The seventy[-two] returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”Luke 10:17-20
A New Name
Elated by their newfound authority over demons in Christ’s name, the disciples reported their success to their master. Jesus redirected their zeal to the abiding source of lasting joy: the grace of being a child of God.
Charisms and gifts, bestowed for the temporal benefit of the Body of Christ, do not define us; they may even come to “nothing” without love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13). With the Twelve, Judas Iscariot also drove out demons and healed the sick (Matthew 10:1; Mark 3:15). Spiritual gifts do not necessarily sanctify.
As an integral body requires various parts, the Spirit distributes gifts for its harmonious functioning (1 Corinthians 12). Charisms are shared, but one’s “name” written in heaven is “mysterious and unique” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2159; 1025).
“I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it.”Revelation 2:17b
Called by the Father
“Hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), our core identity is found in being chosen by the Father “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).
When we ask, “Who is Paul?” the response “preacher” or “apostle” designates a function, but does not express the full mystery of vocation (from Latin vocare, “to call”). God the Father, from whom the Son is begotten and from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds, calls us each by name; he is the personal source of diversity in unity.1 No two names are identical, as no two persons are identical in the Most Holy Trinity.
We participate in a charism as a part of the Body, but return to the Father as a whole and distinct person.
I Am Not Alone
Jesus values hidden intimacy with the Father above all else.
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.John 16:32
When Jesus was abandoned by all his disciples, he rested in his immutable identity as the Father’s beloved Son “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
The Mystery of Vocation
Vocation includes charisms and gifts, but deeper than time, the mystery of identity is concealed in the bosom of the Father.
1 This statement is compatible with both the Eastern and Western conceptions of the Holy Spirit’s procession from the Father—“the sole Trinitarian Cause (Aitia) or Principle (Principium) of the Son and the Holy Spirit” (see the pontifical statement below). The Monarchy of the Father is of paramount importance for both theology and anthropology because it affirms the personal principle of the diversity of persons.
The East, preserving the Creed from the First Council of Constantinople in 381, professes: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Life-Giver, Who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son, He is worshipped and glorified.”
The West, having translated John 15:26 (para tou Patros ekporeutai) by “qui a Patre procedit,” allows the possibility for the Filioque (“and the Son”) in the Creed, for the verbs in the two languages are not equivalent. The Greek verb for “proceeds” (ekporeusis) means to proceed from a single source, principle, or cause (aitia). The Latin verb procedit does not contain this restriction.
“No clear record exists of the process by which the word Filioque was inserted into the Creed of 381 in the Christian West before the sixth century” (The Filiioque: A Church Dividing Issue?: An Agreed Statement, North American Orthodox-Catholic Consultation, October 25, 2003). The fifth-century Quicumque (the so-called Athanasian Creed) that circulated in the West professes:
“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Life-Giver, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son (i.e., Filioque). With the Father and the Son, He is worshipped and glorified.”
The Filioque is interpreted by the Catechism of the Catholic Church in terms of the “communication of their consubstantial communion” (see below).
Words are inherently limiting. Thus ecumenical discussions between the East and the West must continue in the quest for clarity, mutual understanding, and Christian unity.
The following documents offer an excellent overview of the progress made in ecumenical discussions concerning the Monarchy of the Father.
Excerpts from “The Father as the Source of the Whole Trinity: The Procession of the Holy Spirit in Greek and Latin Traditions,” Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, June 25, 1995:
On the basis of Jn. 15:26, this Symbol confesses the Spirit “to ek tou Patros ekporeuomenon” (“who takes his origin from the Father”). The Father alone is the principle without principle (arche anarchos) of the two other persons of the Trinity, the sole source (peghe) of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, therefore, takes his origin from the Father alone (ek monou tou Patros) in a principal, proper, and immediate manner.
The Greek Fathers and the whole Christian Orient speak, in this regard, of the “Father’s Monarchy,” and the Western tradition, following St. Augustine, also confesses that the Holy Spirit takes his origin from the Father principaliter, that is, as principle (De Trinitate XV, 25, 47, P.L. 42, 1094-1095). In this sense, therefore, the two traditions recognize that the “monarchy of the Father” implies that the Father is the sole Trinitarian Cause (Aitia) or Principle (Principium) of the Son and the Holy Spirit.
That is why the Orthodox Orient has always refused the formula to ek tou Patros kai tou Uiou ekporeuomenon [an unwisely proposed translation of “who proceeds from the Father and the Son”] and the Catholic Church has refused the addition kai tou Uiou [and the Son] to the formula ek tou Patros ekporeumenon in the Greek text of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Symbol, even in its liturgical use by Latins.
The doctrine of the Filioque must be understood and presented by the Catholic Church in such a way that it cannot appear to contradict the Monarchy of the Father nor the fact that he is the sole origin (arche, aitia) of the ekporeusis of the Spirit. The Filioque is, in fact, situated in a theological and linguistic context different from that of the affirmation of the sole Monarchy of the Father, the one origin of the Son and of the Spirit.
In 1274, the second Council of Lyons confessed that “the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles but as from one single principle (tamquam ex uno principio)” (DS 850). In the light of the Lateran Council, which preceded the second Council of Lyons, it is clear that it is not the divine essence that can be the “one principle” for the procession of the Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church interprets this formula in no.248 as follows: “The eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as the ‘principle without principle,’ is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Spirit proceeds” (Council of Lyons II, DS 850).
Even if the Catholic doctrine affirms that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son in the communication of their consubstantial communion, it nonetheless recognises the reality of the original relationship of the Holy Spirit as person with the Father, a relationship that the Greek Fathers express by the term ekporeusis.
Excerpts from “The Filioque: A Church Dividing Issue?: An Agreed Statement,” North American Orthodox-Catholic Consultation, October 25, 2003:
The first statement of the Joint International Commission (1982), entitled “The Mystery of the Church and of the Eucharist in the Light of the Mystery of the Trinity,” does briefly address the issue of the Filioque, within the context of an extensive discussion of the relationship of the persons of the Holy Trinity. The Statement says: “Without wishing to resolve yet the difficulties which have arisen between the East and the West concerning the relationship between the Son and the Spirit, we can already say together that this Spirit, which proceeds from the Father (Jn. 15:26) as the sole source of the Trinity, and which has become the Spirit of our sonship (Rom. 8:15) since he is already the Spirit of the Son (Gal.4:6), is communicated to us, particularly in the Eucharist, by this Son upon whom he reposes in time and eternity (Jn. 1:32).” (No. 6).
Several other events in recent decades point to a greater willingness on the part of Rome to recognize the normative character of the original creed of Constantinople. When Patriarch Dimitrios I visited Rome on December 7, 1987, and again during the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew I to Rome in June 1995, both patriarchs attended a Eucharist celebrated by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica. On both occasions the Pope and Patriarch proclaimed the Creed in Greek (i.e., without the Filioque). Pope John Paul II and Romanian Patriarch Teoctist did the same in Romanian at a papal Mass in Rome on October 13, 2002. The document Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on August 6, 2000, begins its theological considerations on the Church’s central teaching with the text of the Creed of 381, again without the addition of the Filioque. While no interpretation of these uses of the Creed was offered, these developments suggest a new awareness on the Catholic side of the unique character of the original Greek text of the Creed as the most authentic formulation of the faith that unifies Eastern and Western Christianity.
Not long after the meeting in Rome between Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Vatican published the document “The Greek and Latin Traditions Regarding the Procession of the Holy Spirit” (September 13, 1995). This text was intended to be a new contribution to the dialogue between our churches on this controversial issue. Among the many observations it makes, the text says: “The Catholic Church acknowledges the conciliar, ecumenical, normative and irrevocable value, as the expression of one common faith of the Church and of all Christians, of the Symbol professed in Greek at Constantinople in 381 by the Second Ecumenical Council. No confession of faith peculiar to a particular liturgical tradition can contradict this expression of faith taught and professed by the undivided Church.”
Although the Catholic Church obviously does not consider the Filioque to be a contradiction of the creed of 381, the significance of this passage in the 1995 Vatican statement should not be minimized. It is in response to this important document that our own study of the Filioque began in 1999, and we hope that this present statement will serve to carry further the positive discussions between our communions that we have experienced ourselves.