Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fruits of Lectio Divina - Fourth Sunday of Easter

The Holy Gospel is taken from John 16:5-14.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true God, united in one Person has completed His redeeming work on earth and awaits for the appointed time to return to His Heavenly Father, where the souls of the righteous will enter through the gates behind Him. 'Vado ad eum, qui misit me' (I go to Him that sent me).
What spiritual relevance has this for us today? Human beings have of their nature a longing to be fulfilled, a desire to reach happiness, a joy that transcends all created nature, who is God. He is our origin, as He created us out of nothing to show forth His glory through His Word, and He is our end, as He knows us imitately and He Himself is the completion of our being. But on account of the Fall of the first Adam, the way to God became blocked which only the Second Adam, the One who was heavenly could reconcile us to Him, through offering a perfect Sacrifice which we could not supply. The way to our end, which is also our origin, is therefore rocky, rugged, filled with disappointment. However this return to the divine is more blessed, a felix culpa, as we can call our Lord 'Saviour' and our path is animated by charity. This Way of the Cross troublesome as it is, traces the life of our divine Master, through His death to a share in His kingdom and glory.
'But because I have spoken these things, sorrow hath filled your heart'. Why were the Apostles sad? Were they beginning to comprehend the significance and mission of our Lord? Most likely not. As told by St. Luke in Acts, the Apostles manifest their earthly folly by asking whether this is the time when Jesus is going to restore the kingdom to Israel. Yet, Jesus would reign from on high seated at the right hand of the Unbegotten One, and not at the head of an army on horseback. A cleansing of confusion and Jewish pride must be replaced with light and service.
The reason (among many I am sure) is that they had no where else to go. They had given up all that they had, they had renounced earthly prizes in favour of following Christ, yet their minds were still polluted by earthly driven ambitions. Only the light of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete (Advocate) would be able to drive out their errors and lead them into life.
'But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth'. Heretics who foolishly spurn the regula fidei, will use this text to assert that the Son was ignorant or incapable of leading His Apostles to truth. He is the Truth Himself! He lacks nothing. Away with this nonsense. Blessed Augustine acknowledges the reality behind this statement of our Lord. The humanity of our Lord, His appearance in the flesh was a stumbling block to His chosen ones. As a result of their deficiency in faith and their inability to grasp heavenly truth, they could see very little past the mere man who appeared before them. He was mysterious to them certainly, but the existence of His divinity was beyond them.
The Holy Spirit enables us to proclaim Christ, as it is He who moves our heart to confess Jesus as Lord. He will 'convince the world of sin' as He brings us to a realisation of Jesus and His unique mission, which includes a recognition of our own sinfulness and the human condition. We can not attain to glory of our own power, but it is a grace of the Holy Spirit which first brings us to faith, which we must accept. Therefore faith is authentically human yet initiated by God.
'Of justice'. He has completed our reconciliation with the Father, and justice is the correct ordering of things, ultimately in our relation with the living and true God who deserves the worship of our very being.
'Of judgement'. The reign of Satan is at an end, he has been tossed from His throne, yet he continues to prowl the earth (with even greater menance and ferocity) in order to devour souls. As Simeon proclaims, it is Christ that makes possible our rise, but also the descent of others. Those who refuse to believe, die in their sins by ignoring the prompting of the Paraclete.
Christ will be glorified as the Spirit will move sunful men to confess the Cross of the Begotten One, which is His glory, whereby He drew all men to Himself by being lifted up, His 'hour'. His shame leads to our acceptance. He does not leave us orphans, He will be with us until the close of the age. In fact, it is by the power of the Spirit that Christ becomes present in the Mass, through the priest who stands in persona Christi, and is offered to the Heavenly Father. 'Veni Sanctificator omnipotens, aeterne Deus: et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini praeparatum'.

The 'immanent Trinity' is reflected by the 'economic Trinity' otherwise God would act in a manner contrary to His very nature. The Spirit receives His essence from the Son (with the Father as one principle) as 'He shall receive of Mine'. This refers not merely to the temporal mission, but the eternal procession of the Third Person.

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