This is a long title, don’t you agree? This morning at 6:14 a.m. (I got to sleep in late.), I found myself, as I always do in the a.m., sitting on the edge of my bed, reciting my daily morning offering, and thinking about taking a shower, and what to prepare for my writings for my daily blog, when I made the mistake of asking the Holy Spirit if there was anything He wanted to tell me. In recent months, the Holy Spirit and I have become mates, as the Australians say it, and, I must admit to detecting a sense of humor in his conversations with me in the Lectio Divina meditations. In all of this, like St. Benedict writes in the Rule, Chapter 7, the first step in humility is the fear of the Lord. I realize that God is God and I am me, and I don’t want to confuse the two natures. Being friends with a person with a divine nature (God) is not like any human friend you have or will ever have. Even Jesus, who has both divine and human nature, calls us friends, but there is always that profound respect and reverence that I have for the honor of being an adopted son of the Father. I must confess that I talk with the Holy Spirit in my Lectio prayer the same way I would talk to my spiritual director or someone who can look into the depths of my heart and know the truth. Talking with the Holy Spirit as a friend does not mean I speak for God or even have special knowledge of insights into the Sacred that other people do not. What it does mean to me is that I anticipate and look forward to our chats that always begin with Philippians 2:5, the phrase, “Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” This morning, for example, all I said was, “Do you have anything you want me to know today?” BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEN YOU ARE SITTING ON THE EDGE OF YOUR BED AT 6:14 A.M. FOLLOWING YOUR MORNING OFFERING PRAYER. At 7:20 a.m., the Holy Spirit was still giving me ideas, although random like a shotgun spread without a theme, at least, one that I could pick up immediately. I can’t shut the Holy Spirit up, for lack of a better description, like one of your friends who always does the talking and never shuts up. With the Holy Spirit, I can’t get a word in edgewise. It is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant that is opened up. I know the power of a fire hydrant from my youth, when firemen would come around to flush out the hydrant by opening them up. Water came out with a whoosh! A good picture for me would be like the one of I Love Lucy, where she is trying to stop the candy conveyor belt and they come so fast, she must eat them, stuff them in her pocket, all without success. That is why I think the Holy Spirit is the person of the Blessed Trinity with a sense of humor. Look at the YouTube video. What a hoot! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3axU2b0dDk
Here are a few of the thoughts that came to me as I sat on the edge of the bed, waiting to take my shower before writing down these thoughts.
If we are made in the image and likeness of God, what about the image and likeness of each person of the Blessed Trinity? What would that look like?
First of all, God doesn’t have an image and likeness, only in that we humans are so used to anthropomorphisms, that we expect God to look like us. It is a critical flaw on the part of humans to see God in their image and likeness. Genesis is a prime example of the story tellers couching God in an image to which we can relate, consistent with our limited human knowledge.
When making any statements about God, I am warry because of my limited, human knowledge, and must always caveat is that this is my opinion, not only in this space and time but also where I am in my life. These questions and thoughts are what I received from the Holy Spirit. That does not make it doctrine, but only my feeble subscription of something I know nothing about, the nature of God. The image and likeness of God must, in some way, describe (not define) God’s qualities, such as knowledge, love, service, and energy. When I look at humans, that is what I see describing me and my purpose in life. God’s nature is so beyond human comprehension and language to describe it adequately, the He had to send the second person of the Blessed Trinity to become one of us, that he could give us human parables and stories that bring us more into line with what we can experiece when we go to heaven. Imagine Christ trying to sell us on a place with no time, no space, no physical energy, or landmarks that would make it comfortable for us to live forever. The image and likeness of God mean that there is a connection between divine and human nature, one that says, even if the gulf between us is beyond our comprehension, we share some characteristics. My Lectio thoughts take me to a condition where there is pure energy, not the energy we know at all, but composed of pure knowledge, pure love, and pure service. This somehow ties into the image and likeness of the persons of the Trinity. Each person has all three characteristics but each person is responsible for the individual likeness and image as it affects all reality. There is only one reality yet it has three separate and distinct characteristics, different responsibilities.
The Father is the seat of the Lord of all knowledge and creation, the Life. The problem for me in thinking about this profound mystery is that the only knowledge and creation I know of is the one I have experienced in my lifetime, a mere eighty years so far. We are made in the image and likeness of the pure knowledge of the divine nature, pure truth 100% of his nature, to use a poor analogy. Just as Mary’s human nature was filled to the brim of her cup (overshadowed) with the Holy Spirit, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are filled to the brim of their divine nature with pure knowledge, pure love, and pure service. They just are in an eternal now, a kingdom with power and its own glory, self-sufficient in the love produced as a result of their just being who they are. In this context, that of the unknowingness of God, the Mystery of Faith makes sense.
The Son is the seat of love and redemption, the seat of mercy, the Way. If we are made in this image and likeness, we must heed the words of Jesus, who told us all to try to love one another as He has loved us. Jesus did not just say he loved us, he became sin for us so that He could redeem us from the confines of the World, only the physical and mental universes, and open to us not only the spiritual universe but give us adoption as sons and daughters of the Father. The Son emptied himself of being God in order be one of us to tell us (Scriptures) and show us (The Church) how to get to Heaven (remember the place that has no human landmarks and frame of reference). In the Old Testament, the people of God saw God as El Shaddai (the god of strength and power at the top of the mountain) and represented in the Manna and Tablets of the Ten Commands. If they kept God’s commands of the Law, God would be with them. In the New Testament, Christ is the Messiah. The name Jesus means born of human nature. The name Christ means the fulfillment of what went before, the Messiah of God. (John 20:30-31) Christ is our mediator, our transformer, our friend in high places.
The Holy Spirit is the seat of wisdom and light, the Truth. The Father sent His Son, Jesus to enable us to be in Heaven and not fry our neurons. Jesus the Christ, sent the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to continue the way, the truth, and the life to each generation and to each individual within that generation so that we might fulfill our destiny as those gathered together in prayerful thanksgiving (Eucharist) to the Father, in, with, and through Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit.
Lectio Divina is a way to unlock the Mysteries of Faith, not that we will ever be capable of comprehending or defining who or what they are. We can, as St. Paul, says, see through a foggy window and get a glimpse of what is on the other side. For me, it is the fulfillment of the love that I tried to achieve while on earth, now made perfect, as I am able to assimilate it.
The Holy Spirit just doesn’t let up, if you ask him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35icCO-ifUs