The Roman Catholic Church was the slowest to change. Change was considered Protestant, a threat to the institution. For many the implementation of Vatican II was overwhelming, with a lot of misunderstanding. A change in form does not mean a change in substance. The unchanging deposit of faith is one thing, but how to present it is another. The problem is that today the medium is the message. The Mystery of the Christian message surpasses the possibilities of formulation. Real development of understanding is natural. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the People of God, the Church, has retrieved some of the biblical and ancient traditions of the early Church. This is not a corruption of faith, but a revival of a rich past engaging the world critically. The Church is always changing using eternal truths in new expressions.
We are all called to Christian spirituality. Spirituality is not a monastic reality only. The contemplative must be down to earth. You need spirituality in your work. The need for spiritual nourishment goes with a dynamic, growing and changing relationship with God. You need to read scripture, do personal study, attend retreats and renewal experiences within small faith communities. Our spiritual life, our interior life, our very existence needs the life-giving element of prayer.
In what sense are these biblical books literal interpretations of what was happening? History means different things to differ people. History is always an interpretation. In fact, our concept of what is history is always changing. The result is that a literal interpretation means that you have to understand what they were trying to say about God, not the incidentals surrounding the events. The idea of footnoting has become a general practice that was not known over a thousand years ago. History sometimes refers to a good story. Even in our own lifetime we can still argue about the events surrounding the death of President John Kennedy or the victims at the OJ Simpson house. Thus, it does not seem out of place to question events that supposedly took place either pre-historically or thousands of years ago. They did not have to happen exactly as detailed by men writing about them years after the described events.
“When the priests enter
The holy place,
They shall not go out of it
Into the outer court
Without laying there
In which they minister.
These are holy garments.
They shall put on
Before they go near
To the area
Open to the people.”
The bronze man further explained to Ezekiel that these chambers also held the holy garments that the priests wore when they entered the holy of holies. These priests were not to go out into the outer court, without changing their clothes. The garments or vestments themselves were holy, so that they had to be left in these holy chambers. The priests had to put on other clothes before they could go near the area where all the other people were.
“‘Therefore once more
I accuse you.’
Your children’s children.
Cross to the coasts of Cyprus!
Send to Kedar!
Examine with care!
See if there has ever been
Such a thing!
Has a nation changed its gods?
They are no gods.
But my people have changed their glory.
They prefer something that does not profit.
Be utterly desolate!’
Jeremiah has Yahweh accuse his people and their children of changing from Yahweh God to go after false gods. Yahweh wanted them to go to the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea or the desert tribe of Kedar on the eastern side of the Jordan. Did those people change their deities? Why did his own people change from the glory of Yahweh to these false useless gods. The heavens are appalled, shocked, and desolate at this turn of events. Yahweh was upset.
“Has the rain a father?
Who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth?
Who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone.
The face of the deep is frozen.”
Rain is once again considered in anthropomorphic terms. Who is the father of rain? Whose womb did the light morning dew come from? Whose womb did the ice come from? How did the waters become like stone, frozen in place? These continuing poetic expressions about rain and ice pose the unanswerable questions about weather and its changing face. Certainly these poetic terms appear again and again in encyclical Laudato Si of Pope Francis I.