I stole a few moments to think more about whether or not the Holy Spirit expands, and He jumped in to lead my thoughts.
In the post linked above, I thought about the love growing between my dearest of friends and I, and how the Spirit seems to be making Himself known more and more obviously to us through that friendship.
If the Spirit is (as Augustine claims) the love between the Father and the Son, can it also proceed from the love of us for God and for each other? Could He expand and increase through that love?
When conveying this question to my BP, he reminded me that the Spirit is also a person, and so I brought this into my pondering.
And it occured to me that persons grow.
Bodies grow, and Jesus has a body which grew (and is growing?). We are the body of Christ, and the body and it's members grow.
And love grows.
This all leads me to think that the Spirit Himself can and does grow, and one of the ways He does so is through our love of eachother and for the Father.
But then I wondered, if the Son and the Spirit both grow, does the Father as well?
This one was harder.
He must grow, because the Trinity is one nature. If one grows, all must grow.
And yet He is unchangeing. Immutable.
It is relatively easy to contemplate the Son's growth. And we understand the way that love grows, and can apply that to the Spirit. But how is the Father's growth manifested?
How is One who is unchangeable changing?
It stumped me for a minute, until He stepped in.
And then it occurred to me; perhaps the Father's growth is not in His essence but in His production.
Perhaps it is in the very expansion of the cosmos.
Perhaps the increase of our love feeds the very force of the Father's creative power, and out shoots matter and energy and liturgy and ritual and order and beauty and passion and endurance and hot, molten, burning, unconquerable love.
And so the stars and the planets dance, and the bees and the ants dance, and the church and its liturgy dance, and we dance.
The "Son" didn't grow....He decreased.
I do not mean any disrespect....but how can God grow? We (in Christ) will spend eternity getting more and more glimpses of His glory. A billion years from now...."we" will only be scratching the surface of our Lord!
"This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash."
C. S. Lewis, "A Slip of the Tongue," in The Weight of Glory, page 187.
It is only upon the worth and merit of our Lord Jesus Christ that "we" can enter that Holy of Holies and play around the rim of His robe.
How can what is infinite grow? Good question. Still pondering this idea. But you have to remember that the Son -did- grow. He grew from oocyte to fetus, from toddler to a boy in the temple, and from carpenter's helper to our savior on the cross.
He grew, quite literally.
And the Three are one substance, one nature, in three persons.
What repercussions does that then have for the other two persons?
We cannot divorce Christ from His body. If we do, we render the crucifixion meaningless.
(John 30: He must increase; I must decrease.)
John 3 seems like a strange place for John the Baptist to reenter. There he was in John 1 saying what he was not the light, not the Christ, not the prophet. Just a voice crying in the wilderness.
But then he returns in John 3, on the heels of Jesus' renowned encounter with Nicodemus. What prompts the Baptist's return?
John the Gospel writer reintroduces the Baptist as the model responder to the Father's plan to exalt his Son. It was the Father's plan that garnered the Baptist a following as "the voice crying in the wilderness," and now it is the Father's plan that the bride hears the voice of her bridegroom. John the Baptist sees the plan, embraces it, and says with glad approval, "He must increase, I must decrease."
It's not egomania for Jesus to conspire with his Father to bring attention to himself. It's love. Jesus is the Bridegroom-Lamb who dies to purify his bride and draw attention to himself that he might save her and protect her forever.
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