Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday in Advent 3: No darkness in Christ

Opening Sentence
Watch, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. Mark 13:35, 36

Collect of the Day
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 119:49-72




Lessons: Zechariah 3, Revelation 4:1-8, Matthew 24:45-51

The joy that binds together the saints in the blessed community of eternal life is a joy of perfect sympathy since all are pouring forth their whole being to the One who is the center of their conceptions, and the common principle of their life. They turn aside from God to speak one to another; their whole being is rapt in the thought of God, and they live in the knowledge of the mutual love which binds them all because that love binds each to God, and the very power of love whereby each is bound to God is an undivided power. They live there, not as separate individuals existing according to the law of their own consciousness; but there they have a perfect life as members of one living body, living with one undivided act of life. There they live for ever perfected in one, and their whole being is but the temple of the eternal Word. All their movements are hushed, all their words and thoughts have ceased, everything that is transitory has passed away for ever. Their common consciousness is the changeless and eternal consciousness of God, as the central principle of life; a consciousness eternal, that never can be exhausted, and changeless, for it knows no accident, but in its eternal changelessness ever knowing itself with a freshness of perfect delight; changeless and free from all the novelty of changeful time, changeless in all the perfect freshness of the never-wearying life of God.

Eternity is the manifestation of the marvelous unification of life. None can possess anything in eternity, and have it simply as their own property; each one has it for the well-being of the whole. No individuals can be partakers of that life, and live within the sphere of their own simple thoughts. The life of heaven is a self-communicating life; it is the life of God. And as the Father gives the fullness of life to the Son, and the Father and the Son give the fullness of their life to the Holy Ghost, so each one of us dwelling in the power of the same Spirit must be continually giving forth that life: we cannot live in it upon any other terms.

In the revelation of the Spirit there is that perfect identity of being, so that all are really and truly one. No distance of separation, of  climate, or of age; no distance which may have separated us upon earth; no distance of perfection to which we may have attained, is between ourselves and the great apostolic saints. No distance has any reality, for all are perfectly one; one undivided act of love thrilling through all. Each individual is a center of spiritual emanations, while yet that Spirit which emanates from each is an undivided Spirit; for there is the perfect indwelling of the Holy Ghost, dwelling in each according to measure, yet suffering no division while God's power is communicated to each.

Oh, the wondrous light of that city! There is no darkness there; no intervening darkness to separate one saint from another, for all are built up in the being of Christ, and the light of each individual saint shines forth, mingling itself in the fullness of the eternal light with the light which shines from the thousands and thousands that are around. There is distinction without distance, there is multiplicity without bewilderment, and there is mingling without confusion. Yes, there is a marvelous reciprocity of joy there with which all the saints give forth their luster, and rejoice in the manifestation of their own experience of the divine love as it has been experienced, realized, and exhibited by all around. And as the pure white light is a combination of many rays of color, so in the purity of the city of God there is a combination of manifold rays of color. As there is the threefold personality of the eternal Trinity, which is the basis of the heavenly light, so there is the marvelous multiplicity of all the saints, in whom this light shines forth reflected; and as it shines forth reflected, it shines forth in perfect unity.

The Religious Vocation

Of the Father's Love Begotten