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Procession from Both exhausts the productive power of the in created Essence; and thus are the divine Persons Three in number; all that is outside Them, is created being.
In the divine Essence, there is not only Power and Intelligence, but, also, and necessarily, there is Will, from which action follows. Will and Love are one and the same thing; and thou, O divine Spirit, art this Will, this Love. When the glorious Trinity works outside itself, the act conceived by the Father, and expressed by the Son, is accomplished by thee. By thee, likewise, the Love, which the Father and Son have for each other, and which is personised in thee, is extended to beings which are to be created. It is by his Word that the Father knows them; it is by thee, O divine Love, O Holy Spirit, that he loves them; and thus, all creation proceeds from the divine goodness.
Emanating, as thou dost, from the Father and the Son, thou art sent, by Both, to us creatures; and yet so as not to lose thereby the equality thou hast, from all eternity, with Them. The Son, when sent by the Father, clad himself, once for ever, with our human nature; and his Person, by the works which are peculiarly his own, is shown to us as distinct from that of the Father. So, likewise, O Holy Spirit! we recognise thee as distinct from the Father and the Son, by thy coming down to fulfil in our regard, the Mission given to thee by Both. It was thou that inspiredst the Prophets;' thou that overshadowedst Mary in the divine Incarnation ;2 thou that restedst on the flower of Jesse;3 thou that leadedst Jesus into the desert;4 thou that didst glorify him by miracles.5 The Church, his Bride, receives thee, and thou teachest her all truth,6 and thou abidest in her, as her devoted friend, even to the very end of time.1 Our souls are signed with thy seal,2 and thou quickenest them with supernatural life ;3 thou dwellest even in our bodies, making them thy temple; * in a word, thou art to us the Gift of God,5 and the fountain springing up even into life everlasting.6 May special thanks be given to thee, 0 Holy Spirit, for the special works thou accomplishest in our favour!
1 2 St. Pet. i. 21. * St. Luke, iv. 1.
s St. Luke, i. 3fi. 5 St. Matth. xii. 28.
3 Is. xi. 2. 6 St. John, xvi. 13.
And now, having adored each of the divine Persons, and blessed each for the favours he has bestowed upon this world, we again dare to fix our unworthy gaze upon that Trinity of Majesty which exists in the Unity of the divine Essence. 0 Sovereign Lord! we again confess what thou hast taught us; but we confess it in the words of thy servant Augustine: "They "are not more than Three: One that loveth him who "is from him; and One that loveth him from whom "he is; and One who is that very Love."7 But we have still a debt of gratitude to pay for that unspeakable favour of thine, whereby, O blessed Trinity, thou hast vouchsafed to mark us with the image of thyself. Having resolved, from all eternity, to admit us into fellowship with thyself,8 thou hast prepared us for it, according to a type taken from thine own divine Nature.9 There are three powers in our one soul; this tells us that it was thou gavest us our existence; and yet this likeness to thyself, which is the glory of our natural being, was but a preparation for further purposes of thy generous love towards us. After having bestowed upon us this natural being, it pleased thee to decree, 0 sacred Trinity, that a supernatural one should also be imparted to us. When the fulness of time had come, the Father sends us his Son; and this uncreated Word brings light to our understanding: the Father and the Son send us the Spirit > and the Spirit brings love to our will: and the Father, who cannot be sent, comes of himself, and gives himself to our soul, giving her a power beyond her own strength. It is in holy Baptism, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is produced, in the Christian, this work of the Three divine Persons, which is so admirably in keeping with the faculties of our soul; and these faculties are but an outline of the masterpiece, which the supernatural action of God can alone complete.
1 St. John, xiv. 16. * 1 Cor. vi. 19.
2 Eph. i. 13; iv. 30. * Hymn, Veni Creator.
3 Gal. v. 25. 6 St. John, iv. 14; vii. 38, 39.
7 Non amplius quam tria sunt: unus diligens eum qui de illo est, et unus diligens eum de quo est, et ipsa dileetio. S. Augustinus, De Trinitate, lib. vi. cap. 7.
8 1 St. John, i. 3. 9 Gen. i. 27.
Blessed union! whereby God is in man, and man is in God! Union that brings us to adoption by the Father, to brotherhood with the Son, to our eternal inheritance! But, how has this indwelling of God in his creature been formed? Gratuitously, by God's eternal love. And, how long will it last? For ever, unless man himself refuse to give love for love. Mortal sin admitted into the soul, the divine indwelling is at an end : the very moment that sanctifying grace is lost, the Three divine Persons who had taken up their abode in that soul,1 and were united with her, abandon her ; God would be no longer in her, save by his immensity, but the soul would not possess him as she did before. Then would Satan set up again his wretched kingdom within her, the kingdom of his vile trinity, Concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and pride of life.2 Wo to the man, who would dare to defy his God by such rebellion, and put evil in the place of infinite good! Hell and eternal torments are the consequences of the creature's contempt of his Creator. God is a jealous God; if we drive him from the dwelling of our souls, the deep abyss must be our everlasting abode.
1 St. John, xiv. 23. 2 2 St. John, ii. 16.
But is this rupture beyond the hope of reconciliation? Yes, as far as sinful man's power is concerned; for he can never, of himself, recover his position with the blessed Trinity, which God's gratuitous bounty had prepared, and his incomprehensible goodness achieved. But, as the Church teaches us, in her Liturgy,1 God never shows his power more, than when he has pity on a sinner and pardons him; it is this powerful mercy of God which can work the prodigy of a reconciliation; and he really does work it, as often as a sinner is converted. When the august Trinity deigns to return into the soul of repentant man, the Angels and Saints in heaven are filled with joy, as the Gospel assures us;2 for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost have testified their love, and sought their glory, by making him just, who had been a sinner; by coming again to dwell in this lost sheep; in this prodigal, who had, but a few days before, been tending swine; in this thief who, but just now, had been insulting on the Cross, together with his fellow culprit, the innocent Crucified.
Adoration, then, and love, be to thee, 0 Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 0 perfect Trinity, that hast vouchsafed to reveal thyself to mankind; 0 eternal and infinite Unity, that hast delivered our forefathers from the yoke of their false gods! Glory be to thee, as it was in the beginning, before any creature existed; as it is now, at this very time, whilst we are living in the hope of that true life, which consists in seeing thee face-to-face; and as it shall for ever be, in those everlasting ages, when a blissful eternity shall have united us in the bosom of thine infinite Majesty. Amen.
1 Collect for the 10 th Sunday after Pentecost. a St. Luke, xv. 10.
AFTER TRINITY SUNDAY.
Having, by his divine light, added fresh appreciation towards the sovereign mystery of the august Trinity, the Holy Ghost next leads the Church to contemplate that other marvel, which concentrates in itself all the works of the Incarnate Word, and leads us, even in this present life, to union with God. The mystery of the Holy Eucharist is going to be brought before us in all its magnificence ; it behoves us, therefore, to prepare the eyes of our soul for the worthy reception of the light which is so soon to dawn upon us. As during the whole year, we have never lost sight of the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and all our worship has unceasingly been offered to the Three divine Persons; so, in like manner, the blessed Eucharist has uninterruptedly accompanied us throughout the whole period of the Liturgical Tear, either as the means for our paying our homage to the infinite Majesty of God, or as the nourishment which sustains the supernatural life. Though we knew and loved these two ineffable mysteries before, yet the graces of Pentecost have added much to both our knowledge and our love; yesterday, the mystery of the Trinity beamed upon us with "a greater clearness than ever; and now we are close upon the solemnity, which is to show us the holy Eucharist with an increase of light and joy to our faith.
The blessed Trinity is, as we have already shown, the essential object of all religion; it is the centre to which all our homage converges; and this, even when we do not seem to make it our direct intention.