuate the conflicts of our ancestors. We listen to the rebuke of St Paul as he warns us of our willingness to get sucked into partisanship and tribalism,

 

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.” (1 Cor 3.)

 

We have moved on from Paul and Apollos; but only to Martin Luther and Ignatius Loyola.

 

For too many people the Church is seen ‘in the flesh’; an organisation with different competitive compartments. We are here to have our eyes opened by the Spirit – so that what we see in one another is not the pattern of a war-torn history, but the presence of Jesus. When we perceive Jesus in each other, we cannot fail to fall spiritually in love with each other, and at that point the healing and the unity of the Church begins.

 

 

HOW DO WE LIVE IN THE SPIRIT?

 

Repentance is the key to this journey from flesh to Spirit.

 

“I have been sending you My angels barefoot to enkindle, with My Word, your hearts; generation, I have sent them to warn you that unless you repented, prayed and made reparations for your sins, amending your lives, and unless you valued My Blessed Sacrament and lived holy, united, setting Me like a seal in your heart, you would, through your own fault, draw upon you all the evils of the earth”  (Nov 2001)

 

There is no steady state theory of metaphysics. We either hold evil at bay with our purity and humility of heart,; or we drive back into schismatic anger and accusation as we channel demonic energies against one another.

 

Our defence against evil lies in our hunger for humility and our willingness to be pliable in the hands of the potter who made us and seeks always to remake us further into His image.

 

We encounter this Divine Love which binds us together in unity when we change direction and imitate St Paul, both treating the other as better than ourselves, but also in recognition of the charisms that God has generously given different parts of the Church. None of us can be the complete Church, the whole Body of Christ without the presence and charisms of the other.

 

And this divine unity is known in its most profound way when we gather round the altar together.

 

“My House has been neglected; every house is paid by someone; I have bought My House with My Own Blood; why has no one listened to My supplication while I prayed to the Father that you may be one? today, had you responded to My call by showing obedience, you would be sharing one Cup around one altar”;

 

The sign of our humility, the act of reparation is the gathering around one altar to share one cup.

 

 

 

THE TRINITY AS A MODEL OF UNITY

 

It is no accident that the Holy Trinity is Three persons embedded in a single unity. And the Church should reflect the Holy Trinity, but is fractured by sin.

 

In the Trinity we find this inverted hierarchy of love. A hierarchy in which the Father is our goal and our destination, but the journey into His presence is made possible only by Christ bearing our sins on the cross. The drawing of the soul into the presence of the Father is enabled only by the power of the Holy Spirit who is the ground under our feet as well as the fire in our heart, and Friend on our arm, as we approach the throne of the Father.

 

Each of the aspects of the Trinity is mirrored in the life of the Church. The tragedy for us is that our witness if compromised by our brokenness and so we display a fractured Trinity.

 

it has been observed by the redoubtable theologian of unity, Leslie Newbiggin, that from the beginning of the 20th Century there are three divisions in the world wide Church. We are divided along the lines of the persons of the Trinity. A Church of the Father, a Church of the Son, and a Church of the Spirit.

 

It seems as if the Catholics and Orthodox reflect something of the Father, the Protestants of the Son and the Pentecostals of the Spirit.

 

The Father is represented by the Catholic and Orthodox where the Church resonates with the majesty and the awesomeness of grandeur. We encounter the magnificence and power of His presence before Whom we melt in holy fear. We bow before the glory of the transcendent father in liturgy, architecture and spirituality. Christ is represented as Pantokrator, the Christ of the final judgement; the cosmic king.

 

The Protestant face of the Church often mirrors the power and clarity of the Word of God, the Logos. The encounter with the carpenter who pierced the sleeping world with the power of the Word. The suffering servant moving to humiliation and crucifixion, scattering demons and Pharisees on His path. The Good Shepherd who melts the human heart through parables and speaks with unlimited power through the Bible.

 

The Pentecostal part of the Church emerges with its focus on the power and the gifts and the fruit and the dynamism of the Holy Spirit.

 

We have three faces of the Godhead, but instead of reflecting the profound spiritual and existential unity of the Godhead, we experience and present a profound division in which we have difficulty recognizing and respecting one another. We have  difficulty in recognizing the faces of God and the charisms He has distributed through His Church. These mask our longing and duty to pursue reconciliation and healing.

 

And what in particular hinders our experience of reconciliation and unity beyond our maculate pride,  misunderstandings and lack of integration within and without?

 

There is a spiritual and metaphysical struggle to be won.

 

 

THE SPIRIT OF RATIONALISM

 

Finding our safety and our bliss in the company of our creator is not simply a matter of willing it. There are barriers that stand in our way.

 

The Messages show us very clearly that one of the chief spiritual obstacles that derails us and the Church is the opposition that we encounter from satan and one of its most effective expressions is the spirit of rationalism.

 

Rationalism appeals especially to the clever and competent. It gives us the illusion that we are mentally in control, and we love being in control. But it is an intellectual form of materialism. It obscures the reality of the spiritual world and the geography of the Kingdom of Heaven as it truly is. It bends the truths of the Kingdom into a different shape.

 

The Messages are fierce in their warning of our enemy’s strategy and denunciation of it.

 

“Generation, in your sleep you have been captured and mesmerised by My Enemy; surrounded by his lies you have been mesmerised and your memory, falling into oblivion, sunk into darkness,    (June 22 1994)

 

Instead of holding up the mirror of Scripture and tradition to measure how far we have surrendered to the surrounding culture, too many in the Church have instead rationalized the lusts of society and began to conform to the shape and priorities of our decadent culture.

 

How many clergy in their pursuit of intellectual and cultural approbation have fallen prey to seeking acceptance in terms of secular intellectual pride and approbation rather than remain faithful to God. How may have swallowed the rationalised theology that has dominated seminaries and universities for the last 100 years stripping away the miraculous and the metaphysical and demoting the faith to spirituality and social work?

 

We are warned in the Messages:

 

“It has also been said, that in your times, only a remnant of My servants would remain faithful to Me, preaching the gospel as it should be preached, and that many would fall into rationalism, betraying Me with disloyalty; this rationalism made a desert of My Church, bringing It into a ruin where vipers nestled within Its depths;”

 

 

Satan’s vapours are like mist these days, penetrating through keyholes and between hinges; since his vapours are deadly, I solemnly request that you redouble your sacrifices and your prayers; tremendous reparations have to be made by those who love Me; Satan in his fury has redoubled his works against My Church

 

My child, I am calling all of you, I am seeking each one of you, allow Me to enter your hearts and I will heal each one of you. “

(Sept 27 1998)

 

We know that Satan with his double  attributes as ‘divider’ and ‘accuser’ has devastated the Church from without and from within.

 

But our Lord is clear in His analysis of what we face on His behalf:

 

 “Apostasy has intermarried with Rationalism; that gave birth to Atheism.

Rationalism and Modernism are the prime enemy of My Church because both of these lead to atheism; both of them want to devour the whole earth, but, My daughter, I will breathe My Fire upon these renegades so that the scales from their eyes once fallen, they may see what great disorder they have produced and what oppression they had put upon Our Two Hearts;”

(Jan 31 1992)

 

And the remedy for overcoming our enemy:-

 

 

“I have taught you what True Life in Me means; pray often, pray daily the Holy Rosary, for this little chain shall be The Chain in which Satan will be chained and conquered! I give you My Peace, never doubt; we, us?”

(November 16 1988)

“I tell you: pray without ceasing to sanctify your own soul and those of others; pray with your heart and make the demon flee; be united to Me and no one and nothing will come between you and Me; the time has come when you should not hesitate anymore;

(July 7 1992.)

 

What are we being called to? A profound unity in the Godhead. Avagrius Ponticus described long ago the path we are called to of purgation, Illumination and union. The first two are not hard to describe but union of more difficult. For this we turn to the Messages.

 

We are stirred into new life, new hunger and a renewed pilgrimage by Messages from our Father, who sent His Son to find and free us, and carry is home by the power of His Spirit.

Let us give our attention and our hearts to the Messages of True Life in God which remind of us of what we are called to in the experience of Divine Love which binds us together in unity in the Godhead.

 

“now, come all you who desire Me and throng round Me; come and listen to this Ode coming from the reservoirs of Heaven…

blessed is the one who embraces Me, I will fortify him in our union… today, I am stepping out of the highest heaven, to call you and become one with Me; I am giving Myself to you to discover My greatness and My Divinity; it is the mystical union between the Creator and His creature; the Bridegroom, who is your King as well, invites you to wed Him; just like a bridegroom stepping out of his golden pavilion, shining like a sun with graciousness, shimmering in his light, I step out of heaven to invite you into the Golden Chamber of My Heart, that is My Bosom and Love;

you, who never understood the depths of My Divine Love, nor that My Heart is your nuptial bed, come and learn My language… I am inviting your delicate soul to enjoy My sweetness; My desire, and I would add, My thirst, is to save you and lift you to ascend in heaven where you belong.”

Feb 3 2003

 

 

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