Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Christ told Saint Catherine about “The Learned”

From the Catholic Exchange:

When in a vision Christ spoke to Saint Catherine of his desire to send her into the world for its re-evangelization, in humility she asked how and why she, a woman, would be sent when “it is not highly considered by men, and also because it is not good, for decency’s sake, for a woman to mix with men”.[1] Christ’s reply is very telling. In part, Christ replied:

You must know that in these latter days there has been such an upsurge of pride, especially in the case of men who imagine themselves to be learned or wise, that my justice cannot endure them any longer, without delivering a just chastisement upon them that will bring them to confusion…To confound their arrogance, I will raise up women ignorant and frail by nature but endowed with strength and divine wisdom. Then, if they will come to their senses and humble themselves, I will behave with the utmost mercy towards them, that is to say, towards those who, according to the grace given them, receive my doctrine, offered them in fragile but specially chosen vessels, and follow it reverently…For indeed it is only just that those who try to exalt themselves should be humbled.[2]

In Saint Catherine’s book, The Dialogue, which God the Father revealed to her during several mystical unions (ecstasies), God speaks to her about interpreting the Scriptures and about “the learned” who lead people astray because they will not interpret Holy Scripture with the light the Holy Spirit gives those who love God more than themselves:

Every light that comes from Holy Scripture has come and still comes from that light. This is why the foolish, proud, and learned people go blind even though it is light, because their pride and the cloud of selfish love have covered and blotted out this light. So they read Scripture literally rather than with understanding. They taste only its letter in their chasing after a multiplicity of books, never tasting the marrow of Scripture because they have let go of the light by which Scripture was formed and proclaimed.

…For one cannot share what one does not have in oneself, and because these persons’ life is darksome, they often share the light of Holy Scripture in darkness. You will find the opposite in my servants, for they share the light within them in hunger and longing for others’ salvation.[3]

According to Saint Catherine, Doctor of the Church, the mark then of the true exegete is zeal for the salvation of souls and so a spirit of sacrifice for others (“hunger and longing”) that they not suffer eternal loss. The exegete should understand Saint Catherine’s doctrine of “The Bridge” as being a doctrine the Church reaffirms with her; a doctrine that warns if we are not striving forward to realize the power of God to save us, if we are not loving God more than ourselves by seeking how to surrender more fully to him, then we will eventually fall back into sin. The Scriptures themselves are the testimony of God’s power to save us and the words of Scripture are life-giving. Jesus’ words are spirit and life and essential for learning to surrender to God’s love.