Skip to comments.The Two Most Crucial Requirements for any Theologian According to Origen
Posted on 03/21/2014 2:22:40 AM PDT by markomalley
Back in Seminary days we would often study the question of authorship when it came to books of the Bible. Especially in modern times there are extensive debates about such things. I remember being annoyed at the question in most cases since I didnt really care who the Holy Spirit gave the text to, in the end, God was the author.
I was also annoyed at some of the premises used to reject apostolic authorship. For example, it was widely held by modern scholars that St. Paul couldnt possibly be the author of the the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus) since the description of the Church was far too developed to have been written prior to 65 AD. Never mind that the Acts of the Apostles describes many of the dubious hierarchal elements (presbyters (e.5. Acts 14:23), deacons (e.g. acts 6:3), and apostles (bishops). Never mind any of that, for us moderns there is the tendency to consider as primitive early eras. So Pauls authorship was questioned by many in those days.
Johns gospel too was considered far too lofty by modern scholars to have been written by a simple fisherman. Where could this unlettered man have gotten such profound and mystical insights? Again, never mind that he may have been as old as 90 when he authored the gospel, and may have pondered it for some 60 years. Never mind that he lived for at least part of that time with the sinless Virgin Mary, who knew her son as no one knew him and saw him with sinless eyes. No, never mind the power of grace and infused vision. No, it was too much for many modern and rationalistic scholars to accept that a simple fisherman could pull it off. It must have been by some other more lettered man like John the Elder, or it must have been other smarter types in the Johanine community, or school that authored this.
Here too I was just a simple 25 year old seminarian but it seemed to me that far too many modern interpreters stressed only the human dimension of Revelation. Something more mystical was missing from the view of the Bible experts who equated Wisdom with scholarly credentials. That God could somehow give a profound vision to the early Apostles, and an infused mysticism was almost wholly absent in their analysis.
Even as a 25 year old I knew better than to exclude that. I was young, but had already experienced aspects of the charismatic movement where inspiration and gifts were to be sought and expected.
And had not Jesus himself said to the Apostles, But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you (Jn 14:26).
I recently came across a quote from Origen, the early 3rd Century Father, whose insight into John struck me as profound and telling, deeply faithful and challenging for every Christian. Pondering himself, where John got all this Origen in effects sets forth the two most crucial requirements for a theologian:
We may therefore make bold to say that the Gospels are the first fruits of all the Scriptures, but that of the Gospels that of John is the first fruits. No one can apprehend the meaning of it except he that has lain on Jesus breast and received, from Jesus, Mary to be his mother also. (Origen, Commentary on John, 6)
There is was, the lynchpin, the truest answer, the two most crucial reasons for Johns mystical heights. John had mystical vision and saw the Lord in the loftiest way because he knew and experienced the heart, the love of the Lord, and had Mary for his Mother.
John was a brilliant theologian and possessed of deep insight, less because he knew books, and more because he knew the Lord, heart to heart, he experienced the love of God and loved him in return.
Secondly and surely and truly Marys role in Johns insight cannot be overlooked. Think of the conversations she and John must have had, the mystical prayer she must have enjoyed, and shared with John, the memories and the things that only the heart of a sinless mother could see and know. How John must have marveled at the gift of her. And how he too, who had known the heart of the Lord, and rested at his heart, at the Last Supper must have been able to pray and converse with her.
Speculation you say? Perhaps. But a vision I share with the great theologian Origen. It was love that gave John insight, it was relationship with Jesus, and with Mother Mary, by Jesus own gift, that his mystical gospel took flight and reached the loftiest heights.
And what of you and me? How will we gain insight into the Lord, and the truth of his Gospel? Books and learning? Studying Greek? Reading commentaries? Sure, all well and good. But these things are best at telling you what the text is saying. But it takes a deep relationship with the Lord to see Scriptures mystical meaning. And Marys beautiful intercession and motherly promptings help things to soar, for she herself pondered all these things and reflected on them in her heart.
What to be a great theologian? Study for sure. But dont forget to pray! Scripture comes from the heart of the Lord and it is only there, by entering the heart of the Lord, and living there through prayer that Scriptures truest meaning will ever be grasped.
Step two, entrust your study and reflection to Mother Mary. No one loves and understands Jesus like his Mother Mary. Ask her intercession and help, she will show you the heart of her Son.
Jesus gave John two gifts: the gift of his heart, and the gift of his mother. And John soared to such places that people could ask, How did he get all this? But you know how.
He offers you and me the same. Do you want vision, do you want to appreciate the depths of scripture and all Gods truth? Do you want the eyes of your heart opened to new mysteries and mystical experience? Accept the gifts Jesus offers: the gift of his heart, the gift of his mother.
Consider well the admonition of one of the most learned men who ever lived, Oriegn: No one can apprehend the meaning of it except he that has lain on Jesus breast and received from Jesus Mary to be his mother also.
Msgr Pope ping
Thank-you and God Bless Msgr. Pope!
If ALL Christians would appriciate the two great gifts of Jesus, His heart and His mother.
There was a thread posted not long ago, authored, I believe by Longenecker, about history and myth infusing the Bible. The premise was that there are both, we just have to tell them apart. I don't think that approach makes sense for a Catholic Christian. That is because at the root of our faith is the fact of the historical and witnessed by the Church resurrection of Jesus. Now, one may not believe the Church, -- but once he obtained that faith, how can he look at some other miraculous event and say: "This is embellishment" or "This is myth-making" or "This is a copyist's insertion"? Christ died and rose from the dead allright but walking on water must have been an optical thing?
That is one little nit to pick. The New Testament has both apostles and bishops, but they are not interchangeable as the parenthesis suggests.
Thank you for this Oriegnal Thinker post
Thank you for this. It is very timely for me since I have recently been thinking about all that isn’t in the Bible.
When one reads the synoptic Gospels, things are presented fairly perfunctorily i.e. without a lot of extraneous material.
Consider the crucifixion, the most important event in the trilogy of events that concern Jesus and our salvation i.e his birth, his death and his resurrection. Very few verses are devoted to it yet our very eternal life depends on it.
So, you can see where I am, thinking in depth of these events.
I am contemplating now Mary at the foot of the cross. How she must have suffered seeing her son, God’s son so painfully killed! How she must have pondered deep in her heart how the promises God spoke to her through the angel at Jesus’ conception were going to come to fruition with the death of His beloved Son.
What did she know? When did she know it?
What trust she must have had in God!
So, when I read what Origen said regarding John having been given Jesus’ heart, it helps me to understand more clearly Mary’s ability to be with Jesus in that dark time.
His heart beat next to hers as he grew in her womb!
Each time I receive Him in the Eucharist, I receive His heart! And having Mary as my mother, I can know that in my darkest hour, trusting in God is all I can do! Remembering His promises is my only hope!
Thanks for the ping.
Now that's a theological education!!!
I agree there are elements who deny the OT miracles and call them fable. The same will not doubt most of the NT miracles but somehow the same God Who can walk on water somehow cannot part the Red Sea. Go figure.
Thanks for your post.
It is the same error whether it is applied to the New Testament or Old. The entire Christian Bible is inerrant.