Guide Orphaned by God (A Mystics Journey Through Grace)

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Sons of Thunder : John and Lily

He lived and spoke of an abiding consciousness that the Father was with him Jn ; ; How did he go into the deeper levels of his consciousness and grasp the deeper dimensions of the great mystery of his inner experience? It is John who describes his inner search as well as his intense experiences with his Father. Sinking into intense contemplative silence, he experienced deep oneness with his Father, his divine source.

It is from the depth of his contemplation at the deepest level of his consciousness that he experienced the unfolding of the Divine through the human and the consequent divine mission Painadath His language was conditioned by the historical and cultural factors of his country and time, so it is not surprising that he never addressed God as mother.

However, his underlying experience of his deepest intimacy with God whom he called Father is full of mother sentiments. The Son clings on to the feeding breast of the divine motherly Father; "come and drink from me" Jn He knew that the Father is with him, in him Jn , The Father is his source and generator and he is the expression and unfolding of the Father. There is a total and intense co-penetration perichoresis between them. There is absolute unity between them.

This is how Jesus articulates his deepest experience in relation to the Divine. He had a consciousness that his being, life, and work have been totally transparent to the divine source which he called the Father, and that the being of the Father reveals itself through him. This consciousness is echoed in such statements as: "The word that you hear is not my own; it is the word of the Father who sent me" Jn ; "What the Father has told me is what I speak" Jn ; "What I say to you, I do not speak of my own accord; it is the Father living in me doing his works" Jn ; "My teaching is not from myself; it comes from the one who sent me" Jn This is why he says: "Anyone who sees me, sees the Father" Jn ; "Anyone who hears me, hears the Father" Jn ; "Anyone who knows me, knows the Father" Jn Jesus had an abiding consciousness of being sent by the Father: "The Father sent me" Jn ; ; It is the Father who is with him and in him who sends him with a special mission and the Son understands his mission as doing the will of the Father Jn ; and completing the work of the Father Jn ; He spoke with the abiding consciousness of being the voice of the Father: what I speak comes not from myself but from within the Father Jn The Father is eternal silence: "No one has ever heard his voice" Jn 5: But he is the word that unfolds the divine silence: "Just as katos the father has sent me into the world, so do I send you" Jn ; "Just as katos I draw life from the Father, so will you draw life from me" Jn There is only one mission, one sending.

The Father sends Jesus, who in turn sends us. Our Inner Journey. An understanding of this depth dimension is vital to appreciate what Paul means by "in Christ. When we live our lives "in Christ," we enter into the deepest inner experience of Jesus and then into our own where we experience Jesus as a presence, God-with-us. We gradually learn never to disturb this experience with thoughts or words. This experience is what mystics try to describe in poetic images.

Ephesians captures it well:. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being [the deepest level of consciousness] with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love [divine energy]. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love [divine energy] of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Mysticism needs prophecy. When we do so, we hold together the two streams that interact in religious life, the mystical and the prophetic, as we bring our mystical experience and contemplative moments into our mission and ministry. A mystical consciousness and a prophetic lifestyle are meant to serve each other because every true prophet is a mystic and every genuine mystic is a prophet Painadath How do we religious develop a contemplative consciousness by which we experience the divine presence and vibrate that divine energy as compassion to those whom we serve in our ministry?

We must allow the vast wealth of mystical and prophetic energy to flow into our worship, our ministries, our formation programs, and in our day-to- day dealings with people. From this intense experience of the Divine he comes out with a sense of mission from the Father and expresses it in a life of compassionate service. Compassion demands action for justice. This is the key to the teaching of Jesus and the prophets.

United in deep, contemplative stillness with his Father, the divine source, Jesus was saturated with divine energy and grasped the consequent divine mission. It was when Herod was arrested that he left the desert and the river Jordan and started a dramatically new ministry of preaching and healing and caring for the poor, the sick, the sinners, and the lost sheep of the house of Israel Nolan Like the poor and marginalized today, they were caught up in a spiral of violence with ever increasing taxation.

They suffered from malnourishment and disease and lived in a state of insecurity and anxiety. In reaching out to people, Jesus shared the divine energy with them and expressed it as compassion. In the social world in which Jesus lived, racial purity was of great value for the Jews. The next stratum of society below the pure was the mixed race. It included those who had married Gentiles. At the bottom of this system were the impure: lepers, the handicapped, the mentally ill, prostitutes, bandits, and murderers.

They either carried the stigma of the sins of their parents or were possessed by evil spirits. This lowest category of the impure included such people as tanners, butchers, barbers, bath attendants, blacksmiths, nurses, shepherds, caravan riders, herdsmen, weavers, tailors, tax gatherers, dung collectors, etc. Aside from this list of socially despised jobs, there were also 39 types of prohibited work on the sabbath, but the majority of the poor, the beggars, the lepers, etc. For Jesus, it was not separation but nearness.

He even calls the Pharisees—those self-appointed guardians of the system—unmarked tombs upon which people stumble. In other words, people become unclean by contact with them! He saw the temple, not just as a religious center, but also as a center of political power, trade, and economy that needed cleansing. Jesus had a deep sense of his divine mission. The social rigidity of the structures of society did not affect him.

His whole concern was with the person with whom he dealt with reverence and compassion. He ignored every form of social bias and dined with the broad category of "outcasts" and "sinners. In the New Testament they are referred to as "outcasts" and "sinners. They too needed healing. Those who considered themselves racially pure only invited those from their own caste to meal-fellowship because "sharing a table meant sharing life" Jeremias, ; it was a sign of intimacy, communion, and fellowship. Meals were also sacred functions and symbolized the messianic banquet Is ; ; Lk For Jesus, there were no privileged places at table.

No wonder the poor were happy! It was no surprise to them that he appeared mad to the authorities. Gradually, such a revolutionary practice of meal-fellowship with outcasts and sinners led him to the final confrontation with the religious-political leaders and finally, to the cross. Vowed Life and Prophetic Lifestyle. When we move into the cave of our heart, we switch off the inner stream of our thoughts and feelings, soak in the divine presence, and experience, like Jesus, the same outpouring of divine life into our hearts.

We reach out to others with a great sense of urgency, to bring them the fruit of our contemplation and of our deep mystical experience, because we ourselves have been touched by the compassion of God. We find ourselves deeply bound with the lives of others as branches of a divine tree all emerging from the same divine root, energized by the same divine sap. Contemplating the divine mystery invites us to appreciate the transforming power of divine compassion in the world and creates in us a sense of urgency to bring that compassion to the enslaved and poor of our world.

Compassion is the fruit of contemplation and a deep mystical experience by which we are touched by the compassion of God inviting us to deal with people with reverence, devotion, and respect. The first Christian community experienced Jesus as embodiment of the concern of God, the outpouring of divine love into their hearts. Vowed Poverty. Our commitment to vowed poverty calls us to be a prophetic voice for the voiceless of our world. Our lived poverty is a protest against materialism, consumerism, selfishness, and the poverty in which the poor of the world are forced to live and impels us into practical solidarity with those who have not made an option for poverty, but who live in situations of deprivation and degradation.

And the majority of these are women and children, tribal peoples and minorities, and they are the majority of Asian Christians today Prior. Vowed poverty and prophecy are at one here. Placing ourselves in the midst of the lives of those whose poverty is not a matter of virtue, but is the condition of the life and the situation exacted of them by society, we live our prophetic lifestyle as a total openness to God. Our solidarity with the poor obliges us not only to a detachment from the goods of the earth but also to keep ourselves informed about global debt, the silent killer of the poor. As prophets we must also critique the global economic structures and the model of development which the industrialized countries and the International Monetary Fund continue to promote.

Vowed Celibacy. Our celibate lifestyle ought to symbolize for all Christians, not only the final solitariness of our relationship with God, but also the quality of our human relationships. Celibacy is about something far more important than sexual abstinence, more important than an asceticism that is more disciplinary, more functional, and more pragmatic than enlivening. It is not so much about what it denies us as about what it calls out of us. It is not non-love; it is another way of loving. It is not so much a struggle of the body as it is a stretching of the soul" Chittister It is easy to turn celibate love into celibate alienation that masks as holiness and one can easily choose self-centeredness over celibacy.

Half-hearted participation is no service at all to the world Chittister Celibacy is love unbounded, love unleashed in solidarity with the victims of society. The new name for compassion is solidarity and it is how we make God present in this world. Solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people … it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. Vowed Obedience. It is an obedience that allows our brother and sister to speak as we listen to their needs.

Obedience and justice are related in Scripture. By the vow of obedience, we commit ourselves to seeking the will of God as we work for the liberation of all people. In responsible obedience we challenge the structure of domination with its uncontrolled greed, ineffective financial systems, and distrust of collaboration. Institutionalized selfishness, exploitation, and irresponsibility result in the untimely death of millions of people.

No longer can we tolerate the violence and injustices of caste and privileged class. Our call to a prophetic life and our vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience are at one here. Prophetic Lifestyle. Our task as prophets is to live in this world the way Christ lived to be "healer and prophet, voice and heart," "touching lepers, raising donkeys from ditches on Sabbath days," ministering to those who have been abandoned "to find their way alone, unaccompanied through a patriarchal world.

That was 20 years ago. In , international news carried a report on female infanticide—baby girls poisoned, suffocated, drowned, starved, or simply left to die in Orissa. The report also revealed the ratio of 1, males to females, forcing men to "import" wives from other states. How can we raise a prophetic voice for all those widows and for the women who are enslaved, exploited, excluded, deprived, refused education, and whose heritage is stolen? We must speak out on their behalf and those who are not allowed to be at the center of the community—all those who are affected by racism, sexism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism.

Because of these ideologies, entire peoples endure downtrodden lives in silence and voiceless women are always among the victims. Our task as prophets is to critically evaluate what is oppressive, manipulative, consumerist, and unjust. As prophetic leaders, we allow God to challenge us through our reading and our contemplative reinterpretation of the signs of the times. As prophetic leaders, our solidarity with the poor obliges us not only to a detachment from the goods of the earth and to critique global economic structures, but also to keep ourselves informed about global debt, the silent killer of the poor.

However, this new endeavour transformed my ministry and way of relating to fellow believers and even strangers. It affected the way in which I regarded myself as being a pastor, of the way in which I preached, and especially of the way in which I went about counselling people. I realised that the vast majority of people, in the trying times in which we live, need not only counselling, but also spiritual direction. Another very important result of my newly found joy was the way in which I listened to the Biblical text.

My exposure to Lectio Divina had a profound impact on me. I experienced that I was no longer the driving force while reading Scripture. God, through His Holy Spirit, took control of the process, and opened new ways of reading, listening, praying, and living the text. These unlocked new paths for doing exegesis and preparing sermons. It involved a continual reflection on my own understanding and role in the process. Joining people on their spiritual journey became more fulfilling than trying to show them the way that I thought they must go in order to get out of their current state of not being where they want, or would have preferred to be.

That included their experiences of crises relating to material issues, life-threatening diseases, and even the certainty of death. Unavoidably, I had to reconsider the possibility of enrolling for a doctoral degree in Biblical Spirituality. Much thought went into this, and I believe that this spiritual process will not even end after the last full stop of this dissertation. Deciding on a possible subject was tough.

For me, it goes without saying that it must be in my favourite part of Scripture, namely the Second, or New Testament. To be honest, the entire Gospel intrigues me. However, when I gave it some thought, and once again paged through the Gospel, I paused at the fifteenth chapter of this fascinating interpretation of the words and works of the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord be glorified by whatever becomes of this research project.

New Testament scholars have conducted their research from different points of view. Much of the research was done from historical-critical perspectives. In recent years, a growing number of scholars began devoting their attention to the topic of Spirituality, including a spiritual reading of texts. Their work indicates that historical-critical readings of the Biblical text can, and should be meaningfully complemented with an approach that deems the spiritual nature of these texts and their appropriation as an important task for Biblical scholars.

The aim of this study is to continue this development and follow in the footsteps of leading Biblical scholars such as Kees Waaijman and Sandra Schneiders in uncovering deeper layers of meaning in the Biblical text. This spiritual reading will include an investigation of the mystical dimensions of the text. Such an approach is not entirely new. Scholars have drawn attention to the fact that the Gospel of John has often been understood as a symbolic text that suggests deeper meanings.


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This research project will offer such a spiritual and mystical reading of the Gospel of John. The focus will be on John 15 and its use of the verb ; but the place of John 15 will consistently be investigated within the framework of the Gospel as a whole. The emphasis will be on the insights that reveal the spiritual and mystical dimensions of the text.

Chapter 2 will provide a close reading of the Greek text of John The most prominent themes and words in John 15 will be investigated, with special attention to the occurrences and function of. This 1 Schneiders explains something of her own struggle in order to be allowed to study the New Testament for her own interest, that of Spirituality as the lived experience of faith. Indeed, the type of objectivity that was the ideal of historical critical exegesis and that controlled its agenda and methodology seemed to forbid, if not any interest i[n] such matters, at least any explicit intrusion of such concerns into the scholarly study of the text.

Understanding the Bible in a religious and spiritual context is not merely about understanding concepts and teachings of the distant past, but ultimately about being touched and transformed by the encounter with God. Kysar Chapter 3 will begin with a cursory overview of Johannine exegesis in New Testament research as was done mostly in terms of historical-critical approaches.

Although this research provided important insights that will also be used in the close reading of John 15, it did not investigate the text specifically in terms of its spiritual and mystical contents. The next section of Chapter 3 will analyse research on Spirituality, in general, and Biblical Spirituality, in particular, and how it provides the context for, and proves the validity of a spiritual reading of texts such as John It will also address concerns about a spiritual approach to the Bible that still exists among certain scholars. This research will prevent an imposition of modern understanding of mysticism on John as a text from late Antiquity.

Chapter 4 will investigate the place of John 15 within the narrative of the Gospel, particularly within its first part John , as well as its setting within the Farewell Discourse John , of which it forms an integral part. This analysis will provide the framework within which should be understood in John 15 and to show how John 15 reflects spiritual and mystical dimensions found elsewhere in the Gospel. In the next three chapters, material arguments will be developed to explain the mystical nature of as a key term in John The analysis will relate to Spirituality as the process of a transformative divine-human relationship with its mystical focus.

Chapter 5 will investigate the divine initiative and involvement in as mutual indwelling, while Chapter 6 will focus on indwelling from the human perspective. In a closer focus on the mystical nature of indwelling, the final section of the thesis will investigate the role of Jesus as mystagogue in Chapter 7. Several passages in the Gospel as a whole will be analysed to show how various encounters between Jesus and individuals illuminate indwelling as transformational power, as spelled out in John Each part contributes to the meaning of the whole, so that one part will also be influenced by the others and by the text as a whole.

In this Chapter, attention will be paid to these aspects, with a focus on a close analysis of the Greek text of John Lexical meanings for In a textual study such as this, the correct translation of words is important. This is especially true of prominent words such as , which is found times in the New Testament, of which 40 appear in John and 24 in the Johannine epistles Brown In the text of John 15, takes up a prominent place.

It occurs 11 times in John 15, making up a quarter of the total count. Before discussing the different occurrences in more detail, an analysis of the verb itself is required. A number of scholars provide several terms to indicate the meaning of the verb. Moulton also provides a list of possibilities: [T]o stay; to continue; to dwell, lodge, sojourn John ; to remain John ; to rest, settle John 1;32,33; ; to last, endure John ; to survive, [to] be existent; to continue unchanged; to be permanent John ; to persevere, be constant, be steadfast; to abide, [to] be in close and settled union John , , ; to indwell John , to wait for.

Bauer et al. Louw and Nida b list the verb under the domain of relations and the subdomain of association. The meaning of the verb can also be approached from a different angle. In its theological sense the word menein overlaps with other Johannine conceptions such as unity, oneness, love, and indwelling. For Schneiders , is a quasi-technical term for union with Jesus. Brown gives a more elaborate explanation from a theological point of view. In the Gospel, the verb is also sometimes used to convey the idea of abiding or indwelling, as in John All the equivalent words are attempts to make sense of the Greek verb, but they are, in turn, products of their time and indicative of particular preferences.

It can happen that some of these English words resonate better with readers or convey the meaning of the verb more efficiently. Bruner , for example, is of the opinion that the English translation abide abode for is slightly old-fashioned. A close reading of John 15 A close reading of John 15 focuses on the original Greek text and analyses it in terms of its composition. It is a helpful way of reading a text carefully and, especially, of taking its formal appearance seriously. Such a close reading takes into consideration the meaning of the text, but is focused on using the surface text in order to reconstruct its meaning.

Tolmie refers to Louw8 when he defines discourse analysis as a methodological approach by which the semantic content of language segments is analysed into its constituent units in order to restate the argument in terms of its taxonomic hierarchy. By highlighting these features of the discourse, the basic development of the thought can be stated. Take note that, in some instances, the verb will be changed to read dwell instead.

Louw What follows is an analysis of the Greek text of John 15 based on these elements. It is a helpful definition, although subsequent research has indicated that there are other meaningful proposals about the constitutive elements of a text. More important than a precise definition is that the text be read carefully and that thorough attention be paid to the fact that it consists of parts that make up a whole.

The text as a whole should be read in terms of these parts and the parts should be read in terms of the text as a whole. A colon is, therefore, used in this close analysis simply to indicate a sentence unit that forms a basic constituent of a text. In addition to marking the basic units that constitute the text as a whole, markers of important transitions and connections in the text are also pointed out. Structure markers can be defined as any prominent word, words, or group of words that may be helpful in analysing the structure of the text.

Different types of underlining and highlighting in different colours will indicate these in the text. Colour markers are also used in the text analysis. They can be informative, because the reader can obtain some key features of the text at a single glance. This is illustrated, for example, by the red markings in the text analysis cf.

Subsection 4. The approach is merely about a precise analysis of the formal appearance of the text. According to Dodd , form a connected whole. Formal analysis of John 15 The analysis of the Greek text focuses on its form, that is, how the author arranged his thoughts on the surface of the text. A close analysis of the form of the text enables one to account for its contents in a controlled manner with adequate arguments and proof.

The formal analysis precedes the material analysis of contents, because it determines the understanding of the material analysis. This formal analysis is presented by identifying markers that demarcate units in a passage, key elements in the text, as well as key motifs, words, and phrases. These are indicated in the analysis by means of colour coding. What follows is a formal analysis of the Greek text that indicates the most important markers, the demarcation of sections and subsections, as well as the relationship between them. Ultimately, this will lead to the formulation of the unique message of John The formal analysis is divided into three main sections, namely , , and Where necessary and where determined by means of surface markers, these main sections will be divided into subsections.

As such, one recognises smaller, coherent units that constitute the larger units of the three sections in John These form a natural unit, because they refer to viticulture Dodd Different markers in the text further indicate that the first section can be divided into four subsections, namely verses Jesus is the true vine and the Father tends the vineyard so that it might bear more fruit ; verses mutual indwelling as prerequisite for bearing fruit ; verses results of abiding, bearing fruit, and discipleship — followed by and , and verses adherence to the love command results in bearing lasting fruit;.

These markers will be listed and discussed in more detail in the following analysis. It consists of John Some call it the Last Discourse Brown a. New Testament scholars have studied it in depth. Kellum , Tolmie , Brown a , and Segovia This will be discussed in detail in Chapter 4, section 5. The possible influence of passages such as Exodus will also be explored cf. Chapter 5, section 3. It will also, in a special sense, guide and influence the remainder of the monologue, as will be discussed later. In both sayings, Jesus is the subject as the vine.

However, the phrase , identical in both, is linked with different phrases in the two verses. In verse 1, Jesus as the vine is linked with his father. The role of the Father is carefully clarified by another viticultural image. He is the one who acts as farmer or gardener. In verse 5, the link is different: Jesus as the vine is linked with the disciples. This yields an important clue insofar as the vine image is embedded in the divine-human relationships that relate to both the divine and the human pole.

There is also another notable difference between the two. This description assumes that the time for pruning the vines is one of the annual viticultural activities. In a parallel expression, it is said that the Farmer investigates every branch that grows on the vine. Surprisingly, every branch that does bear fruit is not skipped, but also pruned cleansed. The reason for their pruning is introduced by an clause They are pruned so that they can be more fruitful. Dodd and Brown b All human beings are looking for the root of the matter.

Barrett The point is that true discipleship is not possible without remaining in the true vine. Schnackenburg ; Michaels , and Bruner The pruning by the Father is namely determined by the relationship of the disciples with Jesus. The Farmer prunes those who are , referring to Christ who speaks the words in this section. They were pruned, or more fittingly, cleansed by the word Jesus spoke to them. They need not worry about being cut off the vine or about the pruning process, because they already have been cleansed pruned by the words Jesus spoke to them.

The subsection is also coherent because of the dominant imagery of the vine and the branches. This is followed by a positive verse 5 and a negative result verse 6 of abiding in Jesus. Both these outcomes are expressed in a more general, abstract manner. Formally, the two results are introduced by the same phrase with a singular, generic subject verse 4 and ; verse 6 , marking them as units within the subsection. The use of the nominative singular distinguishes this subsection from the next one, in which Jesus again addresses the disciples directly rather than in the more general, abstract way.

Of special relevance is that this section already starts with, and is also characterised by several references to indwelling. And you are clean, though not every one of you. Brown b The significance of the word is evident from the many references to it in the remainder of the subsection.

In this instance, it is the first of a total of 11 occurrences in John In verse 4 alone, it is already used three times. This gives further coherence to subsection 2. Through this imperative, Jesus instructs his disciples to dwell in Him, but it is then qualified by an additional phrase that refers to his abiding in them.

The added remark is of special significance, because it is a formal indication and confirmation that the indwelling is mutual: Jesus dwells in them and they ought to dwell in him. Jesus emphasises that the disciples as the branches should stay connected to Him as the vine, otherwise there can be no prospects of bearing fruit.

A continuous, ongoing indwelling is required of them. Just as no fruit can be borne if a branch does not remain on the vine, the disciples cannot bear the expected fruits of love if they do not abide in Jesus as the only true vine. The remainder of the section develops the narrative further by providing more information about key motifs.

It explicitly describes the disciples as branches. The viticulture picture is now more complete: there is a farmer who tends the vineyard and a vine with branches. All these characters are linked together in an intimate web of relationships. At the same time, this additional information emphasises the mutuality. The remarks reveal that there is an intimate relationship between the farmer, the vine, and its branches.

They are intimately connected and linked with each other; the vine is said to have branches and the Father is actively involved by pruning the branches in terms of their relationship with the word of the Son. All these characters are, therefore, intricately linked in relationships that are mutual in nature. In the next part of this subsection, more attention is paid to the consequences of the intimate, loving relationship between Jesus and the disciples.

This is the fifth time the topic occurs verses 2, 4 and 5 , and it will be mentioned again in verses 8 and This is true for anyone who is in a close relationship with him. Before proceeding to the negative result, however, Jesus briefly emphasises the motif of abiding in him by means of a timely warning that nothing can be done without him. Verse 6 provides the negative part of the argument that Jesus is the vine and his disciples the branches. These branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned. The author describes an ongoing result that contrasts with the ongoing, intimate relationship between Jesus and a person who dwells in him, as mentioned in the previous part.

In this subsection, the author lets Jesus speak in general terms about this, as is clear from the use of the third person singular pronoun such as and the indefinite pronoun. This is striking, especially in light of the next subsection in which the second person plural forms will again prevail.

The author uses more general language as if he transcends particular readers of a certain time in order to involve a more general audience. By describing the negative outcomes, the emphasis is placed on the need to dwell in Jesus. First, the explicit imagery of the vine is no longer present. Though he repeats some earlier themes such as two occurrences in verse 7 , the words of Jesus, the image of the Father, and a phrase in verse 7 which recalls the instruction of Jesus in verse 4, there are also new moments and other new features.

This subsection does not start with an imperative, but with a conditional sentence, which again speaks of the positive response to the call to abiding.

I Will Not Leave You Orphans

In light of the symbolism of a vineyard, the second meaning makes more sense, because just as a branch separated from the vine cannot bear any fruit, similarly the disciples cannot do anything without Jesus, or being away from Him. Secondly it might have the meaning that the results of such a decision will so surely take effect as though it already happened. A third possibility is that of the so-called gnomic aorist which describes an ongoing, continuous result that are applicable at all times, he is always cast out and withers — such an aorist is not unusual in a parable where the author is generalizing on the basis of a specific case that he remembers.

Barrett , who also reads it as a gnomic aorist. This promise is so important to the author that he develops it further in verse The author also revisits the figure of the Father, described at the beginning of John 15, in a further development of this subsection. For the sixth time in eight verses cf.

This abundant fruitfulness is the result of a positive reaction to the Father who lovingly tends his garden, and it is to his glory. It is an external confirmation of an inner choice. The very last remark raises a key issue. The Gospel is said to have been written so that people might discover that Jesus is the son of God, and by believing in Him, might have everlasting life John This implies that people should become disciples and, by faith, should inherit eternal life. The nature of discipleship focuses radically on God. More detail must be mentioned about the glory of God as the Holy One.

It is a significant term that reflects the kabod Jahweh in the Old Testament and that is prominent in mystical literature, as is often pointed out in secondary research. It is an indication of the presence of the Lord. This will be discussed in more detail during the investigation of the mystical aspects of the Gospel. Words for love are used no less than 12 times. In addition, the motif of love begins and ends this section. The section, with its focus on love, is also the positive counterpart to the next section John , in which the motif of hatred is prominent. The use of hatred as counterpart of love underlines the importance of love.

Both these motifs are mentioned for the first time in this subsection of John However, in a further sign of the unfolding narrative, it qualifies this imperative for the first time and in a new manner as an abiding in love. To dwell implies, therefore, to dwell in love. The subsection thus forms a coherent unit, with a focus on love and commandments. Together these motifs give coherence to John 15 as a whole and decisively distinguish it from the other sections. Of special significance is how important relationships are in John 15, where, as pointed out earlier, the focus is strongly on the interaction between Father, Son and disciples.

This is especially true of this subsection. At the beginning of verse 9, the relationship between Jesus and his Father is mentioned, as was done in subsection 1. This time, however, it is more explicit. In a further development, the intimate relationship between Father and Son is used repeatedly as example to the disciples. Thus the intimate relationship between Jesus and the disciples is again mooted.

Whilst it was described metaphorically in the previous subsection by means of the images of the vine and the branches, in this instance it is developed as a relationship in love initiated by Jesus. This eighth occurrence of the verb encourages the disciples to seek the same intimate relationship with Jesus as the one he initiated with them, whilst it also reveals to them that it is a loving relationship.

Love is especially indicative of intimacy. By referring to love in this pertinent manner, the author of the Gospel intensifies the nature of the intimate relationship of Jesus with the disciples. In the following remarks, Jesus explains the nature of the loving relationship in more detail. The evangelist gradually elaborates the argument in this section by using if and just as. He also continues to develop his previously mentioned motifs. The ninth and tenth uses of explain the abovementioned truth. To dwell in love is, therefore, to keep to the words of Jesus. Through this call for obedience, the loving relationship is depicted as a relationship of dependence on Jesus.

Intimacy is the outcome of a relationship that is focused on Jesus and that seeks to dwell in his words. Living according to the commandments of God as incarnated by Jesus , particularly the love commandments, will not only bring joy, but also complete and fulfilling joy.

Obeying the commandments is not a heavy obligation, but a natural accompaniment of an intimate relationship with Jesus. The loving relationship, closely linked with Jesus, has another characteristic, as is clear from the climactic end to this section, in which the mutual love of the disciples is the theme.

In this instance, it is helpful to consider some pronouncements earlier in the Farewell Discourse, especially since it clarifies and explains abiding and intimacy. Significantly, the following verses introduce new imagery of slavery and friendship to illuminate the close relationship with Jesus. Jesus just explained that he regards them as his friends, but he makes it clear that there is a condition attached to that — doing what he commands or wills for their lives.

It is the fourth time he uses the same word to refer to his command , but, in this instance, it is formally used at both the beginning and the end of this smaller part to frame and give coherence to it verses 12 and Having spoken of love and his commandments, this part wants to link the commandments of Jesus with self-sacrificing friendship as an intimate relationship between believers.

This section is also illuminating insofar as it develops the notion of love, by adding slavery as its counterpart to the comments about friendship cf. The measure of love is to be found in giving up what is dearest to oneself. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. As the Son gave up his own life, the disciples will also do this, given their intimate relationship with, and dwelling in Jesus.

This subsection focuses on this mutual love. This contrasts with the completely different situation of the disciples. Instead of keeping them in the dark, 31 Jesus told them everything he learned from the Father. This again stresses the intimate relationship between Jesus and the disciples and points to the intimate relationship that Jesus wants them to have among them.

It also illuminates, once again, the close relationship of Jesus with the Father and the mutuality that exists between the Father, Jesus and the disciples. The words were mentioned previously in a description of their effect on the disciples. Touching on the theme of bearing fruit once again, the evangelist elaborates on the new status of the disciples. They will bear fruit that will last. By this time, it is known that the fruit Jesus desires from his disciples is to live according to his commandment of love.


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It follows on previous remarks in John 15, where Jesus indicates, through the use of the word , that prayers will be granted where disciples dwell in Jesus and him in them , or if they dwell in Jesus and his words in them In this instance, the thrust of the argument is that, if they keep his commands and dwell in his love, they can confidently ask the Father what they need and it will be granted. The desire for first place has no function in friendship. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. Through the use of , Jesus calls disciples to a way of life that will have a lasting effect on their relationship with Jesus, the Father and each other.

These friends of Jesus are freed of slavery and were called by him to a life dedicated to bearing true spiritual fruit — lasting love. The prominence of these words is further confirmed by their appearance in combination at the very beginning of the section, where Jesus mentions that the disciples should know that the hatred of the world for Jesus preceded its hatred for them John This construction appears six times in section 2.

The formal analysis also suggests, as noted briefly earlier, that verses , with their focus on the hatred of the world towards disciples, are the counter-image of the focus on love in verses The current section will be treated in two subsections: Subsection 1 — The possibility of hatred by the world , and Subsection 2 — The hatred of the world makes them guilty of sin It is thus a preparatory speech for the hostilities they may experience. In , there is no specific mention of either in whose name the petition is made or who grants the request.

Notice also that just as the Father gives commandments, so also does Jesus. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Such hatred was expressed against Jesus. From their experiences during the ministry of Jesus, they understand quite clearly what Jesus is hinting at.

The previous sections often emphasised the close relationship between Jesus and his disciples. In this section, this intimacy is once again underlined, but this time in terms of the similar fate of Jesus and his disciples. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. The disciples had to make a deliberate choice to turn their back on their known religion and its leaders, and to become followers of Jesus.

What they did and will still do to the master, they can just as well do to his servants or followers. The hatred is shown in persecution and disobedience. The fate of the disciples is not so much because of something the disciples did or did not do, but because of the name of Jesus. At the end of subsection 2. The hostile opponents do not know the Father who sent Jesus. John There is, however, also a difference in the form of the section when sin is introduced as a new theme. The form of the section is characterised by the repetition of the following pattern which occurs in the first construction: The contents of the section are presented in parallel form.

In the first instance, Jesus refers to his words and, in the second, to his deeds. Jesus begins by referring to the words he spoke to them. The reverse is also true. Not listening to the words of Jesus makes the world guilty of sin. His way of life should have convinced them. They even take their sin one step further by hating Jesus and the Father see also John Together, the two speak of his ministry of words and deeds. Jesus points out that the hatred of the Jews is their own responsibility: they were exposed to his words and his deeds, and yet they hated Him and, therefore, also his Father.

In their opposition to Him, they also oppose God. That is incorrect. As was the case in , Jesus is showing that this is not some special pleading based on uniquely Christian evidence. Rather, Jesus himself argues that the Scriptures, which his opponents hold to be the word of God, testify to him. In short, there was plenty of sin before Jesus came, but no formal attribution of guilt. The Paraclete and sustained witnessing The third and final part of John 15 is characterised by the two dominant motifs of the Paraclete and witnessing.

John spoke of the Spirit in verse , where he is introduced as the Advocate, Paraclete, or Spirit of truth. John presents the most detailed account of his work. These verses exhort the disciples to keep witnessing, despite the hatred and opposition, and to be encouraged by the fact that they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit. These verses are striking because of the way in which the Holy Spirit is explicitly placed in a relationship with both the Father and Jesus.

This section illuminates various aspects of their mutual relationships. Jesus sends them the Paraclete from the Father. At the same time, the Paraclete is called the Spirit of truth that goes out from the Father. Finally, the concluding words of the verse illuminate the focal point of these mutual relationships. The disciples are assured that the Advocate will testify about Jesus. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.

The Paraclete cannot, however, speak to the world directly, but has to make use of the disciples to do this. This means that v. It was about four in the afternoon John 1: The word is used no less than three times in these verses. Thus, the chapter saturated with the idea of the mutual indwelling between Jesus and his friends, the disciples, is brought to a close with this unique possible allusion. Conclusion The above investigation revealed the unique Johannine perspective on the image of the vine and its branches and how vital bearing fruit is. The central place of the verb , with its implications for discipleship, shows how indwelling represents the essence of discipleship and the prerequisite for fruitful discipleship to survive as disciple.

And Jesus took himself away again. The Onset. Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? The Child of your Love--and now become as the most hated one--the one--You have thrown away as unwanted--unloved. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart? In the first half of , Teresa took a basic medical course before launching herself alone onto the streets of Calcutta. She wrote, "My soul at present is in perfect peace and joy. Then we went to Taltala Bazaar, and there was a very poor woman dying I think of starvation more than TB I gave her something which will help her to sleep.

The more success Teresa had--and half a year later so many young women had joined her society that she needed to move again--the worse she felt. It has been like this more or less from the time I started 'the work. You have exterior facts enough to see that God blesses your work Feelings are not required and often may be misleading. How can you assume the lover's ardor when he no longer grants you his voice, his touch, his very presence?

The problem was exacerbated by an inhibition to even describe it. Teresa reported on several occasions inviting a confessor to visit and then being unable to speak. Eventually, one thought to ask her to write the problem down, and she complied. A year later she sounded desolate: "Such deep longing for God--and At the suggestion of a confessor, she wrote the agonized plea that begins this section, in which she explored the theological worst-possible-case implications of her dilemma. That letter and another one from "What do I labour for? If there be no God--there can be no soul--if there is no Soul then Jesus--You also are not true" are the only two that sound any note of doubt of God's existence.

But she frequently bemoaned an inability to pray: "I utter words of Community prayers--and try my utmost to get out of every word the sweetness it has to give--But my prayer of union is not there any longer--I no longer pray. As the Missionaries of Charity flourished and gradually gained the attention of her church and the world at large, Teresa progressed from confessor to confessor the way some patients move through their psychoanalysts.

Joseph Neuner in For these confessors, she developed a kind of shorthand of pain, referring almost casually to "my darkness" and to Jesus as "the Absent One. Teresa prayed to the deceased Pope for a "proof that God is pleased with the Society. And although, as we shall see, she found a way to accept the absence, it never lifted again. Five years after her Nobel, a Jesuit priest in the Calcutta province noted that "Mother came It was not a passing phase but had gone on for years. Tell me, Father, why is there so much pain and darkness in my soul?

Why did Teresa's communication with Jesus, so vivid and nourishing in the months before the founding of the Missionaries, evaporate so suddenly? Interestingly, secular and religious explanations travel for a while on parallel tracks. Both understand although only one celebrates that identification with Christ's extended suffering on the Cross, undertaken to redeem humanity, is a key aspect of Catholic spirituality. Teresa told her nuns that physical poverty ensured empathy in "giving themselves" to the suffering poor and established a stronger bond with Christ's redemptive agony.

She wrote in that the Passion was the only aspect of Jesus' life that she was interested in sharing: "I want to Kolodiejchuk finds divine purpose in the fact that Teresa's spiritual spigot went dry just as she prevailed over her church's perceived hesitations and saw a successful way to realize Jesus' call for her.

Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine: Scientific and Theological Perspectives.

As proof that it worked, he cites her written comment after receiving an important prize in the Philippines in the s: "This means nothing to me, because I don't have Him. And yet "the question is, Who determined the abandonment she experienced? Gottlieb notes that Teresa's ambitions for her ministry were tremendous. Both he and Kolodiejchuk are fascinated by her statement, "I want to love Jesus as he has never been loved before.

Rather than simply giving all credit to God, Gottlieb observes, she agonizes incessantly that "any taking credit for her accomplishments--if only internally--is sinful" and hence, perhaps, requires a price to be paid. A mild secular analog, he says, might be an executive who commits a horrific social gaffe at the instant of a crucial promotion.

For Teresa, "an occasion for a modicum of joy initiated a significant quantity of misery," and her subsequent successes led her to perpetuate it. Gottlieb also suggests that starting her ministry "may have marked a turning point in her relationship with Jesus," whose urgent claims she was finally in a position to fulfill. Being the active party, he speculates, might have scared her, and in the end, the only way to accomplish great things might have been in the permanent and less risky role of the spurned yet faithful lover.

The atheist position is simpler. In , Hitchens ventures, Teresa finally woke up, although she could not admit it. He likens her to die-hard Western communists late in the cold war: "There was a huge amount of cognitive dissonance," he says. It means my life is meaningless. And I think once the mainspring is gone, it cannot be repaired.

Most religious readers will reject that explanation, along with any that makes her the author of her own misery--or even defines it as true misery. Martin, responding to the torch-song image of Teresa, counterproposes her as the heroically constant spouse. And your wife, God forbid, gets a stroke and she's comatose. And you will never experience her love again. It's like loving and caring for a person for 50 years and once in a while you complain to your spiritual director, but you know on the deepest level that she loves you even though she's silent and that what you're doing makes sense.

Mother Teresa knew that what she was doing made sense. I can't express in words--the gratitude I owe you for your kindness to me--for the first time in You have taught me to accept it [as] a 'spiritual side of your work' as you wrote--Today really I felt a deep joy--that Jesus can't go anymore through the agony--but that He wants to go through it in me.

There are two responses to trauma: to hold onto it in all its vividness and remain its captive, or without necessarily "conquering" it, to gradually integrate it into the day-by-day. After more than a decade of open-wound agony, Teresa seems to have begun regaining her spiritual equilibrium with the help of a particularly perceptive adviser. Joseph Neuner, whom she met in the late s and confided in somewhat later, was already a well-known theologian, and when she turned to him with her "darkness," he seems to have told her the three things she needed to hear: that there was no human remedy for it that is, she should not feel responsible for affecting it ; that feeling Jesus is not the only proof of his being there, and her very craving for God was a "sure sign" of his "hidden presence" in her life; and that the absence was in fact part of the "spiritual side" of her work for Jesus.

This counsel clearly granted Teresa a tremendous sense of release. For all that she had expected and even craved to share in Christ's Passion, she had not anticipated that she might recapitulate the particular moment on the Cross when he asks, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Neuner would later write, "It was the redeeming experience of her life when she realized that the night of her heart was the special share she had in Jesus' passion.

Not that it didn't continue to torment her. Years later, describing the joy in Jesus experienced by some of her nuns, she observed dryly to Neuner, "I just have the joy of having nothing--not even the reality of the Presence of God [in the Eucharist]. Says Gottlieb, the psychoanalyst: "What is remarkable is that she integrated it in a way that enabled her to make it the organizing center of her personality, the beacon for her ongoing spiritual life.

Theologically, this is a bit odd since most orthodox Christianity defines heaven as God's eternal presence and doesn't really provide for regular no-shows at the heavenly feast.