Wednesday 20th August 2014

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

November 21, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in His only-begotten Son” (CCC, n. 52). In the words of St. Paul, “[God] destined us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will” (Eph. 1:5) in order that it might be possible for mankind to satisfy the innate desire for happiness that is written into our hearts and that can only be fulfilled in knowing and loving God far beyond what our natural capabilities permit.
To provide for this, the divine plan that God established “involves a specific pedagogy: God communicates Himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ” (CCC, n. 53).
First, a definition is in order. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, pedagogy is defined as “the art or profession of teaching.” Divine pedagogy, then, is the manner in which an all-loving, all-wise God teaches mankind. It might be thought of as an attribute of God’s wisdom whereby He communicates His salvific plan to mankind in a way that takes into account mankind’s social and cultural conditions, his stages and levels of maturity, his openness of heart, and many other factors.
In a sense, God spoon feeds mankind information about Himself and His loving plan of salvation, little by little, as man is able to assimilate it. Like a wise father raising his children, God “stoops down” to our level and adapts to our needs. As beautifully expressed in the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum (DV), He teaches His people with divine condescension: “In Sacred Scripture . . . the marvelous ‘condescension’ of eternal wisdom is clearly shown, ‘that we may learn the gentle kindness of God, which words cannot express, and how far He has gone in adapting His language with thoughtful concern for our weak human nature’” (DV, n. 13).
God’s loving solicitude in teaching mankind is expressed in the General Directory of Catechesis (GDC) in the following way: “God, wishing to speak to men as friends, manifests in a special way His pedagogy by adapting what He has to say by solicitous providence for our earthly condition” (GDC, n. 146). The GDC goes on later to emphasize that “ineffable kindness, providence and care, and condescension are terms which define the divine pedagogy in Revelation. They show God’s desire to adapt Himself to human beings” (GDC, footnote 453). God has condescended and adapted to our humanity to express divine words in human language. The supreme manifestation of the divine condescension is that God, in the fullness of time, took on our human nature.
Paragraph 53 of the Catechism goes on to cite St. Irenaeus of Lyons, an Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church. He “repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another,” a process that progressively took place during the entire period of the Old Testament. God, through Old Testament figures and events, lovingly prepares His people at a perfect pace, a pace only He in His infinite wisdom can comprehend, for the ultimate Revelation that would come in the person of Jesus Christ. The Liturgy of the Hours contains a beautiful reflection on the divine pedagogy from St. Irenaeus of Lyon’s treatise Against Heresies in the readings put before the Church during the second week of Lent that is well-worth meditating upon:
“From the beginning God created man out of His own generosity. He chose the patriarchs to give them salvation. He took His people in hand, teaching them, unteachable as they were, to follow Him. He gave them prophets, accustoming man to bear His Spirit and to have communion with God on earth. He Who stands in need of no one gave communion with Himself to those who need Him. Like an architect He outlined the plan of salvation to those who sought to please Him. By His own hand He gave food in Egypt to those who did not see Him. To those who were restless in the desert He gave a law perfectly suited to them. To those who entered the land of prosperity He gave a worthy inheritance. He killed the fatted calf for those who turned to Him as Father, and clothed them with the finest garment. In so many ways He was training the human race to take part in the harmonious song of salvation.”
Another Church Father, St. Augustine, also took up the theme of the divine pedagogy in his classic City of God: “The education of the human race, represented by the people of God, has advanced, like that of an individual, through certain epochs, or, as it were, ages, so that it might gradually rise from earthly to heavenly things, and from the visible to the invisible. This object was kept so clearly in view, that, even in the period when temporal rewards were promised, the one God was presented as the object of worship, that men might not acknowledge any other than the true Creator and Lord of the spirit, even in connection with the earthly blessings of this transitory life” (Book X, chapter 14).
Paragraphs 54 through 64 of the CCC walk us through, in an extremely abbreviated fashion, the “epochs or ages” of the Old Testament. Right from the beginning, God revealed Himself to our first parents and immediately manifested His love: “He invited them to intimate communion with Himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice” (CCC, n. 54). And even though Adam and Eve rejected Him through sin, God did not withdraw His self-manifestation. Rather, after the fall, God “buoyed them up with the hope of salvation, by promising redemption; and He has never ceased to show His solicitude for the human race” (CCC, n. 55).
The next stage in salvation history recounted in the Catechism is the covenant with Noah. As summarized by Fr. John Hardon, SJ, “after the flood, God made a covenant with Noah by which the stability of the course of nature against catastrophe was assured. . . . It paved the way for the covenant with Abraham and remained active until the coming of Christ.” The Lord later made His covenant with Abraham who became “the father of a multitude of nations” (Gen. 17:5). From him descended the people who “would be the trustees of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all His children into the unity of the Church” (CCC, n. 60).
“After the patriarchs, God formed Israel as His people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai . . . [and] revealed His law to them through Moses” (CCC, nn. 62, 72). It was then through the prophets that “God forms His people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts” (CCC, n. 64). And so, through a gradual and progressive process of Divine Revelation, God prepared mankind for the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies and promises with the coming of the incarnate Word. As the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world” (Heb. 1:1-2).

+    +    +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. With the full blessing of Raymond Cardinal Burke, Fier is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Pope Francis profoundly saddened by death of three relatives in traffic accident

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has learnt of the tragic death of three of his relatives in a traffic accident in Argentina and is “profoundly saddened.”  The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi said the Pope had…Continue Reading

The present, future, and quality of Catholic online education

An interview with Patrick Carmack, President of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, about Catholic online education, technology, and Great Books August 15, 2014 07:48 EST Patrick S. J. Carmack, J.D. is the President of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, and the founder…Continue Reading

Pope makes silent anti-abortion statement in South Korea

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Pope Francis has generally avoided hot-button “culture war” issues like abortion, arguing that the church’s doctrine on the sanctity of life is well-known and that he’d rather emphasize other aspects of church teaching. But he made a strong,…Continue Reading

Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue Slams Islamic Caliphate Crimes And Barbarism

Caliphate militants are responsible for inhumane actions like public executions, humiliation of women, and terror towards Christians, Yezidis and members of other religions. The Vatican body calls on Islamic religious leaders and governments to condemn these crimes and prosecute their…Continue Reading

Incoming Roman Catholic Springfield bishop on gay marriage: ‘God made us male and female’

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, will be installed as the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, on Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral, with a public reception at…Continue Reading

Liberia: Nun dies of Ebola virus, two missionaries ill

A nun working in Liberia has died of the Ebola virus. Sister Chantal Pascaline worked with the Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God. She died in Monrovia on Saturday. Two colleagues from the same order, Spanish priest Father Miguel…Continue Reading

Kurtz: New Catholic Teachers Shouldn’t Be Afraid

A group of about 750 Catholic school teachers, principals and Jefferson County school officials crammed into pews and chairs at St. Gabriel Parish in Fern Creek Friday morning for a mass service to ready the staff for the coming year.…Continue Reading

Send An Email Or Write A Letter To The Mayor Of Oklahoma City To Protest Black Satanic Mass At Civic Auditorium

Here is a copy of an email sent to the Mayor of Oklahoma City.  I think this man did a great job and we can use it as an example of what we can send.  Thank you to all of…Continue Reading

ISIS Closes In On Christians in Dramatic Overnight Development

Pope, Iraq’s Chaldean patriarch issue emergency appeals. ISIS, the radical Islamist group that forced Christians out of Mosul with the threat of death, has taken control of most of the villages of the Nineveh Plain, the northern area where Iraqi…Continue Reading

The IRS’s God Complex

The tax agency signs a secret pact with atheists, promising it will investigate 99 churches. Is the Internal Revenue Service a threat to religious liberty? As the IRS continues to come under well-aimed fire for harassing conservative groups, on Friday…Continue Reading

Archbishop Kurtz: Synod can be “a catalyst” for renewal

August 04, 2014 USCCB president Archbishop Joseph Kurtz will represent the US at the upcoming Synod of Bishops. The urgent challenges facing families—and how the Church can serve families better—will be the synod’s top priorities, he says. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz,…Continue Reading

Vatican: The Sign Of Peace Isn’t A Liturgical “Good Morning”

Today the Vatican confirmed the authenticity of a letter on the “sign of peace” that was released by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and appeared on the website of the Spanish bishops’ conference. Catholic News Service reportedly…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope On Korea Trip: Memory, Hope, Witness

pope509

2014-08-20 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) Memory, hope, witness: these are the three key terms in which Pope Francis placed his recent visit to Korea, when he reflected on the trip with pilgrims and tourists gathered in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on Wednesday for the weekly General Audience. After renewing his sentiments of gratitude and esteem for the bishops…Continue Reading

Pope Holds Press Conference On Flight Back From Korea

pope508

2014-08-18 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) From the possibility of the unification of the Koreas to the idea of “just war”, from the situation of persecuted minorities in Iraq to the Pope’s upcoming journey to Albania: on the flight back from Korea to Rome, Pope Francis answered questions put to him by journalists travelling with him aboard the papal plane. In…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Strange World Of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of 900 of the best quotes from The Birth Control Review, organized by topic, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +    +    + Introduction About 25 years ago, I bought a complete set…Continue Reading

Christians In The Mideast… Experience A Modern Calvary

By JOHN J. METZLER PARIS — The headlines seem from another era, if not century: that of Christian persecution by militant Islamists in the Middle East. Yet the modern political responses to this age-old conflict appear ambivalent about what’s emerged as an organized attempt by the militant Islamic State to impose a caliphate both on…Continue Reading

America’s Question: Cut Or Crash?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY On the last day of July, with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives serving as copilot, President Barack Obama flew the United States past a dubious fiscal landmark on our way toward what increasingly looks like a crash landing. That day, the federal debt hit $17,687,136,723,410.59 — an increase of roughly $7…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Loss Of Non-Negotiable Truths

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Non-Negotiable: Essential Principles of a Just Society and Humane Culture, by Sheila Liaugminas (Ignatius Press, San Francisco: 2014), 158 pp., $17.95. Available through www.ignatius.com. To make sense of the moral chaos, divisive political issues, and culture wars precipitated by the sexual revolution of the 1960s, it is essential to begin at the…Continue Reading

Jesus And Jeremiah Speak To Our Times

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. The commentary below is reprinted with permission from…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Memorial Of St. Alphonsus Liguori… Marian Catechists Strive To Imitate The Mother Of God

By RAYMOND CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: Raymond Cardinal Burke is the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. He delivered the homily below on August 1 at the Marian Catechist Consecration Weekend, held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, Wis. (The readings for August 1, the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, were: Romans 8:1-4;…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… How Catholics End Up As Practical Protestants

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in the business of making Catholics, of proclaiming and calling all to the fullness of saving truth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our mission to those who doubt or refuse some of our teachings is to call them to that fullness, whether Catholics already in our pews or Protestant brothers and sisters…Continue Reading

Is Mary The Mother Of God… Or Only The Mother Of Jesus?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Responding to a common misconception among separated brethren and ill-informed Catholics: What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the divine Motherhood? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith in Jesus — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned…Continue Reading

I Believe — We Believe

By DON FIER Over the past three weeks of this series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), we have been reflectively examining the characteristics of the indescribably wonderful gift of faith that Almighty God has so generously availed mankind. As so adeptly summarized in the Compendium of the CCC, we know that faith is “the supernatural virtue which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Over the years, we have tried to correct columns in the Boston Herald by Margery Eagan because they have greatly distorted Catholic teaching. Now we learn that the longtime Herald columnist has joined the anti-Catholic Boston Globe as a writer for its new Catholicism website, Crux. According to the press release from the Globe, Eagan will focus on…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius X

By CAROLE BRESLIN This month the Catholic Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of the death of Pope St. Pius X who had so many things in common with the last few Popes. Like Pope Francis, he had a special affinity for the poor — especially since he came from a poor family. Like Pope John Paul II, who updated the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Maximilian Kolbe

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the Final Discourse, our Lord speaks to His disciples at the Last Supper about union with Christ, union with the Father, and the coming of the Holy Spirit with the theme of love woven throughout the night’s sharing. “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading