MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA.TREATISE II. 19. THE DIVINE PERSONS AS GIVEN TO US.
St. Peter of Alcantara, C
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA.
TREATISE II. 19.
THE DIVINE PERSONS AS GIVEN TO US.
I. The greatest wonder in the Divine temporal missions is that, not merely the grace and aid of God, but the Blessed Persons Themselves are given to us for our elevation and our comfort. Thus, in the Incarnation, the actual Person of God the Son, the Word of God, was bestowed on humanity, and became man and the Son of the Blessed Virgin. Further, our individual souls receive not only light in the intellect and ardour of love in the heart, but the Holy Spirit Himself personally. "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us " (Rom. v. 5). " He that abideth in charity abideth in God and God in him " (1 John iv. 16). The supernatural likeness of God in us and our aspirations of love towards Him exercise such an attraction on the Divine Persons, that They become united with our souls, and cannot be separated from them except by mortal sin. They are present with souls that are in the state of grace, not simply by the immensity or ubiquity which causes Them to be in every place, but by a special personal indwelling, so that the human body becomes really the temple of the Holy Ghost, and of Christ and the Father too. Thus there dwell in you the Eternal Word produced by the infinite thought of God, and the Spirit produced by infinite love. How this surpasses all the gifts of the natural order, all bodily de lights, all pleasures, dignities, sciences!
II. The Divine Persons are bestowed on us in different ways. 1. They come to us as the principle of the supernatural works done by us, works of virtue and of energy which are beyond our natural abilities. Without the divine presence we should be feeble, unspiritual, ungenerous, imprudent, unstable ; with it we can believe all, do all, and suffer all things. 2. They are given to us as the object of our knowledge and our love, for the exercise of our intelligence and will. So we possess God as the object which occupies our thoughts .and our affections. 3. They are given also as the treasure and chief possession of the soul ; so that in the midst of the tribulations and bitterness of life we find God within us, and there enjoy, within natural limits, the possession of the supreme good. This is what Our Lord promises us: " If any one love Me he will keep My word ; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him " (John xiv. 23). In so many ways you are dependent on God ; in so many ways He is useful to you, necessary to you Without Him you can do nothing. Be careful never to lose that divine presence.
III. It follows that when we commit mortal sin we lose, not only the favour of God, His love, and our title of children of God, but we actually lose God Himself. The personal presence of God is extinguished in our soul ; God is driven forth. Our finite action has inflicted an infinite loss. God is present with us still by His immensity, as He is present in physical space and with the lower animals ; He is also present by the grace which calls us to repentance ; but He is no longer with us as the source of supernatural life, virtue, and merit, nor as the treasure of the soul and the object of its love. Further God is not with the sinner as the source of future glory. If then the sinner passes out of this life unrepentant, he begins his new stage of existence without God, and will never recover the possession of Him. It is a terrible punishment of crime to be deprived absolutely of one of the smaller gifts of God, light, or companionship, or freedom, or the minor comforts of life. How much worse it would be to lose all the sum of material gifts. The loss of supernatural gifts is much more terrible : and worse still is the loss of God, who is the totality of all that is good, desirable, beautiful. This is what mortal sin deprives us of. It is impossible to realize the full greatness of this calamity even with the help of faith ; but your faith will suffice to save you from it.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D