Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Power of Love and a Royal "Wow"

What can make a Royal Prince say "Wow!" besides his stunning bride?

Answer... this sermon by Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry.

 Watch it to the end to see Prince Harry's reaction as he turns to his bride.

My words exactly, Prince Harry!

The power of love that we must harness is not a human love. Human love will not change the world. The true power of love that can and will change the world is the love that will renew the face of the earth, the Holy Spirit.

Rev. Michael Curry has just prophesied about what believers in Jesus around the globe are doing, learning to unleash the power of God's love, the Holy Spirit, Who Jesus died to give us, and Who is the love that God the Father pours into our hearts.

By unleashing the power of the Holy Spirit, believers are seeing lives changed as the Kingdom of God is made manifest and the name of Jesus Christ is glorified through healing and other miracles! 

The Holy Spirit is the Love that will change the world, and we get the honor of hosting Him. That's something we should all say "wow" about!

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Prophetic Word for Revival in Spain

I'd like to share with you guys briefly what I believe are some prophetic words or "Words of Wisdom" from my trips to Spain. I submit them humbly for your discernment. I know I don't have all the answers, but I hope what I share either confirms what the Lord has been showing you or helps add the next missing piece. With all things, please ask the Holy Spirit to confirm or correct anything I share here.

Spain, a spiritual well that has been blocked up:

Every nation in Christ is its own spiritual well. The enemy tries to block up spiritual wells the same way the surrounding people tried to block up Abraham's natural wells in Genesis 26:18-22 after Abraham died. It was up to Isaac, the next generation, to unblock the old wells and dig new wells. Sean Smith spoke about this in a teaching he gave at Voice of the Apostles 2018. Randy Clark gave permission to folks to distribute this teaching. Some Christians in Spain will be encouraged by this teaching because they have been hearing the Lord say this in different ways and to dig wells by discovering monastic contemplative prayer. The enemy has gone after Spain in particular because of how many souls were brought to Christ through previous centuries of exploration and evangelization. He has, it may seem, been successful in blocking up the spiritual well that is Spain. We need to undo that by reclaiming the spiritual wells inside Spain.

Caminos de Santiago

One of the biggest spiritual wells within Spain is Santiago de Compostela and the various pilgrim roads or Caminos that flow from Santiago into the various regions of Spain, Portugal, France, and through France into all of Europe. These were roads undertaken with prayer in faith and out of love for Jesus Christ. Unblocking the well that is Santiago de Compostela and retaking the pilgrim roads with spirit-filled street evangelization (or in some cases Camino evangelization) can not only renew Spain but all the countries connected to Spain via the Pilgrim roads.

The Harvest in Spain is ripe

From my own experience, the harvest is ripe on the Caminos. One finds fallen away Catholics and Christians, people of no faith and no spiritual life, people with a vague new-age spiritual life, and people who are demonized (yes, I met one). The Caminos they undertake are often life-changing experiences simply in the natural. And people come from all over the world to hike a Camino on one of the various roads. Imagine if they not only had an amazing natural experience, but rather if they had an encounter with the very person who is the reason there are Caminos de Santiago, Jesus Christ through spirit-filled street evangelists. Also there is angelic ministry on these Caminos that are waiting for believers to come along for these angels to aid. I experienced it myself.

The Providential Pilgrim Party: Two of God's "Lights" I met on the Way, an Italian retiree 
and a Portuguese Pilot that God uses without their knowing.

Spiritual Strongholds to tear down

Though there are a lot of strongholds due to the materialism and hedonism and general lack of fervor at times in the Church (as an acquaintance of mine Gustavo Martin points out), my focus here is on where the Church may have given legal access to the enemy through sin and may need to do reparation. Repentance, asking forgiveness, and forgiving are keys. In Spain, people associate Christianity with the Catholic Church, and unfortunately people associate Catholics with the history of Fascism since the Church was so closely united with the Franco regime. I'm not judging, as I wasn't there and Catholics were trying to prevent having religious liberties suppressed by the liberal and leftist parties, but it seems that the Church in Spain united too closely with Franco in the Civil War (including its members colluding with the White Terror) and afterward during the Second Republic there were excesses of coercive tactics to spread the faith. Catholics in Spain will need to be willing to repent of collusion with the violence of the Nationalists and be willing to ask forgiveness (which some bishops have done). This will revoke any license that was given and break the stronghold that the political spirit has over the Church in Spain and help open the door to revival. Any steps that Catholics can make toward reconciliation with others in Spain due to excesses of Catholics in the past will also help. In addition, acts of reparation according to the Sacred Heart devotion or devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary would also help. For other Non-Catholic Christians, simple prayer and fasting for revival can aid the process. Also, Catholics suffered greatly during the Red Terror of the Spanish Civil War. Many martyrs were canonized as saints. Catholics in Spain may also need to be willing to look at the past and forgive from the heart those who have committed evil against them. This is not always easy as sometimes for anyone trying to follow the Gospel a sense of superiority can creep in and short circuit the process of forgiveness.

Not All who wander are lost: A Dutch Aussie and a German I met who felt called to roam.
I prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit.

The importance of spirit-filled street evangelization

The reason street evangelization is needed in Spain can be summed up by a single encounter I had with a group of street musicians in Redondela, Galicia. After hanging out with them all afternoon, various people in the group commented that they couldn't believe I was walking the Camino for religious purposes. I asked, "Why not?" They said, "Because religious people don't normally hang out with people like us." "Why not? You guys are great!" I replied. Of course, I wasn't in my habit because God had told me to leave it at home. These are people who need to know that they are loved by God and that Christians love them! It happens first by befriending them and then sharing the gospel when God should inspire. This is why what certain groups are already bringing to Spain this month regarding spirit-filled or power evangelization is so important. Their teaching should be implemented, duplicated, and spread, especially to the Caminos de Santiago.

The Galician Street Musicians and I
Don't mind the excessive smoking and drinking.
They don't know the Lord yet!

Thanks for your consideration of what I'm sharing. If you discern anything I've written here as from the Lord, please feel free to share the message with like-minded believers in Spain and Portugal. Know that revival in Spain is close to my heart. I'll be keeping upcoming events in my prayers. Blessings to you all.

Blessing Santiago de Compostela on the aptly named
"Hill of Joy" a.k.a. Monte do Gozo 

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Prophetic Word for France Continued

In my previous post on a prophetic word for France, I mentioned that it was King Louis XIV who revoked the Edict of Nantes and allowed violent persecution of the Huguenots. What I didn't know at the time was what the Holy Spirit was doing in the Catholic Church and with the Huguenots at that time.

In the Catholic Church, Jesus was appearing to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, asking her to have the French King Louis XIV consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. Remember, as in the case of Our Lady asking Russia to be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, any time heaven is asking for a nation to be particularly consecrated it's because trouble is ahead. In this case, the hope was to save France from what would come about through Louis XIV's own sins against his own Huguenot citizens, i.e. the French Revolution through blood guilt.

Among the Huguenots, God was causing little children to stand up and prophesy in their cribs and having people speak fluent messages in French, calling people to repentance. The initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit was enough to cause a revival. Though this may have ended with abuses, it was certainly a preparation for the violent persecution that was to come.

I find it interesting that the end goal of Mary's appearance in Fatima was to extend the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It's also interesting that these two visitations, Jesus's to St. Margaret Mary and Mary to Lucia, St. Jacinta, and St. Francisco, both contained prophetic instructions to be carried out quickly and that had significant consequences for not being heeded more quickly,the French Revolution on one hand and the Bolshevik Revolution on the other. Note that the Holy Spirit was calling everyone in France at that time, Catholic and Huguenot, to repentance, and Catholics to make reparations.

Special thanks to Bob Hazlett for helping me. His prophetic ministry helped me listen to and confirm what God has been saying to me in regards to Europe. I'm very grateful for other brothers and sisters in Christ who have Jesus and the Kingdom as their primary focus.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Believing in Jesus

In today's gospel (Saturday in the 4th week of Easter) Jesus says that the one who believes in Him will do the works that He does and even greater. He then says "whatever you ask me in my name I will do." In the Acts of the Apostles we hear about some Jewish exorcists who try to use the name of Jesus to expel demons. They end up receiving a beating instead.

I think that believing in Jesus is more than just believing things about Jesus. The Jewish guys in the Acts of the Apostles believed that Jesus's name had power, but they didn't believe that Jesus was Messiah, king of their lives, and Son of God. To believe in Jesus is to declare Him Lord of our lives. It is to hand over control to Him. It is to submit ourselves to His saving love and grace. So when Jesus promises us that we will do his works and that He will do what we ask in His name, it literally means surrendering our lives and handing them over to the one who died to set us free, being convinced of that and truly trusting Him. Too often we "try Jesus." We give him a shot and when we don't see the results we expect we take back the reigns over our lives (which we never bout down in the first place).

What would happen if we invite Jesus in as our King, if we submitted to Him in believing trust? He would bring His Kingdom and His presence into our lives, and when His Kingdom is made manifest, Jesus heals, saves, and delivers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Confirmation of the Word

I love it when God confirms a word with two or three witnesses. As I was writing my posts on unity, I received an email from Elijah List with this timely word published today. Yep, unity of the body of Christ is on God's heart!

Prophetic Word for France for Revival of Europe

Last January God showed me that France was the key to the revival in Europe due to the Enlightenment and Atheistic spirit that came into Europe through the French Revolution and the Napoleonic period.

April 13, 2018, I received more revelation about the key to revival in France and subsequently in Europe as a whole.

The scriptural context of what God showed me is 2 Samuel 21:1-14. Joshua and the Israelites were tricked by the Gibeonites into making a covenant with them (see Joshua 9). But Saul later turns around and decides to slaughter some of the Gibeonites out of zeal for Israel. Saul opens the door for blood guilt upon Israel. Only in the time of David does the famine come upon the land. It only ceases when David has made atonement to have the Gibeonites bless Israel.

The history of wars of religion in France is certainly a bloody and complicated one, and nothing I say here is meant to declare one side or another completely innocent. God showed me that there was blood guilt on Catholic France due to the massacres of Huguenots at Vassy, and other places, and the revocation of the edicts that granted to them religious and civil rights (namely the Edict of Nantes) and further abuse of Huguenots under Louis XIV. One could argue that King Henry IV had no right to grant such rights to the Huguenots, but like it or not as we see from scripture, God is a respecter of covenants once they are made.

Blood guilt eventually opened France up to being overrun by the enlightenment and atheistic spirit of the revolution and the Napoleonic age, which influenced the rest of Europe. It was not a famine like with King David but rather with the Reign of Terror that punishment was allowed to visit France. Though the French president apologized to the descendants of Huguenots, it is important that Catholics in France do the same so that Huguenots might bless the Catholic Church and Catholics in France. Though Huguenots also committed crimes and it would be good for them also to apologize to Catholics, the need for Catholics to apologize and make restitution for the sins of these wars is greater because, like it or not, the blessing of Christianity as a whole in France flows from the Catholic Church. 

As well as asking for forgiveness, it is important for Catholics in France to speak forgiveness to the descendants of the Huguenots for what they did. It does not matter if they are moved to repentance and accept forgiveness. What matters is that we Catholics release them and forgive. Whether they accept the forgiveness or not is between them and God.

Note that the victims of the French Revolution were mainly Catholics, some of which were religious. Certainly the Catholic Church already paid for the sins of the wars of religion in a particular way, but there was not the repentance and seeking of forgiveness and blessing from the descendants of Huguenots, nor I imagine did Catholics speak forgiveness to the Huguenots. This act of humility and sincere love for our separated brothers and sisters in Christ that we Catholics wronged and who have wronged us will help bring about the needed renewal of faith in the Catholic Church in France and will dismiss the legal right of the atheistic and enlightenment spirit to dominate France and, through France’s influence, Europe.

Recognizing that all prophetic words must be discerned by those in authority in the Church, I humbly submit this for discernment by those given charge of the Christian flock by God.

In the Peace of Jesus Christ,
Fr. Christopher Gaffrey, OFM,

An Ambassador for Christ seeking reconciliation for the good of the world

A New Take on the Reformation

I think many times we Christians are accustomed to viewing history along partisan lines. As a Catholic, I always had this idea of the Reformation as a tragedy of a revolt of some Christians against the unity of the faith and the fullness of the faith as passed down through the ages. Speaking to many protestant and non-Catholic Christians, I get a story about a reluctant reformer, Martin Luther, who was fighting for the bible to be accessible in the everyday language and who wanted to return to the simplicity of faith in God.

Before receiving my call from God to be a Franciscan and a priest, I studied German in college. We specifically looked at Luther's writings. From what I recall in his letters, the idea of Luther as a reluctant reformer is far from the truth. I remember my German professor highlighting the fact that Luther explicitly states that he doesn't want to reform a practice like Jan Huss or others before him but rather that he is explicitly looking to change the entire system. Even further from the truth is the idea that the Catholic Church was withholding the bible from the people. After the invention of the Gutenberg Press in 1455 until the Reformation in 1517, there was at least one version of the bible in German being published by the Catholic Church. So much for protestant myths about the Reformation.

We Catholics would be in denial if we think everything was a-okay in the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation. Let's face it. There was some corruption among clergy that needed changing. The whole selling of indulgences was in fact an issue. In fact, it seems we didn't learn from scripture that when Solomon wanted to build the temple and tried to use taxes, a practice his son Rehoboam continued, it ended up splitting the kingdom. And at this time in history, Pope Leo X, looking to finish St. Peter's Basilica, decided to use the promotion of indulgences to help. The result was a split in Christendom. It has been reported too among Catholic historians that Church officials knew that reforms were needed, but they asked Luther and others to be patient because of all the issues facing the Church. A perfect storm ensued.

But perhaps we are looking at history only from one human side or another. Perhaps God has a different view of what happened. Let's look at history from a larger perspective for a moment.

Remember that not everyone could read and write. Even in the Roman Empire, paper for scrolls was expensive, and those who could read and write were few. Remember that St. Paul wrote letters to whole communities to be read to them. The scriptures in the communal gathering or liturgies were read aloud. "Faith comes by hearing," says Romans 10:17. In the so-called middle ages, scrolls were replaced by manuscripts made of animal skin. These were also costly. Scriptures were read aloud at liturgy in Latin (okay for Romance based languages as they would get the gist, not good for Germanic based languages). To supplement the scriptures, Christians depicted bible stories in stained glass windows and in morality and passion plays in the vernacular.

In the high middle ages and beginning of the renaissance, education was increasing thanks to the monasteries and convents that made education more widely available. By 1455 with the invention of the Gutenberg Press, something remarkable was about to happen. People were about to go from having access to the scriptures only at church to having greater access to the scriptures at home.

What is the result of people coming more into contact with the Word of God? St. Jerome says that ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ. So, by the 1500's a lot more people were about to get to know Jesus Christ a lot better. Now, here's where we may be tempted to point fingers at other people to say what went wrong, but let's be honest that the true person who had the most to gain from Christians being divided was the devil.

My contention is this: with the increase of education and wider access to the bible through the printing press, God's design for His church in the 1500's was to have a large revival that would bring the nations into the Kingdom. But that's where the devil stepped in and divided us Christians.

So instead of one large revival in western Christianity, we had several, smaller revivals among the Protestant groups and a great revival called the Counter Reformation in the Catholic Church that helped to bring the Americas and parts of Asia into the Kingdom of God. God is faithful even if we are not. So we hear reports of miracles and healing among the Lutherans and other reform groups as they began to believe in God's word. We also have stories of the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit breaking out among the different reform groups in the Catholic Church, especially in the Carmelites with St. Teresa of Avila (whose nuns would experience "minor ecstasies" that today charismatics would call "being slain" or "resting in the Spirit") and St. John of the Cross, but also in the Jesuits with St. Francis Xavier evangelizing and baptizing 33,000 people in 11 years because he not only preached the gospel, but he also prayed for healing and taught the newly baptized kids to pray for healing.

Imagine what wold have happened if the western Christian Church had stayed united! Would we have been able to bring the Muslims back to faith in Christ? Would we have been able to bring the gospel to all the nations? Would the East / West divide in the Church have been healed? We don't know.

But what if we were to begin to hear the cry of our Lord Jesus Christ from John 17, that we might be one? What would the Lord empower us to do if we put aside our differences and decided for unity?

Some points to work out.

Liturgy: some folks look at church services and say that one can't pray set prayers. They put a focus on spontaneity. Others say that there is to be a set order of prayer and that church services should be orderly and solemn. I've heard it from both sides. I know charismatic Christians who say they appreciate the solemnity and the honor we Catholics show toward the word of God and the sacraments because many of their services are very casual or informal. At the same time, I've met Catholics who wish there was greater openness in the Catholic Church to the things that God can sometimes spring on us, like a prophetic word. In 1975, Blessed Pope Paul VI held a mass with representatives of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In that mass, room was made for prophetic words to be given, one of which was given by now Dr. Ralph Martin. If we are committed to unity, the Holy Spirit will help us to make room for both the prayerful solemnity and the Holy Spirit "suddenlies."

Authority: I think there is a way to work out the differences in authority between Catholics and non-Catholics. During my time engaging in ecumenical prayer gatherings and working with non-Catholic charismatic Christians, one thing that I have grown to appreciate is the respect for authority that they have. When dealing with the gift of prophecy, non-Catholic charismatic Christians will often say that there are two authorities for judging the accuracy of a prophetic word: the scriptures and the Holy Spirit. What they mean is this: if a prophetic word does not line up with the scriptures - i.e. what we know to be revealed truth - or if the gift of discernment of the individual does not seem to indicate that the word being spoken is from God, then a Christian has a right to reject that prophetic word. In other words, if Grace were to come up to Jack with a prophetic word for him, it wouldn't just be whether the word Grace received for him is in line with scripture, but Jack would have to use the gift of discernment given to him by the Holy Spirit to say whether that prophetic word is right for him or not. The word could conform to scripture, but Jack could sense that the prophetic word doesn't seem right. If that's the case, he can reject the prophetic word. The interesting thing is that in these non-Catholic charismatic circles, it is often understood that people given charge by God for greater numbers of people have a great gift of discernment that corresponds to the office the person has been charged with. In other words, if I received what I felt to be a prophetic word for Life Center Church in Harrisburg, PA, I wouldn't be allowed to simply go to that church and start proclaiming that God told me X, Y, and Z and expect the Christians there to accept it. I would have to submit the prophetic word to the Senior Pastors Charles and Anne Stock for them to discern if the word given corresponds to scripture and if the Holy Spirit says "yes this is from me for your church." If the prophetic word were meant for a particular denomination, it would have to be submitted to the leaders of that denomination for discernment.

If this is how important it is for prophetic words that don't tell us what to believe about God but rather give us direction, how much more important is it for us to submit to authority what we believe to be an understanding of scripture that we think is binding in faith and morals on all believers in Christ? In the non-Catholic Western Christian world, questions about doctrine can give rise to a whole new denomination of Christianity. But why not simply submit the question of proper interpretation of scripture in regard to what we are to believe and how we are to live in righteousness to the pastoral office given charge over the church as a whole? If there are local pastors who have charge over a local flock, and if there are regional overseers or "bishops" given charge over groups of local churches, then there must be an office in the church responsible for the entirety of the flock should all the regional overseers disagree. The problem is that this sort of office only exists in the Catholic Church, namely the Pope.

The job of the Pope isn't to always be right even if he sins. That's a misnomer that people who dislike the Catholic Church have used for centuries to ridicule the office of the Papacy. Instead the Papacy is called to be an office of unity among all the bishops in the world. Should questions of faith or morality arise that the bishops of the world cannot come to a consensus on, it is the role of the Papacy to discern for the entirety of the body of Christ what is proper. It is the belief of Catholics that being responsible for the entire Christian flock means that the Holy Spirit has given the Pope the gift of discernment to decide on the matters of faith and morality to be binding on all believers. It is only in these matters when the Pope is speaking in his authority this way meaning to define doctrine or morality that Catholics believe the Pope to be infallible because we believe the Holy Spirit is faithful to those who have been given great responsibility.

Only the Holy Spirit can put the Church back together again. Whatever our denomination of Christianity, we have to be willing to let the Holy Spirit guide us. The Holy Spirit is the one who can put the dry bones back together in the right order. The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of truth and can convict us of places where we have drifted into error. The Holy Spirit is the one who can make us of one heart and of one mind and can powerfully equip us Christians to demonstrate to the world the Kingdom of God through the accompanying signs, in which Jesus promised we would operate.

Holy Spirit, make us one Church!

Monday, September 05, 2016

The Eye of the Storm

It's funny how I was just listening to a talk on Jesus in the middle of the storm bringing his interior reality to bear on the exterior reality. Here I wanted to get away from the stress for a day, and I unwittingly drive closer to a major storm.

There's something about storms that excites me. I don't know if it's from growing up in Virginia Beach and living through some direct hits and near misses, or if it's just the way the wind in my face exhilarates me. I just know that hunkering down with oil in my lamp and something to keep me occupied as the storm rages outside makes for a somewhat pleasant experience of what can be scary otherwise.

God is my refuge. I hunker down in Him. With the Holy Spirit to guide me, my lamp will not be blown out nor run out of oil. This kid will nap in the boat and let Jesus keep his hand on rudder.  

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Talking Back

Evagrius Ponticus is one of my favorite desert fathers. He writes about the eight basic temptations (gluttony, greed, sloth, sorrow, lust, anger, vainglory, and pride) and how to combat them using scripture. First Evagrius names the tempting thought and then gives the scripture that combats it.

I've been looking at his scriptures against pride because pride is the one "spirit" that will reintroduce all 7 others, like in Matthew 12:43-45, unless carefully guarded against.

These two have caught my attention:

57. Against the prideful thoughts that look down on one's brothers who commit faults, because of their faults: "Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who have the Spirit should correct that one in a gentle spirit, and keep watch over yourself, so that you also may not fall in temptation."
Galatians 6:1

58. Against the proud thought that exalts me as if I have reached perfection in the practice of the commandments: "It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:12

Growing in Wisdom and the Spirit

These scriptures have been on my heart this morning. Together with the second reading from the Office of Readings they remind me to ever be docile to the work that God is doing to bring me to the "dawn from on high," which will break upon us all "through the tender compassion of our God."

"Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace." - James 3:13-18

"For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another." - Galatians 5:13-26

From the Moral Reflections on Job by Saint Gregory the Great, pope
The Church moves forward like the advancing dawn

Since the daybreak or the dawn is changed gradually from darkness into light, the Church, which comprises the elect, is fittingly styled daybreak or dawn. While she is being led from the night of infidelity to the light of faith, she is opened gradually to the splendor of heavenly brightness, just as dawn yields to the day after darkness. The Song of Songs says aptly: 'Who is this who moves forward like the advancing dawn? Holy Church, inasmuch as she keeps searching for the rewards of eternal life, has been called the dawn.' While she turns her back on the darkness of sins, she begins to shine with the light of righteousness.

This reference to the dawn conjures up a still more subtle consideration. The dawn intimates that the night is over; it does not yet proclaim the full light of day. While it dispels the darkness and welcomes the light, it holds both of them, the one mixed with the other, as it were. Are not all of us who follow the truth in this life daybreak and dawn? While we do some things which already belong to the light, we are not free from the remnants of darkness. In Scripture the Prophet says to God: 'No living being will be justified in our sight.' Scripture also says: 'In many ways all of us give offense.'

When he writes, the night is passed, Paul does not add, the day is come, but rather, the day is at hand. Since he argues that after the night has passed, the day as yet is not come but is rather at hand, he shows that the period before full daylight and after darkness is without doubt the dawn, and that he himself is living in that period.

It will be fully day for the Church of the elect when she is no longer darkened by the shadow of sin. It will be fully day for her when she shines with the perfect brilliance of interior light. This dawn is aptly shown to be an ongoing process when Scripture says: 'And you showed the dawn its place.' A thing which is shown its place is certainly called from one place to another. What is the place of the dawn but the perfect clearness of eternal vision? When the dawn has been brought there, it will retain nothing belonging to the darkness of night. When the Psalmist writes: 'My soul thirsts for the living God; when shall I go and see the face of God?,' does he not refer to the effort made by the dawn to reach its place? Paul was hastening to the place which he knew the dawn would reach when he said he wished to die and to be with Christ. He expressed the same idea when he said: 'For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.'