Blessed rather are they who hear the Word of God and keep it.
What did Jesus mean by Word? The dictionary definitions are cold and perfunctory. So let’s listen to what an eminent theologian from the 20th century, Karl Rahner, who insisted on being a pastor and spiritual teacher as well as a brilliant theologian, has to say. Let’s play with some of his descriptions.
Words are signs which denote and make present things other than themselves.
The more perfect the more nearly adequate the word, the more real and effective is the presence of the thing.
The divine Word is the full equivalent of what it signifies. It is the mirror-image of the Speaker, and like him, a Person. “He that has seen Me has seen the Father” Jn.14:9 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jn. 1:1
climb from our hearts and resound in hymns.
Open the door to great deeds and sit in judgment over eternities.
Spring from the heart,
have power over us,
cannot be defined; they are given
Filled with giant strains of the melody of Infinity;
draw us into their incomprehensible depths
For instance from Brentano “Oh star and flower, Spirit and Robe, Love, Pain, Time and Eternity!”
Every great word refers to a part of reality;
Every genuine living word has roots which reach down far into the infinite. Great words bring here the reality it expresses, makes it present. the known takes hold of the knower.
Realities become more themselves and only then achieve their perfected nature when they are known and spoken of by persons. Then they acquire an intimacy of being.
Imagine the blind and deaf Helen Keller feeling the word W-a-t-e-r spelled on her hand.
The fact that I will be known, acknowledged and loved is my fulfilment…(after all, I am a word…)All realities long to be unveiled. They themselves wish to enter into the light of knowledge and love if not as knowers then at least as knowns.
“In the word alone there lives and is known, the transcendence which frees from death. The word alone can make God, as the God of the mysteries, so present for the one who does not yet see God, that this presence not only is in grace but indeed is here for us.” Rahner says the Word can make God present.
And that is the place where we want to land today. How do we become hearers of the Word? Open to the Word? In proximity to the Word? How do we become a response to the Word? Resonant of divinity? Free enough to respond?
All love achieves its own fulfilment only when it is accepted and answered. Love can be answered only in freedom. And freedom is only where the brightness of the spirit is and the wakefulness of the heart.” Pp. 12 & 13 The Word: Readings in Theology, P.J. Kenedy & Sons
Our program today should help answer these questions.
Our main speaker is Gillian Coxhead will explore our Carmelite heritage in Teresa’s Interior Castle “Hearing the Word of God.”
Following Gillian’s talk we will move into the celebration of Eucharist where the Word is featured ritually as well as spiritually. We invite you to open your hearts and minds for this rich banquet.
(When you listen to Gillian’s talk listen to the second entry on audio first, and then return to the first entry. Sorry for the confusion.)