THE BEATIFIC VISION

(a) Rev. Prof. Michael Lapierre, S.J., Regis College/ December 14, 1998

Introduction

The theme of this presentation is the final end of human creatures .God created each one of us and placed us in this world that through our praise, reverence and service of Him on this earth we may finally reach, possess and rest in that supreme good which will set our minds and hearts at peace for all eternity, namely that blessed vision of God Himself in his own proper essence.

We may say, then, that in our end is our beginning. For the labor, toil and trouble of this present state are but the prelude, the preparation for that final state in which we shall see God as He is, in whom all our desires will be fulfilled, and wherein, as the ntual of burial says, "all our tears will be wiped away, the obscurity of faith will give place to the light of vision, ourjoy will be complete, a joy no one can take from us." Herein lies our full and f~mal blessedness, the beatitude for which God has destined us at the close of our journey through this world.

So our theme is the beatific vision, the vision of God in the fulness of his transcendent, awe-inspiring, captivating and mysterious being. We shall undertake to consider this Beatific Vision in its existence, in its nature and in its characteristics.

I begin, then, with a citation from the New Catholic Encyclopedia in its entry on the Beatifrc Vision by John Redle.

[The beatific vision is] the supernatural act of the created intellect by which the beatified angels and (human) souls are united to God in a direct, intuitive and clear knowledge of the Triune God as He is in Himself. This direct, intuitive intellective vision of God with the perfection of charity necessarily accompanying it, is the consummation of the divine indwelling in the sanctified spirit or soul, for by this vision the blessed are brought to fruition in such a union with God in knowledge and love that they share forever in God's own happiness.

The passage just quoted contains a number of phrases which we hope to analyze and clarify, in so far as we can, in the development of this presentation. These phrases are:

a) [The B. V.] is the supernatural act of the created intellect. b) By this act we are united in a direct, intuitive and clear knowledge of the Triune God as He is in Himself.

c) This direct, intuitive, clear knowledge of God is accompanied by the perfection of charity.

d) This vision is the consummation of the divine indwelling in the sanctified soul or spirit.

e) This union with God in knowledge and love is an eternal sharing in God's own happiness.

i. The Existence of the Beatific Vision.

Of the existence of this sublime and hope-creating truth we would have no knowledge at all were it not for its revelation to us by our magnanimous and allloving. God. Sacred Scripture clearly indicates to us that human beings are destined at the close of this earthly pilgrimage to see God as He is in Himself. At present then we believe through the gift of faith that the proper conditions being fulfilled we shall finally enjoy the vision of God. A reference or two to Sacred Scripture af~s this to us. One with which you are all familiar from Mt. 11: 27, "All things are delivered to me by my Father; and no knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." In this text Christ is attributing to the Father and to Himself a knowledge that is exclusively proper to them. If others have this knowledge it is a gift from them, not a natural acquisition or endowment and so it is supernatural,

above and beyond our natural capacity to attain or to acquire. And we read in the 1"' Letter of John (3:2), "We are God' s children now; it does not yet appear what we will be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

We are oriented to know God on three levels. Firstly there is our natural knowledge ofGod reached through the light ofreason. Of this knowledge St. Paul writes, "ever since the foundation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things. Secondly, there is that deeper knowledge of God given us through the light of faith wherein we come to know of the Blessed Trinity, of the Incarnation of the Son of God, of the divine work of Redemption, of the gift of divine grace and of our final destiny to the blessed vision of knowing God in his own proper being. Of this Paul had written, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love him." Our Lord himself had proclaimed, "I am come that you may have life and have it to the full." And the apostle John writes in his preface to his gospel, "No one has ever seen God; the only Son who is in the bosom of the Father he has made him known,"[ 1: 18], and in his discourse on the Bread of Life, "Not that anyone has seen the Father except him who is from God he has seen the Father." [6:42] Finally there is our intuitive knowledge of God given us in the beatific vision

It is generally considered that this vision of God as he is in himself is beyond our natural power to possess even when we are enlightened by faith. However, the BCghards and the BCguines of the 14" century appear to have held that this vision of God which constitutes our final beatitude is not absolutely (supernatural) beyond and above our natural capacity to attain,for they maintained that any intellectual nature is naturally blessed in itself and the soul does not need the light of glory elevating it to see God ;and to enjoy him blessedly. [Mueller, E,

Das Konzil von Vienne 1311-1312. Munster. 1934, p. 577-587]. So the beatific vision is a natural consequence of such a nature, and not absolutely supernatural. This position was condemned by the Church in the Council of Vienna in 13 1 1.

An author of the 17" Century, Ripalda by name considered it possible for God to create a supernatural creature capable of possessing the beatific vision. His position did not appeal to other theologians and so has not been accepted.

Finally we should mention an author of the 16" Century Michael du Bay who maintained that the beatific vision is a natural endowment of human beings from the beginning. The Church under Plus V rejected this teaching in the Bull of 1567 entitled , Ex Omnibus Afflictionibus.

A group of the Eastern Church known as the Palamites, after the famous theologian George Palamis maintain that we shall behold a divine light, proceeding from, uncreated, distinct but not separate from the divine essence, since the divine essence cannot be seen in this life nor in the next.

These Christians are not outrightly denying the existence of the vision of God as the end of human life but their efforts to grasp it and their explanations of it fall short of the full revelation of the mystery. And in our effort to understand, in so far as we my, the supreme mysteries of our faith we must not overlook, deny or obliterate any of their elements. The Nature of the Beatific Vision.

We receive much light in our attempt to grasp the nature of the beatific vision from the Constitution of Benedict XII promulgated on 27 January 1336. He did this at the request of the University of Paris. The occasion of this request was the claim of Pope John XXII in a sermon on All Saints Day entitled, ~ementote operum patrum vestrorum, that the souls of the just before the coming of Christ were resting in the bosom of Abraham; after the resurrection and ascension of Christ they enjoy the vision of Christ's glorified humanity and rest until the day of

judgment under the altar of which John speaks in the Apocalypse [ch. 6 v. 9]. After the day of judgment Jesus Christ will take them to heaven, raising them to the vision of the divinity itself.

By under the altar John XXII meant that until the finaljudgment they were under the protection and consolation of the humanity of Christ. Benedict XII declared in his Constitution the following: [A]fter the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ [the just] will see, and do see the divine essence in a vision that is intuitive, and also facial, no mediating creature offering itself in the manner of an object seen; but the divine essence showing itself to them immediately, nakedly, clearly and openly, and so seeing they enjoy the divine essence; and also, from such vision and enjoyment, the souls of those who have already passed on are truly blessed and have eternal life and peace and also the souls of those who will afterwards pass on will see the same divine essence and enjoy it before the generaljudgment.

Let us pick out of this the traits of this blessed vision of God. It is an intuitive vision. So it is distinguished from our normal way of knowing things; it is as if we were looking into something, gazing at or contemplating an object before us; It is facial, face to face so to speak. This recalls the expression of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. There he writes, "Now I see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face"lC. 13.12. They behold it nakedly, that is as it is in itself not through a screen; not through a medium, not through a veil. They see it clearly not as in a shadow or in a mist or through a cloud. They see it openly so not behind a door, not through a glass cage, not as shut away from them, not as standing apart from them. We may best indicate the meaning of "clearly" by recalling what we mean by a clear day. So a day of brilliant sunshine, without a cloud in the bright blue sky, all the fields, the valleys, the hills, the lakes, the streams, the mountains

bathed in light. There is nothing to darken, to discolor, to dim this vision of the earth around us. It is a vision that is immediate to us. The qualifiers which we have indicated appear to emphasize this.

In this vision we have rest; we have reached the fulness of desire; we have received the fulness of life; we have attained the end for which God destined us. The rest is supreme joy and enjoyment. It is , as the Encyclopedia of Catholicism states, a perfect fulfihnent of God' s self-communication to those who freely accept it. Of this vision we can truly say, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has prepared for those who love him."

Through this blessed vision the blessed are united with God in a direct, intuitive and clear knowledge of the Triune God as He is in Himself. As the theologian Heinrich Lennerz has written in his work De Deo Uno: ad Beati totam inJinitam perfectionem divinam,de se inJinito mode cognosciblem, vident ad modem inJiniti, modoJinito. This terse compact phrase I attempt to translate thus, "The blessed see the infinite divine perfection, which is of itself knowable in an infinite way, after the manner of the infinite, but in a finite way. God' s Incomprehensibleness.

Moreover this quotation indicates to us the limit of the blesseds' knowledge in this gift of the beatific vision. For while they see God as He is in Himself, they do not see Him in the same manner in which He sees Himself. For He knows

Himself in an infinite manner while the blessed know Him only in a finite manner. There is axiom among the Schoolmen which runs, "quidquid recipitur ad ad modem recipientis recipitur. What ever is received is received in keeping with the mode of the receiver. So while God knows creatures in an infinite manner creatures

know God in a manner in keeping with their creaturehood, that is, in a finite way. Even in this state of the beatific vision God remains mcomprehensible to creatures. This is a truth of the Catholic faith. For CVI. has declared, "The holy, catholic

church believes and confesses that there is one God..eternal, immense, incomprehensible, inf~mite in mind and will and all perfection." St.Thomas in his Summa Theologiae Prima Pars . 12.7. c. gives a reasonable explanation of this truth of faith, illustrating his argument by an example. If someone knows that the angles of a triangle equal two right angles by demonstrating it, then he comprehends this truth, but if he knows of it from the opinion ofothers, then he does not comprehend it but only knows it.

The Conditions for Receivinn this Vision.

One of the beatitudes reads, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Mt. 5.8. Certainly purity of heart is a condition for having this vision. Is it the only condition? If taken in the fulness of its meaning it is the required and necessary condition. For if purity of heart means that we are in the right and proper relationship with ourselves with our neighbor and with God, then, it means that we are observing the great commandments, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your strength, with all your mind and with all your soul; and your neighbor as yourself."

Our entire Christian living is a process towards this reward which God in his goodness offers us. Our baptism is our initiation into the way that leads to this; for in it we receive the gift of the Spirit and the seed that we are to cultivate, to nourish, and to bring to fruition. These functions we fulfil by our membership in the Church, making use of the means given in it to guide us and to rule us and to preserve us in our growing. "All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fulness of the Christian life and the perfection of charity" according to the constitution on the Church of CVI1 [LG.40]. In order that all the faithful reach this [perfection] they must use their strength according as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. In this way they follow in His footsteps and mold themselves in His image, seeking the will of he Father in all things, devoting

themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. The expressions "fulness of the Christian life" and "the perfection of the charity" are a hendiadys, that is, they express the same meaning. The fulness of the Christian life is reached in the beatific vision. And I would say, "the perfection of charity" is reached in the same vision. In the meantime all our effort is directed with the help provided by our gracious God towards the attainment of this glorious state. In this effort to reach such a high goal the words of Peter in his Second Letter encourage us, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness ,through the knowledge of him who called us to this own glory and excellence, by which he has granted us his precious and very great promises that through these we may escape corruption....and become partakers of the divine nature."God's own self-communication to us in making us sharers in his divine nature will reach its ultimate fulfihnent in the beatific vision. This same truth, Pope Leo XIII has presented in an admirable manner in his Encyclical Letter, Diutumum Illud [On the Holy spirit 1897] Therein he writes, "...the self-communication of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was not such that then for the first time He would have begun to dwell in the saints, but that He was poured out on them more abundantly; crowning, not beginning His gifts; not commencing a new work, but giving more abundantly...The beginning of this regeneration and renovation of man takes place at Baptism. In this sacrament...the Holy Spirit of the for the first time enters it [the soul] and makes it like to Himself. "That which born of the Spirit is spirit." [Jn.3:6]. The same Spirit gives Himself more abundantly in holy confirmation for the steadfastness and the strength of the Christian life...He not only brings to us divine gifts, but is the author of them and is Himself the supreme gift, who, proceeding from the mutual love of the Father and the Son, is rightly considered and called "the gift of the most high"...Besides, by grace God abides in the just soul as in a temple, in a most intimate and singular manner. From this follows that the

bond of charity by which the soul adheres most closely to God, more than it could adhere to the most loving and beloved friend, and enjoys God in all fulness and sweetness. Now this wonderful union, which is properly called the indwelling and differs only by reason of our condition or state from that in which God embraces and beatifies the citizens of heaven, is most certainly produced by the divine presence of the whole Trinity: "We will come to him and make our abode with him. [Jn.14:23]

And plus XII in his Encyclical Letter on the Mystical Body of Christ [Mystici Corporis [1943] refers to this passage from Leo XIII. He writes, "Thus, when our wise predecessor of happy memory,Leo XIII was treating of this union of ours with Christ and the indwelling of the divine Paraclete within us, he appropriately turned his gaze to that beatific vision wherein one day in heaven this mystical union will find its perfect consummation. "This wonderful union," he wrote, "which is properly called indwelling, differs only by reason of our condition or state from that in which God embraces and beatifies the citizens of heaven. In that vision it will be granted to the eyes of the mind, its powers augmented by supernatural light, to contemplate the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for all eternity to witness closely the processions of the divine Persons, and to enjoy a beatitude very similar to that with which the most holy and undivided trinity is blessed.

So it is that the process of our Christian living consists in our effort aided by God's grace to attain the fulness of the Christian life and the perfection of charity whose goal and whose crown is that sharing in the divine nature which is the beatific vision. Little wonder, then, that the apostle Paul exclaims, "eye has not seen, nor has the ear heard, nor has the heart of man conceived what things God has prepared for those who love Him. "

This process, its goal and its attainment is, as I indicated in the beginning of

this paper, aptly described by M. J. Redle, the author of the article in the New catholic Encyclopedia on the Beatific Vision:

The supernatural act of the created intellect by which the beatified angels and souls are united to God in a direct, intuitive and clear knowledge of the Triune God as He is in Himself. This direct, intuitive, intellectual vision of God with the perfection of charity necessarily accompanying it, is the consummation of the divine indwelling in the sanctified spirit or soul, for by this vision the blessed are brought to fruition in such a union with God in knowledge and love that they share forever in God's own happiness. [NCE BV. 186.cell.]

The ~ruit, then, of our effort to live and wo~ here in this world as Christ Who is the way, the truth and the life has instructed us by word and example, will be our sharing in the next world in the life of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spint in which life we shall know by God's knowing, we shall love by God's loving and we shall find our joy in God's own enjoyment.

St. Augustine considered the vision of God face to face, this final goal of all our efforts as the very reason for the Incarnation of the Son of God. He could stir up the enthusiasm of his people till they shouted withjoy by pointing to the glorious goal in store for them at the end of their earthly journeying. Here I cite his encouraging words, Now [therefore] I do not contemplate because I have fallen: then I will stand and will contemplate (because I shall not fall). This is man's voice. For man has fallen, and one would not be sent to raise us up, if we had not fallen. We have fallen, He has descended. He has ascended, we are lifted up; "For no man has ascended, but He who descended."He who has fallen is lifted up; He who descended, has ascended: He who descends, ascends. And let us not therefore despair, that He alone has ascended. For he lifts us up, to

whom in our fall He descended; and we shall stand, and shall contemplate, and enjoy great delight. LO! I have said this and yet have cried out for the longing after some vision not seen as yet...Now, brethren, mark: if these goods which are called goods delight us...what will be our contemplation of the Good Unchangeable, Eternal, abiding even in the same fashion? For these things, which are called good, would by no means delight us, except they were good; nor could they be by any other means good save from Him who is simply good. (Ennarra. In Ps.XXVI, I. 8. Cf Leahy, D.J. St .Augustme and the Vision of God

I would suggest here that sometime when you have leisure you take up the CCC check the index under the subject title "Vision" and read though the references given. In this way you will gather into one the present teaching of the Catholic church on the beatific vision. You will gladly make your own the words of St. Augustine, "There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. Behold what will be at the end without end. For what other end do we have, if not to reach the Kingdom of God which has no end. [De Civ. Dei, 22. 305 No. 1720 in the CCC]

REGIS COLLEGE

Michael J. Lapierre, S.J.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON THE BEATIFIC VISION.

Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologiae,Pars Prima, Quaestio 12.

Summa contra Gentiles. Book III. Caput 17-63 Boudreaux, F.J., The Happiness ofHeaven, John Murphy Co. NY. 1870 Cavendish, Richard, Visions of Heaven and Hell. NY. 1 977 Dani~lou, Jean, Terre et paradis chez les p~res de l'~glise. .Eranos Jahrbuch 22r19531433-472. Davies, Brian, The Thought of Thomas Aquinas.. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1993 Dondaine, Henri, F., L'objet et le 'medium' de la vision bCatifique chez les th~ologiens du XIIIe siecle. RTAM 19r1952]60-130.

Douie, Decima, John XXII and the Beatific Vision. Dominican Studies 3r19501154-174 Dykmans, Marc, Les sermons de Jean XXII sur la vision bCatifique. Rome, 1973 Feuillet, A., La demeure c~leste et la destinCe des chr6tiens. RSR44r19561360-402 Gonzalez-Alio, Jose-Luis, La vision beatifica come realidad trinitaria. Scripta Theoloaica 19r1987]597-631 Leahy, D.J., St. Augustine and the Vision of God. ER 99(1938)128-170 Lossky Vladimir, The Vision ofGod. 3rd ed. NY. 1983 Mauser, Ulrich, 'Heaven' in the World View of the New Testament. Horizons in Biblical Theolonv 9 no.2r1987]31-52 Mavrodes, George, The Life Everlasting and the Bodily Criterion of Identity. Nous llT1977]27-39 Rahner, K. Beatific Vision in Sacramentum Mundi, 1:151-153, NY. 1968 Ratzinger, Jos., Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life. Washington. 1988 Russell, Jeffery, B., A History ofHeaven. PUP, Princeton. 1997 Spronk, Klaas, Beatific Afterlife in Ancient Israel and in the Ancient Near East.NeukirchenVluyn, 1986 Thompson, Marianne Mele, Eternal Life in the Gospel ofJohn. Ex auditu 5r1989]555.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON THE BEATIFIC VISION.

Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologiae,Pars Prima, Quaestio 12.

Summa contra Gentiles. Book III. Caput 17-63 Boudreaux, F.J., The Happiness ofHeaven, John Murphy Co. NY. 1870 Cavendish, Richard, Visions of Heaven and Hell. NY. 1977 Dani~lou, Jean, Terre et paradis chez les p~res de I'~glise. .Eranos Jahrbuch 22r1953]433-472. Davies, Brian, The Thought of Thomas Aquinas.. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1993 Dondaine, Henri, F., L'objet et le 'medium' de la vision bCatifique chez les thCologiens du XIIIe siecle. RTAM 19r1952160-130.

Douie, Decima, John XXII and the Beatific Vision. Dominican Studies 3r1950]154-174 Dykmans, Marc, Les sermons de Jean XXII sur la vision b~atifique. Rome, 1973 Feuillet, A., La demeure c~leste et la destinCe des chr~tiens. RSR44r19561360-402 Gonzalez-Alio, Jose-Luis, La vision beatifica come realidad trinitaria. Scripta Theoloaica 19r19871597-631 Leahy, D.J., St. Augustine and the Vision of God. ER 99(1938)128-170 Lossky Vladimir, The Vision of God. 3rd ed. NY. 1983 Mauser, Ulrich, 'Heaven' in the World View of the New Testament. Horizons in Biblical Theolonv 9 no.2r1987131-52 Mavrodes, George, The Life Everlasting and the Bodily Criterion ofIdentity. Nous 13r1977127-39 Rahner, K. Beatific Vision in Sacramentum Mundi, 1:151-153, NY. 1968 Ratzinger, Jos., Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life. Washington. 1988 Russell, Jeffery, B., A History ofHeaven. PUP, Princeton. 1997 Spronk, Klaas, Beatific AAerlife in Ancient Israel and in the Ancient Near East.NeukirchenVluyn, 1986 Thompson, Marianne Mele, Eternal Life in the Gospel ofJohn. Ex auditu 5r19891555.

Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision:

A Brief Comparison between Two T~vDes of Theology of Energy

(c) John Cheng, Grace Institute of the Holy Eucharist November i, 1998

I. Introduction= This essay is written as a consequence of the author's encounter with James Redfield's secular eschatology which is systematically described in his monumental non-frction entitled The Celestine Vision: Living; the New Spiritual Awareness (New York, NY: Wanner Books, 1997), 242 pages. Previously, this bestseller has written three other similar books, i.e., The Celestine ProDhecv: An Adventure (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1994), 247 pages; The Celestine ProDhecv: An ExDeriential Guide (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1995), 285 pages; and The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1996), 237 pages. Put together coherently in twelve chapters, The Celestine Vision appears to be a systematic integration and elaboration of his very ten insights found in the three former works. In a story-telling fashion, The Celestine ProDhecv expresses the first nine insights, while The Tenth Insight conveys the tenth accordingly. Go-authored with Carol Adrienne, The Celestine Prophecy: An ExDeriential Guide is a discussion and practical guide for individuals or groups to come to grips intellectually and experientially with the first nine insights. "The celestine general theme of Redfield's four works mentioned.

to grips intellectually and vision" seems to be also the

On the other hand, the author is a Roman Catholic who has written two books closely related to Redfield's, i.e., Energy and Environment: The Spiritual-Human Material Nexus (Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1993) 205 pages; and Carriers and Radiators of Divine Energy (Toronto: Theology of Energy Research Education, 1995), 220 pages. The two books are also called A Handbook of Theology ofEnergy, vol. 1 and vol. 2. Despite their similarities, the most confusing aspect of Redfield's works is that they are each like a mixed bag of universal truths, half-truths, Christian heresies, and even Christian truths. It is hence the intention of the author to generally point them out in this concise critique of The Celestine Vision, a work in which Refield describes his non-Christian vision of Heaven and the way to realize it. Concurrently this paper is also a brief comparison between these two types of theology.

Overall speaking, there are four major areas of similarities and differences between these two authors. The first is that they both use various energy terms to depict their worldview. While Redfieid presents to us an anti-Christian New Age theology of energy or energies, the author gives us a Roman Catholic version of the latter. The second area is that their works are primarily concerned with the transformation of the individuals, society and their environment. While the former is committed to celestinization in his celestine vision, the latter is dedicated to heavenization in his heavenly vision. The third area is that they both frequently talk about "divine energy" and "divine energization of the world". While Redfield uses the terms largely in the context of Eastern Asian mysticism, the author uses them according to the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The fourth is that they tend to share the ten insights as found in Redfield's website (www. celestinevision. com/in_body.html). However, at a deeper level of these universal truths, they often do not share the same presuppositions at all.

This article therefore consists of six sections. After the present introduction in section one, we will spend the next four sections dealing with the four areas of similarities and differences between the two types of theology of energy. Finally, the last section is our conclusion. As there are many points to make, we can only do so in brief selectively. We may be raising more questions than answering them. Our goal, however, is reached if this essay could serve as an introduction to further studies.

For our reference conveniences, some abbreviations are in order: i) CCC for Catechism of the Catholic Chll~h (Ottawa: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1994); ) TEI for A Handbook of Theology of Energy, voi.l; iii) TE2 for A Handbook of Theology of Energy, vo1.2; iv) TCV for The Celestine Vision v) TCP for The Celestine Prophecy; vi) Guide for the Guide for TCP; vii) TTI for The Tenth Insight.

p. 2 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

2. Use of Various iEnerg~y Terms As mentioned, these two types of theology of energy are employing various energy terms to describe their worldviews. Here are some of their similarities and differences.

2. 1 Similarities in the use of Various Energy Terms First, the two authors are convinced that everything in this universe is an energy or energy-being of some kind. For example, Redfield here can speak for the author as he thinks that the universe is "like a huge area of dynamic, mysterious energy -- an energy that underlay all things and interacted with itself in a manner that could only be called intelligent. " (TCV, pp.48-49) "If we are awake, we know that everything around us is a mysterious vibrating pattern of energy, the stuff of light ... and that includes us." (TCV, p.55) "Below the surface of the things of the world there are no basic building blocks of nature; there is only an interconnecting web of energy relationships." (Ibid.) The author believes that everything is an energy-being. Thus we have various energybeings in the world. For example, everything in the physical world, including a particle, is a physical being. God is "a personal uncreated Hypostatic Energy-Being." (TEI, p.15) "An angel is a real personal angelic energy-being in the invisible spiritual world. " (TEI, p.32) "A human being is a personal human energy-being." (TEI, p.38)

Second, they think that every energy-being radiates some type of energy. For example, Redfield believes that "everything, including ourselves, is nothing more than a field of energy, of light, all interacting and influencing each other." (TCV, p.69) "There is an old mystical saying that where attention goes, energy flows. " (TCV, p.72) "We live in an intelligent, responsive, energy-dynamic universe, in which other people's expectations and assumptions radiate outward to influence us." (TCV, p.70) Further, the author thinks that "God does not seem to stop radiating and penetrating Himself throughout the whole universe transcosmically via His own personal Uncreated Energy." (TEI, p.16) "An angel seems to emit non-stop his personal angelic energy." (TEI, p.33) "It appears that this living, personal, human synergy of a human spirit and body constantly radiates his human energies." (TEI, p.39)

Third, both think that the energies radiated by various energy-beings do have a long range and an effect that affect the rest of the world. "We are intimately connected with the universe and with each other, and our influence on our world with our thoughts is more powerful than anyone ever dreamed." (TCV, p.64) Our intentions can also affect other people's bodies, their minds, and the shape of events in the world." (TCV, p.65) "As we send love energy to others, we become the channel for an energy that originates with the divine source and moves through us, like a cup filling and spilling over to others." (TCV, p.146) Following Eastern Orthodoxy, the author thinks that "God's personal Uncreated Energies are God Himself in His own limbs and fingers reaching out to the whole of creation. " (TEI, p.19) "As personal angelic-energy-beings radiating their personal angelic energy, all angels were called to bless all creation as radiators or dispensers of Divine Energy." (TE2, p.72) Quoting Teilhard de Chardin, he believes that "we human beings could have a phenomenal, functioning influence or even direction of how the whole cosmic environment is evolving. " (TEI, p.42)

Fourth, they obtain their insights from studying new physics, depth psychology, the Bible, as well as various Christian and non-Christian scholars and mystics. This approach offers a synthesis of the scientific and religious worldviews (cf. TCP, p.236).

Fifth, they are both working in the area of the so-called postmodern theology which rejects atheism, materialism, and sensate empiricism (cf. Griffin, 1989, pp.7374). Both authors generally disown the "modern scientific worldview" which excludes God, transcendent values, and the human soul to play an important role in the universe (cf. Griffin, 1989, p.2). C--~ ~t~~r~rl ~P~tllrPP nf nnftmnrlpm thpnlngy between them

LIVLLL~ JIILII~U Ir(lLUlrLI VI ~VYCIIIVUVII· CI·-·VIV

are: naturalistic theism, human being as crown of creation, affirmation of nonsensory perception, panexperientialism, panenergism, creativity, friendly persuasion, ecology,

r, n 3c;\

p.3 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

2.2 DiJff~erences in the Use of Various Energy Temzs The first important difference between these two theologies of energies concerns the issue of authority. While Redfield refuses to submit his New Age theology of energy to any Christian authority, the author's whole orientation is to help renew or reinvigorate in some dynamic way the somewhat overly abstract and transcendent theology of grace in the Roman Catholic tradition. Theology needs to be renewed in every generation. Following the teaching of the Magisterium, the author's theology of energy is simply a theological study of the relationship between God's Uncreated Divine Energy and other energies found in creation in the full context of the Roman Catholic tradition.

While Redfield uses "divine energy" largely in the sense of Eastern Asian mysticism (cf. TCV, pp.87-88), the author uses it according to the tradition of the Eastern Orthodoxy as summed up by St. Gregory Palamas (c. 1296-1359) (cf. Cheng, 1998, pp.56-75). In fact, the idea of God's Uncreated Divine Energy as a synonymous concept of grace was already mentioned in the early Church by St. Basil (c. 330-379) (cf. Ware, 1981, p.77). Since there was no official schism between the East and West in the first millennium, this energy notion of grace may be regarded as a treasure of the universal Church, to be rediscovered still by many in the West. Pope John-Paul II states, "The Church must breathe with her two lungs!" (John-Paul II, 1995b, p.319) Concerning the difference or rather the complementarity between the East and West, the Pope reminds us of the crucial need to learn from each other as he ushers us beyond the year 2000: "May the people of the third millennium be able to enjoy this discovery .. proclaimed by brothers and sisters who love one another and thank one another for the riches which they exchange." (John-Paul II, 1995a, p.377)

Another difference between the two authors has to do with the presuppositions of their personal faith. Redfield's no-devil, no-Hell, no-mortal-sin and all-happy-ending type of Hollywood theology (cf. TCV, pp.192ff) is clearly diverse from the author's type which includes the unfortunate reality of the devil (cf. CCC, 391-395), mortal sin (cf. CCC, 1854-1864), Purgatory (cf. CCC, 1030-1032) and Hell (cf. CCC, 10331037). To the author, the devil is a real personal diabolic energy-being in the invisible spiritual world who does not cease discharging diabolic energy (cf. TEI, pp.24-28). As we are all sinful in varying degrees, we tend to release also various subhuman energies. "Some tend to discharge a much higher dose, like a prostitute, her clothes and her street, or a chronic drug abuser, his needle and his hide-out, etc." (TEI, p. 129)

Not only do we have to defend ourselves therefore from the frequent permeation of diabolic energies, we also have to guard ourselves from releasing to others and absorbing from our environment various subhuman sinful energies. Some of the best ways are: a) constant repentance and regular confessions/ "Since it is so easy for each one to sin in our cosmic Divine-angelic-diabolic-saintly-human-ma environment, we have to repent of our sins constantly. In this way, the omnipotence of His [God's] omnipresent Uncreated Energies will begin to ennoble or sanctify our energies, gradually transforming all our human energies into holy, superhuman or supernatural human energies." (TEI, p.149) b) Frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist/ "Without question, the Most Holy Eucharist is the kind of energy rich food which we should all be taking frequently. As the Catholics believe, it is Jesus Himself in His whole Soul and Body. At the same time, the Host is a Source and Giver of all the Uncreated Divine Energies. boundlessly so." (TEI, p.154) c) Praying the Holy Rosary/ Many Christians tend to underestimate this repetitive chanting. To produce abundant Energy and to break the spell of hostile energies, it needs every repetition. Just as the powerful "Charismatic tongues", if prayed slowly with our heart, the amount of Energies activated, hence protection and blessings, go beyond our imaginations." (TEI, p. 157)

Further. the author terms Hell as "a dumping site for all created energies and personal energy-beings found unwelcome to Heaven. Just as it takes a permanent dumping site to keep our room clean and cleared of any unwelcome objects, it takes Hell to keep

p. 4 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

3. Celestinization and HeQvenization Celestinization and Heavenization are two key words which may best highlight the very foci of the two authors' works. Here are some of the similarities and differences.

3.1 Similarities between Celestinization and Heavenization First, using various energy terms, both writers have worked on the ideal transformation of the world. While Redfield articulates Celestinization (a term coined by the author) which includes his celestine vision and its realization, the author outlines Heavenization which encompasses his heavenly vision and its making. Both attempt to help God not only to build a New Earth, but also a New Heaven (cf. TEI , pp. 122-123; TTI, p.212).

Second, to both, Heaven is everywhere within and around us. Since time immemorial, the whole humankind has been struggling to dissolve or diminish the veil which ceaselessly blocks our free and easy access to this omnipresent celestine or heavenly milieu. Through his works, Redfield encourages us to continue "evolving toward the day when we can reach a vibrational heaven that already exists right where we are." (Guide, p.244; cf. TCP, pp.236-246) "Our overriding purpose has been to raise our energy level to the point where we can walk into the Afterlife dimension, essentially merging the two dimensions into one... that dissolves the veil." (TCV, p.232; cf. TCP, pp.242-243) Quoting Teilhard, the author identifies Heaven as God's omnipresence or omnipresent divine milieu which consists of His Uncreated Energy, awaiting its full activation in creation: "Lord, we know and feel that you are everywhere around us; but it seems that there is a veil before our eyes. Let the light of your countenance shine upon us in its universality. May your deep brilliance light up the innermost parts of the massive obscurities in which we move. " (Chardin, 1973, p. 132)

Third, both Celestinization and Heavenization requires Energization by the Divine Energy aforementioned. Facing various crises today, every single human has an awesome responsibility to join others to help transform or Energize the world. Redfield comments: "In this connected universe of ours, we have the potential to share minds ... Discovering synchronicity, connecting with an inner divine energy, clearing repeated patterns, and breaking free to find one's own miraculous journey into the future works for every human being? regardless of the situation." (TCV, p.220, cf. 7TI, pp.227-235) At the same time, the author advocates collective ways of intensifying God's omnipresent Energies in and around us (cf. TEI, pp.163-170). He writes (TEI, p.173):

?The turning point of our crisis once again depends on how much we can see and help activate the awesome omnipresent power (or Energy) of God in our milieu. "Now to him [God] who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think." (Eph 3:20) For "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign in righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom 5:20-21)

Fourth, both authors seem to share by and large the following four steps in their Celestinization or Heavenization program: a) Being open to the fact that the universe is no longer a vast machine, but filled with energies and mysteries. b) Being aware of the omnipresence and workings of the Divine Energy; c) Learning to tap into the Divine Energy for our personal Energization, Celestinization or Heavenization; d) Reaching out to help with the Energization, Celestinization or Heavenization of the world.

Fifth, both are stressing our communion with invisible angels and saints and how they can help us with our Celestinization or Heavenization process. For example, Redfield writes: "Interestingly, we will see that the angels and other souls have always been right here, just out of sight, working tirelessly to help us achieve the level of awareness that dissolves the veil." (TCV, p.232; cf. TTI, pp.228, 234-235) Similarly, the author says: "The Holy Angels and Saints in Heaven, living as power carriers of God's Uncreated Energies and acting via their transcosmic radiations, can most effec-

p.5 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

3.2 oiffferences between Celestinization and Heavenization First, Redfield's Celestinization is a secular, do-it-yourself program. Any individual and group can do it if there is sufficient awareness and will power to hold this celestine vision. Evidently Redfield has lost his earlier confidence in the Christian God, His grace, Church, sacrament or minister to help us achieve this vision (cf. TCV, p.27; TTI, pp.191-235). However, the author's concept of Heavenization is Christian and synergetic. We need to cooperate with the Holy Trinity and Its Church, the former being very Source of all graces and the latter God's awesome channel of graces for our transformation. To Redfield, "reaching heaven on earth (raising our vibration) is the purpose of human existence and history. " (Guide, p.248; cf. TCP, 243) To the author, in accordance with God's two great commandments (cf. Mk 12:29-31), our purpose is to love God and others. As we can do so only through God's grace, we all have to tap into His grace, especially His Church as His awesome channel of grace for all. In the midst of doing so, we help divinize, Energize or Heavenize ourselves and all creation.

Second, Celestinization seems to limit itself to the transformation of merely the individuals, the society, culture and environment on this planet (cf. TCV, pp.216-232), while Heavenization, following the Catholic faith (cf. CCC, 1042-1050), extends itself to all creation (cf. TEI, pp.91-96), except for the eternally damned (cf. CCC, 1035).

Third, there is no personal God, let alone the Holy Trinity, in Celestinization. Redfield's God seems to be the impersonal omnipresent "divine energy". He seems to be approaching self-idolatry: "We are judged when we die, but seemingly we are judged not by a vengeful God, but by a divine consciousness of which we are a part. " (TCV, p.192) Tapping into the Eastern Orthodox Triadic faith, in the Heavenization process the Most Holy Trinity is "the unshakable foundation of all religious thought, of all piety, of all spiritual life, of all experience. It is the Trinity that we seek in seeking after God? when we search for the fullness of being, for the end and meaning of existence." (Lossky, 1976, p.65; TEI, p.70) Indeed, "if we reject the Trinity as the sole ground of all reality and of all thought, we are committed to a road that leads nowhere; we end in aporia, in folly, in the disintegration of our being, in spiritual death. Between the Trinity and hell there lies no other choice. " (Lossky, 1976, p.66)

Fourth, Heavenization, being faithful to the Magisterium, is worked out in the full context of the traditional Roman Catholic faith. On the other hand, Celestinization, as a no-Hell, no-devil, no-mortal-sin, everything-goes New Age theology, appears to be an outstanding product of an anti-Catholic mentality which viciously accuses the Roman Catholic Church of having fostered a guilt culture for her faithful (cf. TCV, pp. p.35; Delumeau, 1990). Besides, it espouses reincarnation (cf. TCV, pp.200-202) and universalism or apocatastasis (cf. TCV, pp.192-196). The latter heresy teaches that all humans will ultimately be saved, no matter of what they have done on earth (cf. O'Collins and Farrugia, 1991, pp.14-15). Reincarnation too has been condemned by the Church (cf. CCC, 1013), as "it is appointed for mortals to die once. " (Heb 9:27)

Fifth, Celestinization may be called familization of all "energized" humans and angels without a personal God (cf. TCV, p.232). Taking the Holy Trinity as a Family, Heavenization is Familization, the making of the Divine Heavenly Family which consists of the Divine Triadic Family and the whole Family of Energized Angels and Saints. "At the escharon, as our environment is cleared of diabolic spirits, humans and energies in Hell, a nau Heaven re-appears. It is a cosm ic Div ine- angel ic- sai ntlymaterial Family Energy nexus... Then once and for all, the Uncreated Triadic Family is All in all in all the Familized for Energized] environment." (TEI, p.96)

Finally, there is apparently little or no value in suffering in the Celestinization program. However, Christ-centered suffering has immense value in the process of Energization or Familization of God's people. "Joined with that of Christ, suffering is an indispensable element which God needs to turn our cosmically diabolicized and

p. 6 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

4. Divine Energy and Energization Both authors have delved into Divine Energy and Energization in their works. Below is a brief summary of some of their similarities and differences on this subject matter.

4. 1 Similarities on Divine Energy and EnergizQtion First, to both types of theology of energy, the very existence of the Divine Energy and subsequently the process of Divine Energization are indispensable to the celestine or heavenly transformation of the individual (cf. TCV, p.105; TE2, pp.29-30), group (cf. TCV, pp·147-154; TE2, pp.39-40), society (cf. TCV, pp.181-182; TE2, pp.138-139) and the world at large (cf. TCV, pp.64, 230-234; TE2, pp. 140-142).

Second, it appears that both authors employ their unique set of synonyms, or quote from other sources, to substantiate their understanding of the Divine Energy. For example, Redfield uses "spiritual energy" (TCV, p.105), "the divine energy within" (TCV, p.101), "inner energy" (TCV, p.102), "divine love" (Tbid.), and "higher-self energy" (TCV, p.106), "pure energy" (Guide, p.130), "total energy" (Guide, p.128), "universal energy" Obid.), "the divine" (Ibid.), "love for everything" (Guide, p.lll) and "universal energy of love" (Ibid.). At the same time, he also quotes "subtle energy", "prana", "ch'i or ki" (TCV, p.56), "the absolute energies available in the universe" (TCV, p.71), and "the omnipresence of the divine in all living things" (Guide, p.lll), etc. On the other hand, the author uses "sanctifying Energies" (TEI, p.88), "Familizing Energies of the Triadic Family" (Ibid.), God's "infinite Uncreated Energies" (TEI, p.91), "Uncreated Family Energies" (TEI, p.96), "God's omnipresent all-loving and all-powerful Uncreated Energies" (TEI, p.134), "God's Ethical Energies" (TEI, p.135", and "God's omnipresent invincible Moral Force" (Ibid.). Quoting from various sources, he also sees the following as God's Divine Energy: God's "Uncreated Light" (TE2, p.168), "divine light and grace" (TE2, p.173), "spiritual energy" (TE2, p.171) and "the glory of God" (TE2, p.173), etc.

Third, these two types of theology of energy seem to be manifesting God's awesome greatness in blessing both Christians and non-Christians alike through His omnipresent Divine Energy. Like the perennial existence of the sun, God's divine omnipresent radiance is always there to grace us, awaiting our further exploration. While Redfield is helping to build a New Age theology of grace, the author is putting together an ecumenical theology of grace, tapping and integrating both the Eastern and Western Christian traditions. As a footnote, although it may offer non-Christians and lapsed Christians, etc., a chance to know and experience God's divine omnipresence and Energy, this New Age fusion of universal truths, half-truths, Christian truths and heresies is extremely dangerous to new and weak Christians. Even the faith of mature Christians can be shaken to its rock foundations by Redfield's ingenious works.

Fourth, both types of Divine Energization offers us a certain mystical cosmology. Both reject the worldview of Issac Newton (1642-1727) who saw the universe as a vast clockwork machine, with no miracles and mysteries, without any mental and mystical influence of any sort (cf. TCV, p.48). Instead, inspired by modern high energy physics, both authors are subscribing to Einstein's universe which is filled with mysteries and the unknown, awaiting our further investigations (cf. TEI, pp.67-68).

Fifth, to attain the ideal spiritual growth both authors are inspiring us towards a fully fledged Divine Energization. On the one hand, Redfield guides us to overcome our four human control dramas (cf. TCV, pp.71-86): a) The Poor Me; b) The Aloof; c) The Interrogator; d) The Intimidator. When we become fully "energized" by the divine energy, we will not need to steal energies from others. We will begin to fulfil our destiny. On the other hand, the author encourages us to become a modern saint (cf. TEI, pp.121-173). In order to practice a) the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and b) the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude, we have to be truly strengthened or Energized by God's omniDresent sanctifying Energies.

p. 7 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

4. 2 Dtfferences on Divine Energy and Energization First, while Redfield in his writings uses all small letters for "divine energy" and "divine energization", the author in his works capitalizes the first letter of these four words, i.e., "Divine Energy" and "Divine Energization".

Second, while both eastern Asian religions (cf. TCV, pp.71,87; Guide, p.128) and Eastern Christian Orthodoxy (cf. Cheng, 1998) talk about God's Divine Energy, there is one all-important difference. The former espoused by Redfield does not distinguish between God's inaccessible being and accessible being, while the latter does in terms of God's imparticipable Essence and participable Energy. The difference is between heretical polytheism or pantheism and Christian Trinitarianism. Lossky emphatically states (Lossky, 1976, 69-70):

If we were able at a ~ven moment to be united to the very essence of God and to participate in it even in the very least degree, we should not at the moment by what we are, we should be God by nature. God would then no longer be Trinity, but 'of myriads of hypostases'; for He would have as many hypostases as there would be persons participating in His essence. God, therefore, is and remains inaccessible to us in His essence.

This is then a big mistake of the New Age. In its failure to distinguish between God's inaccessible and accessible being, God becomes all accessible to us for our participation. As a result, we become another God or another Divine Person. Thanks to this traditional distinction of the Christian East, now we can safely partake in God's omnipresent accessible divinity or Energy "from one degree of glory to another" (2Cor 3:18) without fear of falling into the New Age's I-am-God death trap.

Third, the present Catholic author who loves his Church has grave reservation over the source readings of Redfield' writings. It appears that James has been educating himself with countless non-Christian and even anti-Christian materials (cf. TCV, pp.235-242). We become what we read. Not only has he become largely a half-truth mystic but developed also an indescribably negative and even hostile attitude towards the Catholic Church. For example, he pictures the Church -- in collaboration with the Peru government -- as the suppressor of the various insights in the story found in The Celestine Prophecy (cf. TCP, p.237). Her means of suppression included killing her clergy (cf. TCP, p.33). Subconciously, Redfield tends to replace the Church's authority with his own. After calling the medieval worldview "cormpt" (TCV, p.36), he depicts the subsequent five-century preoccupation as "secular" (TCV, pp.42-43), in comparison with his celestine vision and insights. This makes us question the kind of evil spirit which is influencing his works and at the same time confusing us. St, Augustine said, "A person possesses the Holy Spirit to the measure of his love for Christ's Church." (Abbott, 1966, p.446) No wonder his works on divine energy and energization is filled with various universal truths and half-truths, including even Christian heresies and truths. There are also no notions on Hell and Purgatory. In a 1995 lecture, the author has the following concepts succinctly summed up in terms of Divine Energization:

1) Heaven is when and where God's Uncreated Divine Energy in and around us becomes infinitely and eternally activated. It can explain why God and all the Holy Angels and Saints can travel anywhere in the universe and yet are still in Heaven.

2) Hell is when and where God's Uncreated Divine Energy in and around us becomes infinitely and eternally inactivated. It can explain the situation with the devils that they simply carry Hell with them anywhere they go.

3) Earth is when and where God's Uncreated Divine Energy in and around us is in the process of either becoming infinitely and eternally activated, or infinitely inactivated. It can explain the immensely precarious situation on earth, as well as the awesome importance of humbly following Christ the Ruler of all and His Church here.

4) Purgatory is when and where God's Uncreated Divine Energy is in the process of becoming infinitely and eternally activated. It can explain why it is possible for us to

p. 8 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

5. The Ten Insights and Their Presuppositions How do we get there? According to Redfield and Adrienne, to accomplish the celestine vision of divine energization of the world we must live all the insights as various stages towards its realization (cf. Guide, p.244). With some reservations, the author can accept these insights summed up strategically below by Redfield as some great universal truths. What is unacceptable is the anti-Christian presuppositions underlying them. Let us first quote these ten insights word for word from Redfield's website (accessed on October 15, 1998 from http://www. celestinevision. com/in_body.html), before we deal with their anti-Christian presuppositions. A similar approach by the author is also stated briefly in square brackets along with each insight.

5. 1 Similarities on the Ten Insights

1. A Critical Mass/ A new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture, an awakening brought about by a critical mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual unfolding, a journey in which we are led forward by mysterious coincidences. [In some similar way, the author has dealt with this stage in TEI, pp.l-48, which concerns our new awareness of different energies in our environment. Redfield's description of mysterious coincidences can enhance our understanding of the workings of the Holy Spirit. It also challenges us to develop our underdeveloped Pneumatology.]

2. The Longer Now/ This awakening represents the creation of a new, more complete world view, which replaces a five-hundred-year-old preoccupation with secular survival and comfort. While this technological preoccupation was an important step, our awakening to life's coincidences is opening us up to the real purpose of human life on this planet, and the real nature of the universe. [Redfield's intention of seeking the truth here concerning the real purpose of human life and the real nature of the universe is noble. The author has the similar intention in TEI, pp.69-96, which is solidly built on salvation history in terms of the Holy Trinity ad intra and ad extra. "

3. A Matter Of Energy/ We now experience that we live not in a material universe, but in a universe of dynamic energy. Everything extant is a field of sacred energy that we can sense and intuit. Moreover, we humans can project our energy by focusing our attention in the desired direction...where attention goes, energy flows...influencing other energy systems and increasing the pace of coincidences in our lives. [A similar effort by the author can be found in TEI, pp.l-68, in which he seeks to convey the universal fact that everything, including the human being, is energy or energy being radiating unceasingly some type of energy to others.]

4. The Struggle For Power/ Too often humans cut themselves off from the greater source of this energy and so feel weak and insecure. To gain energy we tend to manipulate to force others to give us attention and thus energy. When we successfully dominate others in this way, we feel more powerful, but they are left weakened and often fight back. Competition for scarce, human energy is the cause of all conflict between people. [The author sees this problem in terms of the depletion of saintly energy. It can be dealt with at its root by the vast intensification of God's Divine Energy through our daily practice of the three theological virtues and four cardinal virtues as mentioned (cf. TEI, pp.121-173). Apparently, Redfield's psychological approach can deepen and widen the author's theological method.]

5. The Message Of The Mystics/ Insecurity and violence end when we experience an inner connection with divine energy within, a connection described by mystics of all traditions. A sense of lightness - buoyancy - along with the constant sensation of love are measures of this connection. If these measures are present, the connection is real. If not, it is only pretended. [While Redfield quotes messages of the mystics from all traditions, the author mainly deals with the Christian mystics and taps into the traditional collective wisdom of the Church. While Redfield does not seem to distinguish true

p. 9 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

6. Clearing The Past. The more we stay connected, the more we are acutely aware of those times when we lose connection, usually when we are under stress. In these times, we can see our own particular way of stealing energy from others. Once our manipulations are brought to personal awareness, our connection becomes more constant and we can discover our own growth path in life, and our spiritual mission - the personal way we can contribute to the world. [Both authors encourage us to do a thorough examination of our past relationships. Through knowing better how we were connected with the divine energy in the past, we can do it much better in the present and future. While Redflleld approaches forgiveness of others somewhat as an anonymous Christian, the author does it as a practicing Roman Catholic.]

7. Engaging The Flow/ Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies. First we have a question; then dreams, daydreams, and intuitions lead us toward the answers, which usually are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being. [The author believes that, in varying degrees, all are called to help divinize, Energize or Heavenize the world by becoming a true carrier and radiator of Divine Energy (TE2, pp.136-174). To listen to God better, a carrier of grace, for example, needs to enter constantly into the sacred quietude of God (cf. TE2, pp.143-144).]

8. The Inten>ersonal Ethic/ We can increase the frequency of guiding coincidences by uplifting every person that comes into our lives. Care must be taken not to lose our inner connection to romantic relationships. Uplifting others is especially effective in groups where each member can feel energy of all the others. With children it is extremely important for their early security and growth. By seeing the beauty in every face, we lift others into their wisest self, and increase the chances of hearing a synchronistic message. [While Redfield is dealing with interpersonal ethic in a secular humanistic manner, the author is handing it in a Christ-centered fashion. "As we are all sinners, we must love all people, but hate all sinful energies." (TEI, p. 141) In TEI, the fifth chapter (Ibid., pp. 121-170) is dedicated to an ethics for our environment.]

9. The Emerging Culture/ As we all evolve toward the best completion of our spiritual missions, the technological means of survival will be fully automated as human focus instead on synchronistic growth. Such growth will move humans into higher energy states, ultimately transforming our bodies into spiritual form and uniting this dimension of existence with the after-life dimension, ending the cycle of birth and death. [While the author has not delved specifically into the cultural transformation of the world, he has hinted at it in various indirect ways. For example, he says (TE2, p.174):

In varying degrees, all the followers of Christ, whether in Heaven or on earth, belong to the same Mystical Body of Christ in heavenly communion, love and fellowship. Once we begin to live the lifestyle of a living flame, we become vibrantly joined to the whole Family of Holy Angels and Saints in Heaven, living unceasingly in the gracious presence of the Most Holy Trinity who reaches out to the whole creation through Its omnipresent Divine Ener_gy.

10. Holding The Vision/ The Tenth Insight is the realization that throughout history human beings have been unconsciously struggling to implement this lived spirituality on Earth. Each of us comes here on assignment, and as we pull this understanding into consciousness, we can remember a fuller birth vision of what we wanted to accomplish with our lives. Further we can remember a common world vision of how we will all work together to create a new spiritual culture. We know that our challenge is to hold this vision with intention and prayer every day. [Tne author believes also that both Christians and non-Christians have been called by God to help celestinize or Heavenize the world. It is particular true today: "God is surely calling each of us living on this planet today to become a true carrier and radiator of Divine Energy. Shall we squander this glorious calling and destiny?" (TE2, p.174) We must hold this heavenly vision then

p. IO Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

5. 2 Di~erent Presuppositions While the Roman Catholic faith of the author can endorse Redfield's ten celestine insights summed up above largely as universal truths, it cannot tolerate many of their presuppositions which are either anti-Christian heresies or half-truths. Here is a list of them which briefly distinguish the fundamental differences between the two authors. The summary points below may include various items mentioned before:

1) While Redfield's theology of energy negates the existence of the Tripersonal God of the Christian faith, the author's, as inspired by the Eastern Orthodox tradition, would collapse without the Most Holy Trinity as its Alpha, continuation and Omega on the one hand, and as the eternal, omnipresent Source of Divine Energy on the other,

2) Redfield's definition of prayer is utilitarian and human-glorifying, using God to realize his celestine vision: "True prayer is the method, the visualization... Every thought, every expectation -- all of what we visualize happening in the future -- is a prayer." (TTI, p.223). On the other hand, the author is striving for a God-praising, God-serving and God-centered approach to prayer in his heavenly vision of the divinization, Energization or Heavenization of the world (cf. TEI , pp. 147-170).

3) Apparently, all mystical energies mentioned by Redfield are harmless. On the other hand, the author warns us against the untold harmful effects of the diabolic energies and subhuman sinful energies, cautioning us to avoid sins and practice virtues.

4) Redfield is proposing a Pelagian do-it-yourself salvation and natural mysticism. We will be saved if we follow the mysterious influence of the divine, i.e., meaningful coincidences that seem to be sending us messages and leading us towards a particular direction. He does not discern positive coincidences from the negative ones.

On the other hand, the author is promoting our unceasing synergetic cooperation with the Divine Energy of the Most Holy Trinity. In his supernatural-natural mysticism, our daily coincidences can be caused by one or more of the following at the same time: a) by God through His Divine Energy, b) by Holy Angels through their angelic energies, c) by Saints through their saintly energies, d) by human beings through their human energies, e) by evil spirits through their diabolic energies, or f) by physical energies in the our environment. With God and His grace dwelling in us, we Christians should practice then the gift of discernment over our everyday coincidences.

5) Redfield ignores, despises and distrusts the teaching of the Magisterium. He seems to be encouraging us to break free from her authority and influence in varying degrees of disobedience. On the other hand, the author is doing just the opposite.

6) While Redfield is publicizing a theology which denies the real existence of Hell, devils and mortal sins, the author is advocating a theology which acknowledges their real existence and alerting us of their devastating side which the Magisterium has been teaching for centuries.

7) Further, Redfield does not believe in the existence of the original sin and Purgatory, as well as the great redemptive necessity of doing penance and uniting our suffering with that of Christ. The author, however, believes the exact opposite.

8) Redfield makes no difference between true and false mysticism. At the same time, he proclaims human reincarnation and past life. The author, on the other hand, abhors such full-blown Christian heresies.

9) Redfield pays no attention to Our Heavenly Mother, nor the traditional Catholic Saints and their mysticism as a whole. He also wants nothing to do with the priests, Sacraments and sacramentals of the Church. On the other hand, the author

p.ll Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

10) In his celestine world vision, Redfield espouses a universalism which teaches that everyone will ultimately be saved without seeking for God's divine mercy and forgiveness. He is on fire to build a man-centred religion to champion a celestine energization of the world. To advance the Divine Energization and Heavenization of all creation in his heavenly world, the author is promoting God's infinite grace, mercy and forgiveness for us, as well as the traditional Roman Catholic faith for all.

6. Conclusion Redfield's works are clearly a mixture of universal truths, Christian heresies and halftruths, including even Christian truths. For example, while he denies the divinity of Christ throughout his works, he nevertheless pronounces Him as a sage: "Jesus declared that the kingdom of God was not outside of us somewhere, but within. " (TCV, p.211) Redfield also talks about "the importance of tithing" (TCV, pp.174-176), as well as other hot topics of the modern Church, such as "overcoming poverty and world hunger" (TCV, pp.219-220), "preventing crime" (TCV, pp.221-222), "protecting the environment" (TCV, pp.222-224), "saving the forests" (TCV, pp.224-225), "warfare and terrorism" (TCV, pp.225-226), etc. Examined from the Roman Catholic position, such a combination can be extremely confusing and deceptive. Simultaneously, it can be either an inspiration or a curse to our Christian faith. Although one may learn something from his works, one may have his or her faith immeasurably endangered and shaken to its very foundation by the countless non-Christian and anti-Christian presuppositions hidden throughout all his writings. It is highly recommended therefore that Redfield's works not to be read by Christians whose faith is weak and whose prayer life is next to nothing. To do so is like having innocent children fatally walk through a vast mine field.

On the other hand, for those Christians who insist on reading Redfield's works, it is hoped that they would do so with some guidance. This paper has shown that his writings do not necessary contradict all the Catholic traditions (cf. TCP. p.170). If we read Redfield's works with extraordinary caution, we may certainly learn something. It is the author's hope then that the present paper might offer some direction to Christians who are confused by Redfield's secular theology of energy. In this essay as well as his other writings, the author seeks only to reaffirm the teaching of the Magisterium via various energy terms. His efforts are in accord with what Pope John-Paul II says in his recent encyclical letter entitled Faith andReason: "For by its very nature, theology is sustained in the search for truth by its ecclesial context and by the tradition of the People of God, with its haromny of many different fields of learning and culture within the unity of faith." (John-Paul II, 1998, para. 101).

As everything in and around us is increasingly being understood as energy or some type of energy, it is important that we, following the teaching of the Magisterium, begin addressing our Christian faith in energy terms in this energy era. Otherwise, non-believers such as Redfield and Adrienne, etc., would begin doing it for us in a total chaos.

* * * * ye * *

p. 12 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

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Catechism of the Catholic Church. 1994. Ottawa: Publications Service, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Chardin, Teilhard de. 19'13 [1957]. Le Milieu Divin: An Essay on the Interior Life.

London: William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd.

Cheng, John. 1993. Energy and Environment: The Spiritual-Human Material Nexus: A Handbook of Theology of Energy, Vol. I. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin

Mellen Press.

__________ 1995. Carriers and Radiators of Divine Energy: A Handbook of Theology of Energy, Vo1.2. Toronto: Theology of Energy Research Education.

1998. The Disctinction between God's Essence and Energy: Gregory Palamas' Idea of Ultimate Reality and Meaning. Ultimate Reality and Meaning, Vo1.21, No. i, 56-73.

Delumeau, Jean. 1990. Sin and Fear: The Emergence ofa Western Guilt Culture, 13th18th Centuries. Trans. Eric Nicholson. New York: St. Martin's Press. Griffin, David Ray; Beardslee, William A.; and Holland, Joe. (eds.) 1989. Varieties of Postmodern Theology. New York: State University of New York Press. John-Paul II, Pope. 1995a. "Orientale Lumen: The Light of the East", Apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II (May 2, 1995). The Pope Speaks, Vo1.40, 357-379. __________ 1995b. "Ut Unum Sint: That All May Be One". The Pope Speaks, Vo1.40, 295-343.

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Lossky, Vlad~mir. The ,Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.

O'Collins, Gerald, S.J.: Farrugia, Edward G., S.J. 1991. A Concise Dictionary of Theology. New York and Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press. Redfield, James. 1994. The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure. New York, NY:

Warner Books.

--------------- 1995. The Celestine Prophecy: An Exper'ential Guide. New York, NY:

Warner Books.

--------------- 1996. The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision. New York, NY: Warner Books .

--------------- 1997. The Celestine Vision: Living the New Spiritual Awareness. New York, NY: Warner Books, 1997.

--------------- 1998. Internet Website://www. celestinevision. com/in_body.html [accessed on October 15, 1998.] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989. Iowa Falls, Iowa: World Bible Publishers, Inc.

Ware, Timothy. 1981. The Orthodox Church. New York, New York: Penguins Books.

p. 12 Christian Faith Encounters The Celestine Vision

John Cheng

Bibliography=

Abbott, Waiter M. 1966. The Documents of Vatican II. New York: Guild Press. Aumann, Jordan. 1980. Spiritual Theology. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.

Catechism of the Catholic Church. 1994. Ottawa: Publications Service, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Chardin, Teilhard de. 1973 [1957]. Le Milieu Divin: An Essay on the Interior Life.

London: William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd.

Cheng, John. 1993. Energy and Environment: The Spiritual-Human Material Nexus: A Handbook of Theology of Energy, Vol. I. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press.

__________ 1995. Carriers and Radiators of Divine Energy: A Handbook of Theology of Energy, Vol. 2. Toronto: Theology of Energy Research Education. ---- 1998. The Disctinction between God's Essence and Energy: Gregory Palamas' Idea of Ultimate Reality and Meaning. Ultimate Reality and Meaning, Vo1.21, No.l, 56-73.

Delumeau, Jean. 1990. Sin and Fear: The Emergence ofa Western Guilt Culture, I3th18th Centuries. Trans. Eric Nicholson. New York: St. Martin's Press. Griffin, David Ray; Beardslee, William A.; and Holland, Joe. (eds.) 1989. Van'eties of Postmodern Theology. New York: State University of New York Press. John-Paul II, Pope. 1995a. "Orientale Lumen: The Light of the East", Apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II (May 2, 1995). The Pope Speaks, Vo1.40, 357-379. __________ 1995b. "Ut Unum Sint: That All May Be One". The Pope Speaks, Vo1.40, 295-343.

1998. "Fides et Ratio: Faith and Reason", Encyclical Letter of John Paul II on the Relationship between Faith and Reason. Accessed on October 28, 1998 from http://www.vatican. va/holy_fath/johnga. ..p-ii_enc_15101998 fideset-ratio en.shtml.

Lossky, Vladfmir. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.

O'Collins, Gerald, S.J.; Farrugia, Edward G., S.J. 1991. A Concise Dictionary of Theology. New York and Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press. Redfield, James. 1994. The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure. New York, NY:

Warner Books.

--------------- 1995. The Celestine Prophecy: An Ejcperiential Guide. New York, NY:

Warner Books.

--------------- 1996. The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision. New York, NY: Warner Books.

--------------- 1997. The Celestine Vision: Living the New Spiritual Awareness. New York, NY: Warner Books, 1997.

--------------- 1998. Internet Website://www. celestinevision. com/in body.html [accessed on October 15, 1998.] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989. Iowa Falls, Iowa: World Bible Publishers, Inc.

Ware, Timothy. 1981. The Orthodox Church. New York, New York: Penguins Books.

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