10-Holy Ghost II - Pre-Modern SlantCall to worship:
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Saint Augustine of Hippo
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
that I always may be holy.
For the past six weeks we have been exploring the subject of “ecstasy”; it is a spiritual experience I am recommending. Eventually, our discussion worked its way around to a concept the Holy Ghost as the motivator of the ecstatic experience. Last week we reviewed a lot of conventional wisdom concerning the Holy Ghost, including some general definitions and connections to other concepts we have been bandying about. Next week, we will look at what a group of more modern philosophers, beginning with Martin Luther, have to say about the Holy Ghost. Eventually, we hope to tie all these thoughts in with some of our previously espoused ideas about ecstasy.
Today, we will get to hear from two of the great, old, pre-modern grandfathers of the church: Boethius and St. Thomas Aquinas. They both have much to say about the Holy Ghost, or, more generally, the Holy Trinity. Last week we saw that the Bible amply supplies precedents for the ceremonial passion for God which I am recommending. Today, Boethius and St. Thomas Aquinas will supply us with food for thought. These men, both of whom we have studied before, have proclaimed the power of the spirit in their daily lives, and have contributed meaningfully to the spiritual literature. The lessons they teach encourage soberness of mind, and openness of heart.
In previous sermons, we have upheld Boethius (ca. 500 AD) as a very wise Roman, a harbinger of the eventual Christian domination of European philosophy. Here is his commentary on the Holy trinity, a gateway to the subject of the Holy Spirit. This monograph, The Trinity is One God not Three Gods occupies itself entirely with proving that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are “three in one”. It is very clever how he demonstrates that if you say the same thing three times, it is the “Sameness” not the “Threeness” that is operative. The article barely mentions the Holy Spirit at all, as a distinct entity, but the Boethius repeatedly affirms the principle that all three are one. This is important if we are to proceed to this crucial question: is an ecstasy inspired by the Holy Spirit the same thing as an ecstasy inspired by God?
Let me emphasize this: is an ecstasy, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the same thing as an ecstasy inspired by God? Are the sweet words of wisdom and encouragement we receive in ecstasy--are they REALLY from God? In answering this question we must base all our a priori concepts on scripture--writing unequivocally inspired by God. It is important to establish a firm Biblical and Historic connection between the ecstatic experience and the truest forms of Christianity; because the subjects we have been discussing lately, fall well outside the philosophical circumference of most "Normal" Christians, it is ethically compulsory that we generate our dogma from the most uncompromised Biblical precedents. We have discussed several qualities of ecstasy, and have found that those ecstatic transports, which are inspired by material things, are of less benefit than those ecstasies inspired by spiritual things. If this is true, then the NAME of the Holy Spirit, and the ORIGIN of the Holy Spirit is relevant.
Furthermore, we know that unfamiliar material is always greeted with suspicion by those who do not understand. The shadow of "false prophet" lurks on many pages of the Bible; thus the greatest philosophical feat of all is to be able to distinguish something that is true from something that is Satanic in character. Is something Satanic because you never heard of it before? Or is something new, also true, because we are eternally directed to "Sing unto the Lord a new song!"?
The following discussion is a linguistic exercise attempting to prove through reasonable trains of thought that an incomprehensible concept like the TRINITY is actually possible--that the universe is unified in ONE.
Boethius On the trinity:
“But God differs from no God, neither are [Gods] separate in accidents or in substantial differences which have been posited in a subject. But where there is no difference, there is no plurality at all therefore no [plural] number, and thus unity alone. For even though 'God' is thrice repeated when Father, Son and Holy Ghost are named, the three unities do not produce a plurality of number in respect to that which they truly are, if we turn to countable things and not to the number itself. For in the latter case, the repetition of unities produces a plural number."
[Sidebar: Notice he specifies "countable things"!]
"But in the number which corresponds to countable things, the repetition of unities and the resultant plurality in no way produce a numerical diversity of countable things. For number is of two varieties: the one by which we count, the other which corresponds to countable things. Moreover a thing is one, but unity is that by which we call a thing one. Again there are two in the realm of things, e.g. men and stones; but duality is nothing but that by which there are two men or two stones.
And the same holds for other numbers. When it comes to the number by which we count, therefore, the repetition of unities produces plurality; but when it comes to the number of things, the repetition of unities does not produce plurality."
[Sidebar: This is the point: “, the repetition of unities does not produce plurality”. A lot of the same thing is still just one thing--whereas, a lot of different things are countable, and constitute a plurality. What Boethius is saying, in this discussion of numbers, is that the numbers exist on two planes: they exist in the abstract realm of a priori knowledge, a plane which is pure rationality, and they correspond to things in the physical world. So many things are like that.
Back to Boethius:]
"For instance, if I were to say, concerning the same thing, 'one sword, one blade, one brand.' - since one sword can be known by so many terms- this is an iteration of unities, not an enumeration. For instance, if we were to say, 'brand, blade, sword.' this is, so to speak, a repetition of the same thing, not an enumeration of different things. Or if I were to say, 'sun, sun, sun’ I would not have produced three suns, but I would have predicated of one sun so many times.[Sidebar: I find this to be a fascinating point, that: “Relation is not at all able to be predicated, for the substance in question is not a true substance, but beyond substance”, that is to say, a RELATION is beyond substance, a RELATION enters the world of the abstract, the proper context of spiritual things.
Therefore, if 'God’ is predicated thrice of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, it does not follow that this triple predication produces a plural number. For, as has been said, this is a threat to those who impose distance between these [three] according to their merits, but for Catholics, who[a] assign nothing in the way of difference,it rightly seems to be a repetition of the same thing, rather than an enumeration of different things. When it is said, "God the Father, God the Son. God the Holy Ghost and this Trinity are one God," just as "blade and brand are one sword." or "sun, sun and sun are one sun."
[b] consider the form itself to be as it is, and
[c] hold the opinion that His essence is not any other,
But for now, let what has been said be a signification and a demonstration by which it is shown that not every repetition of unities produces number and plurality. But it does not follow that "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" is said as though of some synonymous thing; for blade and brand are identical and the same, but Father, Son and Holy Ghost are indeed the same, but not identical. This matter will be looked into shortly. For to those asking, "is the Father identical to the Son?" they (i.e. Catholics) say, "not at all." Again, to the question, "is the one the same as the other?" the answer is no. For there is not lack of difference amongst them in every respect, and thus number slipped in, which was brought about by diversity of subjects, as was explained above. About this point we shall make a brief consideration, once we have said how each and every thing is predicated of God.
There are in all ten traditional categories, which are universally predicated of all things: substance, quality, quantity, relation, location, time, condition, situation, active and passive. And these are such as their subjects will permit; for part of them refer to predicates in reference to the substance of other things, and part of them refer to a number of accidents.
But when one applies these to divine predication, everything that can be predicated is changed. Relation is not at all able to be predicated, for the substance in question is not a true substance, but beyond substance; the same holds for quality and all the rest which can arise. That our understanding may be greater, examples are given as follows."
Back to Boethius:]
"For when we say 'God' we indeed seem to signify a substance, but the sort that is beyond substance: yet when we say 'just' we indeed signify a quality: not an accident, but rather a quality which is a substance, again of the beyond substance sort. For 'to be' is not one thing and 'to be just' something else, but indeed for God to be and to be just are the same. Likewise, when he is called ‘great' or 'best' we seem to signify a quantity, one that is the same as a substance, of the sort we said was beyond substance; for to be God is the same as to be great. And concerning his form, it was demonstrated above how he is form and truly one and no plurality at all.
[Sidebar: Notice the use of the word "form"; the Trinity seen as some sort of coherent shape, and the term "shape", we move to the term "idea". We will come back to this.
Back to Boethius:]
"But these categories are such that they make whatever they are in to be the same as that which they signify', in a diverse way for most things, but for God in this linked and joined way: for when we say 'substance’, e.g. man or God. it [substance] is said as though that of which it is predicated is itself a substance, e.g. the substance man or the substance God. But there is a difference, for a man is not simply and entirely man, and because of this, man is not [simply and entirely] a substance either; for he owes that which he is to things other than man. But God is the same in this way [simply and entirely], for he is nothing other than what He is, and thus He is simply God. Again 'just’, which is a quality, is thus said as though it were the very thing of which it is predicated, i.e. if we say, ‘a man is just', or ‘God is just’, we declare a particular man or God to be just: but there is a difference, since a man and a just man are two things, but God is the same as that which is just. And again 'great’ is said of man or God, as if a particular man were himself great or if God were great: but man is merely great, whereas God exists as greatness itself."
[Sidebar: I believe the sense of this paragraph resides in an understanding of spiritual reality as a continuum of greater to lesser material resolutions, infinitely great to infinitely small; in this sense: a man may assume the quality of greatness as an aspect of himself, which he shares in common with the Father; but it is the Father who PERSONIFIES the essence of every possible quality, greatness et al.
Back to Boethius:]
"But the remaining categories are predicated neither of God nor of other things [in reference to substance]. For location can be predicated of either man or God: of a man, such as 'in the forum:' of God, such as 'everywhere’ but such that the thing spoken of is not the same as that which is predicated of it. For man is not thus said to be in the forum in the way that he is said to be white or tall, nor is he encompassed and determined by some property by which he can be designated according to himself, but all that is pointed out by this predicate is that a thing has been described by other circumstances.
But it is not so concerning God, for it seems to be said that He is everywhere, not because He is in every place (for he is unable to be in a place at all) but because every place is present to him insofar as it holds Him, although He Himself is not contained in any place: and therefore He is said to be nowhere in a place, for He is everywhere but not in any place.
Time is predicated in the same way, as concerning man, ‘yesterday he came' or concerning God, ‘He always is’. And He, whose yesterday arrival was mentioned, is said to be such, not as though this amounted to something, but merely that which has befallen Him in respect to time is predicated. But the fact that it is said of God, ‘He always is’, indeed signifies one thing, as if for all the past. "He was," in every present, -whatever that means- "He is,' and for every future time, "He will be." But that which according to Philosophers can be said of Heaven and other immortal bodies cannot be said of God in the same way. For He always is, since 'always' belongs to the present in a point of time, and there is so great a difference between the present of our affairs, which is now, and the present of divine affairs, because our 'now,’ as though running time, produces a sempiternity, but the divine 'now’, being quite fixed, not moving itself and enduring, produces eternity; and if you were to attach 'always' to this name, you would make the course of our now into something continual and untiring and therefore perpetual, i.e. 'sempiternity.'”
[Sidebar: I looked up sempiternity just to be sure; it is an interesting word:
1. (philosophy) existence within time but infinitely into the future; as opposed to eternity, understood as existing outside time
I believe that Joseph Campbell would equate the word sempiternity with the word “everlasting”. In one of his conversations with Bill Moyers, Campbell makes the distinction between everlasting and eternal. Most people have an image of Heaven as an everlasting sequence of moments, whereas the concept of eternity is outside sequential time, and has no beginning or end, (or middle for that matter). It is interesting that this concept has come up in a discussion centered around ecstasy, because the ecstatic is said to enter an “eternal moment” that exists outside time. And yet, not all experiences that we designate as "ecstatic" are without sequential definition--some ecstatics pass through discrete levels of consciousness, as in, say, any other journey from one place to another. Thus, it may be suggested that some ecstatics pass through the gates of Heaven and visit there for awhile, and other ecstatics touch and eternal moment for NO WHILE.]
Now, having tasted of Boethius' cosmic take on the Trinity, we now turn, about 700 years down the road, to St. Thomas Aquinas, who will discuss, in his The Summa Theologica, matters concerning the origin of the Son and Holy Ghost as the progress from the Father. The importance of The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas as a philosophical breakthrough cannot be overestimated. In ca. 1250, with the renewed interest in the neo-Platonist Humanism that led to the scientific (and not to mention godless) modern age, it is admirable indeed how he took the mechanics of Platonic philosophy and applied them to religious dogmatic thought.
What that means, specifically, can be best exemplified by a review of the FORM of the articles in The Summa Theologica. Each article is based on a proposition, a question to be argued, such as:
“Whether this name "Holy Ghost" is the proper name of one divine person?”
The proposition is then followed by a series of plausible objections, then some contraries, replies to the objections, (this is where St. Thomas, excuse the expression, plays devil's advocate with himself, and argues the point from several sides), and then, finally, a definitive resolution of the question. For our purposes here, it would be only of didactic interest to give the articles in their completeness; but, as you will see, in context, Saint Thomas makes some discerning comments about the Holy Spirit. Notice that we take up the subject about where we left off with Boethius—the question of plurality in regard to the Trinity must have been difficult for the people of this time, because the precision with which the idea is expressed is of extreme importance to the philosophers of this period. The question we begin with, “Whether this name "Holy Ghost" is the proper name of one divine person?” addresses, implicitly, the same issue, the plurality of the Trinity, that occupied Boethius.
The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Article 1. Whether this name "Holy Ghost" is the proper name of one divine person?
Objection 1. It would seem that this name, "Holy Ghost," is not the proper name of one divine person. For no name which is common to the three persons is the proper name of any one person. But this name of 'Holy Ghost'---[It should be borne in mind that the word "ghost" is the old English equivalent for the Latin "spiritus," whether in the sense of "breath" or "blast," or in the sense of "spirit," as an immaterial substance. Thus, we read in the former sense:
(Hampole, Psalter x, 7), "The Gost of Storms" [spiritus procellarum],
and in the latter
"Trubled gost is sacrifice of God" (Prose Psalter, A.D. 1325), and
"Oure wrestlynge is . . . against the spiritual wicked gostes of the ayre" (More, "Comfort against Tribulation");
and in our modern expression of "giving up the ghost."
As applied to God, and not specially to the third Holy Person, we have an example from Maunder,
"Jhesu Criste was the worde and the goste of Good."]
But this name of 'Holy Ghost' is common to the three persons; for Hilary (De Trin. viii) shows that the "Spirit of God" sometimes means the Father, as in the words of Isaiah 61:1: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;" and sometimes the Son, as when the Son says: "In the Spirit of God I cast out devils" (Matthew 12:28), showing that He cast out devils by His own natural power; and that sometimes it means the Holy Ghost, as in the words of Joel 2:28: "I will pour out of My Spirit over all flesh." Therefore this name 'Holy Ghost' is not the proper name of a divine person.
On the contrary, It is said (1 John 5:7): "There are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost." As Augustine says (De Trin. vii, 4): "When we ask, Three what? we say, Three persons." Therefore the Holy Ghost is the name of a divine person.
I answer that, While there are two processions in God, one of these, the procession of love, has no proper name of its own, as stated above (27, 4, ad 3). Hence the relations also which follow from this procession are without a name (28, 4): for which reason the Person proceeding in that manner has not a proper name. But as some names are accommodated by the usual mode of speaking to signify the aforesaid relations, as when we use the names of procession and spiration, which in the strict sense more fittingly signify the notional acts than the relations;
[Sidebar: This discussion of the NAME of the Holy Spirit is in basic agreement with my objection to calling Jesus, by the name "Christ". As you have heard me complain many times, Christ is not a name but a title: "The Christ", "The Anointed One". Similarly, the Holy Sprit is not referred to by who He IS, but by what He DOES.
Notice also the phrase, "the procession of love, has no proper name of its own". Is this, perhaps, merely so that the absence of a name might facilitate the subject's ascent into a non-verbal reality?
Back to Aquinas:]
"so to signify the divine Person, Who proceeds by way of love, this name "Holy Ghost" is by the use of scriptural speech accommodated to Him.
The appropriateness of this name may be shown in two ways.
Firstly, from the fact that the person who is called "Holy Ghost" has something in common with the other Persons. For, as Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 17; v, 11),
"Because the Holy Ghost is common to both, He Himself is called that properly which both are called in common. For the Father also is a spirit, and the Son is a spirit; and the Father is holy, and the Son is holy."
Secondly, from the proper signification of the name. For the name spirit in things corporeal seems to signify impulse and motion; for we call the breath and the wind by the term spirit. Now it is a property of love to move and impel the will of the lover towards the object loved. Further, holiness is attributed to whatever is ordered to God. Therefore because the divine person proceeds by way of the love whereby God is loved, that person is most properly named "The Holy Ghost."
[Sidebar: More and more often, we are seeing the Holy Spirit spoken of as a PREDICATE, in language consistent with the the idea of movement from one consciousness state to another; statements like, "the name spirit in things corporeal seems to signify impulse and motion," and, "it is a property of love to move and impel the will of the lover towards the object loved,"; these expressions appear routinely in descriptions of ecstatic experiences. In ecstasy, the saint's consciousness is drawn upward, in love, closer and closer to the object of its desire, that is to say, God.
Back to St. Thomas:]
"Reply to Objection 2. Although this name "Holy Ghost" does not indicate a relation, still it takes the place of a relative term, inasmuch as it is accommodated to signify a Person distinct from the others by relation only. Yet this name may be understood as including a relation, if we understand the Holy Spirit as being breathed [spiratus].
Article 2. Whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son?
Objection 7. Further "the actual and the possible do not differ in things perpetual" (Phys. iii, text 32), and much less so in God. But it is possible for the Holy Ghost to be distinguished from the Son, even if He did not proceed from Him. For Anselm says (De Process. Spir. Sancti, ii):
"The Son and the Holy Ghost have their Being from the Father; but each in a different way; one by Birth, the other by Procession, so that they are thus distinct from one another."
And further on he says:
"For even if for no other reason were the Son and the Holy Ghost distinct, this alone would suffice."
Therefore the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Son, without proceeding from Him.
On the contrary, Athanasius says: "The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son; not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding."
I answer that, It must be said that the Holy Ghost is from the Son. For if He were not from Him, He could in no wise be personally distinguished from Him; as appears from what has been said above. For it cannot be said that the divine Persons are distinguished from each other in any absolute sense; for it would follow that there would not be one essence of the three persons: since everything that is spoken of God in an absolute sense, belongs to the unity of essence. Therefore it must be said that the divine persons are distinguished from each other only by the relations. Now the relations cannot distinguish the persons except forasmuch as they are opposite relations; which appears from the fact that the Father has two relations, by one of which He is related to the Son, and by the other to the Holy Ghost; but these are not opposite relations, and therefore they do not make two persons, but belong only to the one person of the Father. If therefore in the Son and the Holy Ghost there were two relations only, whereby each of them were related to the Father, these relations would not be opposite to each other, as neither would be the two relations whereby the Father is related to them. Hence, as the person of the Father is one, it would follow that the person of the Son and of the Holy Ghost would be one, having two relations opposed to the two relations of the Father. But this is heretical since it destroys the Faith in the Trinity. Therefore the Son and the Holy Ghost must be related to each other by opposite relations.
Now there cannot be in God any relations opposed to each other, except relations of origin. And opposite relations of origin are to be understood as of a "principle," and of what is "from the principle." Therefore we must conclude that it is necessary to say that either the Son is from the Holy Ghost; which no one says; or that the Holy Ghost is from the Son, as we confess.
Furthermore, the order of the procession of each one agrees with this conclusion. For it was said above, that the Son proceeds by the way of the intellect as Word, and the Holy Ghost by way of the will as Love. Now love must proceed from a word. For we do not love anything unless we apprehend it by a mental conception. Hence also in this way it is manifest that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son.
We derive a knowledge of the same truth from the very order of nature itself. For we nowhere find that several things proceed from one without order except in those which differ only by their matter; as for instance one smith produces many knives distinct from each other materially, with no order to each other; whereas in things in which there is not only a material distinction we always find that some order exists in the multitude produced. Hence also in the order of creatures produced, the beauty of the divine wisdom is displayed. So if from the one Person of the Father, two persons proceed, the Son and the Holy Ghost, there must be some order between them. Nor can any other be assigned except the order of their nature, whereby one is from the other. Therefore it cannot be said that the Son and the Holy Ghost proceed from the Father in such a way as that neither of them proceeds from the other, unless we admit in them a material distinction; which is impossible.
Hence also the Greeks themselves recognize that the procession of the Holy Ghost has some order to the Son. For they grant that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit "of the Son"; and that He is from the Father "through the Son." Some of them are said also to concede that "He is from the Son"; or that "He flows from the Son," but not that He proceeds; which seems to come from ignorance or obstinacy. For a just consideration of the truth will convince anyone that the word procession is the one most commonly applied to all that denotes origin of any kind. For we use the term to describe any kind of origin; as when we say that a line proceeds from a point, a ray from the sun, a stream from a source, and likewise in everything else. Hence, granted that the Holy Ghost originates in any way from the Son, we can conclude that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son." . . . .
Reply to Objection 4. When the Holy Ghost is said to rest or abide in the Son, it does not mean that He does not proceed from Him; for the Son also is said to abide in the Father, although He proceeds from the Father. Also the Holy Ghost is said to rest in the Son as the love of the lover abides in the beloved; or in reference to the human nature of Christ, by reason of what is written: "On whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, He it is who baptizes" (John 1:33).
Reply to Objection 7. The Holy Ghost is distinguished from the Son, inasmuch as the origin of one is distinguished from the origin of the other; but the difference itself of origin comes from the fact that the Son is only from the Father, whereas the Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son; for otherwise the processions would not be distinguished from each other.
I answer that, Whenever one is said to act through another, this preposition "through" points out, in what is covered by it, some cause or principle of that act. But since action is a mean between the agent and the thing done, sometimes that which is covered by the preposition "through" is the cause of the action, as proceeding from the agent; and in that case it is the cause of why the agent acts, whether it be a final cause or a formal cause, whether it be effective or motive. It is a final cause when we say, for instance, that the artisan works through love of gain. It is a formal cause when we say that he works through his art. It is a motive cause when we say that he works through the command of another. Sometimes, however, that which is covered by this preposition "through" is the cause of the action regarded as terminated in the thing done; as, for instance, when we say, the artisan acts through the mallet, for this does not mean that the mallet is the cause why the artisan acts, but that it is the cause why the thing made proceeds from the artisan, and that it has even this effect from the artisan. This is why it is sometimes said that this preposition "through" sometimes denotes direct authority, as when we say, the king works through the bailiff; and sometimes indirect authority, as when we say, the bailiff works through the king."
[Sidebar: I find this section to be very clever, linguistically speaking: to say of a "preposition" that it "sometimes denotes direct authority . . . and sometimes indirect authority", gets right down there in the nitty-gritty of verbal nuance, and explores the utmost of what the literal mind can distinguish.
I would like to introduce a point which I will develop next week: I have long intuited that, in the case of the Son working "THROUGH" Holy Ghost, the MECHANISM of transmission, the materialization of the preposition, is the ANGEL. In this analogy, of the MALLET and the ARTISAN, the
ARTISAN = HOLY GHOST, and
MALLET = ANGEL.
Angels are the so-called "angles of God", the purely impersonal thought forms of God. Angels are lower than Man because they have no personal identity--they exist in the purely abstract realm of thought, and convey their meanings to the Human souls, innocent of all carnal context. (Steiner says the angels IMPRINT the divine truth on the astral body of the devotee.) Since Angels are pure thought, AND pure energy, a logical consequence of injecting pure thought into the sequential stream of time and material, is movement--it is not the MATERIALITY but the ENERGY of the Angelic touch that imprints itself upon the devotee's spiritual body, creating a thought form, i.e., a coherent sequence of images which synergistically convey a holistic meaning, from a string of partial meanings, and which refer to an Eternal Truth unencumbered by the fetters of Time. We will return to this next week.
Back to St. Thomas:]
"Therefore, because the Son receives from the Father that the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him, it can be said that the Father spirates the Holy Ghost through the Son, or that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son, which has the same meaning. . . . .
Reply to Objection 3. As the begetting of the Son is co-eternal with the begetter (and hence the Father does not exist before begetting the Son), so the procession of the Holy Ghost is co-eternal with His principle. Hence, the Son was not begotten before the Holy Ghost proceeded; but each of the operations is eternal.
I answer that, The Father and the Son are in everything one, wherever there is no distinction between them of opposite relation. Hence since there is no relative opposition between them as the principle of the Holy Ghost it follows that the Father and the Son are one principle of the Holy Ghost."
Thus doth St. Thomas affirm the unity of the Trinity.
In my own mind I try to imagine the unimaginable Trinity declension as, sort of, levels of ego resolution:
God the Father the densest resolution,
God the Son a medium resolution, as befits a mediator, and
God the Holy Ghost, the finest resolution.
Thus, the same essence appears in various levels of formal manifestation. Indeed, it is the FORM of the Trinity that distinguishes Its components as discrete entities within a continuum of Being. St. Thomas repeatedly referred to the RELATION of Father, to the Son, to the Holy Ghost, and made the point that Aspects of God may only bear an OPPOSITE RELATION in terms of ORIGIN; the elements of the Trinity PROGRESS one from the other. Thus, the term "Relation", in this context, creates "Form". We will go deeper into the subject of "Form" next week, but for now it will not hurt to project into the future a little bit; next week I will read the following paragraph again:
"Let us examine the word "Form" more closely: a reasonable definition of the term, FORM, might run thus: the sequential creation of a continuum of variously weighted values, whose impact on the physical is capable of making an imprint on the soul of, and to initiate change in the subjective reality of, the devotee. In other words, a thought form is an ACTIVE thought, an entity originating in the lofty stratosphere of the abstract, but which is capable of descending into the physical and exerting a TANGIBLE effect on the material plane. The FORM is the sequence as it is played out in time, and recorded into MEMORY. In memory the thought form may be repeated again and again like a favorite TV episode; thus, the thought form's positive benefits may be reinforced with each repetition."
The bottom line is this: BEING is a VERB not a NOUN. The distinction between Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is in HOW THEY AFFECT ME. Thus, Holy Spirit is not defined by WHO It is, but by what It does. Nevertheless, the miracle is that, in active manifestation, the power of the Holy Spirit comes FROM God, THROUGH Jesus. Thus the Fixed and Eternal effect movement in the material plane. Just as Dante, approaching the Changeless Face of God, sees the Face of God changing with every change in himself, so does the personality of God change with every graded manifestation of Himself.
We will close with another prayer of St. Augustine:
Let us pray:
"O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams." Amen.