Wednesday, August 07, 2013

August 7 - An Unofficial Feast Day: God the Father of All Mankind

I don't get it.

I seriously don't understand the private revelations to Mother Eugenia in the 1930's.  I know a bit about the messages, requesting a sort of separate devotion to the Father, as well as the promotion of a special feast day, liturgically established to honor God the Father, including a special mass and office.  There is also an image to be venerated, special prayers, a chaplet, and a white scapular.  It's all there.  The messages, attributed to God the Father, explain why we need the devotion in our times.  A few good priests have joined in the movement in order to explain the 'urgency' of the need in our times.  Matthew Kelly has also been associated with the devotion - perhaps because when he first started out - he too claimed locutions from God the Father.  (However, I do not know if Kelly has involved himself in the M. Eugenia 'cult', or rather some have used his earlier locutions to their advantage.  It is my understanding that Kelly now keeps his private meditations private.)

Why I don't get it?

Because Christianity is all about devotion to the Father.  The Son's obedience to the Father - the Son's love of the Father - and the Father's love of the Son.  We just observed one of the greatest feasts commemorating the theophany on Mt. Tabor, the Transfiguration.  God the Father reveals Himself in the Son.  Jesus told Philip, "He who sees me sees the Father."
"He who sees me sees the Father." The New Testament is completely marked by the light of this Gospel truth. The Son is the reflection of the Father's glory, he is "the very stamp of his nature" (Heb 1:3). He is the "image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15). He is the epiphany of God. When he became man, taking on "the form of a servant" and "becoming obedient unto death" (cf. Phil 2:7-8), at the same time he became for all those who accepted his teaching "the way", "the way to the Father", whereby he is "the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6). - JPII July 8, 1987
"One Word the Father spoke..." - John of the Cross

Of course God can do whatever He wills and how He wills, but I'm stuck in the Scriptures, in the teachings of the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church, I'm stuck in the Liturgy.  Everything in the liturgy is addressed to the Father, it is the prayer of Christ to the Father.  The Mass, the Eucharist is the ultimate sacrifice, oblation, worship offered to the father.  We hear the words, the liturgical prayers addressed specifically to the Father every Sunday, every day, at Mass.  How?  Why is there need for a special feast day, a special Mass? 

"No one 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." (Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22)

It is the Son who reveals the Father.  He has shown us the Father, and continues to reveal the Father.  However, in the private revelations to M. Eugenia Ravasio, the Father supposedly told her: "My hour has come, I must be known, loved and honored by men."  Yet how does that fit with the 'consumatum est' of the Son:  "I have accomplished the work which you gave me to do"?  (cf. Jn 17:4)   Has Christ, the Church, the Liturgy failed to reveal the Father?  Has the prayer Christ taught us no meaning?  When we say, "Our Father" to whom are we speaking?

You see my difficulty?

Everything in the Church, in the Gospels, in the Liturgy points to God the Father - all of creation tends toward the Father.  The Popes have consistently directed the faithful to God the Father - likewise, as I mentioned, the Liturgy of the Church, the prayer of the Church is directed to the Father.  On the occasion of the Baptism of the Lord, Pope Benedict reminded us:
[B]efore God we are all children. God is at the root of every created being’s life and is the Father of every human person in a special way: he has a unique and personal relationship with every human being. Each one of us is wanted and loved by God. And also in this relationship with God, we can be “reborn”, so to speak, in other words become what we are. This happens through faith, through a profound and personal “yes” to God as the origin and foundation of our existence. With this “yes” I receive life as a gift of the Father who is in Heaven, a Parent whom I do not see but in whom I believe and whom, in the depths of my heart, I feel is my Father and the Father of all my brethren in humanity, an immensely good and faithful Father.
On what is this faith in God the Father based? It is based on Jesus Christ: he himself and his history reveal the Father to us, enable us to know him as much is possible in this world. Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, makes it possible to be “born from above”, that is, from God, who is Love (cf. Jn 3:3). - Angelus 8 January 2012

Yet even the Papal Preacher, Fr. Cantalamessa  is used to promote the establishment of a 'new' feast, honoring God the Father of All Mankind, based upon the private revelations of M. Eugenia. 
“It’s sad that in the whole liturgical year there isn’t a feast dedicated to the Father, that in the whole Missal there isn’t even a votive Mass in His honor. Come to think of it, it’s very strange; there are many feasts dedicated to Jesus the Son; there is a feast of the Holy Spirit; there are many feasts dedicated to Mary… There isn’t a single feast dedicated to the Father, “source and origin of all divinity.” We could almost say that the Father, and no longer the Holy Spirit, is “the unknown divinity.” - Cantalamessa, Life in the Lordship of Christ, 1990
Fr. Cantalamessa goes on to suggest there would be ecumenical benefits to the establishment of a 'universal' feast.  Perhaps.

I have to wonder why the proclamation of the Gospel isn't enough?  Why the Liturgy of the Church isn't enough?  It seems to me the world would not need such novelties if the Church taught the Credo* in all of its fullness, if the Liturgy was restored to its proper centrality and dignity.

The "movement" seems to be picking up followers, as well as new locutionists.  One author even quoted Richard Rohr, "Fatherlessness is described by Father Richard Rohr as the 'most universal wound on this earth.'"

(I have no doubt about that, but I wouldn't quote Rohr to promote it.)

Anyway.  I don't get it.  The Father is already honored, adored and glorified in every action of the Church.

*CCC 198 Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last,1 the beginning and the end of everything. The Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works.


  1. Can't hurt. Might help. I'm all for whatever helps someone to know the love of The Father.

  2. In the Credo we pray, "I believe in GOD the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. The very essence of Christianity as I understand it is addressing GOD the FATHER in and through The Son and the Holy Ghost.

    I firmly believe that the crisis in Fatherhood stems from not aknowledging GOD the Father.

    I wouldn't use Richard Rohr to support anything.

  3. What I don't get is the private revelation details and novelty.

  4. The Matthew Kelly cult smells fishy to me. Am I the only one who feels this way?

    1. I read his stuff - not the private revelations - but the stuff some dioceses promote - and it seems very good. I don't know much else however - he has an apostolate obviously, but I'm not a 'disciple' in any sense of the word.

  5. How does one discern between a true private revelation and the over-active imagination of the pious?

    This breaks it down, but take it with a grain of Pink Himalayan Salt (Medjugorje is true? Really?)

  6. The "nuns" won't be too happy.

  7. Conspiracy popes and private revelations. You cover it all! The beauty of Catholicism is that we can ignore private revelations.

    Unless you want to start a cult and follow mine?


  8. I thought every Sunday was God the Father's Feast day.

  9. We have two days for the Cross, Good Friday and Exaltation. Priests say Mass everyday but we still have two days for the Eucharist, Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi. John the Baptist has two feats. I could go on but the point is our culture is in desperate need to know God as Father. It sounds like a good idea to me.

    1. After due consideration, it sounds like a good idea to me too.

  10. Mother Eugenia's experiences are not related to a white scapular, nor to Matthew Kelly, etc. They were the object of a long theological study and one of the examiners - later a prominent French archbishop - wrote a very important study of God the Father which became a much-translated spiritual classic.

    Calls for a feast to honour "the Fatherliness of God," not the First Person in Se, have been proposed for many centuries. There is no overwhelming theological impossibility in the Church instituting such a Mass or commemoration. Several 20th Century theologians have been very favourable.

    Mother Eugenia's Sisters are very orthodox and obedient religious women. They recently asked that the current accounts of the messages (not the spirituality) be removed from websites pending a new study of their Foundress's experiences. Several Italian sites have been publishing very exaggerated accounts that contain information that the Sister had never stated.

    The image of God the Father that is circulated with these messages, by the way, is not "original" or "miraculous." It is simply a sketch one of the Sisters made in the 1980s as a gift for the Foundress.

    In summary, at this point it is impossible to make a final judgment on Mother Eugenia's experiences, since much documentary evidence still has to be assembled. The basics are very good, the fruits are positive and the attitude of the Sisters "one-with-the-Church." Given the situation with many other currently reported "messages," I think that this is very exceptional indeed.

    1. Thanks very much for that clarification - I think my problem understanding the 'movement' has more to do with how it has been propagated or promoted.

      Thanks for straightening that out.

  11. I think your critiques are very apt, Terry.

    There are some strange things out there. It's even more far-fetched than the Co-Mediatrix thing to me, which I know many good people support, but I can't read from the Old Testament and take either of these innovations seriously.


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