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of our Lord a feeling of relief, even a triumphant expectation as He felt how His power would work in Peter's soul, as the representative of the rest of the Apostles, in saving Him from the uttermost fall: "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren "."
Surely this was one main cause why our Lord so "greatly desired to eat this Passover" with them before He suffered; a desire that they should be fitted to receive aright that mystical Presence of Himself; a desire to impart Himself to them as the Sustenance of their frail humanity. For now they would be strengthened; now He had actually accomplished the first stage of that mystical union which He had come to form between Himself and them. That Passover was on this account to our Lord a special rest, because it was the pledge and assurance of a sustaining power that they could receive, and which, if truly received, would uphold them under the terrible crisis of the approaching Crucifixion. One received to his greater condemnation; but the rest "to the strengthening and refreshing of their souls," and thus though falling partially, they yet remained secure in the "strength of that meat" in which they would be enabled to ascend to the truer Horeb, the real "mount of God."
That first Eucharist was the token, the foreshadowing of what would in fuller measure continue in ceaseless operation throughout the world, when on His throne, His victory accomplished, the Victor would shed forth everywhere His glorified Humanity, through His Spirit. The great intercessory prayer, of which the text is the central idea, is throughout one prolonged pleading for the completeness of the union then comSt. Luke xxii. 32.
menced, to extend and develop through all time into eternity, as its true home of bliss. "I have manifested Thy Name unto the men whom Thou gavest Me. Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me.... I pray for them, for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified in them.... Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word. That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us, . . . and the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them. . . . I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in One.... Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me,... that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them "."
These last words lead us to consider how this life of mystical union with our Blessed Lord is partaken of and perfected, now that He has ascended to His throne of glory.
Bear first in mind that it is here on earth, in our present state, this union commences, wherever the true conditions are fulfilled. Let us consider some of these conditions, and first such as are independent of the sacramental means through which they are wrought.
First, there needs a living faith in our Lord's true Divinity equally as in His true Humanity. This primary faith is essential to our union with Him. For the ground of union is His Godhead, by which alone He can reconcile to Himself all creatures. It is not merely a figurative, a metaphorical idea of which we speak, when we speak of the mystical union of Christ and His elect. It " St. John xvii.
is not a union as of men bound by common ties and mutual interests, not even a union as of man and wife, which though indissoluble except by death, is yet but a oneness of mutual dependence and common duties, and consecrated rights binding the one to the other. This closest tie of earth, though sacramental, is but a type and symbol of a yet more august and more sacred union.
The union of Christ with His elect, is a union of mutual indwelling, a working together of one life, and one heart beating in its infinite pulsations through the One body, and while yet retaining its separate individualities of existence, is itself an individuality as really as if there were but one soul in one body. And how could this be but by the operation of Divine power, by that which is infinite, supernatural, superlocal, pervading, interpenetrating the finite, the natural? And how can we participate of this but by faith? "The just shall live by faith." It is only to be accomplished by the coalescing of souls animated and transformed by grace, with the indwelling Presence of the Son of God manifest in the flesh; as St. John says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ "." Without the full reception of the Godhead through the soul's true faith in Him, this mystical union has no groundwork, no living subsistence. He must be recognised as the Victor, eternally co-equal with the Father; otherwise no substratum is laid for the possi。 1 St. John i. 1, 3.
bility of such a union; there is no true meetingpoint between God and man. In no other true sense could He say, "All Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine." Nor can we be among the "Thine," except through the faith by which the Father draws us to Himself by the Son.
Secondly, there must in this fellowship be the union of heart and will, of thought and desire. It would be a mere mechanical union unless the mutual intelligence meet and intermingle. Our Lord and the Father are One, because of the perfect union and correspondence existing between them, in their will equally as in their substance. Could there by any possibility have been any divergence of the will of Jesus from the will of the Father, the unity would have been dissolved. "All Mine are Thine." This was through all His course the one great principle of life. "I come to do Thy Will, I am content to do it, yea, Thy law is within My heart P." "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do 9." There was the complete inner union, the unvarying oneness of mind. And the same must extend itself also to His members, His own elect. It must be equally true that, "All Thine are Mine;" all who are drawn by Thee to Me, are made one with Me in mind. The mystical union is unreal and practically fails, if this moral union exists not. Can we claim oneness, any real portion in the mystical Body of Christ, if the temper, the desires, the joys, the will, the affections are permanently and essentially at variance with Him; if there be no tendency in the uncertain, wavering lines of life to converge; if there be no effort to meet? There is, indeed, a real mysterious intercommunion of grace between the St. John v. 19.
P Heb. x. 7.
several individual members of the mystical Body of Christ, one being linked to another in common bonds of life, and having a common share in the One Life. Our Andrewes teaches that in the "Communion of Saints there is the mutual participation in sanctification vouchsafed to every member of that mystical body." But this unity in grace implies oneness of mind, and we fall off from the mystical body in proportion as we become spiritually out of harmony with the true members of the body, and so out of harmony with Him as Head of the body. How can we be truly and vitally in Him unless we are among those whom He owns, among the “Thine" who are "Mine,"-if it could be said of us, "your thoughts are not My thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord"?" If there be conscious sin unconfessed, not put away; if there be any allowance of a known evil habit; if evil thoughts prevail unresisted, unsubdued, becoming habitual; if the character have taken a wrong bent or tone; if the constant tendency is against, not for, Him and His cause, not seeking to copy His example in His union with the Father; if we are diverse in habits of mind and heart, when compared with Him, how can it be but that the union involved in our regeneration, must practically grow less and less, till it becomes a very mockery, and a ground of hopeless condemnation ?
Thirdly, as this moral union is required to form an inner living reality, so this again requires a continual increase of life, through actual participation of our Lord. This is the ground on which rests the need of the constant reception of the Holy Eucharist. This blessed ordinance is at once the great means of bestowing the mystical life, and the anticipative realization of the per
Isa. lv. 8.