MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA. TREATISE II. 12. THE THIRD PERSON.
St. Dionysius, Bp & Comp., Mm
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA.
12. THE THIRD PERSON.
I. In a spiritual being the fundamental fact is its existence, and from this proceeds a double activity, inseparable from the being but different from it. The first activity is the intellect, which exercises itself on objects as being true, and its exercise is knowledge, reason, wisdom. The next is the will, which exercises itself in love, or a propension towards objects as being good. These are two distinct operations, and are essential to completeness and to one another. The intelligence is the basis ; the propension of the will proceeds from this, and constitutes its efficacy. The intelligence brings the object, in a manner, into itself by conceiving its image : love is a going forth and bestowal of self upon the object. Here we have plurality of operations in the unity of one being ; they cannot be separated from it or from one another ; and they embrace the whole activity of a spiritual being. These faculties represent two great classes of duties in man, the knowledge and love of God, the service of mind and heart. Exercise them both on the only object that can elicit and satisfy all their activity, i.e., on God.
II. These spiritual faculties and actions exist in God and correspond to ours, but they are infinite. The action of the divine will is in several respects similar to the action of the intellect which produces the Second Person, or the Word. 1. It is not transient or arbitrary, but is a necessity of the divine nature and is eternal ; it never begins, it never took place, it is always in progress. 2. As it is an action in God, and as there is nothing in God that is not God, so this action or love is God. Otherwise, it is God acting in that way, for God is pure activity. 3. As the Divine Essence with the relations engendered in it by the action of the intellect is Father and Son, so the Divine Essence with the relations engendered in it by the action of the will is the Holy Ghost. 4. As it is with the action of the intellect producing the Son, so with the action of the will there must be two terms, that from which it proceeds and that towards which it moves. The Father and Son jointly are the term producing, the Holy Ghost is the term produced. 5. Like the intellect, the will of God has an infinite activity; it communicates the totality of the Divine Essence ; and this so perfectly as to produce a conscious personality which is God. 6. As the Son is the fulness of the divine intelligence and the object produced by its action, so the Holy Ghost is the fulness of the divine love of Father and Son, produced by the action of Their reciprocal love. This completes the interior action of the Godhead ; nothing more remains to be done, no other Person to be produced. There can be no more than the personified thought equal to the Godhead, and the personified love equal to the Godhead. Take care that the action of your will corresponds with your intelligence. You know God well. Do you love Him as well ? Is your life as divine as your faith ?
III. This mysterious productive action has no exact counterpart in creation. While the procession of the Second Person bears the specific name of Generation and its terms are Father and Son, we have to use the generic term Procession for the production of the Third Person, and the general term Holy Spirit for Him. The word Spiration is also used. There is an analogy between the eternal and temporal processions of the Divine Persons. The Son of God was born on earth and became the Son of the Holy Virgin ; and He communicated the Holy Ghost by spiration or breathing on the Apostles, and sent Him on the day of Pentecost in the form of a mighty wind (spiritus) as well as of fiery tongues. The Apostle assures you that you are the temple of the Holy Ghost. How great are the privileges and honours heaped upon those who have submitted to the obedience of faith, who strive to live the life of God, and make use of the Holy Sacraments!
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D