Saturday, February 21, 2015

An Amazing Paragraph about Allegorical Interpretation

An amazing paragraph:

"Allegory does not 'prove' anything, nor is it meant to.  The rule that nothing can be argued allegorically from scripture that is not also present literally is as old as Origen.  What it seeks to do is to hold us readers 'still' before Jesus, to disallow the clever reading strategies by which we would avoid Christ in the pages of scripture.  Nor is this quite heavily christological hermeneutic a license for avoiding the particular words and story of the Old Testament.  The Old Testament 'builds up a context, a matrix, in which the mystery of Christ can be incarnated."  Now that Christ has filled this womb, and so this world, with grace, and allowed persons to participate by grace in that divinity which he eternally is, we are given eyes to see his gracious presence not least on every page of scripture, but also throughout the created order.  Allegory is no movement away from the particular events of salvation history into a realm of timeless truth.  It is rather a movement into history: a dogged refusal to allow exegetes to evade the chistological significance with which all history is infused after the incarnation.  The result . . . is a symphony, as the various and quite distinct notes of the full sweep of scripture are joined into the concert of a 'harmonious composition.'" 

--Jason Byasse from his book "Praise Seeking Understanding: Reading the Psalms with Augustine"

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Overcoming False Beliefs that Lead to Lust rather than Love

For those who struggle with lust and strive for sexual purity, these words are extremely helpful:

"In the modern view, the body has been relegated to the realm of subhuman nature.  It may serve as a biological reference point, but it has nothing to say about the human person and the order of human relationships.  Much less does the body say anything about theology---about the nature of the divine mystery and God's love for humanity.  In this view, the person stands over and against his body.  The body does not call him to anything.  It makes no demands on him.  Modern man owns his body like a thing, and, as such, he believes he can do anything he wants with it.  The body and sexuality are then used as tools and a means to selfish pleasure, even profit.  The 'word' (or anti-word) inscribed in the body for modern man is 'self-gratification.'

"St. Paul, on the other hand, is deeply rooted in a sacramental, theological view of the body.  He knows the body 'speaks' a mystical language.  It speaks not only about the truth of the human person as male and female.  It also speaks about the 'great mystery' hidden in God from all eternity.  For St. Paul, the truth about who man is as male and female can only be understood in light of this 'great mystery.'  Recalling God's plan in Genesis for man and woman to join in 'one flesh,' he builds on the analogy of the spousal love of God for Israel and shows the fulfillment of the Old Testament image in Christ's love for the church.  In doing so, he calls man and woman to embrace the sublime vocation inscribed in their bodies from 'the beginning'---to love as God loves.  The Word inscribed in the body in Ephesians 5, therefore, is 'self-donation.'"

 ---from the book, "Theology of the Body Explained," by Christopher West

Key points to know and imbibe: 

1) The body is sacramental in that it points to the great mystery of life.  Like a sacrament, our earthly bodies point to heavenly realities.

2) The triune communion of persons in the trinity is a self-giving communion of love we are called to participate in and can participate in through faith in Christ. 

3) The triune communion of persons in love, inscribed in our bodies as male and female, is a self-giving, sacrificial love we are privileged to imitate.  We imitate his faithful, self-giving love by loving our spouse, if we are married, and our neighbors in faithfulness to our high calling, which God in his marvelous wisdom has written in our very bodies.

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