Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Abiding Presence Of The Holy Ghost in the Soul, by Bede Jarrett, O.P. part 3. God’s special presence in the Just.

bede jarrett op

1. While God is in everything in creation, He dwells in the just by grace. Scripture quite noticeably uses the word dwelling when it wishes to express the particular way in which God is present in the souls of the just. He is in all things; in the just He dwells. The same word actually is applied to the presence of God in the souls of those in grace as is used when speaking of God’s presence in the Temple. But here again it is necessary to say that God’s dwelling in the Temple never implied He was not elsewhere, but did imply that somehow His presence in the Temple was quite different from the way in which He was present elsewhere. Just then the same kind of difference between the presence of God in all created nature and His presence in the souls of the just is intended by the careful use in Scripture of the word dwelling, viz., that God has, over and above His ordinary presence in every single created thing, a further and especial presence in the hearts of those in friendship with Him by grace, and this new presence is a fuller and richer presence whereby God’s excellencies and perfections are more openly displayed.

2. Another way in which the same idea is pressed home in the New Testament is by the word sent or given. Frequently, in the last discourse of Our Lord on the night before He suffered, He spoke to the Apostles of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Comforter who was to be sent or given. Now, ordinarily, by using the expression, “sending some one,” we imply that now the person sent is where he was not before, that he has passed from here to there. Obviously Our Lord cannot really mean that only after His crucifixion and ascension would the Holy Ghost be found in the hearts of the Apostles, for we have already insisted that in every creature there must be, by virtue of its very creation, the Holy Spirit at the heart of it. Hence the only possible meaning is that the Holy Spirit will descend upon the Apostles and become present within them after some new fashion in which He was not before. “Because you are His children God has sent into your hearts the spirit of His Son whereby you cry Abba: Father” (Gal. 4.6). From the beginning the Holy Ghost had been within them; now His presence there is new and productive of new effects.

3. By God’s indwelling, then, effected by grace, the Holy Spirit now is present in the soul differently from the way in which He is present by creation. By creation He is wholly everywhere, yet more in the higher forms than in the lower, for He is able to express more of Himself in them. Among these highest forms of visible creation, namely, man, there are again degrees of His presence, so that even among men He is more in one than in another. This gradation is in proportion to their grace. The more holy and sanctified they become, the more does the Holy Spirit dwell in them, the more fully is He sent, the more completely given, while the Book of Wisdom says expressly that God does not dwell in sinners. As soon as I am in a state of grace the Holy Ghost dwells in me in this new and wonderful way, takes up His presence in me in this new fashion. It is precisely, then, by our faith and hope and love that this is effected, so that the individual soul under God’s own movement does help on this union of God and man. In all the rest of creation God is present by His action; in the souls of the just it is true to say that He is present by theirs.