Recent Posts

Monday, 6 April 2015

Indwelling Part Two

St. Augustine writes this small paragraph on the Trinity, as a description. It is not my intent to concentrate on the nature of the Trinity, but the fact that the Trinity dwells within the baptized who are not in mortal sin. From On The Trinity, Book XV:

Let us, then, now seek the Trinity which is God, in the things themselves that are eternal, incorporeal, and unchangeable; in the perfect contemplation of which a blessed life is promised us, which cannot be other than eternal. For not only does the authority of the divine books declare that God is; but the whole nature of the universe itself which surrounds us, and to which we also belong, proclaims that it has a most excellent Creator, who has given to us a mind and natural reason, whereby to see that things living are to be preferred to things that are not living; things that have sense to things that have not; things that have understanding to things that have not; things immortal to things mortal; things powerful to things impotent; things righteous to things unrighteous; things beautiful to things deformed; things good to things evil; things incorruptible to things corruptible; things unchangeable to things changeable; things invisible to things visible; things incorporeal to things corporeal; things blessed to things miserable. And hence, since without doubt we place the Creator above things created, we must needs confess that the Creator both lives in the highest sense, and perceives and understands all things, and that He cannot die, or suffer decay, or be changed; and that He is not a body, but a spirit, of all the most powerful, most righteous, most beautiful, most good, most blessed.

What prevents the baptized from realizing the Indwelling of the Trinity? St. Augustine indicates that our weak minds can hardly understand the Scriptural references to the Trinity, much less us seeing the Trinity in nature? So, how can one realize the Indwelling and what are the barriers?

A person's understanding is based on knowledge, the imagination and memory. Here, notes St. Augustine, we are limited. Both wisdom and love give us hints as to the Presence of God. Chapter 8 in Book XV presents us with part of the solution.

know that wisdom is an incorporeal substance, and that it is the light by which those things are seen that are not seen by carnal eyes; and yet a man so great and so spiritual [as Paul] says, We see now through a glass, in an enigma, but then face to face. If we ask what and of what sort is this glass, this assuredly occurs to our minds, that in a glass nothing is discerned but an image. We have endeavored, then, so to do; in order that we might see in some way or other by this image which we are, Him by whom we are made, as by a glass. And this is intimated also in the words of the same apostleBut we with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.Beholding as in a glass, he has said, i.e. seeing by means of a glass, not looking from a watchtower: an ambiguity that does not exist in the Greek language, whence the apostolic epistles have been rendered into Latin. For in Greek, a glass, in which the images of things are visible, is wholly distinct in the sound of the word also from a watchtower, from the height of which we command a more distant view. And it is quite plain that the apostle, in using the word speculantes in respect to the glory of the Lord, meant it to come from speculum,not from specula. But where he says, We are transformed into the same image, he assuredly means to speak of the image of God; and by calling it the same, he means that very image which we see in the glass, because that same image is also the glory of the Lord; as he says elsewhere, For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God, — a text already discussed in the twelfth book. He means, then, by We are transformed, that we are changed from one form to another, and that we pass from a form that is obscure to a form that is bright: since the obscure form, too, is the image of God; and if an image, then assuredly also glory, in which we are created as men, being better than the other animals. For it is said of human nature in itself, The man ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God. And this nature, being the most excellent among things created, is transformed from a form that is defaced into a form that is beautiful, when it is justified by its own Creator from ungodliness. Since even in ungodliness itself, the more the faultiness is to be condemned, the more certainly is the nature to be praised. And therefore he has added, from glory to glory: from the glory of creation to the glory of justification. Although these words, from glory to glory, may be understood also in other ways—from the glory of faith to the glory of sight, from the glory whereby we are sons of God to the glory whereby we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. But in that he has added as from the Spirit of the Lord, he declares that the blessing of so desirable a transformation is conferred upon us by the grace of God.

Here one perceives that as each baptized person is transformed into the image of God more and more by grace, then one begins to understand something of the Indwelling of the Trinity.

As one is changed into a new person through baptism, the life of the virtues, purgation and purification, one begins to enter into that Illuminative state where one begins, ever so slightly, to sense the Indwelling of the Trinity.

St. Teresa of Avila writes this: "The best place to find God is within yourself." And, again, "To talk to God, all we have to do is to close our eyes and look at Him present within us."

And, yet again: "However softly we speak, God will hear us. We need no wings to go in search of Him: He is within."

One must be in sanctifying grace to find God within.

This awareness comes from grace and purity of heart. St. Teresa went through the Dark Night, into Illumination and finally Union. Her words show us that the way to God is prayer, first of all, But, this disposition assumes that one is in grace, living in the sacramental life of the Church. Grace illuminates the mind and the heart-the wisdom and love mentioned by St. Augustine.

But, so few people sense the Presence of the Trinity, even after moving away from mortal sin. St. Augustine states that we have to be healed of our infirmities-of our limitation owing to our own sinful natures.

Here we are back to Garrigou-Lagrange's graph on the predominant fault list. One cannot get away from attacking this fault, as it blocks illumination and union with God. What blocks us from sensing the Indwelling of the Trinity in us can be simply stated as venial sins and the presence of the predominant fault.

Garrigou-Lagrange wrote a prayer for us to say, pleading with God to help us overcome, destroy, this fault which stops us from realizing that God dwells within us. Here is his prayer to overcome the predominant or predominate fault. One must choose suffering, however. How can we refuse God this grace? Too many people say they will wait until purgatory to be rid of imperfections and tendencies towards sin. But, not to seek holiness now weakens the Church, and earns one a lesser place in heaven than what God intended. He wants us to become saints, now.

Lord, make me know the obstacles I more or less consciously place in the way of the working of Thy grace in me. Then give me the strength to rid myself of them, and, if I am negligent in doing so, do Thou deign to free me from them, though I should suffer greatly.

Lord, show me the principal obstacle to my sanctification, the one that hinders me from profiting by graces and also by the exterior difficulties that would work to the good of my soul if I had greater recourse to Thee when they arise.

"Lord, here burn, here cut, and dry up in me all that hinders me from going to Thee, that Thou mayest spare me in eternity." St. Louis Bertrand

"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to Thee. Give me all that will lead me to Thee. Take me from myself and give me to Thyself." St. Nicholas of Flue