Monday, March 31, 2008

Cry Abba

When we cry "Abba" it is the Spirit Himself. This is a great mystery. For Saint Thomas this expresses the most profound and the most intimate experience of our Christian life, the summit of mystical life.

When under the breath of the Holy Spirit we can say with Jesus "Abba, Father" - not only with our lips but in the silence of love, as a cry - we have a divine experience of our sonship, of our birth to divine life. We enter into this eternal generation of the Word of God (the Logos), of the Son who is in the bosom of the Father (here we know this from the Gospel of John). We are grasped by Christ, seized by Him (this is the proper moment of our Christian life) so that He might take possession of our inmost heart, of our will, so that we might have the same sentiments as Him, the same cry as Him, and say in all truth, "Abba, Pater."

It is this one must consider of fatherhood. Fatherhood is at the point of departure and at the term because it is going to remain eternally; this cry - "Abba" - will remain eternally. In heaven we will eternally, unceasingly say "Father," and we will say it in the light of the beatific vision, gazing upon the Father and understanding that there is nothing greater than Him. And we will say "Father" in the light that Jesus gives us, this light that comes from the Son, "Light from Light." We will say it in His light, and we will discover eternally what we glimpse already as of this earth, in the obscurity of faith and in love. We will discover eternally that there is nothing greater than saying "Father." We will discover that the eternal Word, the Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, also eternally gazes upon the Father and that the Holy Spirit also eternally gazes upon the Father and that the Father is eternally their source of light and love. We will then understand that the mystery of the Incarnation is there to reveal the Father to us. We will understand that the Holy Spirit is given to us that we might discover the Father and that all Scripture is given to us that we might understand the Father's gaze of love upon us and His attraction of love. All of Scripture is there that we might enter into this attraction of love. In heaven we will understand this in full light; here, on earth, it is in the obscurity of faith. But we know that saying "Father" is truly what is greatest. If Jesus is the Bridegroom, it is so that we might be able to say, with Him, "Father." If the Holy Spirit is given to us and envelops us with His love, it is so that, with Him, we might be able to say "Father."

It is for this reason that in our orison - our silent, interior prayer - we must constantly come back to this. We must ask the Holy Spirit to give us this experience. We must ask Him to help us grasp this filiation of love which we find in ourselves. We are in it. We must ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and to let us understand that this is the essential thing in our Christian life and that, in the end, this is our Christian life. It is from this filiation of love and in it that all the rest is enlightened. We must ask for this, for it is a grace. The Holy Spirit wants to give us this experience of love. He wants us to understand this more deeply than we have understood it until now. He wants to lead us into this mystery of filiation so that we might in all truth say "Father," in Church and also in listening to preaching. I am obliged to speak to you; you have the privilege of being silent; it is more contemplative. You can contemplate and you must contemplate and you must contemplate in saying "Father." You must enter into this contemplation of love understanding that He is there and that He gives you His light and He communicates to you His love so that you might be able to look upon Him in all truth and say, "Abba, Father, Pater."

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