In his discussion of the relationship between language and theology in the eighth chapter of The Compassion of the Father, Father Boris Bobrinskoy proceeds to discuss the relationship between the Word and the Spirit, in which the “Spirit rests on the Son from all eternity” and makes the creative word of God to germinate, enabling the disciples to hear the appeal of the incarnate Word, and making “the Lord present in the Church until the end of time.” (138) It is the Spirit who transforms the eucharistic gifts and the eucharistic assembly into the Body of Christ.

Such is the incarnational and revelatory function of the Spirit, of the one who does not become incarnate, but who incarnates, penetrates, and vivifies the Divine Word that has become human word and image. When the Word of God, Jesus Christ, becomes ours, He merges in us and we in Him. St. Nicholas Cabasilas notes: “Unlike human nourishment we assimilate to ourselves, it is Christ – bread, word, image – who assimilates us and unites us to Him, and carries us along in anticipation of His kingdom.” When “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me,” Christ quenches me with the gifts of His Holy Spirit: love, compassion, discernment, wisdom, and thus language. This is the mysterious reciprocity of “the two hands of God” that carry us to the Father. (139)

Father Boris then proceeds to discuss the tension between negative and positive theology, locating the truth of what can be said positively not in individual experience but in the common faith of the Church.

Spiritual experience does not necessitate subjectivism. By itself, my experience is not the foundation of the knowledge of God and of language. But when it is grounded in the common experience of the Church, without dissociating itself, it is valid, for the common experience of the Church always includes personal experience – that of the saints, of the Mother of God, and of the angels. Within the Church, we “drink” this experience – we receive it, we commune of it in the communion of the Word and in the communion of the consecrated bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ.

Thus, the incarnation of the eternal Word means that the eternal mystery of God can express itself forever in human words: simultaneously inadequate to this mystery and true. The redeeming Passion and Resurrection purify, purge, and free the human language from demonic pride and sinful self-sufficiency. The Ascension and seating of Christ at the right hand of the Father harmonize this word with the eternal mystery, of which we partake. Christ has recapitulated us in Himself, and he has restored human language to its first vocation. Finally, the permanent Pentecost of the Spirit in the Church makes us contemporaneous with Christ and gives the Church “the sure gift of truth”(charisma veritatis certum), as St Irenaeus of Lyons said with regard to the office of the bishop. The certainty of the truth given by God belongs to the entire Church through the episcopal magisterium. (140)

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