Saturday, October 16, 2021

How the theology of Exitus-Reditus helps us in our prayer life.


How God sanctifies work for the world

There is a strong connection in the three devotions spread in the Catholic Church - Marian Consecration, Divine Mercy and The Flame of Love rosary devotion.  They have to do with the two most powerful spiritual weapons that we have today.  These powers exist in Divine Mercy and Marian Consecration.  Perhaps you who are reading this blog entry have not considered prayer as weapons that the Church uses to confront the powers of Satan.  

A question that is good to start contemplating the power of God is to first ask “what is mercy?”  The power of the love that is present in the Holy Trinity is not mercy per se, because mercy is when love encounters suffering and unloveableness.  Mercy is when the love of God overflows outside of itself - it  then becomes an act of mercy.  This makes God’s first great act of mercy to be CREATION because the greatest evil of all the evils (think abortion, contraception, murder etc) there is in the world is NOT TO EXIST.  Creation is therefore a great act of mercy.  To not want to exist is to deny creation’s purpose and rationale.  It would be a tragedy for anyone to personally want to cease of live maybe because life appears to be simply challenging and full of suffering.  

In the seminary, we are taught much about mercy and God’s great act of creation, and it can be summarised in one concept which was what was taught by the great St Thomas Aquinas.  Catholic theology can be summed up by looking at it as a circle, and these can be put into two words.  These two are latin terms of EXITUS- REDITUS (all comes from God and all goes back to God in the end).  St Thomas’ Summa Theologica is based on that one concept.  When seen this way, it is undoubted that Creation which is something God first did in life, comes from God (EXITUS).  In the Trinity, all three persons in God share a great gift of life.  God the Father is the person in the Trinity and he created.  And it took Adam and Eve all about 10 minutes to “mess the football” that was created.  When we are unsure about what life is about and live in ways that can be considered sinful and self-centered, we “fumble the football”.  After Adam and Eve fumbled the football in creation, the second great act of mercy is REDEMPTION.  

In the second great act of mercy, the second person of the Trinity comes down and redeems us.  Redemption is the second great act of Mercy of the Holy Trinity.  But it is not all of mankind that is redeemed, because we need to be SANCTIFIED FIRST.  Jesus comes down to humanity and his intention is to sanctify it.  And in the third act of Mercy, it is when the Holy Spirit comes from the Trinity and returns us to the Father for all eternity.  But for this to happen, we have to be sanctified.  In the East, it is called divinization.  St Thomas Aquinas called it sanctification.  This third part of God’s mercy is the power of the Holy Spirit which we pray for each time we pray for our deceased brothers and sisters.  We are praying that they are prepared (or preparing) to enter into eternal life.  This power is the Flame of Love which is what we are praying when we say those prayers of the Flame of Love rosary.   When we pray with such fervour for our departed brothers and sisters, it is a great act of love in salvation history, and we are appealing to the love that flows from the heart of Mary.  

We need to remember that Salvation history culminates in the love that comes from our hearts for others.  We are summoning the power that came from Jesus Christ’s great act of love that happened on the Cross to him where he gave himself for the sanctification of sinners worldwide.  Jesus rose from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.  As we pray devotions like the Flame of Love, there is a pleading that we are making to God to have the REDITUS happen to our loved ones (or even those who have not loved us), seeking the return of God’s creation to where creation first came from (God’s very self) for all eternity.  There is an immense power of love that is captured in the title Flame of Love.  We are usable by God when we offer our love for others who are in need of God’s mercy for them.  If we don’t think we are usable by God, pride is speaking from our hearts.

For this to happen well, it is necessary that we are personally sanctified or made holy.  Sanctification happens whenever we partake of Sacraments of forgiveness and healing like going for Confession where we receive the Priest’s Prayer of Absolution over us sinners showing us that we are forgiven by God for having confessed our sins.  Perhaps this is where there is a lack of consistent seeking of personal sanctification in Catholics everywhere.  Our wanting mercy for others who have gone before us requires of us to want to live sanctified lives consistently and constantly.  Yes, priests can preach about this need, but we don’t hear such preachings constantly.  We don’t even have friends who remind us to live sanctified lives, or tell us good reasons why we should strive to live lives that are holy.  I have benefited from listening to a sharing by an American priest who was invited to speak to the laity at a Church in the United States who summed it up so well and succinctly, giving me an inner desire to live this way not just for myself, but for others in my life.

It is hoped that my sharing of this aspect of spirituality makes my readers hunger for sanctification in life and become regulars at going for Sacramental Confession as Catholics.  And know that as I pray the Flame of Love rosary, I will be offering up my prayers for those who have been praying for me and for my upcoming surgery which will take place near the middle of November.  

No comments:

Post a Comment