Brookline Carmel Bulletin
October 23, 1960
By the very fact that Sanctifying Grace is present in our souls we are constituted Children of God, Heirs of Heaven, and the Holy Trinity Itself takes up its abode in our souls in a very ‘special’ way.
Our Sonship of God stands midway between natural sonship and adopted sonship, as we know them in human society. As in natural sonship, when we did not exist supernaturally, God brought us into existence on the Divine level, giving us existence and participation in His Nature at the same time. Divine Sonship differs from natural sonship because the act by which God gives us supernatural being is not an act of ‘generation’. God has only one natural son, Jesus Christ, begotten of the Father by intellectual generation. Thus the Father and the Son possess the same identical Divine Nature in identically the same way. We possess only a share in It. We do not become God; we remain humans leading a divine life.
As in adopted sonship here on earth, the Sonship of God is brought about in us by a positive act of God’s Will, who decides to be a Father to us. The two differ because the bond of relationship effected by human adoption is not real; it is nothing more than a fiction of law. No decree of human authority – nor of God’s, for that matter – can cause a child to have received its natural life from some man other than its actual father. In the case of Divine Sonship the bond of relationship existing between God and ourselves is an objective reality, not a figment of the mind.
To understand in what sense we are Heirs of Heaven we need only consider a child, who, while still a minor, has come into his inheritance. The estate is really his, but the power to exercise the rights of ownership are held in abeyance until he becomes of age. Though, in the meantime, he lives off its income and profits by its fruits, he cannot dispose of it as he wills. Sanctifying Grace gives us actual possession of God’s Kingdom, though we will not have power to dispose of it, as we will until we reach Heaven. In the meantime we profit by its treasures and live off its fruits (the Communion of Saints). One difference, though, is this: Once a child has inherited his father’s estate it remains his, whereas we can lose possession through mortal sin and regain it again when we return to the state of Grace. But that we do actually possess the Kingdom of God and its treasures is beautifully attested to by St. John of the Cross: “Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth; mine are the people, the righteous are mine and mine are the sinners; the angels are mine and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me for Christ is mine and all for me. What, then, dost thou ask for and seek, my soul? Thine is all this, and it is all for thee.”
The third effect is a special indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. We say “special” because philosophers tell us that God ‘fills’ all creation. They say He is in all things by essence, presence and power: by essence because “in Him we live and move and have our being”; by presence because “all things are naked and open to His eyes”; by power because it requires a continuous act of God’s Will to sustain all creatures and the laws governing them in existence. We cannot say that God is in all things ‘locally’ because He is a pure spirit. Since there is no such thing as quantity or extension in God, He is outside of space. Without space there is no such thing as place or location. The special indwelling is different from these three and remains a mystery. We do know that God is in the Soul in a special way because divine life is there. Where it is, God is. God leads His Trinitarian life in the depths of the soul. The Father generates the Son by an act of self-knowledge. The Father and the Son, by a joint act of selfless Love, breathe forth the Holy Ghost, a distinct Divine Self. This process is forever old and forever new. It takes place in the everlasting now of eternity.
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