Day 34: Unity in the Holy Spirit (243-248)
Today is all about The Father and the Son revealed by the Spirit!
You can Anton Chekov the date as you use the reading plan 😉 (I’m more a Star Wars fan than a Trekkie. Why, you ask? Well, who do you think would win in a fight…Captain Kirk vs. Darth Vader?? 🤣 Ok now I feel silly because I had to google and found out that Anton Chekov is a Russian playwright and not the navigator on the USS Enterprise )
Yesterday we talked about how the Father is REVEALED by the Son and the Son is REVEALED by the Father
IT IS REMARKABLE!!
The day before that, we talked about THEOLOGIA and OIKONOMIA
Do you remember that? (If you don’t go back and read Day 32: The Most Holy Trinity in The Catechism in a Year Study Guide for a refresher!! 😃)
IT WAS REALLY GREAT!!
What was that about?
THEOLOGIA is WHO God is in and of Himself
OIKONOMIA is HOW God reveals Himself and imparts His very life to us
THEY ARE BOTH SUPER IMPORTANT AND VERY VERY VITAL!!
We also talked about how God reveals Himself UNIQUELY AS FATHER in Christianity
Fatherhood is NOT something God BEGINS TO DO when He CREATES
HE IS ETERNALLY FATHER TO THE SON!!
The most clear, but still mysterious and analogous, relationship we can possibly imagine is between THE FATHER AND THE SON
These words that we use in English like father, son, parents, children
With God the Father and God the Son, IT IS ENTIRELY UNIQUE
Today we take the next step and talk about how the Father and the Son are REVEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!
We talked about the Father
We talked about the Son
And now we are going to talk about the Holy Spirit
Remember The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD established VERY VERY CLEARLY Jesus is OF ONE SUBSTANCE WITH THE FATHER
It was clarified in The Council of Constantinople in 381 AD
Also in The Council of Constantinople in 381 AD, the Church clarified WHO THE HOLY SPIRIT IS
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!
This is one of the questions that has divided some areas in the Church for about 1,000 years
Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father ALONE?
Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father AND the Son?
In about 1054 AD there was The Great Schism where the ONE CHURCH broke into TWO HALVES
We have the WESTERN CHURCH which is the Roman Catholic Church
We have the EASTERN CHURCH which is the Eastern Orthodox Church and its members
At the same time, the Eastern Church (Orthodox) have kept the Sacraments
There was this division in STRUCTURE and in POINTS OF THEOLOGY
One of the points of theology is the FILIOQUE
So does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father ALONE?
Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father AND the Son?
We will read how The Catechism explains a little bit about this
We will also talk about what we make about this RIGHT NOW
Where can we GO FORWARD when it comes to the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father AND the Son
We will talk about how the Holy Spirit is TRUE GOD
Just as the Father is TRUE GOD
Just as the Son is TRUE GOD
We will ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we read these next few paragraphs
So let's pray!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in heaven, you have sent the Holy Spirit through your Son Jesus Christ into this world. And we ask that you please, once again, in the name of Jesus Christ, send your Holy Spirit so that we can understand what it is you wish to reveal to us. We ask you to send your Holy Spirit so that whatever division we experience, not only in our own hearts but also in the Church, in our relationships and our families, that the Spirit of unity will come into those places of brokenness, those spaces of division, and bring wholeness again, bring reconciliation. We pray in a special way for the reunification of the Church, East and West. We pray that once again the Church may fully breathe with both lungs, East and West, maybe even in our lifetimes. Lord God, we ask you this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen”
Ok so are you confused?
A little confused?
That is understandable
Because there is such TECHNICAL LANGUAGE
This is one of those ARTICLES that we KNOW and BELIEVE and has been REVEALED BY GOD through HISTORY through SCRIPTURE through THE CHURCH
It is a point of contention with our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox church
Let’s go back to a simpler paragraph…
Paragraph 243 says, “Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of ‘another Paraclete’(Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously ‘spoken through the prophets,’ the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them ‘into all the truth.’ The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father.”
THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!
Paragraph 244 says, “The eternal origin of the Holy Spirit is revealed in his mission in time.”
THIS IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
The Holy Spirit has an ETERNAL ORIGIN
His origin is revealed in His mission in time
We wouldn’t have ANY IDEA the identity of God unless He had CHOSEN TO REVEAL HIMSELF in the course of human events
If He hadn’t CHOSEN TO REVEAL HIMSELF to us as we are walking through this world
Paragraph 244 continues, “The sending of the person of the Spirit after Jesus’ glorification reveals in its fullness the mystery of the Holy Trinity.”
Jesus Resurrected and Ascended into Heaven
9 Days later at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes
We have the Father REVEALED in the OLD TESTAMENT
We have the Son REVEALED in the NEW TESTAMENT
We have the Holy Spirit REVEALED in the AGE OF THE CHURCH
So here we are knowing and realizing that because of God REVEALING IT TO US that He is ONE DIVINE BEING in THREE DIVINE PERSONS
In the Old Testament He is still a TRINITY
The Holy Spirit is STILL PRESENT
Jesus the Word of God is STILL PRESENT
In the New Testament God the Father is OBVIOUSLY STILL AT WORK
The Holy Spirit and the Son are STILL THERE
And in the Age of the Church, the age in which WE LIVE RIGHT NOW, not only is the Holy Spirit PRESENT
The Holy Spirit is PRESENT and making ACTUAL what Jesus made POSSIBLE
Of course, the Father is EVERYWHERE AND PRESENT AS WELL
So we have the Holy Trinity REVEALED
Paragraphs 245-248 we get a history/theology lesson
In 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea: Yup, Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God
In 381 AD at the Council of Constantinople: We get a VERY CLEAR DEFINITION of the Holy Spirit
Paragraph 245 says, “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father…”
The Father is the SOURCE AND ORIGIN OF THE WHOLE DIVINITY
The eternal origin of the Spirit is NOT UNCONNECTED with the Son’s origin
Council of Toledo XI (675 AD) said in Paragraph 245, “The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is God, one and equal with the Father and the Son, of the same substance and also of the same nature…Yet he is not called the Spirit of the Father alone,...but the Spirit of both the Father and the Son.”
We talked about the Great Schism of 1054 where the Western Church and the Eastern Church split
There are a lot of factors and it was very complex
There were people doing wrong, saying wrong, acting wrong on both sides west and east
One of the theological points that divided East and West was over what Paragraphs 246-248 say
Paragraph 246 says, “The Latin traditions of the Creed confesses that the Spirit ‘proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque).’”
The belief the Church held, that the Holy Spirit not only proceeds from the Father but also from the Son goes back to the EARLY CHURCH
This was not something that was invented in the 11th Century
The disagreement over this came to a head in the 11th Century when the Church split in 1054 AD
There was an effort by the Churches in the years that followed to reconcile
The Council of Florence was one of those places of reconciliation
The Church offered another formulation in 1438 AD that would be acceptable because it was also an early formulation
In its early days the Church said both
“The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son.”
“The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father THROUGH the Son.”
So the Council of Florence tried to reconcile the Eastern and Western Churches
It proposed that it is the SAME to say it both ways
Father AND the Son
Father THROUGH the Son
It brought about reconciliation and it was INCREDIBLE AND WONDERFUL in 1438 AD
Unfortunately, that reconciliation did not go as far as it could have
There were SOME churches that came back
In the 1450s the Eastern Orthodox left the Church again under social pressure from Muslims and other factors
It’s never a clear cut thing
There are times when our theology is VERY VERY CLEAR and that’s the reason why we disagree
And there are other times…
Fr. Mike doesn’t want to make a small thing out of a big deal…
Sometimes we use the theology AS AN EXCUSE
This might have been one of those occasions
We had reconciliation at the Council of Florence
20+ years later the reconciliation doesn’t last because of OTHER REASONS
WHICH IS REALLY REALLY PAINFUL!!
Paragraph 247 says, “The affirmation of the filioque does not appear in the Creed confessed in 381 at Constantinople. But Pope St. Leo I, following an ancient Latin and Alexandrian tradition, had already confessed it dogmatically in 447, even before Rome, in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon…”
We recognize that maybe the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD did not formally declare that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son
It was still part of the EARLY TEACHING OF THE CHURCH
Not as an ecumenical dogmatic statement
It existed in the Church
AND THEN IT WAS DOGMATICALLY CONFESSED IN 447 AD!!
THIS IS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT!!
THIS IS VERY COMPLEX!!
THIS IS NOT A SMALL THING!!
THIS IS A BIG THING!!
Paragraph 248 says, “At the outset the Eastern tradition expresses the Father’s character as first origin of the Spirit. By confessing the Spirit as he ‘who proceeds from the Father,’ It affirms that he comes from the Father through the Son. The Western tradition expresses first the consubstantial communion between Father and Son, by saying the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque).”
So BOTH these formulations…
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father THROUGH the Son
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son
ARE BOTH LEGITIMATE!!
Paragraph 248 continues, “This legitimate complementarity, provided it does not become rigid, does not affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed.”
What are we saying here?
We are saying that there is a shorter bridge between East and West than we sometimes think or know about
Many in the East have accepted the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father THROUGH the Son
The Church says that is ACCEPTABLE
The Church says that is TRUE
Don’t become RIGID about this
This doesn’t affect the identity of faith in the reality of the mystery we are confessing
Fr. Mike read an article that talked about the very famous and prominent Eastern Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware
20 years ago, he had written a book called The Orthodox Church
He said, “The filioque controversy, which has separated us for many centuries, is more than a mere technicality.”
Which makes sense, right?
This isn’t a small point of doctrine
It’s not a mere technicality
But he also says, “But it is not insoluble. Qualifying the firm position taken when I wrote my book ‘‘The Orthodox Church’ 20 years ago, I now believe after further study that the problem is more in the area of semantics and different emphases than in any basic doctrinal differences.”
That is Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware
He is very prominent, well respected both in the Eastern Orthodox Church AND in the Western Church
THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!
THAT IS SO POWERFUL!!
THAT IS SO ENCOURAGING!!
He’s saying, “Ok the division between East and West is NOT INSOLUBLE.”
In the Council of Florence the Church, even if it was short-lived, CAME TOGETHER
There was some reconciliation
It is VERY POSSIBLE
We pray for the Holy Spirit of unity to once again reunite the Church
St. Pope John Paul II said, “So that the Church can again breathe with BOTH LUNGS. The East and the West.”
Every one of us should pray for that
IT IS SO VITAL!!
IT IS SO IMPORTANT!!
Here is the Church that TRAGICALLY DIVIDED into East and West in 1054 AD
To say it’s because of ONE PERSON or ONE GROUP or ONE SIDE’S FAULT is COMPLETELY NOT TRUE
To say that there couldn’t be reconciliation or restoration is also NOT TRUE
So let’s pray for that
Let’s pray for our Eastern brothers and sisters
Let’s pray for us
Let’s pray for all of us who follow after Jesus that one day once again we may be REUNITED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THAT IS WHAT WE ARE PRAYING FOR!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
Scripture References & Reflections
- compiled by Andrew Adamany
Bible Translation - RSVCE
CCC 243 "Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of "another Paraclete" (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously "spoken through the prophets", the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them "into all the truth". The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father."
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you."
“These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."
CCC 244 "The eternal origin of the Holy Spirit is revealed in his mission in time…"
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters."
The Spirit is sent to the apostles and to the Church both by the Father in the name of the Son, and by the Son in person, once he had returned to the Father. The sending of the person of the Spirit after Jesus' glorification reveals in its fullness the mystery of the Holy Trinity."
"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."