By Jay Brunelle
Upon reflection of what this author considers to be a phenomenal philosophical insight observed by Aquinas regarding God’s revelation of His name to Moses as “I Am,” and how perfectly Thomistic / Scholastic Philosophy explains that God is the sole being whose “essence” and “existence” are one and the same, it seems, to this author, that this reality possesses a depth that remains to be more fully explored.
Firstly, it is of God’s essence to exist. God cannot not exist – He MUST exist. Moreover, God does not simply exist, as, say, a rock exists. Rather, God’s existence is the most excellent form of existence: the absolute fullness of Divine Life. God, as the sole Necessary Being, the First Cause, Himself un-caused, the standard of perfection for all things that exist/live, possesses the perfection of Divine Life within Himself, causing, as He does, His own Existence (a metaphysical reality that far surpasses the human mind’s ability to comprehend; thus, we may refer to this truth as supra-rational: above and beyond reason, but not contrary to it). Thus, we may state that God is the source and summit of all life – all things that possess life come forth from Him and, ultimately, find their fulfillment in Him. God is both the origin and the destination of all life. Moreover, God is the sole Necessary being, while all else that exists is contingent (upon the will of God, Who not only brings contingent beings into existence, but additionally, holds and maintains them in existence).
Furthermore, Scripture states that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16). God, as a multiplicity (Trinity) of Divine Persons, explains how it is that God is love. For, if we define love as a reciprocal relationship between two persons, it becomes evident that if God were a solitary Divine Person (the term “person” being defined as a being who possesses the rational faculties of intellect and freewill, both of which are essential to the existence of a relationship of love), His essence could not be love. For, as stated above, love presupposes the existence of more than one person. According to Church teaching, the Father eternally begets the Son. Certainly, the Son inherits the fullness of all the Father possesses, including the fullness of His Divinity; yet, the Father possesses a primacy, for, were it not for the Father, the Son would not be eternally begotten of Him. Due to the perfection of their Divine, Father-Son relationship, the Father, as such, loves the Son with an absolutely perfect fatherly love. Likewise, the son, having inherited the fullness of all the Father is and has, reciprocates this love. Thus, there exists a perfect reciprocity of divine love. Moreover, as the Church has long taught, love, by its nature, is fruitful; it is necessarily fecund. Thus, the divine love between the Father and the Son is so metaphysically profound that it blossoms into a Third Divine Person; that is, the divine personification of the love between the Father and the Son. Hence, the Holy Spirit of God is the Love of God, the principle of unification, who binds the three Person of the Trinity in a true oneness of love, which constitutes their essence. We see this Trinitarian imprint in the human family, whereby the love between the husband and wife, in its full conjugal expression, gives rise to a third person, who personifies that very love. Love, then, leads to life. Thus, we may state that Love and Life comprise two dimensions of God’s essence, not unlike two sides of the same coin.
It is precisely this truth that lies at the heart of the devotion of the Divine Mercy, for in this devotion, the following prayer is dictated to Faustina: “O Blood and Water, which gush forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You.” The Blood of Christ, among other things, is the refreshment of souls which enables human souls who partake of the Eucharistic Banquet to participate in the very Divine Life of God Himself, grafting and uniting us ever more perfectly to the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church; for, it is only through, with and in Christ, as members of His Mystical Body and unworthy recipients of His freely given Grace, that we are rescued from the death of sin. The Water is the cleansing Water of Baptism, whereby the soul is sacramentally immersed in the Mercy of God, Who, for the sake of His Son’s sorrowful Passion, forgives us of the Original Sin and any personal sins that may have been committed.
To come full circle, then, we can see how those two most fundamental aspects of God’s essence that were spoken of above – Life and Love – correspond to the two most fundamental and essential of all of the many gifts of God: Grace and Mercy. Hence, the radical importance of those two most fundamental and vital of all Sacraments: (1) The Holy Eucharist, which imparts the Grace, or the Divine Life of God, Whose essence is to exist; and (2) Baptism, which imparts the Mercy, or the forgiveness of God, Whose essence is to Love. It would seem, then, that God’s Life and God’s Love comprise one composite reality. Hence, the two most fundamental Sacraments of the Church truly mirror and bring about the very essence of God within our souls: His divine Life and divine Love, which are One and the same.
Let us, then, pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Spiritual Mother and true Mediatrix, that she might intercede on our behalf, and on behalf of all souls – especially those who are the furthest away from God and, consequently, most in need of His Mercy – that she might obtain for each of us all the grace we need to ever-more perfectly cooperate with the Holy Will of God, which is love and mercy itself.