“That Which Saves is Unity”

In today’s Office of Readings we are given a selection on the Canticle of Canticles written by St. Gregory of Nyssa, one of the Fathers of the Eastern Church. It is a wonderful reflection on the gift of unity that is to be ours in the Spirit.

Here is my translation of the Italian text I use.

“If it is true that love eliminates fear and transforms it into love, then one will discover that it is unity which saves. Salvation, in fact, dwells in knowing ourselves united in the one and true love found in the perfection seen in the dove of which the Canticle of Canticles speaks: One is my dove, my perfect one, one of my mother, my preferred one of her mother. (Canticle of Canticles 6:9)

Our Lord clearly demonstrates this in the Gospel.

Jesus blesses his disciples, giving them every power and conferring to them every good thing. Among these are included the holy expressions that he directed to his Father. But of all the works he spoke and graces he conferred there is one that is the greatest of all and contains all; it is that which Christ admonished his disciples to find themselves always united in answering questions and evaluating things regarding what is good to do; to find themselves of one heart and soul and to esteem this unity as the one good; to bind themselves in the unity of the Spirit with the bond of peace;to be of one body and one spirit; to living according to the one vocation animated by one hope.

Greater than these thoughts are the actual words of the Gospel: That they may be one, as you, Father, are one in me and I in you, that they may also be one so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17: 21)

The bond of this unity is authentic glory. No one can deny that the Holy Spirit may be called Glory. The Lord in fact says, The glory that you have given to me I have given to them. (John 17:22) He possessed this glory always even before this world existed. Yet in time he received it when he assumed human nature. When this nature was glorified by the Holy Spirit, all that was connected to this glory shared in that Holy Spirit.

He said: The glory you have given to me, I have given to them that they may be one. I in them, and you in me so that they may be perfectly united. (John 17: 22-23) Thus, he who from his infancy has grown into the full maturity of Christ will come to find himself in that special state, that only intelligence illuminated by faith will be able to perceive. He becomes the glory of the Spirit through a life far from vices and marked by holiness. He is, therefore, that perfect dove, who looks upon his Spouse when he says, She is my only dove, my perfect one.

Let us all work for unity and peace in all the many spheres of our lives. Our unity will come from acknowledging the truth and adhering to it, which is acknowledging God – Father, Son and Spirit – and living a life consonant with He who is the Truth.

That which saves is unity — unity with our Lord.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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