Cardinal Journet on preaching and the illumination of the heart

Cardinal Journet on preaching and the illumination of the heart
Available from Ignatius Press

explains the importance of the preaching of the Church (he was a member of the Order of Preachers, a friend of Jacques Maritain and Pope Paul VI).

“From the moment the Word became flesh, he established at the heart of the universe a meeting point incomparably better than that which Adam had been.” (p 39)

Preaching will bring about an “illumination of the heart,” — Cardinal Journet explains that two types of actions may be considered in relation to Christ as God and man, the ascending and descending mediation of Christ. The ascending — “those that begin with his humanity and mount upwward toward God: his prayer, adoration, offering, merit, supplication”; the descending — “those that descend from God to man through Christ: miracles, healings, illuminations of the heart, forgiveness of sins, final resurrection of the dead.”

Cardinal Journet elaborates in a profound way on the many graces that flow from Christ. Through his Kingship “he dispenses the truth, preaches the good news, and teaches with authority” (Mt 7:29) (p. 56)

Thus, “all the graces of light, flowing from Christ’s divinity, are gathered in his intelligence before being poured out on all men, in order to enlighten and illumine them, both those who are near and those who are far off.” Teaching by contact is essential to the spreading of the kingdom of God. “How are they to hear without a preacher?” (Rom 10:15) The apostles were sent to the ends of the earth and to the end of time. The whole Church participates in the spiritual kingship of Christ in the witness to truth.

And “as long as this world continues, the interior illuminations will not abandon the preaching of the Gospel, the exterior announcing of the good news.”

The Lord desired to retain “in the midst of the many human voices carrying human messages in which error and truth are mixed, one human voice carrying a message that is divine.” I am reminded of St Thomas’s argument in the very opening of the Summa why we need more than philosophy. For philosophers have found the truth, but only a very few have done so, after a very long time, and mixed with many errors. Thus it was fitting for God to reveal the truth that is necessary for attaining the true purpose of human life and eternal redemption.

Journet continues: “He desired that, in such a way, the supreme, eternal, and divine salvation be proposed to men under a supremely human form, in the manner of an invitation, which could often be very gentle, sometimes threatening, but salutary.” (p. 57)

The exterior announcing of the good news — by contact — this is why Blessed traveled over 680,000 miles and visited 129 countries. Over 17,600,000 attended his Wednesday audiences. “One human voice carrying a message that is divine.” The John Paul II Forum assists in its humble way the continuation of his voice, and his message, received from Christ, of divine mercy.

An additional thought: Blessed  John Paul II instituted the “mysteries of Light” because the “whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the ‘light of the world.'” Yet this truth “emerges in a special way during the years of his public life, when he proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom.” (On the Most Holy Rosary §21)

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