Monday, June 4, 2012

Archimandrite Sophrony on the Trinity and Love

Here is another passage on the Holy Trinity as the God of Love, this time from His Life is Mine (pages 28-30) by Archimandrite Sophrony: 

“The Gospel says, 'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life' (John 3:16). The Holy Spirit introduces us to the realm of Divine love, and we not only live this love but begin to understand that if God, the First and the Last, were mono-Hypostatic (that is, one Person), then He would not be love. Moses, who interpreted the revelation I AM as meaning a single hypostasis, gave his people the Law. But ‘grace and truth came by Jesus Christ' (John 1:17).

The Trinity is the God of love: 'The love of the Father which crucifies; the love of the Son which is crucified; the love of the Holy Spirit which is victorious’ (Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow). Jesus, knowing ‘that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end’. John 13:1). This is our God. And there is none other save Him. The man who by the gift of the Holy Spirit has experienced the breath of His love knows with his whole being that such love is peculiar to the Triune Godhead revealed to us the perfect mode of Absolute Being . . . 

“To love is to live for and in the beloved whose life becomes our life. Love leads to singleness of being. Thus it is within the Trinity. ‘The Father loveth the Son' (John 3:35). He lives in the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son 'abides in the love of the Father (John 15:10) and in the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit we know as love all-perfect. The Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and lives in Him and abides in the Son. This love makes the sum total of Divine Being a single eternal Act. After the pattern of this unity mankind must also become one man. ('I and my Father are one' (John 10:30). "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us' (John 17:21).

“Christ’s commandment is the projection of heavenly love on the earthly plane. Realised in its true content, it makes the life of mankind similar to the life of the Triune God. The dawn of an understanding of this mystery comes with prayer for the whole world as for oneself. In this prayer one lives the consubstantiality of the human race. It is vital to proceed from abstract notions to existential - that is, ontological categories. 

“Within the life of the Trinity each Hypostasis is the Bearer of all the plenitude of Divine Being, and therefore dynamically equal to the Trinity as a whole. To achieve the fulness of god-man is to become dynamically equal to humanity in the aggregate. Herein lies the true meaning of the second commandment, which is, indeed, ‘like unto the first’ (Matthew 22:39). 

“The integrality of the revelation given to us is inexhaustible. As created beings we are not able to know finally, completely, the uncreated First Being, in the way that God knows Himself. St Paul, however, looks forward in hope. 'For now we see through a glass, darkly . . . now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known' (I Corinthians 13:12).”


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