Monday, February 04, 2008

The Soul's Mystic Union And Betrothal With The Bridegroom

“By grace the soul is made a child of the eternal Father, a bride of the Son, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. The soul becomes a bride of the Son by being made like to Him and by receiving His image, not by being begotten of Him, but because He takes the soul, which is already ennobled as the Father’s daughter, closely to Himself in holy love, to share His beauty and wealth with her in pure embrace. This point of view suggests to us an idea of the divine excellence of the soul’s mystic union and betrothal with God, specifically with the eternal Word, as described in glowing terms by Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, and the mystics. Nature does not invest the soul with the nobility needed to be a worthy bride of the Word and to enter into this exalted, inconceivable, mystic union with Him; otherwise the union would straightway cease to be truly mystic and to surpass nature. Natural love (that is, love proceeding from nature and based on nature’s dignity) cannot make the soul capable, still less sufficiently worthy, of claiming so intimate a union with God’s Son. The soul must first be ennobled and must be a daughter of the same royal Father, whose Son is the eternal Word; before she can advance to meet the Son of God, her Bridegroom, she must be adorned with heavenly beauty and be equipped with a higher, nobler, and freer love. The fruit of this chaste union must be something interior, and must be of such a nature that the soul, illuminated by the light of her Bridegroom, engenders in herself His likeness. With her beauty thus transfigured, the soul not only does not lose her virginal fairness and purity, but for the first time blossoms forth into true beauty and purity.”

-Matthias Scheeben in Nature and Grace.

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