Trinitarian Love

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.  (John 8:42)

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Orthodox theologian Olivier Clement  in his book, THE ROOTS OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM, reminds us of the theology revealed in the New Testament.

“The Father is the origin of all,  the Son realizes, and the Spirit fulfills.  Everything subsists by the will of the Father, comes into being through the action of the Son, and reaches its perfection through the action of the Holy Spirit. . . .  ‘By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth‘ (Psalm 33:6).  This refers . . .  to the Word who was with God in the beginning, who is God.  As for ‘the breath of his mouth‘, this is ‘the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father‘ (John 15:26).

The number three therefore comes to your mind: the Lord who commands, the Word who creates, the Breath who confirms.  And what can it mean to confirm, if not to make perfect in holiness? (Basil of Caesarea…).”

Gregory Nazianzen speaks of the Trinity as the unmoving movement of the One who neither remains imprisoned in his own solitude, nor spreads himself indefinitely; for God is communion, not impersonal diffusion.”  (pp 64-65)

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Clement also says:

“The Holy Spirit is inseparable from our freedom.  God remains in  history the beggar who waits at each person’s gate with infinite patience, begging for love.   His silence, with which we sometimes reproach him, only shows his consideration for us.  The cross and the resurrection coexist. ‘Christ will be in agony to the very end of the world’, he will suffer, according to Origen, until all humanity has entered the kingdom.

‘God has made himself a beggar by reason of his concern for us … suffering mystically through his tenderness to the end of time according to the measure of each one’s suffering. (Maximus the Confessor…)

As for me, I am poor and in misery‘ (Psalm 70:6).  It is Christ who utters these words, Christ who freely made himself poor for love of humanity, to make us rich (Origen…).”   (pp 56-57)

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There is a most profound imagery being offered to us.  We know from Hebrews 13:2, that sometimes when people are showing kindness to a stranger they actually are ministering to God’s angels.  And Jesus taught in his parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25), that when we show mercy to the least of Christ’s brothers or sisters, we are showing mercy to Christ Himself.  As some of the Patristic writers so wonderfully expressed it, God comes to earth as a beggar – begging us to love Him and our neighbor.   God the impoverished beggar sits by the gate of our souls, like Lazarus in Christ’s parable, hoping we will show Him some merciful kindness.  God doesn’t come as warrior tyrant demanding His due.  Rather He comes as a vulnerable beggar in need of our mercy.  The decision to love Him is our own.  God empties Himself, making Himself poor, so that we might learn and practice love.  God places Himself at our mercy – places Himself in our hands.  God pleads with us to show mercy.

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Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  (Philippians 2:5-8)