April 3 – Word on Fire
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus declares, “The Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Charles Williams stated that the master idea of Christianity is “coinherence,” mutual indwelling. If you want to see this idea concretely displayed, look to the pages of the Book of Kells, that masterpiece of early Christian illumination. Lines interwoven, designs turning in and around on each other, plays of plants, animals, planets, human beings, angels, and saints. The Germans call it Ineinander (one in the other).
How do we identify ourselves? Almost exclusively through the naming of relationships: we are sons, brothers, daughters, mothers, fathers, members of organizations, members of the Church, etc. We might want to be alone, but no one and nothing is finally an island. Coinherence is indeed the name of the game, at all levels of reality.
And God—the ultimate reality—is a family of coinherent relations, each marked by the capacity for self-emptying. Though Father and Son are really distinct, they are utterly implicated in each other by a mutual act of love.
The impossibly good news is that Jesus and the Father have invited us to enter fully into their divine coinherence. The love between the Father and the Son—which is called “the Holy Spirit”—can be participated in.
Reflect: What is the difference between following God and participating in his divine life?
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Blogger: I have found myself over the years stammering to say this once I found it formulated by Cardinal Ratzinger in his “Introduction to Christianity,” I really have nothing more to say than this. In the “entry b. The concept of person” on pg 181 (Ignatius (2004) 181. There he writes “the first Person [the Father] does not beget the Son as if the act of begetting were subsequent to the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of self-giving. Only as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving…”
These are revolutionary remarks. They mean that the Father is not the Father, and then engenders the Son. It means that His very Self as Father is an action of engendering the Son. There can be no such thing as Father if there is no Son being engendred. Therefore, you can never find the Father without finding the Son, nor find the Son without finding the Father. The Father then is not “A” Being as distinct from the Son, and yet it has been revealed to us that the Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father. The Son is not “A” Being, although He is. But He is the way nothing else is. Everything else that is can drop out of existence because it is not engendered by the Father, but created by the Father, Son and Spirit. No Person can do anything without the Other because they all “co-inhere” as Bishop Barron says.There was a time in which the created reality was not. Or, better, there was no time yet in which it was. It has been revealed to us that the Son became Man and became flesh, not the Father. And so the Son is not the Father but never can be separated from the Father because His very Godness – His divine Personhood – is engendered (not created) by the Father. And here we find the meaning of the “One God” Who is unique and transcending the creation that we call “world.” And the oneness of these “coinhering” Persons is called “Communio” by the theologians of the second Vatican Council. And notice, obviously, They do not form a “community,” because a “community” as we understand it, is make up individuals that who are not connected by generation in their very “to be,” but are ontologically autonomous.; i.e. they can be on their own. And therefore, they are not “one” as Christ in John 17, 21 called us to be.
Hence, it becomes very clear what the meaning of creation is. Everything that “is” has an ontological tendency to be “one.” And we experience it powerfully in ourselves because we carry the divine architecture of the Communio in us as “images and likeness” thereof. But to be clearer and more intense, we must remember the Genesis revelation where God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” He/They did not say this to the angels. He said this to the sons of Adam. And here you have in broad ontological stokes the outline and paradigm of the dynamic of all creation both material and immaterial because it is the human person of flesh and spirit whose mission it is to finish himself as well as the totality of creation in line with the ontological tendency he experiences within him.
In earlier centuries, this tendency of the person to become self-gift as the divine Persons, was called “natural law.” But in view of the above, it would be clearer if it were called “the law of the person” because person now as both spirit and matter – after God Himself becomes Man in Jesus Christ – is the meaning of “is.”
Which brings us to the corona virus – which in my mind, both for its completeness and universality (global) – is creating the space and opportunity for a new start, not from the bottom up (thing to God) but from the top down, from Trinity to particle physics.
Understanding this point constitutes the miracle of understanding what is happening today in the change of eras, which is, in my mind – given the Provident God) the “meaning” of the corona virus and which is making the possibility of a cultural change a reality. My attempts over the years in this blog have consisted in offering the magisterial semantics embedded in Vatican II, Gaudium et S,pes #24: “Indeed, the lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, ‘that all may be one… as we are one’ (Jn. 17, 21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God’s sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed of itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.”
This, I think, is the semantic of a new metaphysic which accounts for the human person as image and likeness of God.