April 22, 2011

Into Your Hands Excerpt

From Fr. Stinessen's book:
If we are subject to trials here on earth, if we must struggle to say Yes to God, it is because in eternity God wants to say to us: 'You have given me something. It is not only I who give, but rather we give to each other. I give myself in gratitude because you have given me something that you could have refused to give. Now you can no longer give me anything, but at one time you did, and it has an eternal value. I never forget.'

Theology has always taught that we cannot 'merit' anything, either in heaven or in purgatory. To "merit", that is, to do something for God, belongs to our earthly life. In heaven one is like a straw that is carried by the ocean. There is love, an overflowing stream of love, but no voluntary giving. One is taken, filled, in ecstasy, but one does not actually "give", or, better said, one gives because one has once given, once freely said Yes to God, and now is fixed in that Yes forever.

We would have to be God to be able to give ourselves totally, in absolute freedom, without any possibility of saying No. Freedom and necessity coincide perfectly in him. To give is his nature, a nature that he has not received but that is...if our Yes is inevitable, we cannot say that we give anything to God. A compulsory Yes would in itself be a gift from him and not, as it is with God, something we have of ourselves. And if we cannot give anything to God, we do not have a share in his Spirit, who by his very nature is Gift...

If God had let us behold his face from the beginning, we would have been fixed in a definitive state of mere receiving. But he wanted us to be like him and live in both giving and receiving. He could not shown us a greater honor!


Tom said...

Hm. Still at a loss. What does "There is love...but no voluntary giving" mean?

TS said...

And it seems like the angels in Heaven are able to give since they came down to earth to minister to Christ in the garden, among many other ministries. Why not men too?