Glory of the Holy Spirit
Gregory of Nyssa's commentary on the Song of Songs
love has entirely cast out fear, and fear has been transformed into love,
then the unity brought us by our savior will be fully realized, for all
men will be united with one another through their union with the one supreme
Good. They will possess the perfection ascribed to the dove, according
to our interpretation of the text: One alone is my dove, my perfect one.
She is the only child of her mother, her chosen one.
Lordís words in the gospel bring out the meaning of this text more clearly.
After having conferred all power on his disciples by his blessing, he obtained
many other gifts for them by his prayer to the Father. Among these was
included the greatest gift of all, which was that they were no longer to
be divided in their judgment of what was right and good, for they were
all to be united to the one supreme Good. As the Apostle says, they were
to be bound together with the bonds of peace in the unity that comes from
the Holy Spirit. They were to be made one body and one spirit by the one
hope to which they were all called. We shall do better, however, to quote
the sacred words of the gospel itself. I pray, the Lord says,that they
all may be one; that as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, so they
also may be one in us.
the bond that creates this unity is glory. That the Holy Spirit is called
glory no one can deny if he thinks carefully about the Lordís words: The
glory you gave to me, I have given to them. In fact, he gave this glory
to his disciples when he said to them: Receive the Holy Spirit. lthough
he had always possessed it, even before the world existed, he himself received
this glory when he put on human nature. Then, when his human nature had
been glorified by the Spirit, the glory of the Spirit was passed on to
all his kin, beginning with his disciples. This is why he said: The glory
you gave to me, I have given to them, so that they may be one as we are
With me in them and you in me, I want them to be perfectly one.
has grown from infancy to manhood and attained to spiritual maturity possesses
the mastery over his passions and the purity that makes it possible for
him to receive the glory of the Spirit. He is that perfect dove upon whom
the eyes of the bridegroom rest when he says: One alone is my dove, my
of Nyssa was born in Caesarea, the capital of Cappadocia (in present day
Turkey) around 335 AD. He came from a large Christian family Ė four brothers
and five sisters. Gregory became a professional orator like his father,
married, and settled down to the life of a Christian layman. Basil, his
eldest brother who became a bishop (who earned the title "Basil the Great"),
and his friend Gregory of Nazianzus persuaded him to dedicate his life
to the work of the gospel and the defense of the Christian faith. Gregory
became a married priest around 362 and was later ordained as a bishop.
Along with Basil and fellow-Cappadocian Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 329-391),
Gregory of Nyssa forms the third of a trio of Christian thinkers, collectively
known as the Cappadocians, who established the main lines of orthodoxy
in the Christian East.
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