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 “Each knowledge of my perfections which I manifest is a new heaven that I extend within the soul” 

Christological Hymn from the Letter to the Ephesians (second part)

8/28/2017

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Eph 1:3)

Through the blessing of God, we are introduced into the mystery of Christ resurrected.

God has blessed us, He has given us His grace, indeed every grace.  What does this mean?  That the grace of God is called Jesus Christ!  He has blessed us, giving to us Jesus Christ; this is His blessing.  Within that, there is everything:  there are all charisms, every experience of interior liberation, of transformation, there is the gift of the Spirit.  Everything is here, in that Jesus Christ Who is a gift for us, gift of the Father’s grace.  In Him, every other gift is summed up.

 

In fact, it’s significant that Paul, intoning the blessing, says: “Blessed be God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”; it is the title that expresses the identity of God from the Christian point of view.  God can be defined in many ways; from the Catechism, we had learned:  “God is the most perfect being, Creator and Lord of Heaven and earth”; but it’s not the only way of speaking about the mystery of God.  In the experience of Israel, God is first of all “the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob” (Ex 3:6); thus, the God that created a personal bond of love and of friendship with a few concrete people and that has walked together with them; in this it is important to emphasize the personal nature of God.  He manifested Himself to us not only as a powerful God, Creator and Lord, but as a God of love, a Savior.  We were in a condition of death and He brought us to life (cf. Is 38:17); we were in bondage and He freed us (cf. Deut 7:8); we were walking in the darkness and He opened wide a pathway of light before us (cf. Ps 18:29)…and we can express it in many ways.

 

Clearly all of this is also found within the Christian experience:  God is, for us as well, “the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob”, “the God that freed us from Egypt”; but there’s this new and somewhat surprising title:  “God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.  An intimacy of communion between God and Jesus Christ is established, a communion that is expressed as an eternal gift and full of life.  The Father gave life, He generated the Son; the Son totally receives His existence from the Father, thus there is the image of a communication full of life.  That communication of life which we have clearly recognized in the resurrection of Christ:  “God raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavens” (Eph 1:20).  In the resurrection, the Father gave Christ the fullness of life, the participation in His life.  Now what we have recognized on Easter is none other than the revelation of that eternal mystery of God, of that eternal generation with which the Father gives Himself and reflects Himself in the existence of the Son.

 

God is the Father of Jesus Christ.  It’s just that this Jesus Christ is not a stranger to us; we’re not only talking about the relationship between the Father and Christ, but about Jesus who is our Lord Jesus Christ.  There is a relationship between the Father and Christ, and there is a relationship between Jesus and us.  And the relationship between Jesus and us is this:  He is our Lord.  By now there is an indestructible bond with Christ in our lives.  Since Christ has a filial bond with the Father, through Christ this bond of intimacy descends down to us; and it will be all that Paul will try to say.  All that is beautiful, great, and immense which God gives to us, He gives us in Christ.  It is, therefore, our being grafted into Christ that allows us to enter into the grace of God, to become joyful and full beneficiaries (cf. Rom 11:24).  The blessing in the Spirit brings us into communion with the Pascal Christ.

 

This blessing which is Christ and is given to us in Christ, Paul defines it as the spiritual blessing in the heavens.

“Spiritual” means: that it is given to us in the Spirit and through the Spirit.  Christ is God’s gift to us; but the acceptance, knowledge and experience of this gift can only be done in the Spirit.  Because Jesus – Who is a concrete person, is different me; I can at the most see, listen and touch Him, but with an experience that emphasizes otherness: He is different from me – it is grace and He enters into my existence, no longer as a stranger, but in way so as to say: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me” (Gal 2:20), for the only possibility that this can occur is the Spirit.  It is in the Spirit that the relationship with Christ becomes a relationship of intimacy and of belonging to God; it is in the Spirit that we know Him fully, otherwise the knowledge of Christ is only an intellectual knowledge, beautiful and important, but not sanctifying.  Knowledge in itself, if it remains only a historical knowledge, cannot save; it can enrich the intelligence, but nothing more.  But when the knowledge of Jesus Christ is spiritual knowledge, in the Spirit, then the encounter and bond with Jesus Christ is a spiritual bond that, in His Spirit, gives us the blessing.

 

Luisa, in her writings, often speaks to us about the work that Jesus has accomplished and continues to carry out in order to realize His plan of love for every creature, and what He operates in the soul surpasses even that which He already did in creation.

Every knowledge of the perfections of God that He manifests, every truth that belongs to the Divinity, is a new heaven that God extends within the soul.  And as the soul rises in the known truths in order to resemble her Creator, new suns are formed within the space of these heavens. 

Each grace that God pours and every time it is renewed in the soul of a creature united to Him, seas are extended in the soul; and her love and correspondence form the sweet murmuring of these seas and the mighty waves which rise up to Heaven, unloading themselves at the foot of the throne of God.  As soon as the soul practices her virtues, from the moment in which the body contributes to the exercise of them, the body can be called the little field of the soul, where God stretches out the most beautiful flowery meadows, where He delights in creating ever new flowers, plants and fruits.

Creation, having sprung from God, was to be one single act, and just as in Creation His single act continues by preserving It (Creation) ever new, whole and fresh, so is the creating of God in souls continuous, it never ends.  He remains always in the act of forming more beautiful things, new and surprising things, unless He finds souls who close the doors to Him and block His continuous act of Creation.  Then God finds another device:  He abounds, multiplies His continuous act in the souls who keep their doors open, and with them, He continues the office of Creator.  But where is this continuous act never interrupted?  In the soul who lives in the Divine Will.  Only in her can God freely do whatever He wants, because His Will, which the soul contains, prepares her to receive the ‘Fiat’ that came out in Creation.  So the Will of God possessed by the soul and the Divine Will which He Himself keeps, extend hands to one another, kiss each other, and form the greatest portents. 

And finally, the Resurrection of Jesus completed, restored all the honors and called to life all the works Jesus did in the course of His life on earth, and formed the seed of the resurrection of souls.  Without the Resurrection, the Redemption would have been incomplete and the most beautiful works of God would have been buried.  So, if the soul does not rise again completely in the Will of God, all of her works remain incomplete.  And if coldness for divine things creeps into her, if passions oppress her, and vices tyrannize her, they will form the tomb in which to bury her because, since the Life of the Divine Will is missing, the One Who makes the divine fire rise again will be missing, the One Who, with one blow, kills all passions and makes all virtues rise again, will be missing.  The Divine Will is more than sun that eclipses everything, fecundates everything, converts everything into light, and forms the complete resurrection of the soul in God.

 

The spiritual blessing that God gives us in Christ places us beyond the limits and constraints of a purely worldly, visible, and calculable existence.  “Do not conform yourselves to the mentality of this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may be able to discern the will of God, what is good, pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:2).  In this world, one lives a logic of self-defense and self-affirmation, but we, instead, are introduced to a different world, to that world of revelation of the love of God that is given to us and manifested in Jesus Christ, that space in which Christ entered with His Resurrection.

It is a blessing that places us above even the superhuman and cosmic powers, in order to give us a freedom and likeness to God that passes through Jesus Christ.

Don Marco
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