God Reveals Himself By Hiding
Fr. Frederich William Faber in his wonderful book on the Eucharist, The Blessed Sacrament, makes the paradoxical statement that God "makes Himself known by hiding Himself." Fr. Faber continues: "With Him, to reveal Himself is to conceal Himself. It seems a sort of necessity of His incomprehensible perfections. It inheres inseparably to the mystery of the Infinite stooping to disclose Himself to the finite. As we see a star sometimes when we do not look directly at it and lose it from the field of vision when we do, or as when we smoke and stain the glass in order to see the sun, so it is with God; we see Him best when He is veiled. He is to us what the face of Moses was to the people: we cannot look upon it because of it exceeding brightness."
God reveals Himself in this hidden way in Creation, in Sacred Scripture, in the Incarnation, and in the Eucharist.
It is a metaphysical principle that every effect bears some likeness to its cause. The artist leaves 'traces' of himself in his art. God is revealed in His creatures in the way that an artist is revealed in his art. Although God's presence is hidden in creation, He nevertheless manifests Himself in the wonderful complex order and harmony in the universe. St Bonaventure said that the Trinity "shines forth" in creatures. The First Vatican Council decreed that the existence of God can be known "with certitude by the light of human reason from created things." Scripture also affirms this: Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made (Rom 1:20). The Book of Wisdom (13:1-9) proclaims the same theme.
In Sacred Scripture
God hides Himself in difficulties in the Bible. Difficulties were put there to humble us so that we may see Him more clearly. The humble soul more clearly perceives God than the proud one. St. Augustine said that it was God's wish that the Bible "should have difficulties scattered through it so that we might be spurred on to read and study it with greater diligence and thus realize our own limitations and be exercised in due humility."
God also hides Himself in the various ways He presents Himself in the Bible. Fr. Faber states: "God condescends to represent Himself in Scripture as making Himself different to different persons, as treating a man as the man treats Him, just as Origen says of our Blessed Lord on earth that he was in the habit of appearing in different guise to different men according to their degree of moral purity. Scripture sometimes speaks as if it was in every one's power to have God as he would like to have Him, as if men could make their own God and give Him what spirit they chose [see Ps 18:25-26]. Now if God, in His inscrutable wisdom, deigns thus to follow the lead of men, and to appear to them according to the imaginations of their own hearts, it is plain, that however He may please to limit this method of operation, it is one which must necessarily make His ways hidden. Thus His dealings with His friends, His enemies, particular nations, and different ages, must be considered as exemplifying this divine peculiarity."
In the Incarnation
Jesus in his earthy life did not court notice. Fr. Faber explains: "His very first instinct and impulse was to hide Himself. He came for the express purpose of manifesting Himself, and He did nothing but hide Himself. He avoids crowds, on the whole shuns cities, does not approach the great, and rather lets men take the initiative with Him. He goes to desert places, and keeps hiding Himself from time to time, as if by instinct, in the gorges of mountains. When He teaches, He hides His meaning under figures, parables and deep apophthegms. When He worked miracles, for the most part He begged for those in whose favor He had worked them not to indulge them. When He cast devils out of the possessed, He commanded them to be silent and not to make Him known. And repeatedly when He was attracting notice, as at Capharnaum and the Pool of Bethsaida, He glided away through the crowd unseen."
In the Eucharist
Fr. Faber explains that God hides especially in the Eucharist: "God does not reveal Himself except by concealing Himself: and the Blessed Sacrament is His chief hiding-place, so it is His chief revelation." Jesus hides all his glory and majesty and splendor in the Eucharist because He wants us to go to Him there in faith. And there He reveals Himself to us in the silence of our hearts.
Fr. Victor Edits Translation of St. Lawrence of Brindisi's Commentary on Genesis 1-3
St. Lawrence of Brindisi was a remarkable person. He was a man of immense intellectual, moral and spiritual stature who also lived a life of swashbuckling adventure. He was born on July 22, 1559 in the Italian Adriatic port city Brindisi. His parents gave him the name Julius Caesar when he was baptized. On February 18, 1575, Julius Caesar became Brother Lawrence in the Order of Capuchins at the order's novitiate house in Verona. After his profession he pursued studies in philosophy and theology at the University of Padua.
Lawrence had a outstanding memory. He mastered the principal European languages and most of the Semitic tongues. It was said that he knew the entire original text of the Bible. He was ordained a priest on December 18, 1582.
Father Lawrence was a fiery preacher with a forceful personality who held his listeners in rapt attention. He would adapt his preaching to the spiritual needs of the congregation. He had a good voice, an imposing appearance, personal magnetism, and a photographic memory. He is considered one of the greatest preachers in the history of Christianity. He painstakingly prepared his sermons and would spend three to five hours in prayer before delivering his more formal sermons. So deep was his feeling when he delivered his sermons that he often cried while preaching. His sermons were also fearless. He did not hesitate to denounce the vices of the strong and powerful, even when they were present.
In addition to evangelical missions to the Protestants and diplomatic missions, Pope Clement VIII gave Fr. Lawrence the task of instructing the Jews. Because of his knowledge of Hebrew and his powerful reasoning, he brought a great number of them to recognize the truths of the Catholic faith. His saintliness and kindness further prepared the way for their conversion. Some of the Jews called Father Lawrence "the living Bible." He was familiar not only with the Old Testament Hebrew text and its Aramaic versions (Targums) but also with commentaries on them by medieval Jewish scholars.
In 1601 Lawrence was named chaplain of the imperial army. He instilled confidence in the soldiers and lead the emperor's army to victory against the Turks, who outnumbered the emperor's soldiers by about three to one. He rode in front of the soldiers on horseback carrying a crucifix in his hand. He led them into the thick of battle, holding the crucifix aloft, and came through unscathed.
Lawrence successfully combined his very active physical and intellectual life with an intense inner life. His practice of religious virtue equaled that of the great saints. He rose to high levels of contemplation, rarely celebrating Mass without falling into ecstasy. His Masses often lasted six to ten hours, the longest taking sixteen hours. One witness observed him levitate three feet above the floor for a hour and a half while celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He had deep and tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Mariale, a collection of 84 of his sermons on Mary, comprises a complete and profound Mariology
St. Lawrence was a prolific writer. His known writings comprise eight volumes of sermons, two treatises on oratory, commentaries on Genesis and Ezekiel, and three volumes of religious polemics. St. Lawrence is unique among the Doctors of the Church in that he is the only one who makes extensive use of Jewish commentators.
Lawrence died in Lisbon on July 22, 1619. Pope Leo XIII canonized him on December 8, 1881. Pope John XXIII named him a Doctor of the Universal Church on March 19, 1959. He is known as The Apostolic Doctor. His feast is celebrated on July 21.
Fr. Victor Warkulwiz, M.S.S. has edited a translation of St. Lawrence's commentary on the first three chapters of Genesis in his Explanatio in Genesim (Explanation of Genesis), which is the third volume of his complete works as compiled by a commission of Capuchin Fathers. Explanation of Genesis is a commentary on the first eleven chapters of Genesis, excluding chapter ten which is strictly genealogical. The translation from Latin into English and transliterations from Hebrew and Greek letters into Roman letters were done by Craig Toth.
This volume, which is entitled St. Lawrence of Brindisi on Creation and the Fall, is intended to be an informative work for the liberally educated Catholic layman and not a critical edition for scholars. The translation is colloquial rather than scholarly literal to make it agreeable to the modern ear. It is intended to show how genuine Catholic exegesis of Genesis should proceed. That does not mean that everything St. Lawrence says is necessarily accurate. He was limited, like we are, by the sciences of his time. But he does give modern exegetes a model to imitate. And, most important of all, he shows how far exegesis can proceed, how much we can learn about our origins, if we accept without reservation the veracity of the text of Genesis.
St. Lawrence is the exemplar for the exegesis of Genesis 1-11 in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is evident from his commentary on Genesis 1-3 that he took those chapters as an inerrant literal historical account of beginning of the world and the human species as related by the prophet Moses under divine inspiration. He realized that Scripture sometimes expresses literal truth in obvious metaphors, just as we do in our everyday speech. But that did not mean to him that Genesis 1-3 is a string of metaphors, or an allegory, that has to be deciphered by experts, which seems to be the opinion of modern Catholic exegetes. Instead, Lawrence saw that careful study of the language of text uncovers deeper strata of its literal meaning. He employs tradition, both Jewish and Catholic, the sciences of his day, and common sense imbued with deep faith.
The book should be available the end of this year or the beginning of next year from the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation (www.kolbecenter.org).
APEA Activity in 2008
In 2008 the priests of the Apostolate for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration visited the following parishes to help start or maintain perpetual Eucharistic adoration (or as close to it as possible):
Our Lady of the Cove, Kimberling City, MO; St. Rose of Lima, De Soto, MO; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rocky Mount, NC; Holy Redeemer, Menominee, MI; Holy Trinity, Arroyo Seco, NM; St. Joseph, Shawnee, KS; Holy Spirit, Overland Park, KS; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pagosa Springs, CO; St Mary, Montrose, CO; St. Francis Xavier, Anamoose, ND; St. Thomas Aquinas, Albuquerque, NM; Holy Family, Roy, NM; St. Joseph, Roy, NM; St Anne, Grants Pass, OR; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Fe, NM; St. John the Baptist, San Juan Pueblo, NM; St. Thomas Aquinas, Binghamton, NY; Our Lady of Lourdes, Raleigh, NC; St. Joseph, Raleigh, NC; St. Ann, Escanaba, MI; St. Francis, Escanaba, MI; Holy Family, Escanaba, MI; St. John the Baptist, Suwanee, GA; St. Benedict, Suwanee, GA; Resurrection of Our Lord, Suwanee, GA; St. Patrick, Chama, NM; St. Thomas the Apostle, Abiquiu, NM; St. Catherine of Siena, Wake Forest, NC; Transfiguration, Edgeley, ND; Holy Spirit, Edgeley, ND; Ascension, Hurricane, WV; St. Peter the Fisherman, Mountain Home, AR; Sacred Heart, Onaga, KS; St. Joseph, Onaga, KS; St. Vincent De Paul, Onaga, KS; St. Patrick, Onaga, KS; St. Francis De Sales, Newark, OH; St. Francis of Assisi, Staunton, VA; St. Mary, Staunton, VA; Sacred Heart, Pensacola, FL; St. Ann, Bellcourt, ND; St. Francis of Assisi, San Antonio, TX; St. Agatha, Canastota, NY; Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo, ND; San Jose, Carlsbad, NM; St. Elizabeth, Carlsbad, NM; Queen of Heaven, Uniontown (Green), OH; Our Lady of the Lake, Branson, MO; Queen of Angels, Austin, MN; Holy Spirit, Goddard, KS; St. Francis Xavier, Merrill, WI; St. Agnes, Concord, CA; St. Cecilia, Ashland, MA; Our Lady of the Ozarks, Forsyth, MO; Our Lady of Loretto, Brownsdale, MN; St. Stanislaus, Steubenville, OH; Assumption BVM, Roswell, NM; St. Mary, Sleepy Eye, MN; St Michael, Annandale, VA; St. Peter, Steubenville, OH; St. Joseph, Amarillo, TX; Our Lady of Fatima, Bensalem, PA; St. Eleanor, Collegeville, PA; Our Lady of Lourdes, Philadelphia, PA; St. Catherine of Siena, Horsham, PA; Holy Apostles, Meridian, ID; St. Mark, Boise, ID; Prince of Peace, Taylors, SC.