No new revelations are to be admitted in the matter of that once made, beyond what may be consistent with it, lest we should go astray by admitting contradictions, and stain the soul, which should keep the faith. We must bring the understanding into captivity, and cleave in simplicity to the faith and teaching of the Church, ‘for faith,’ saith S. Paul, ‘cometh by hearing.’ No man will give heed or credit easily to new revelations, unless he has a mind to be deceived.1
As a fundamentalist, I believed that Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants all based their beliefs on “new revelations.” Why? Because nothing they did or said could be found (explicitly) in Scripture. I didn’t understand the notion of progressive revelation at the time.
This is different than progressive politics and progressive Christianity.
I have no doubt St. John would look at modern Christianity with so many new revelations and utterly despise it.
Saint John of the Cross, Benedict Zimmermann, and David Lewis, The Ascent of Mount Carmel (London: Thomas Baker, 1906), 217–218. ↩
Men take care that their rosaries are of a certain workmanship rather than another, of a certain colour or material, and with particular ornaments. One rosary does not contribute more than another towards the hearing of our prayers: he is heard who tells his beads in the simplicity and integrity of his heart, not thinking of anything but how he may please God the most; and not valuing one rosary more than another, except only for the indulgences attached to it.
Saint John of the Cross, Benedict Zimmermann, and David Lewis, The Ascent of Mount Carmel (London: Thomas Baker, 1906), 348.
If only… someone… could bring us John… to us Protestants….
The principal reason why the Old Law permitted us to ask questions of God, and why prophets and priests had to seek visions and revelations of God, was because at that time faith had no firm foundation and the law of the Gospel was not yet established; and thus it was necessary that men should enquire of God and that he should speak, whether by words or by visions and revelations or whether by figures and images or by many other ways of expressing His meaning. For all that he answered and revealed belonged to the mysteries of our faith and things touching it or leading to it.
But now that the faith is founded in Christ, now that in this era of grace the law of the Gospel has been made manifest, there is no reason to enquire of God in that manner nor for him to speak to us or answer us as he did then. For, in giving us, as he did, his Son, who is his one and only Word, he spoke to us once and for all, in this single Word, and he has no occasion to speak further.
And this is the meaning of that passage with which the Letter to the Hebrews begins, trying to persuade the Hebrews that they should abandon those first ways of dealing and communicating with God which are in the law of Moses, and should set their eyes on Christ alone: At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, in the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son. That is, God has said so much about so many things through his Word that nothing more is needed, since that which he revealed partially in the past through the prophets, he has now revealed completely by giving us the All, which is his Son.
Therefore if someone were now to ask questions of God or seek any vision or revelation, he would not only be acting foolishly but would be committing an offence against God – for he should set his eyes altogether upon Christ and seek nothing beyond Christ.
God might answer him after this manner, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I have spoken all things to you in my Word. Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in him you shall find more than you ask for, even more than you want.
I descended upon him with my Spirit on Mount Tabor and said This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. You have no reason to ask for new teaching or new answers from me because if I spoke to you in the past then it was to promise Christ. If people asked questions of me in the past then their questions were really a desire of Christ and a hope for his coming. For in him they were to find all good things, as has now been revealed in the teaching of the Evangelists and the Apostles. (here)
But those who at this time are going on to perfection proceed very differently and with quite another temper of spirit; for they progress by means of humility and are greatly edified, not only thinking naught of their own affairs, but having very little satisfaction with themselves; they consider all others as far better, and usually have a holy envy of them, and an eagerness to serve God as they do.1
Well now… I guess he was… Just like Jesus.
Saint John of the Cross (2012-10-03). Dark Night of the Soul (Illustrated Classics) (Kindle Locations 532-534). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition ↩
Bk. 1. Ch. 8. The soul that is clouded by the desires is darkened in the understanding and allows neither the sun of natural reason nor that of the supernatural Wisdom of God to shine upon it and illumine it clearly. #2. At the same time, when the soul is darkened in the understanding, it is benumbed also in the will, and the memory becomes dull and disordered in its dire operation. The intellect cannot get the illumination of God’s wisdom, the will cannot get the love of God, and the memory cannot get God’s image. #4. Darkness and coarseness will always be with a soul until its appetites are extinguished. The appetites are like a cataract on the eye or specks of dust in it; until removed they obstruct vision. #6. The affections and appetites deprive them of a treasure of divine light. #7. Any appetite, even one that is but slightly imperfect, stains and defiles the soul.
“Wherefore he that would now enquire of God, or seek any vision or revelation, would not only be acting foolishly, but would be committing an offence against God, by not setting his eyes altogether upon Christ, and seeking no new thing or aught beside. And God might answer him after this manner, saying: If I have spoken all things to thee in My Word, Which is My Son, and I have no other word, what answer can I now make to thee, or what can I reveal to thee which is greater than this? Set thine eyes on Him alone, for in Him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in Him thou shalt find yet more than that which thou askest and desirest. For thou askest locutions and revelations, which are the part; but if thou set thine eyes upon Him, thou shalt find the whole; for He is My complete locution and answer, and He is all My vision and all My revelation; so that I have spoken to thee, answered thee, declared to thee and revealed to thee, in giving Him to thee as thy brother, companion and master, as ransom and prize.”