We realize that God has said EVERYTHING in His Word
We know that Jesus is the WORD MADE FLESH WHO DWELT AMONG US
THIS IS FASCINATING!!
Strictly speaking, Christianity is NOT a religion of THE BOOK
The three monotheistic religions are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism
These are called “The religions of the book.”
Because we have BOOKS!!
Fr. Mike once heard a priest say, “We are NOT really a religion of THE BOOK. We are a religion of THE WORD.”
At the same time, yes we have DIVINE REVELATION through The Bible, ALL 73 BOOKS of The Bible
We recognize that it is 100% true that, as the Letter to the Hebrews states, “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.”
This is another statement worth PRAYING ABOUT and REFLECTING ON
In him God the Father has said EVERYTHING
THAT IS REMARKABLE!!
There will be no other Word than this one
God has revealed himself FULLY
In God revealing himself FULLY, what St. John of the Cross says can strike our hearts
Paragraph 65 says, “(Jesus) is the Father’s one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word.”
St. John of the Cross says, “Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him…”
We made the statement a second ago that Jesus is the FULLNESS OF REVELATION
What is our response to that?
St. John of the Cross addresses that
“Yeah, if we were to say ‘No God, I want more!’ What is it in us that says that is fine and everything but give me more?”
“...not only 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.”
THAT STRIKES THE HEART!!
Living with the desire for SOME OTHER NOVELTY
C.S. Lewis wrote about this phrase “THE NEXT BIG THING”
As fallen human beings, one of the things we have in us is the desire for THE NEXT BIG THING
“Ok that was fine. That was old. I want the new thing. What’s next?”
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US HAS THAT IMPULSE!!
Not only do we have the impulse for the NEW THING
Sometimes we want a DIFFERENT ANSWER
There is a desire we have of saying, “Ok could there be OTHER revelations?”
“Could God say even MORE?”
“I don’t necessarily LIKE the answer He gave me already in His Scripture, through The Church.”
Fr. Mike has an example
He was in gym class and his teacher was Mr. Embretson
They were doing push-ups
His technique was wrong
“Hey Mike, you aren’t pushing all the way up. Your arms aren’t getting locked out. You’re still bending your elbow.”
Fr. Mike was like, “Really?”
Fr. Mike once again said, “Wow, really?”
The teacher looked at him and said, “YES! That was my answer. It’s not going to change if you ask one more time.”
Fr. Mike was there saying REALLY
And the teacher ALREADY GAVE HIM THE ANSWER
And sometimes, we want God to give us a DIFFERENT ANSWER
So we look ALL OVER THE PLACE for DIFFERENT REVELATIONS
“God, is there something more you can say that would give us a different answer?”
We sometimes look for FURTHER REVELATION because we want CONTROL OVER THE ANSWER
Or maybe we want CERTAINTY
Isn’t that something that is IN US?
GOD GIVE US MORE!!
And The Church says very clearly in Paragraph 66, “There will be no further revelation.”
BECAUSE JESUS IS THE FULLNESS OF REVELATION!!
Now here are two points to make
In the middle of Paragraph 66 it says, “Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit.”
So here is God FULLY REVEALING HIMSELF through the Word made Flesh, Jesus Christ
We do not FULLY UNDERSTAND the revelation that God has given to us
Think about this…
Here is The Baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan River
In that moment, we have the revelation of The Holy Trinity
Here is Jesus, the Son of God
Here is the Holy Spirit descending upon Him
Here is God the Father declaring, “This is my beloved Son…”
So here is the FULLNESS of revelation
Did EARLY CHRISTIANS understand that’s what it was?
ONE divine being in THREE divine persons?
They DID NOT understand that!!
So what it was is that REVELATION WAS COMPLETE
NOT COMPLETELY EXPLICIT YET!!!
“It remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.”
And THAT is one of the reasons why we have things like CHURCH COUNCILS
One great example happens in The Acts of the Apostles
When someone became Christian and were NOT JEWISH FIRST, do they first have to be circumcised in order to become baptized?
Do they have to first be enrolled into the OLD COVENANT in order to participate fully in the NEW COVENANT?
And here was The Church Council
Because this was all REVEALED but has not yet made EXPLICIT
So The Council of Jerusalem gets together and pray about this
It seems clear to The Holy Spirit and us that they say you don’t have to be circumcised in order to be baptized
So that was the very first Church Council in the first couple years of Christianity
So here was the FULLNESS OF REVELATION given to us
It was not yet made COMPLETELY EXPLICIT
WE GRASP ITS SIGNIFICANCE OVER THE COURSE OF THE CENTURIES
Paragraph 67 says, “Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private’ revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of The Church.”
So what are PRIVATE REVELATIONS?
These are revelations given to an INDIVIDUAL or to a GROUP OF PEOPLE that is a message, essentially, from The Lord
Marian Apparitions, for example
SOME of them have been approved by The Church
NOT ALL OF THEM!!
While there is such a thing as PRIVATE REVELATION what that means is that it is NOT BINDING for any Catholic Christian to believe in it
Even if The Church says, “Yes, this is an approved private revelation.”
There is NOTHING IN IT that says that a Catholic Christian MUST BELIEVE IN IT
The FULLNESS OF REVELATION happened in the WORD MADE FLESH, in JESUS CHRIST
That revelation becomes EXPLICIT through the teaching of The Church
Even if these private revelations are APPROVED, they are approved as being PROBABLE
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI wrote Verbum Domini and said, “Ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation essentially means that its message contains nothing contrary to Faith and morals.”
So basically, there is nothing wrong with PRIVATE REVELATION as long as it is NOT CONTRARY to Faith and morals
“It is licit to make it public and the faithful are authorized to give to it their prudent adhesion. A private revelation can introduce new emphases, give rise to new forms of piety, or deeper older ones.”
Mary has appeared to people before and encouraged them to pray The Rosary!!
So people have been praying The Rosary for centuries and here is Our Lady saying, “Hey this is important!”
We have the revelation of Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska and she was given the Chaplet of Divine Mercy!!
So these revelations are NEW FORMS of piety or these revelations DEEPEN OLDER FORMS!!
“It can have a certain prophetic character and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time. Consequently, it should not be treated lightly. It is a help which is proffered. But its use is not obligatory.” -Verbum Domini, paragraph 14
So it’s really really helpful for us to know this
WE DO NOT HAVE TO BELIEVE PRIVATE REVELATION!!
AT THE SAME TIME WE SHOULD NOT TREAT IT LIGHTLY!!
Back in the 1700s Pope Benedict XIV said, “When it comes to private revelation, it follows that anyone may, without injury to the Catholic Faith, give no heed to these revelations. They can also differ from them, provided that this person does so modestly, not without reason, and without contempt.”
There is such a thing as people making a REALLY BIG DEAL about private revelations
Sometimes people like to be CONTRARIANS
“Well everyone is really excited about this private revelation. So because everyone else is excited about it, I am going to be dismissive of it.”
And this is why Pope Benedict XIV is saying, “Listen. You can disagree. You can differ from this. But you should probably do it with good reason and you should NEVER do it with contempt.”
THAT IS REALLY WISE!!
He reminds us of how we can be tempted to be like this
We do NOT want to be like that!!
So here we are
Jesus is the FULLNESS OF GOD’S REVELATION
There will be NO REVELATION after this so do not look for that NOVELTY
AT THE SAME TIME…
Doctrine will develop OVER TIME
We will understand this OVER TIME
There have been times where God has revealed himself through PRIVATE REVELATION
THEY MAY NOT CLAIM TO ADD TO THE FAITH
THEY MUST NOT CONTRADICT ANYTHING IN THE FAITH
They are simply meant to be helps to all that we have been given
Hope that makes sense!!
Fr. Mike is so grateful to be walking with us!!
Fr. Mike is praying for YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!