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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Friday, 28 May 2010

THE HOLY TRINITY



Trinity Ikon Meditation - Sr Jane Louise SSM from Fr Simon Rundell on Vimeo.

1)   It is accepted in Catholic Tradition that all God's activity in his creation, what is called his activity ad extra, is a single activity common to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   Where the Father acts, the Son and the Spirit act too; and where the Son acts, the Father and the Spirit act as well; and where the Spirit acts, the Father and the Son are also involved in the same action; because all three Persons have the same will and the same action (energia) springing from the same free decision of that will.   It is also clear that in the Incarnation and in the whole Christian Mystery, the Person's relationships in the divine act of salvation differ from one another in a way that reflects the internal relationships they have within the Trinity.   If this were not so, the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity would be reduced to an interesting fact about God, revealed for its own sake, and with little relevance to salvation beyond the fact that one of the Persons became man.   Any exposition of the Christian Mystery must begin and end with the Blessed Trinity because Christian revelation is essentially trinitarian in structure.   When this is forgotten, Father, Son and Holy Spirit become either different names for the same Reality, or they become three separate people, and each can be invoked without any reference to the other two.

Within the Blessed Trinity, the Father is the Source of the Son and the Holy Spirit.   The Son is eternally generated  from the Father by the Holy Spirit; or, the Holy Spirit is the Father's Breath by which the Word is uttered.   The Spirit is also the love of the Father for the Sonand the love of the Son for the Father.   As the mutual love of the Father and the Son for each other, this is the sense of the famous filioque clause in the Creed, "We believe in the Holy Spirit ...who proceeds from the Father and the Son:"   But, according to St Thomas Aquinas, there is a sense in which he proceeds from the Father alone: while the Son can be said to receive from the Father the power to "breath" the Holy Spirit, the Father does not receive that power from the Son.   The Son is the Image of the Father who receives from him all that he is, and he does what his Father does; but the Father is not Image of the Son.   Instead, through the power of the Spirit who is in Both, the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father.   St Gregory Palamas, who is an important witness to the Eastern Tradition, wrote,

The Spirit of the Word from on high is like a mysterious love of the Father towards the Word mysteriously begotten; it is the same love that is possessed by the Word and the well-beloved Son of the Fathertowrds him that begat him; this he does insofar as he comes from the Father conjointly with this love, and this love rests naturally on him.

This is echoed by Sergius Bulgakov:
The Holy Spirit "proceeds" from the Father to the Son as the hypostatic love of the Father, which "abides" in the Son, fulfilling his actuality and possession by the Father.   In turn, the Holy Spirit passes "through" the Son, returning, as it were, to the Father in a mysterious cycle, as the answering hypostatic love .   In this way, the Holy Spirit achieves his own fulfillment as the Hypostasis of Love.

2)   Without this action of the Spirit, the Incarnation could not have taken place because it is that which enables his human nature to be that of the Word who "enlightens everyone coming into the world (John 1, 9).   It was necessary so that while he remained a historical figure. his human activity could burst the bonds of time and place and embrace the whole of humankind in a love that is both truly divine and truly human.   As a consequence, the Blessed Virgin Mary is Mother of all the living (Gen. 3, 20) because she is the mother of him who embraces in himself the whole human race.   This role requires from her a love for the whole of human kind which she gradually acquired by her intimate relationship with Christ during his life on earth  and, most especially by her participation in his crucifixion (John 10, 26).

Without the Spirit, Jesus could not have borne our sinsand hence could not have saved us.   Because of his Spirit-given solidarity with the whole human race, he suffered the full effects of our separation from his Father: "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me.""   He became sin for us(2 Cor. 5, 21) so that his mental suffering must have far outstripped his physical pain.    However, his obedience unto death, his love that cost him the last drop of his blood, his unswerving fidelity to his Father in spite of everything, reflected the divine love he has for his Father as a response to the Father's love for him by which he is eternally the Son; and his Spirit-given solidarity with the human race ensures that the Father's love for him spills out on to us, taking the form of pardon for sin, adoption as sons and daughters, and our sanctification by sharing in his divine life.   Without Jesus, the Father could not have a proper relationship with human beings, but through Jesus Christ, we truly become his sons and daughters and he truly becomes our Father.

3)   We could us any of the prayers in the New Rite, but we shall use Eucharist Prayer III.   Just as the Mass begins, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," and ends with the Trinitarian blessing, sothe Eucharistic Prayer begins with two mentions of the Trinity and ends with the Trinitarian doxology.   This is what scholars call an inclusion, and it means that the whole prayer and even the whole celebration are all about the Holy Trinity.

The prayer opens with the statement thatconnects the Mass with everything else: everything that exists rightly praises the Father because all life, all holinesscomes from him through Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit.   The Father is the Source of both the Son and the Holy Spirit and is the Source of all blessings in his creation.   He generates the Son by the breath of the Holy Spirit, so that Father and Son are one in the same Spirit....

The Father in this Eucharistic Prayer is portrayed as the Source of all life and holiness, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit; and he is the Goal to which we all are moving, as  the Holy Spirit scoops us up in the doxology and brings us through the Son into the Father's Presence.   We thus participate in that flow of love between Father and Son , sharing in their communion by sharing in the Spirit.   Another name for all this is "salvation"; and this is what we thankfully celebrate in the Mass.
(texts taken from "Heaven Revealed - The Holy Spirit and the Mass" by David Bird OSB, Gracewing, UK)

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