Cyril of Alexandria: “We Have the Mind of Christ”, Meaning, by His Mind, His Spirit Tuesday, May 22 2012 

Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that to those who choose to love Him and to those who do His commandments the promise of His revelation is given.

To them,… and not to those who are otherwise minded and who do the contrary, He has conveyed this useful lesson in the words: He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me. 

And a man has His commands when he has received the faith, and, laying it to heart, has let into his inmost soul the unpolluted and unmistakeable teaching of the Gospel commandments.

And he fulfils them by carrying them out into actuality, and by making haste to distinguish himself by the light of his actions.

Such a man then is perfect and wholly wedded to righteousness, a shining light by his faith and conduct, who has witness borne him of his holiness after the pattern of Christ.

[…] A man of this sort again, God the Father will surely love, and no less also the Son will love him. For as He is of the same Substance, so also has He the same Will as His Father.

[…] To those who are thought worthy of the Divine love He promises that He will give a glorious reward and that He will crown them with exceeding great blessings.

I will manifest Myself unto him, He says.

To the pure in heart the mystery of the Godhead will be clearly revealed, and Christ gives them light, illuminating the path of every duty by His Spirit, and unveiling Himself and making Himself visible as it were by the ineffable torchlight of the soul.

And those who have made their choice once for all are blessed and worthy of all admiration.

And I think the prophet David was a man after this sort when he says, I will hear what the Lord God will say in me. 

And so is also St Paul when he exhorts us, saying, If ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me; For Christ speaks of things concerning Himself in His Saints by His Spirit, and reveals other mysteries besides.

Therefore it is true that knowing these things well, the Saints sometimes say, Unto us God revealed them through the Spirit.

And they sometimes say, But we have the mind of Christ, meaning, by His mind, His Spirit.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Commentary on John, book 10.

Irenaeus of Lyons: Life – Participation in God – is to See God and Enjoy His Goodness Tuesday, Jun 28 2011 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonThe glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life.

For this reason God, who cannot be grasped, comprehended or seen, allows himself to be seen, comprehended and grasped by men, that he may give life to those who see and receive him.

It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy his goodness.

Men will therefore see God if they are to live; through the vision of God they will become immortal and attain to God himself.

As I have said, this was shown in symbols by the prophets: God will be seen by men who bear his Spirit and are always waiting for his coming. As Moses said in the Book of Deuteronomy: On that day we shall see, for God will speak to man, and man will live.

God is the source of all activity throughout creation. He cannot be seen or described in his own nature and in all his greatness by any of his creatures.

Yet he is certainly not unknown. Through his Word the whole creation learns that there is one God the Father, who holds all things together and gives them there being.

As it is written in the Gospel: No man has ever seen God, except the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father; he has revealed him.

From the beginning the Son is the one who teaches us about the Father; he is with the Father from the beginning.

He was to reveal to the human race visions of prophecy, the diversity of spiritual gifts, his own ways of ministry, the glorification of the Father, all in due order and harmony, at the appointed time and for our instruction.

[…] The Word became the steward of the Father’s grace for the advantage of men, for whose benefit he made such wonderful arrangements.

He revealed God to men and presented men to God. He safeguarded the invisibility of the Father to prevent man from treating God with contempt and to set before him a constant goal toward which to make progress.

On the other hand, he revealed God to men and made him visible in many ways to prevent man from being totally separated from God and so cease to be.

Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God.

If the revelation of God through creation gives life to all who live upon the earth, much more does the manifestation of the Father through the Word give life to those who see God.

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202):Adversus Haereses 4.20.5-7, from the Office of Readings for the feast (liturgical memorial) of Saint Irenaeus on June 28 @ Crossroads Initiative.  

Bernard of Clairvaux: In Christ We See the Object of Our Love, by the Spirit We are Empowered to Love Him Saturday, Jun 4 2011 

No one who loves God need have any doubt that God loves him.

God gladly returns our love, which was preceded by his own.

How could he be reluctant to love us in response to our love for him, when he already loved us before we ever loved him at all.

Yes, I say, God loved us.

We have a pledge of his love in the Spirit and a faithful witness to it in Jesus – a double and irrefutable proof of the love God bears toward each one of us.

Christ died, and so deserves our love.

The Spirit moves us by his grace and so enables us to love.

Christ gives us the reason, the Spirit gives us the power.

The one sets before us the example of his own great love, the other gives us the love itself.

In Christ we see the object of our love, by the Spirit we are empowered to love him.

We can say then that the former supplies the motive for charity, the latter the volition.

How shameful it would be to see God’s Son dying for us without being moved to gratitude!

Yet this could easily happen if the Spirit were lacking.

Now, however, the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit he has given us, and so we love him in return for his love, and by loving him we deserve to be loved still more.

If while we were still his enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved through his Son’s life!

[…] We possess, then, a double token of our salvation, the twofold outpouring of blood and Spirit.

Neither is of any profit to us without the other.

The Spirit is only given to those who believe in the Crucified, and faith is only effective when it works through love.

But love is the gift of the Spirit.

[…] To say that the Spirit gives life is only another way of saying that the Spirit justifies us by rectifying our relationship with God.

[…] And who are the just? Are they not those who pay their debt of love to the God who loves them?

Now it is impossible for them to do this unless they have received in faith the Spirit’s revelation of God’s eternal plan for their future salvation.

That revelation is none other than an infusion of spiritual grace, through which, as we mortify the works of the flesh, we are made ready for the kingdom which flesh and blood cannot possess.

In the one Spirit we receive both the audacity to believe ourselves loved and the power to love in return, so that God’s love for us may not go unrequited.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153): Letter 107.8-9 (PL 182:246-247), from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter Year I

Bede the Venerable: “Behold, He will Go before You into Galilee; You will See Him There” Thursday, Apr 28 2011 

icon_bede-Now it is clear and delightful for the holy to hear that the disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had instructed them, and upon seeing him, they adored him (Matt. 28:16-17).

It is not lacking in mystery that after his resurrection our Lord appeared to his disciples on a mountain, and that it was in Galilee.

This was to make know that the body which at his birth he had assumed from the earth common to the rest of the human race he had now, at his resurrection, clothed with heavenly power after it had been raised above everything earthly.

He appeared on a mountain to advise his faithful ones that that if they wished to see the loftiness of his resurrection there in heaven they should pass over below from their lowly cravings to heavenly desires.

What the name “Galilee” connotes in relation to the salvation-bearing mystery is well-known from the frequent explanations of the fathers, but it is not irrelevant to repeat quite often what we must keep in our minds.

“Galilee” means “a crossing over accomplished” or “revelation”.

Each interpretation of the name leads to a single conclusion.

We read above that the angel said to the women Go tell his disciples that he has risen, and behold, he will go before you into Galilee; you will see him there (Matt. 28:7).ado

And now we know, as the evangelist tells us, that the disciples went into Galilee, and upon seeing him, they adored him.

What does it mean that the Lord Jesus goes ahead of his disciples into Galilee in order to be seen by them, that they follow, and upon seeing him they adore him, except that Christ rose from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15:20).

Those who are Christ’s follow him and they themselves in their turn pass over into life.

And seeing him there, the adore him whom they contemplate in his divine form, and praise him for ever.

The fact that “Galilee” also means “revelation” accords with this vision.

Then indeed we, with unveiled face, as the Apostle bears witness, beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same likeness (2 Cor. 3:18), all of us who now commit our way to him and follow his footsteps with sincere faith.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735): Homilies on the Gospels, 2:8 (Easter), Homilies on the Gospels, Book Two, Lent to the Dedication of the Church, trans. Lawrence T. Martin and David Hurst OSB (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1991).

John Paul II: The Spirit of Truth, the Paraclete, Sent by the Risen Christ to Transform Us into His Own Risen Image Tuesday, Apr 26 2011 

We find ourselves on the threshold of the Paschal events.

The new, definitive revelation of the Holy Spirit as a Person who is the gift is accomplished at this precise moment.

The Paschal events – the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ – are also the time of the new coming of the Holy Spirit, as the Paraclete and the Spirit of truth.

They are the time of the “new beginning” of the self-communication of the Triune God to humanity in the Holy Spirit through the work of Christ the Redeemer.

[…] On the day of the Resurrection…Jesus of Nazareth “descended from David according to the flesh”, as the Apostle Paul writes, is “designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:3f).

It can be said therefore that the messianic “raising up” of Christ in the Holy Spirit reaches its zenith in the Resurrection, in which he reveals himself also as the Son of God, “full of power”.

And this power, the sources of which gush forth in the inscrutable Trinitarian communion, is manifested, first of all, in the fact that the Risen Christ does two things:

On the one hand he fulfills God’s promise already expressed through the Prophet’s words: “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you,…my spirit” (Ez 36:26f);

And on the other hand he fulfills his own promise made to the Apostles with the words: “If I go, I will send him to you” (Jn 16:7).

It is he: the Spirit of truth, the Paraclete sent by the Risen Christ to transform us into his own risen image.

[…] There is no sending of the Holy Spirit (after original sin) without the Cross and the Resurrection: “If I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you” (Jn 16:7).

There is also established a close link between the mission of the Holy Spirit and that of the Son in the Redemption.

The mission of the Son, in a certain sense, finds its “fulfillment” in the Redemption. The mission of the Holy Spirit “draws from” the Redemption: “He will take what is mine and declare it to you” (Jn 16:15).

The Redemption is totally carried out by the Son as the Anointed One, who came and acted in the power of the Holy Spirit, offering himself finally in sacrifice on the wood of the Cross.

And this Redemption is, at the same time, constantly carried out in human hearts and minds – in the history of the world – by the Holy Spirit, who is the “other Counselor”.

John Paul II (1920-2005): Dominum et Vivificantem, 1,6,23-24.

Cyril of Alexandria: “Rejoice, Daughter of Zion, Because I Am Coming And Shall Dwell Among You, Says The Lord” Friday, Nov 19 2010 

Be glad and rejoice, daughter of Zion, because I am coming and shall dwell among you, says the Lord.

And many nations will flee for refuge to the Lord in that day and become his people, and they will dwell in your midst.

Even from this you may understand that the Saviour’s coming will be the occasion of the sublimest joy for those on earth.

For of necessity he commanded the spiritual Zion to be delighted and glad, since she is the Church of the living God, or rather she is the holiest multitude of those saved through faith.

And he promised he would come, and would certainly live among her people.

For Saint John tells us: He was in the world, and the Word who was God did not hold aloof from his created beings.

But it was he who gave life to those partaking of life, and who also sustains all things for their own well-being in life.

But the world refused to recognise him, for it ‘worshiped created things’.

Yet he came among us when, assuming our own likeness, he was born of the Holy Virgin. When too he appeared on earth and lived among men.

And holy David will also bear witness, saying: God, our God, will come visibly, and will not keep silence.

Then too he became visible to the Gentiles. For it was no longer only the Israelites who were being taught by the old commandment.

But rather the whole world was made splendid by the preaching of the Gospel, and the Lord’s name became great among all the nations and in every land. For he was the expectation of the nations, as the Prophet says.

And every knee will bow to him in heaven, on earth and in hell, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

For the nations ran together in faith toward him, and dwelt with him in the holy spiritual Zion, coming from the ends of the earth.

And they understood clearly that God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that all who believed in him should not perish but have eternal life.

For the Father sent his Son to us from heaven, as Saviour and Redeemer, so that we should believe in him and see in him the Father.

And so that looking at him, the exact image of the Father from whom he was born according to nature, we should think of the original.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): In Zachariam Prophetam (PG 72:40); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time Year 2.

William of Saint-Thierry: Saved by the Gift of Loving God and of Being Loved by God Wednesday, Nov 17 2010 

How is it we are saved by you, O Lord, from whom salvation comes and whose blessing is upon your people, if it is not to receive from you the gift of loving you and being loved by you?

That, Lord, is why you willed that the Son of your right hand, the man whom you made strong for your own self, should be called Jesus, that is to say, Saviour, for he will save his people from their sins.

There is no other in whom is salvation except him who taught us to love himself when he first loved us, even to death on the cross.

By loving us and holding us so dear he stirred us up to love himself, who first had loved us to the end.

This is the righteousness of the sons of men: ‘Love me, for I love you.’ One seldom meets a person who can say: ‘I love you, in order that you may love me!’

But, as the servant of your love proclaims and preaches, you who first loved us did this, precisely this.

And that was not because you needed to be loved by us, but because we could not be what you created as to be, except by loving you.

Having then in many ways and on various occasions spoken to the fathers by the Prophets, now in these last days you have spoken to us in the Son, your Word, by whom the heavens were established, and all the power of them by the breath of his mouth.

For you to speak thus in your Son was an open declaration, a ‘setting in the sun’, as it were, of how much and in what sort of way you loved us, in that you spared not your own Son, but delivered him up for us all.

Yes, and he himself loved us and gave himself for us.

This, Lord, is your word to us this is your all-powerful message: he who, while all things kept silence (that is, were in the depths of error), came from the royal throne, the stern opponent of error and the gentle Apostle of love.

And everything he did and everything he said on earth, even the insults, the spitting, the buffeting, the cross and the grave, all that was nothing but yourself speaking in the Son, appealing to us by your love, and stirring up our love for you.

For you, O God, our souls’ Creator, knew that this affection cannot be forced in the souls of the sons of men, but has to be evoked.

And this is for the obvious reason that there is no freedom where there is compulsion, and, where freedom is lacking, so too is righteousness.

William of Saint-Thierry (c.1075/80-1148 On Contemplating God, 10, (translated by Sr Penelope Lawson, CSMV, Cistercian Publications), from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Saturday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time Year 2.

 

Athanasius of Alexandria: Born and Created Anew in the Likeness of God’s Image Sunday, Jul 18 2010 

When the likeness painted on a panel has been effaced by stains from without, he whose likeness it is must needs come once more to enable the portrait to be renewed on the same wood.

For, for the sake of his picture, even the mere wood on which it is painted is not thrown away, but the outline is renewed upon it.

In the same way also the most holy Son of the Father, being the Image of the Father, came to our region to renew man once made in His likeness, and find him, as one lost, by the remission of sins.

As He says Himself in the Gospels: “I came to find and to save the lost” (Lk 19:10). Whence He said to the Jews also: “Except a man be born again” (Jn. 3:3,5) not meaning, as they thought, birth from woman, but speaking of the soul born and created anew in the likeness of God’s image.

But since wild idolatry and godlessness occupied the world, and the knowledge of God was hid, whose part was it to teach the world concerning the Father? Man’s, might one say?

[…] Yet where all were smitten and confused in soul from demoniacal deceit, and the vanity of idols, how was it possible for them to win over man’s soul and man’s mind—whereas they cannot even see them? Or how can a man convert what he does not see?

But perhaps one might say creation was enough; but if creation were enough, these great evils would never have come to pass. For creation was there already, and all the same, men were grovelling in the same error concerning God.

Who, then, was needed, save the Word of God, that sees both soul and mind, and that gives movement to all things in creation, and by them makes known the Father?

For He who by His own Providence and ordering of all things was teaching men concerning the Father, He it was that could renew this same teaching as well.

[…] Whence, naturally, willing to profit men, He sojourns here as man, taking to Himself a body like the others, and from things of earth, that is by the works of His body He teaches them.

He teaches them so that they who would not know Him from His Providence and rule over all things, may even from the works done by His actual body know the Word of God which is in the body, and through Him the Father.

Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373): On The Incarnation, 14.

Bonaventure: Scripture, Eternal Life and the Trinity Monday, Feb 8 2010 

The stream of holy Scripture flows not from human research but from revelation by God. It springs from “the Father of lights, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its name”.

From him, through his Son Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit flows into us; and through the Holy Spirit, giving, at will, different gifts to different people, comes the gift of faith, and through faith Jesus Christ has his dwelling in our hearts.

This is the knowledge of Jesus Christ which is the ultimate basis of the solidity and wisdom of the whole of holy Scripture.

From all this it follows that it is impossible for anyone to start to recognise Scripture for what it is if he does not already have faith in Christ infused into him. Christ is the lamp that illuminates the whole of Scripture: he is its gateway and its foundation.

For this faith is behind all the supernatural enlightenments that we receive while we are still separated from the Lord and on our pilgrimage. It makes our foundation firm, it directs the light of the lamp, it leads us in through the gateway.

[…] The substance and fruit of holy Scripture is very specific: the fullness of eternal happiness.

For this is what Scripture is – its words are words of eternal life, and it is written not just so that we should believe, but specially so that we should possess eternal life in which we may see, and love, and have all our desires fulfilled.

When they are fulfilled, then we shall know the superabundant love that comes from knowledge, and so we shall be filled with all the fullness of God.

[…] If we are to follow the direct path of Scripture and come straight to the final destination, then right from the beginning – when simple faith starts to draw us towards the light of the Father – our hearts should kneel down and ask the Father to give us, through his Son and the Holy Spirit, true knowledge of Jesus and of his love.

Once we know him and love him like this, we shall be made firm in faith and deeply rooted in love, and we can know the breadth, length, depth and height of holy Scripture.

That news can then lead us to the full knowledge and overwhelming love of the most holy Trinity.

The desires of the saints draw them towards the Trinity, in which all that is good and true is and finds its completion.

Bonaventure of Bagnorea (1221-1274): Breviloquium, Prologue, taken from Office of Readings for Monday of Week 5 of Ordinary Time, at Universalis.


John Damascene: The Deity is Ineffable and Incomprehensible Friday, Dec 4 2009 

No one hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him (John 1:18).

The Deity, therefore, is ineffable and incomprehensible. For no one knoweth the Father, save the Son, nor the Son, save the Father (Matt. 11:27).

And the Holy Spirit, too, so knows the things of God as the spirit of the man knows the things that are in him (1 Cor. 2:11).

Moreover, after the first and blessed nature no one, not of men only, but even of supramundane powers, and the Cherubim, I say, and Seraphim themselves, has ever known God, save he to whom He revealed Himself.

God, however, did not leave us in absolute ignorance. For the knowledge of God’s existence has been implanted by Him in all by nature.

This creation, too, and its maintenance, and its government, proclaim the majesty of the Divine nature (Wisd. 13:5).

Moreover, by the Law and the Prophets in former times, and afterwards by His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, He disclosed to us the knowledge of Himself as that was possible for us.

All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honour, seeking for nothing beyond these.

For God, being good, is the cause of all good, subject neither to envy nor to any passion. For envy is far removed from the Divine nature, which is both passionless and only good.

As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each, He revealed that which it was to our profit to know; but what we were unable to bear He kept secret.

With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them, not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition (Prov. 22:28).

John Damascene (c.675-749): De Fide Orthodoxa 1,1.

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