Thursday, May 23, 2013

Drawn by The Father

In the Divine Office for Matins of Ember Wednesday in the Octave of Pentecost, the Gospel was from John 6:44:

… Jesus said unto the multitudes of the Jews No man can come to Me, except the Father, Which hath sent me, draw him.

The lessons were from a homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (26th Tract on John).

I’ll summarize a little… St. Augustine was saying that some might question how it is that we have free will if the Father draws us. “How can my faith be willing, if I am drawn?” such a man might ask, says the saint. He answers, “Thou art not drawn as touching they will, but by pleasure… ‘Delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart’ (Ps. 36:4). There is pleasure in that heart to which the Bread That came down from heaven is sweet.”

He adds that

…pleasure, which so draweth, is not a necessity, not a bond, but a delight. How much more strongly, may we say that men are drawn to Christ, who delight in truth, who delight in blessedness, who delight in righteousness, who delight in life everlasting, since truth and blessedness, and righteousness and everlasting life are all to be found in Christ?

Give me one who loves, and he will catch my meaning; give me one who longs, give me one who hungers, give me a wanderer in this desert, athirst and gasping for the fountains of the eternal Fatherland; give me such a one, and he will catch my meaning. If I talk to some cold creature, he will not…

St. Augustine says that God draws to the Son those who believe in the Son, those who believe that God is the Father of Jesus. Whoever realizes this is being drawn to the Father; those who do not recognize that Jesus is the Son of God are not drawn by the Father. For example, says Augustine, Arius was not one who was drawn by the Father, because he believed that “the Son was made” and

… such a one knoweth not the Father. What sayest thou, O Arius? What sayest thou, O thou heretic? What is thy profession? What is Christ? “He is not,” saith Arius, “Himself Very God.”

Then, O Arius, the Father hath not drawn thee. Thou hast not understood His dignity as a Father, to Whom thou deniest His Son… 

We are drawn by the Father because we love the Son, says Augustine:

If we are to be drawn, let us be drawn by Him to Whom one that loved much said “Draw me, we will run after the savor of thy good ointments” (Cant. i. 4).

We are drawn by pleasure – the pleasure of loving the Lord. Jesus entices us toward him because of who he is. And as we are drawn toward him we are drawn to the Father.

Show a sheep a green bough, and thou drawest him. Let a boy see some nuts, and he is drawn by them. As they run, they are drawn, drawn by taste, drawn without bodily hurt, drawn by a line bound to their heart. If, then, among earthly things, such as be sweet and pleasant, draw such as love them, as soon as they see them, so that it is truth to say, his special pleasure draweth each, doth not that Christ, Whom the Father hath revealed, draw? What stronger object of love can a soul have than the Truth?

We love him, because he first loved us.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

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