MONDAY
January 24, 2000
volume 11, no. 16

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THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS         INTRODUCTION

    Today, we bring you the words from His Holiness Pope John Paul II for his Weekly General Papal Audience of 2000 at Paul VI Hall on January 19th where His Holiness began his series on the Most Blessed Trinity, showing how the Son of God and the Holy Spirit flow from the Father and in the current of salvation history, washes us in redemption through the Mystery of the Incarnation and Resurrection as part of God's master plan for mankind. The full English text was translated and provided by ZENIT news agency, article ZE00011921 .


From the Source to the Mouth of the River of Salvation History

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
    1. "Superessential Trinity, infinitely divine and good, keeper of the divine wisdom of Christians, bring us beyond every light and all that is unknown, to the highest summit of the mystical Scriptures, where the simple, absolute and incorruptible mysteries of theology reveal themselves in the luminous darkness of silence." With this invocation of Dionysius the Areopagite, an Eastern theologian ("Theologia Mystica" I, 1), let us begin to run along the arduous but fascinating course of the contemplation of the mystery of God. After having dwelt in the past years on each of the three divine persons -- the Son, the Spirit, and the Father -- we propose for this Jubilee year to encompass in one vision the common glory of the Three that are one God "not in the unity of a single person, but in the Trinity of a single substance" (Preface for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity). This choice corresponds to the teaching offered by the Apostolic Letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente", which makes the objective of the celebrative phase of the Great Jubillee "the glorification of the Trinity, from which everything comes and to which everything is directed, in the world and in history" (N. 55).

    2. Inspired by an image offered by the Book of Revelation (cf. 22:1), we can compare this path to a pilgrimıs journey along the shores of the river of God, that is, of his presence and of his revelation in the human history. Today, to provide a synthetic idea of this path, we will pause on the two extreme points of this river: its source and its mouth, united by one horizon between them. In fact the divine Trinity is the origin of both being and history, and is their ultimate goal. It constitutes the beginning and the end of salvation history. Between the two extremes of the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen 2) and the tree of life in the Heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Rev 22), stretches a long series of ups and downs marked by shadows and light, sin and grace. Sin has distanced us from the splendor of Godıs paradise; redemption brings us back to the glory of a new Heaven and a new earth, where "Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more" (Ibid., 21:4).

    3. The first vision on this horizon is offered by the initial pages of Sacred Scripture, which point to the moment in which Godıs creative power made the world from nothing: "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth" (Gen 1:1). This vision is deepened in the New Testament, ascending to the heart of the divine life, when John, at the beginning of his Gospel, proclaims: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn 1:1). Before the creation and at its foundation, this revelation makes us contemplate the mystery of the one God in the Trinity of persons: the Father and his Word, united in the Spirit.

    The biblical writer of the page on creation could not have suspected the profundity of this mystery; much less could he have reached its pure philosophical reflection, since the Trinity is beyond the capabilities of our intellect, and can be known only through revelation.

    And yet, this mystery, which infinitely surpasses us, is also the reality closest to us, as the source of our being. In fact, in God we "live, move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28), and we can apply what St. Augustine said of God to all three divine persons: He is "intimior intimo meo" (Conf. 3, 6, 11) [more intimate than my most intimate]. In the depth of our being, where even we cannot see, grace makes present the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons. The mystery of the Trinity, far from being an arid truth confined to the intellect, is the life that resides in us and sustains us.

4. Our contemplation in this Jubilee year takes as its starting point this trinitarian life, which precedes and founds creation. In the mystery of the origins from which everything springs, God appears to us as He Who is the fullness of being and comunicates being, as the light that "illuminates everyone" (cf Jn 1:9), as Living Being and giver of life. Above all He appears to us as Love, according to the beautiful definition in the First Letter of John (cf 1 Jn 4:8).

    He is love in His intimite life, where the Trinitarian dynamism is the very expression of eternal love with which the Father generates the Son, and with which both reciprocally give Themselves in the Holy Spirit. It is love in the relationship with the world, since the free decision to create it from nothing is the fruit of this infinte love that radiates in the sphere of creation. If the eyes of our hearts, illuminated by revelation, are made pure and penetrating enough, they become capable in faith of engaging this mystery, in which all that exists has its roots and foundation.

5. But as we mentioned at the beginning, the Trinitarian mystery is also before us as the finish line towards which history runs, as the homeland for which we yearn. Our Trinitarian reflection, following the boundaries of creation and history, will look for this destination, which the book of Revelation very effectively describes for us as the seal of history.

    It is this the second and final part of the river of God, that we have not much evoked. In the Heavenly Jerusalem, orgins and end come together. In fact, we see God the Father Who is seated on the throne and says: "See, I make everything new" (Rev 21:5). Next to Him is the Lamb, Who is Christ, on His throne, with His light, with the book of life that records the names of the redeemed (cf. Ibid., 21: 23-27; 22:1-3). And at the end, in a sweet and intense dialogue, the Spirit Who prays in us and together with the Church, which is the Lambıs spouse, says: "Come, Lord Jesus" (cf. Ibid., 22:17-20).

    Let us then return to the conclusion of this first sketch of our long pilgrimage in the mystery of God, to the prayer of Dionysius the Areopagite who reminds us of the necessity of contemplation: "It is in the silence, in fact, that they learn the secrets of this darkness ... that shines with the most dazzling light... It, even remaining perfectly intangible and invisible, fills with splendors more beautiful than beauty the intelligences that know to close their eyes" (Theologia mystica I,1).


          

January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11
THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

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