Thursday, January 11, 2007

"one is not born a woman..."

The new covenant was made with woman.

It was promised to her in Genesis, and it has always been subverted, diminished, and despised. No matter how hard the Church has attempted to work for the Kingdom and spread the Word across the face of the earth, it has always been mired in the world of sin and its master. Men were picked by Christ as his apostles, because they needed to be kept close. Men fail relentlessly because men are physically separate from the covenant. Men try to “create” and organize on a grand and visible scale, and thus destroy and dissemble on even grander visible scales.

Women have an innate and unquantifiable connection to the “other” of God’s covenant. The mere capacity to conceive and bear children was the language by which God spiritually communicated the new covenant through one woman in words which can be understood by all women even at the potential level of physical experience represented by the menstrual cycle. It was a covenant with the virgin who was conceived without sin; a joining with a fullness of physical, psychological and spiritual union only possible with one newly created and who has not joined herself with man. This is not because union between man and woman is bad, but because union with God is the perfection that the marriage of a man and a woman imperfectly pre-figures. Thus, it is also true that Joseph was wed to Mary in the “more perfect” way that religious marry the Church. It is a surrender of self to the un-seen by giving the physical body to an abstract bride centered on a commitment to the transcendent echo of the promised Kingdom of God. The Holy Family is the icon of the Kingdom. Mary is the Church, through which Christ is born to Joseph who is the first of the faithful after Mary. Joseph took on the role of caretaker for both the covenant, which was Jesus, and she who the covenant was with. This is the charge given to all the faithful, personally and collectively.

Much of paganism and wiccan cults which focus on the female connection to earth and moon and water are not without meaningful expression. Whereas Adam was formed from the mud, Eve was formed from Adam. Adam had a distinctly separate existence from God, being formed from out of creation and given the imprint of God through the type of life and freedom that came with being made imago dei. Eve, however, was formed out of Adam; formed as a distinct nature-within-nature not using the mud, but using the flesh already imbued with the imprint of God. This is also tied in with the concept of “begetting”. God made man from nothing. Woman was made flesh out of flesh; a concept that is an echo of the incarnation. Jesus is God from God.
We say in the creed that Jesus was “begotten”, which means that though the Son is a distinct person from the Father, he shares completely in the single life of the one true God. The role of man on earth is the same. In the act of procreation, the man’s relationship is distinct and separate, and acts as a symbol of the ultimate relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

It’s important to always remember that we should not view God in terms of our human experiences, but instead view our experience in light of the revealed Truth of God in scripture and Tradition. All nature, all space and time, and certainly all human experience, can only be viewed as a shadow and a symbol of God’s plan. This is difficult to do, since our predisposition is to understand and explain things from a perspective of ownership; when we can explain or describe something, the mind symbolically claims ownership via knowledge. We need to concentrate on avoiding the pitfalls of ascribing human characteristics to the divine, and instead view those characteristics as emblematic of a greater mystery. “God’s ways our so above our ways as the heavens are above the earth.” Really think about that one. The earth is like a grain of sand on the beach of the Milky Way galaxy, and the galaxy is smaller than a grain of sand would be to a universe the size of the Earth. The very idea that human physicists and astronomers can see, quantify and contemplate this is absurd. It only loses absurdity when the enormity of the universe and the weirdness of the laws which make it that way are seen for what they represent – the proportional insignificance of our lives, knowledge, and will to that of the Father. It’s either that or nihilism. Anything in between is silly and logically untenable.

Historical Man (male-dominated civilizations) has tried to use skill, intellect and force to create within this world and (often subconsciously and on a small personal scale) to make himself and his creations like God. But he has failed and will always fail. Man mimics domination over the created world but ultimately ends up worshipping the created world - himself included. To grow, man must submit to the will of God in a very focused and self-destructive way, destroying not the body, but the individual will. This is the way things are, precisely because man is a copy of the Word. God made man from dirt, and Jesus came into the world as a man. The purpose of man’s existence is to mimic the life of the Son by dying to himself. As Jesus lived in submission to his earthly parents, to the Law, and above all to the will of the Father, so must men. Jesus called men to keep them close to him because they needed constant instruction. The male has an inordinate predisposition towards aggressive failure because he does not have an innate understanding of the language of this life – which has translational connections with, and is capable of crossing over to, the language of the next life. In begetting children, the male contributes of himself, but in an act of offering that “dies” since the physical connection is ultimately severed. The conjugal act is as far as the male’s physical participation goes. No child is formed within a man. The man’s blood and tissue is not continuously used to build another human being. In the order of creation, that happened only with Adam. With the fall of Adam, the covenant God made with him was destroyed. All subsequent covenants with men were contingent on the Law and when man failed, the covenant was broken by those failures.

But at the fall, God foretold the opportunity that would be given to woman. It would not be a covenant communicated with words alone, as with Moses, David and the Prophets – in other words it would not be a covenant based solely on the separate relationship between Creator and the creation he loved. This would be a covenant sealed with the blood of God, thereby making it eternal and unbreakable. Woman, by her nature, experiences the language of life – of blood. This language taps into something that cannot be comprehended fully with the human mind, and though it’s not true to say each woman fully understands the language of blood, men have only an observational, secondary point of reference. The sacrificial rites which offered up the blood of the created world to Yahweh were the means by which men were given to atone on behalf of humanity for the tendency to worship creation and to reject the will of God in favor of earthly things. But this was an offering separate from himself, and from the human race as a whole. Priests killed the animals and performed the rituals, but did not offer of themselves; therefore the offerings were never complete. They were contingent on fidelity to the covenant oath with Yahweh and to the written law.

By her fiat, Mary offered her own flesh to the Father. This was a more complete personal offering than Abraham, who offered Isaac as his flesh both as "possession"(someone he had claim to and could offer) and as "self" in that Isaac was a continuation of his blood. Mary unites those two since she possessed herself, and by giving herself totally to the will of the Father, completes the sacrifice God asked of Abraham. And while Abraham could only offer the separate flesh of Isaac as a sacrifice, it is Mary's own flesh which the Spirit uses to shape the flesh of the Son of God. In a very real way, Mary's "yes" was an agreement to give her own flesh, her own self, over to be sacrificed. This is the intimacy of the new covenant which is best understood when viewing it through the prism of a woman's physical existence.

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