WE BECOME GOD

A few years ago I was reprimanded by a good Catholic because I had declared in my homily that by the grace of the Holy Spirit we become God. This person thought my statement to be blasphemous because we are limited, human creatures even after being redeemed by God’s grace. Yes, indeed we are limited human beings, still prone to concupiscence, often weak in our resolve. But we are not beyond entering deeply into the mysterious life of God when we are redeemed and sanctified by the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The great message of Easter is one of salvation. Yes, we are working out our salvation in all the experiences of our daily lives but nevertheless we have already entered into the very life of God if we believe and are baptized. The gift of Easter is the sending of the Holy Spirit from God by Jesus to guide our steps each day in following Christ. St. Basil the Great, Confessor and Doctor of the Church from the fourth century, wrote extensively about the Holy Spirit Who is fully present to each Christian as the sun is to each human being. The Holy Spirit empowers us, according to Basil, to live and to act according to our ability. I understand this to mean that for us to live a good life and accomplish good in this world according to our abilities and talents requires the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore this presence of the Holy Spirit not only enables us to live a good life, pleasing to God, but carries us beyond ourselves into the very reality of God. The words of Basil can be our meditation for the great Solemnity of Pentecost: “Through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God” and “We become God.” Lest you think that these words are peculiar to Basil, the common theme running through the works of the early Fathers of the Church is that God became man so that we might become God. To become God means, according to Cardinal Walter Kasper in his book ‘Jesus the Christ,’ is “to have a share in God’s life.” Jesus is divine by nature. We become divine by the grace of adoption as the sons and daughters of God.

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