Ecclesiae tuae, misericors Deus, concede propitius,
ut, Sancto Spiritu congregata, toto sit corde tibi devota,
et pura voluntate concordat.
Our masterly Lewis & Short Dictionary helps us dig into concordo, at the heart of which is “heart…cor”. We find in the first place that it means, “to agree together, to be united, be of one mind, to harmonize”. Then also it has the transitive meaning of “to bring into union”. Blaise/Chirat has pretty much the same. I rather like that transitive meaning here, though I am interested to know what you all might come up with.
O merciful God, propitiously grant to Your Church
that, having been gathered by the Holy Spirit, in whole heart devoted to You,
may with a pure will be brought into harmony.
Herein we continue our ecclesial and collective preparation for the liturgical re-descent of the Holy Spirit next Sunday.
Notice the progression of thought:
1) God the Father shows merciful
2) God the Holy Spirit gathers
There is a dynamic tension and interplay always going on between the intellective and the affective dimensions of our faith and life. The God of mercy creates us according to his image. Thus we can know, will and love. Since we are not angels there is a process and interplay between the intellect and the will in every human act of knowing of decision and of action. In the longer span of our lives we also have an overarching tension and interplay between what we know with our head, feel with out heart and choose with our will. Faith, considered from our perspective, itself comes from both the motion of the heart and the reflection of the intellect. Faith considered from another perspective, however, is a theological virtue, a grace which God gives us. Faith must also be considered in itself. There is a faith in which we believe (that content of the faith we learn and can assent to) and a faith by which we believe (which is the aforementioned grace with which we cooperate). Deeper yet, the content of the faith is a person, indeed a Divine Person with whom we can and must have a relationship of love, to whom we express ourselves and to whom we come with active receptivity. You cannot have a relationship of love with an abstraction or a formula our learn by heart.
Each of us have the challenge to get things into harmony, our heart with our intellect, our person with our neighbors, ourselves with our God. The Holy Spirit, as St. Augustine and others described, is the perfect love between the Father and the Son, and as perfect love, as perfect self-gift of the One to the Other, has all that the Persons have in perfection, including divinity and personhood. The relation of the Persons of the Trinity, in whose image we are made, mysterious as it is, must be a constant point of our reflection as we strive to bring into harmony all the different dimensions of our lives. For Augustine, the search and contemplation of the Trinity conforms us to the image of God by thinking of him and loving him. For Augustine, there are stages of this search and conversion
1) credere Deo … to believe by means of God
2) credere Deum … to believe God
3) credere in Deum … to believe in God
4) credendo in Deum ire … to go on by believing in God
Augustine was deeply, passionately, fiercely interested in love. Often and appropriately he is depicted with a burning heart. For Augustine, belief and love were intertwined. He described love as a gravitational force pulling us to where we by nature belong. Some people think the old man was a terrible pessimist about the human condition, especially as he got older, was worn down by constant theological battles and pastoral burdens and deteriorating health. If he saw the negative side of the human condition, he knew with absolute conviction that love was its solution. This conviction grew as the years passed. The great Augustinian scholar A.-M. La Bonnardiere found that between 387-429, Augustine (+430) quoted Romans 5:5 at least 201 times. Augustine rarely used Romans 5:5 before 411 (the year Rome was sacked by Alaric). Romans 5:5 is found more frequently between 411-421 when he was fighting with Pelagians about grace. Many references continue from 421 until his death while he was engaged in his bitter fight with the bête noir of his old age Julian of Eclanum.
What is Romans 5:5?
…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (v. 5) and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.