May 20, 2015

May 19 -- The Prologue of St. John's Gospel, part 2. Adult formation on the Gospel of St. John, session 4

A detailed consideration of John 1:1 -- In principio erat Vebrum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

A consideration of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

Handout is below the audio recording (same as session 3)

Listen online [here]!

Catholic Commentary on the Gospel of St John
Following the great saints and Catholic theologians
Session 3 – The Prologue to the Gospel (John 1:1-14/18)

... ... ...

IV. In the beginning was the Word
A. “In the Beginning”, from Scripture: Gen 1:1 “In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.”; Ps 101:26; Prov8:22; Sir 24:14; 1 Jn 1 “That which was from the beginning” which we have heard/seen/looked upon/handled “the word of life.”
B. The Word: The internal word stands for the idea in the mind. For the God knows/understands himself and the Father begets the Son, God loves himself and the Father and Son breath the Holy Spirit. God must know himself from eternity, so the Son must be eternal as the Father. God’s knowledge of himself must be perfect, so the Son must be the perfect image to the Father and equal in all things.
C. The beginning:
1. The Son is the beginning, as the source of all creation. “They said therefore to him: Who are thou? Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak unto you.” (8:25)
2. The Father is the beginning, as the source of the Godhead. For Jesus does only that which he has received from his Father as from the beginning.
3. The beginning can refer to the beginning of time. “No matter which beginning of duration is taken, whether of temporal things which is time, or of aeviternal things which is the aeon, or of the whole world or any imagined span of time reaching back for many ages, at that beginning the Word already was.” (Thomas)
D. Was: This verb “to be” is in the past imperfect tense. “The past imperfect tense indicates that something has been, has not yet come to an end, nor has ceased to be, but still endures.” (Thomas) Hence John does not write “has been”, nor “came to be”, but “was”.

V. And the Word was with God: and the Word was God.
“The preposition ‘with’ signifies a personal distinction, but also a consubstantiality inasmuch as it signifies a certain extrinsic, so to speak, union.” (Thomas) That is, we are “with” another, not “with” ourselves – hence, the Father and the Son are two Persons. But, “with” indicates a fellowship and sharing, hence we are “with” another person, not really “with” an inanimate object – hence, the Father and the Son are of the same nature, both being fully God.

VI. A poem of St. John of the Cross, Romances
1. Romans and the Gospel text “In the beginning was the Word,” regarding the Blessed Trinity.

In the beginning the Word
was; he lived in God
and possessed in him
his infinite happiness.
That same Word was God,
who is the Beginning;
he was in the beginning
and had no beginning.
He was himself the Beginning
and therefore had no beginning.
The Word is called Son;
he was born of the Beginning
who had always conceived him,
and was always conceiving him,
giving of his substance always,
yet always possessing it.
And thus the glory of the Son
was the Father’s glory,
and the Father possessed
all his glory in the Son.
As the lover in the beloved
each lived in the other,
and the Love that unites them
is one with them,
their equal, excellent as
the One and the Other:
Three Persons, and one Beloved
among all three.
One love in them all
makes of them one Lover,
and the Lover is the Beloved
in whom each one lives.
For the being that the three             possess
each of them possess,
and each of them loves
him who bears this being.
Each one is this being,
which alone unites them,
binding them deeply,
one beyond words.
Thus it is a boundless
Love that unites them,
for the three have one love
which is their essence;
and the more love is one
the more it is love.