A Reflection

Anne Lastman  

The bride of Christ, humanity, has been growing and maturing through the ages and through epochs and in each era a member of the Most Holy Trinity has been the main celebrant and the main companion on this road to maturity.  Each member of the Most Holy Trinity has been able to work to give birth to and then sustain and nurture the bride whilst she awaited her beloved.

Why a Bride to be created by the most Holy Trinity? Because she was to be born for the Son who from all time had been begotten. He was born before all creation was born, and the Father knew He would need to prepare a bride worthy for His Son. A bride so spotless, so divine just like His Son.  And so, the work of creation, which was intended from all time, began. A humanity created for the Son.

In the first epoch following the sin of the Father’s first earthly son and daughter (Adam and Eve) the epoch was host to God the Father, creator of all heaven and earth. To the most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, fell the task of continuing creation and building a humanity worthy of the second person of divine Trinity Jesus, whose own work would be to become one like the creation and then enact the redemption of the creature beloved of His Father’s heart.    The Son would exercise his mission of Redemption in order to return to His Holy Father the creature spotless as He had desired before the disobedience and the fall.

The Son would in his work prepare the way for the third person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, or even the Spirit of the Father and Son which had been exhaled into the creature had thence become enervated.  The son who would sanctify and recreate the bride into the original stainless virgin, without mark without stain, without sin.

The epoch of the Father creator continued and will continue until the appointed time has been reached. His breath, the Ruach, continues to animate life until every cell of the bride has been renewed and not a stain of sin found.

The Father creator has established the road to redemption and it is one which is fraught with suffering.   Post sin it was not only death which the Father Creator who only knows life had to accommodate in his new order but fear, shame, aggression, enmity, suffering, anguish. He who knew nothing but love was introduced to “un-love.”

Throughout the epoch of the Father God, that is creation, conception, and election, fear, anguish, suffering and death became the norms used to fulfil His epoch and bring about and prepare the order for the epoch of the Son, Jesus

The epoch of the Father began with His creation of all that is seen and unseen. He immersed Himself into the creation.  He wakened it into life by breathing His own breath into it. He infused the creature’s blueprint (DNA) with His own signature.  He wrote the word “life and  “love” into the creature’s being. He dialogued with His own creation. He walked with His creation. He fellowshipped with them.

The intimacy is visible (Gen 1-3). The creator Father God, wanted to be intimately involved so that the creature would know that it was wanted and desired and would not be distant from Him. His masterpiece would need to be fathered and nurtured, so that in the fathering the creature would reach its original potential and beauty as bride befitting the great beauty of His Son.

The bride was given birth by the Father God first in His mind.  The image of the bride, pure, spotless, beautiful, fruitful, was clearly in the Father’s heart.  The bride was conceived in splendour.  A bride befitting His Son. The bride would be pure, unsoiled and her bridal gown “without spot or wrinkle” (Eph 5:27) The Bride first envisioned by the Father and chosen for the Son would be claimed in rapturous ecstasy (Gen: 2:21-23). 

The beauty of all creation including the “Adam” and the “Hawah” The Adam (man) created from the “adamah” (soil) was infused by the Ruach, thus a new and previously uncreated order was conceived (Ps 8) an order made from the elements of creation but elevated to a higher dimension, that of the Father Creator God.  Now ‘Adam” created from the “adamah” (soil) gave birth to “hawah” mother of all living.

Perhaps “mother of all living” is not an appropriate description of “hawah” because all of living creation has inscribed within it the directive to reproduce itself and carry forward the Father Creator’s work. However, it could be said mother of all living, loving, reasoning, choosing, worshipping, humanity, because the distinguishing difference between “Adam” (human) and other creation is his higher calling to not only to be fruitful and multiply and thus co create with God in His ongoing work, but because the “Adam” has an infused knowledge of his difference and his need to be different because of the mandate to be fruitful and multiply  

It was an infused knowledge and restlessness of heart (St Augustine’s Confessions) to return to its maker and resting place, the heart of the Creator Father God that made the human different from other created order.

In the first epoch the creator God to whom belongs all life visible and invisible, walked, talked, communed with his infant Bride. (human-male and female he created them) The Father God saw the infant bride as “very good” (Gen 1:31) beautiful, perfect.  He could fellowship with her and be close to her.  This was the time of silence, bliss. This was the latency period. A time of playing. A Time of growth.  This was the time for the bride to grow into maturity in order for her to know her own self as being created in love and freedom and be ready for her groom.

Following the sin of Adam and Eve new dimensions needed to be accommodated. The curses of suffering and death now entered the created order and the bride (humanity) no longer rested in peace and serenity.  She had to move from the creator Father’s intimate company and vision and she could no longer see the creator “my father my father why have you abandoned me?” Death was found to be bitter and lonely journey.   The rapture and joy of the Father creator had now to be regained through a life of toil and labour and at the end aloneness and death.

Prior to the sin these alien experiences were not known for they were not in the created order.   They were not known as an order of destruction because the order of creation was declared good. (Gn1:1:25) However, following sin, fear (hiding from creator Father God) suffering (curses on Adam and Hawah) anguish (banishment from the place of Love) and death (an unknown something which had written within it terror and irreversible) became the reality. Before sin there was no knowledge of what these new realities meant. Following sin, a new knowledge became evident. (Fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) Father God was deeply wounded and betrayed.

The epoch of the creator God began with all of creation that is, the “logos” breathing (“let there be…Gn 1:3) into each new creation and inscribed within it its capacity to worship its maker.  The logos (Word) of the Father God gave birth to all that he had conceived in His heart and mind.  He created one by one the prototypes and infused into their being instructions to perpetuate the creation and desire to worship.

This until He came to create the prototype of the His first son made from all the elements of the earth. He took a fragment of each element and shaped an earthly “son” (Adam)for Himself. He so loved this son that He even breathed His own breath into him. (Gen 2:7)   The sigh of awe could be heard.  And written into His “earthly son” was all that was needed to continue His own work. And thus, the renewed Adam made from the Adamah but now imbued with divine breath, a more refined creature was made “hawah” (Eve) “mother of all living” (Gen.3:20) The Creator God had waited till the last moment of creation, before His Sabbath rest to create the final work. A work which evoked an ecstatic response from the one who had donated himself to create her.  Woman drew her life from Adam in order to give it back again in this never-ending cycle called love.  

The creator God looked on with love and joined the created man and the created woman and united Himself to them to form a visible Trinity. A trinity worthy of the bride to come.  How interesting it has been that sin brought curses and suffering and death but sin could not destroy life.  “Life” “love” “bride” “future.”  These were not cursed.  “Life” has always remained “very good” (Gen.) because the divine energy enervates life. 

The epoch of the Creator God, continues with each new life conceived and is still declared “very good” as it journey’s towards the Father creator who is still creating (my father is still working and so must I  (Jn 5:17) and calling and preparing the ground, the for reception of His own Divine son the second person of the Holy Trinity.  Jesus.

The Creator God, creator of all including time has used time to prepare the elements to receive His Divine Son and to prepare the way so that His own Son, could walk, as He had walked with the infant Bride (humanity) in the garden. He could live among them and share their life and their story. 

Epoch of the Son

And so, in created time the epoch of the Son began.  

The Father God had through millennia called, nurtured, prepared, walked, nourished, chastised, blessed, married his people in order to find amongst them one human being, made from the Adam and Eve to become the second mother of all living.  “Mother, woman, behold hold your son” (John 19:25).

Unlike the Epoch of the Father the epoch of the Son, can be historically known. 

And so, it began with a messenger. A messenger unlike any other messenger.  One who stands before the throne of God and is messenger of the Father. To this messenger was given the task of approaching the creature made from the Adamah, (soil) and to pose to her a question of immeasurable worth.  So noble was the question that all of creation held its breath in a pregnant pause for her answer.  There was to be an understanding of what was asked of her and with the understanding a response from the depth of her pure soul.  One who had held the Father God’s vision spellbound with her beauty.   Not another like her was to be found.  Her beauty was made up of all the graces to be ever dispensed, held in the Father’s care.  All graces formed this virgin almah. “Full of grace” as the messenger addressed her. Not limited in grace, not simply beautiful, not elegant but “full of grace” No consort with the enemy had been found in her. Her beauty was grace-ful.

So enraptured was the Most Holy Trinity that each member of this trinity desired to take up residence within her being.  So beautiful a virginal soul where the enemy’s arrow had been deflected so that no stain could be found in her, that in looking into a mirror of her being there was reflected an image of the Son.  Before time His imprint had been etched into her being.  The holy ardour of this almah, for her God, was so pure that she responded with her fiat for Him to take up residence within her humble tent, and the most Holy Trinity looking into that tent of meeting (Ex.33:3-11) found a spotless throne, a sanctuary, which had remained and must eternally remain shut (Ezk 44: 1-3) and not one other had trespassed there for it was reserved for Majesty only. 

Only the “Prince” of the second Epoch may sit in this sanctuary which Yahweh creator God had created for the Son, Jesus.

And so it was that the almah was asked her question “Will you bear a Son, A Saviour who will redeem his people?” and the free and unencumbered response “let it be done unto me according to thy word for I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38) was necessary before the epoch of the Son could begin. Let none of my will impede your desires Oh my Lord and my God. I am humbled before your majesty, fiat Creator Father, fiat to your Eternal Word spoken over me- let it be done so.

And so it was that the epoch of the Son, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity began truly amongst His own creation.  The Son entered the Holy sanctuary and nestled and grew under the heart of the one whose fiat was given and resounded throughout all of creation.  Even Sheol waited holding its breath for the answer. Sheol overflowing with “Adams” of honour waiting for the gates of paradise to be reopened with the response of the humble Almah, the one full of grace.

The Fiat of the virgin would mean a new creation; a first born of the Divine would be enfleshed with a garment of “skin” of that which He had created, flesh of the creature, covering divinity.   Invisible divinity made visible in the flesh from the creature.

And so, God Son was born in a manner of the poor. Not a prince but in a manner of the first Adam, from the elements of creation.  The Second person of the Most Holy Trinity entered humanity completely and without shame. He entered in all ways unrecognizable as divinity, but as human in all ways but sin. 

His voice was heard in time. His footsteps left imprints. His teaching unforgettable; but more than this the Son paved the way for the third Epoch of the bride to be welcomed.  The Epoch of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of Life, Love and Truth and in this new epoch of the Spirit, this Holy Spirit would speak the truth about the Father and the Son. The Spirit would confirm their Holiness and the truth of the Trinitarian Love and Life of Father God.  “He will not come unless I go” said the Son (Jn14:26) and so He went. He returned back to the glory which was His before time began, so that the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity could descend with great power like a wind from heaven. (Acts 2:2) Like tongues of fire. (Acts 2:3) A spirit of Renewal and teaching. Spirit of healing, eloquence, prophecy, understanding, but above all the Spirit teaching the bride about love.   

The Spirit’s work was and is to teach and prepare the work of Love to prepare the “bride” for her groom. To prepare her garment for the great wedding feast of the Lamb.  The Spirit leads and teaches and prepares so that the bridal garment is found to be spotless “…Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and faultless.” (Ep. 5:27).  And so, the work of the Holy Spirit continues till the Son returns to claim His Bride wearing her beautiful spotless gown.  

The third Epoch of the Spirit.

  This epoch is one of beautifying the bride, (Church/humanity) cleansing her of all stain so that He may come to her and wed her to Himself and the Father through them may be glorified.

The Holy Spirit Lord & Giver of Life

He Breathed on Adam and Adam began to live.

We first encounter the breath of God in Genesis 2:7 where until the breath is breathed into the shaped human person it had remained inanimate, lifeless. It was the breath of God which animated the new creation.  It was the Spirit being breathed into the new creation which animated this creation. Indeed, it was this breath that made the human being whose physical reality is composed of water, proteins and carbons, into something entirely different.  The chemical reaction which that “breath” brought about was what changed the order completely from all the other created order.

This new order created in the imago Dei (image of God) now was different from all the other creation.

We believe in the Holy Spirit the Lord and Giver of Life

The first truth about the Holy Spirit which we proclaim when we say the Creed is that the Holy Spirit is Lord.  He is Kyrios.  He is equal in every way to the Father and the Son.  His divinity is no different, lesser or even greater from theirs.  His knowledge, power, authority is not different.  

After the Council of Nicaea (325AD) where the Son was declared of the same ousios (essence) as the Father, under the impetus of Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers, the council of Constantinople in 381 declared “We believe in the Holy Spirit the Lord and Giver of Life who proceeds from the father and together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified”

In this council the Fathers concentrated more on the mission of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit, they declared is Life Giver. This of course means that the Holy Spirit is involved with the creative works of God the Father both on the physical level and spiritual level, that is, the supernatural life of grace.

 The Holy Spirit does not exempt us from the teachings of the Father or of Jesus. In the Gospels when Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit, He said “He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are coming.  He will glorify me because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you” (Jn 16:13-14). And knowing this, it will be impossible to be led away from the will of the Father and the Son and of course the bride humanity, church founded by Jesus.

The Holy Spirit has the role of vivifying and deifying the creature which God has called into being and which He in His role of vivification is called upon to transform it from inanimate to life filled. 

The Holy Spirit is that divine being who creates unity and makes divine life to overflow.  It is the principle which at the same time unites and distinguishes each member of the Most Holy Trinity.

He is the guarantee of the unity between God and His created beings. It’s the principle of each new life, a principle given by God and received at creation and at recreation (baptism).  The Holy Spirit dwells within the new creation and makes the creation a child of God and establishes within him/her the Christ, and where this happens removes the principle of evil and of sin.  This indwelling becomes for the creation a principle of love, (Father) holiness (Son) and sanctification (Spirit).   In the words of Lumen Gentium (No.7) The Holy Spirit is the soul animating and securing the Mystical Body of Christ. (Rms 5:5)

We first meet this mysterious Being of Holiness when He breathes over the waters at the beginning of creation.  It’s a new beginning in relation to the original beginning of God’s self-giving in creation (Dominum Vivificantem 3), and bringing order from chaos             (Gen 1:1-3). We see Him again breathing over the apostles and giving them authority to forgive sins and bring new order and life out of the chaos which is sin and loss of friendship with God (Jn 20:20) and of course He hovers over the virgin Mary at conception of the Child of God, Jesus.  

The Holy Spirit is Lord and Giver of Life because He is pure love, and Life and Love are entwined and are necessarily linked and the reason for this is because “God is Love” (Ps 103, 1Jn 4:8) and the words of Jesus found in John “I am the Life” (Jn 11:25).  The Holy Spirit is the Love and the Life by which the Father and the Son give themselves to one another. This self-giving brings forth a new Life, The Holy Spirit. A creation of the Father and the Son. 

When a man and a woman, made in the image and likeness of God unite, one aspect of that “image and likeness” is that the union is so dynamic so life giving that it will bring forth a new life.  The language that their body speaks is one of love and the word spoken by the body is life-giving.  (Theology of the Body JPII) A new creation, a new beginning a new spirit in creation.

The Holy Spirit enters into the Life created and thus vivifies it and establishes Himself as a great gift from the Father God who thus enters into a union with His creation.   The Holy Spirit is the source of Life (Jn6:63) and as St Augustine would say He is “Gift” and He is as St Thomas Aquinas would say he is “Love”.  He is the Lover, beloved and the Love between them.  He is the guarantee of the unity between God and His created beings. As He is the guarantee of the Love between the Father and the Son.

Humane Vitae

In the exquisitely beautiful document Humane Vitae we find the proclamation and confirmation that love and life are linked and not two separate entities but linked. The reason is because they are same. God is Love (Ps103) and God is Life (Jn 11:25) It is the self-giving between God and His son Jesus which gives Life and Love and this by another name is The Holy Spirit.

When a man and a woman give purely of themselves in love and who are made in the Imago Dei then their love also gives and creates new life.

The Holy Spirit, as the Lord and Giver of Life, has played a major and special role in the formulation of Humane Vitae because through this document the Holy Spirit the Lord and giver of Life, beautifully teaches us in love and truth about His inner Life within the inner Life of God.  Through this document Humane Vitae He speaks of His authority over Life and the tragic outcomes if attempts to remove Him from creation are pursued, because in truth we are not in control but we belong to God, are created for God and our destination is back towards Him.  “You are not your own. You have been bought at a price” says St Paul in (1Cor.6:19-20).

Openness to life is not something added as an afterthought to the sexual act but it is the very essence of the act which accepts life as a gift.  The most intimate act of two human beings opens the gateway to a gift being given through that same act and that gift is “Life”.  God has merged life, love and sexuality together because they belong together as one cannot be without the other. One without the other is empty.

Today there is a tragic loss of this understanding and as a result has made sex utilitarian.  Today we have a society which has separated “Love” and “Life” and thus rendered both empty. It’s a society overwhelmed and over sexualised but in reality, empty because the mystery of God, the author of love and life is removed from the very act which is designed by the author of Love and Life.

Today we live in a culture where the body is more and more seen as a physical entity only, thus losing sight of the inseparable bond of the body with the spirit and indeed we are seeing the un coupling of the body from the spirit and the ensuing degradation of the human body by our attempts to remove the transcendent dimension of the Holy Spirit breathed into creation.

The Holy Words of God (Our Scriptures) reveal something amazingly beautiful and that is that this life that we have is God’s life and love and freely given to us, and He lives it through us.  In other words, in accepting our life and carrying out our duties, we enter into a life, love, and freedom far superior than anything we could ever achieve or hope for on our own. This life, love and freedom are gifts to us from our Father God, and our Lord and Giver of Life.

The sexual act properly understood demands that we acknowledge the Holy Spirit, the author of this act which is tied to Life.  More than this however, the sexual act can never be separated from its purpose “Life” God has placed us into this immense preparation for life and self-giving which began when God uttered those never-ending words “let there be light” (Gn1:3) and will continue until the end of time when the Spirit and Bride say “Maranatha…Come Lord Jesus, come!” (Rev. 22:17)

Our Lord Jesus presented the Holy Spirit as the possessor of Truth, Life and Power and directs our gaze to the Holy Spirit as the one who personifies divine Love (Jn 17:26)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Life because he is the Lord who is charged with vivifying and sanctifying the life created by the Father and redeemed by the Son.  In His role as Lord and Giver of Life the Holy Spirit is gift from God and is God’s way of entering into union with His creation.  Kilian O’Donnell has expressed beautifully his idea of the Holy Spirit as being the light which shines on Christ and makes Him clearly visible or as Walter Kasper would say the Holy Spirit is the “divine ecstasy”. He is the ecstasy of God. (How beautiful)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of divine Power and when we recognise the action of the Holy Spirit who is the source of all pardon, mercy, grace, healing and renewal we recognise his work of tasking us out from chaos to peace. It is one of the tasks of the Holy Spirit to convince the world of sin (Jn 16:8) and his other task is to lead the sinner from chaos (sin) to Holiness.  The Holy Spirit is the God who completes the works of the human being and then sanctifies the completed works to present them to the Father.

The Holy Spirit the Comforter in the sacrament of reconciliation when we hear the healing and consoling words “God the father of Mercies has sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins” How comforting are the words which release us from pain.  He is a comforter as promised by Jesus.  A comforter, a companion, intercessor, and reconciler who has faith in us that we can overcome sin, we can repent and will find forgiveness in the middle of all that is difficult in our own lives, in society and the world.

The Holy Spirit is a teacher.  In my work as a catholic post abortion grief counsellor, I help my clients to learn about, meet and fall in love with the baby/s they have aborted and learn of a God who has never abandoned them.  The Holy Spirit is the inner principle which helps me in this work.  He is the consoler of the pain and sorrow and hurt over the sin of abortion. Even though He Himself has been deeply wounded in the rejection of His gift of a new life, He becomes the comforter of the pain.  He is attentive to the voice of pain and consoles. He rekindles love within our abortive hearts so that we can learn to love again and recover.  He helps us to believe that we can be forgiven.  He is the priceless Gift of God as He is the third member of the most holy Trinity.

Finally, I would say that devotion to Holy Spirit calls us to allow Him to transform, to change, to raise our freedom and our choices into union with God.  To Listen for His whisper of Divine love and to acknowledge His Divine authorship over love and life. We live in the third epoch of the bride an epoch in anticipation of the return of the Son and with him the Trinity into all of creation just as it was in the beginning. 

The three epochs entwine with each other in a dance of unity and in each epoch, we are shown the glory which is the Trinity.