MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA. TREATISE II. 11. QUALITIES OP THE DIVINE SONSHIP.
St. Bridget of Sweden, Widow
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA.
11. QUALITIES OP THE DIVINE SONSHIP.
I. The Sonship of the Second Person, although true and real, differs in some important respects from that which is in Nature, and must not be judged of according to this last. In Nature, the father exists before the son. In God that is not the case, but Father and Son are equally eternal. So the Eternal Son speaks under the name of Wisdom in the Old Testament : " I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived . . . before the hills I was brought forth " (Prov. viii. 23, 25). In nature, a being may exist and is perfect without offspring. In God the production of the Eternal Son is not a voluntary circumstance, but is the necessary mode of God s existence ; it is the essential activity of the divine intellect. So the Father did not exist before the Son ; He did not generate the Son at a definite epoch which is now past. The generation of the Son is outside the limits of time : it has no past, present, future ; it is the actual activity of God. So the Father can always say : " Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee " (Ps. ii. 7). The divine generation is co-extensive with the divine life ; just as a man is reflected in a mirror the very instant he places himself before it ; just as the force of attraction comes into effect between masses of matter simultaneously with their existence, without delay and without deliberation. Adore Our Lord Jesus Christ for this wonderful prerogative of His, when you contemplate Him in the arms of His Blessed Mother or dying on the cross. He existed in time, yet " His going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity " (Mich. v. 2).
II. In nature, the offspring is inferior to, and dependent on the parent, and owes a duty of submission. This is not the case in the Blessed Trinity. The Son is, and always has been, equal to the Father in all things. The Father possesses not a particle more of the Divinity and its perfections than the Son ; for the Father begets the Son with all the fulness of His infinite activity, and communicates to Him the Divine Essence in its completeness. The Son is as necessary in the Divinity as the Father ; the one can not be Father without the existence of the other to constitute the relationship. There is necessarily the consciousness of infinite activity, and the consciousness of reflex activity ; and this action and reaction are equal. St. Paul speaks of this dignity : " Christ Jesus, being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal to God " (Phil. ii. 6) ; and straightway he speaks of Our Lord as humbled to the death of the cross. Hence learn that real dignity must be associated with humility.
III. The Sonship of the Second Person is the model of our sonship to the Eternal Father. He is Son by communication of the Divine Essence ; we are sons by adoption and the communication of the divine life of grace. God " has given us very great and precious promises ; that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature " (2 Pet. i. 4). He communicates Himself to us, as the Divine Essence to the Son. We too, being born of God by grace, abide in Him, as the Son proceeds from the Father and abides in Him. As the Divine Son is eternally proceeding from the Father, so we are continually receiving a new access of life from Him. All that the Father has is given to the Son, so we too shall inherit a certain fulness of glory and beatitude in His kingdom. What wonderful privileges belong to you as member of Christ's body through His Church! But everything that is worth having costs something even when it comes to us from God. Is it not worthwhile to pay any price in the way of mortifying your passions, suffering persecutions and working hard for such privileges ?
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D