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On Christ's Love for His Disciples

Taken from Medulla S. Thomae Aquinatis which arranges various short texts from St. Thomas Aquinas' corpus based on the liturgical year. I will be posting the day's meditation each day and will be bringing it into print once I'm through it.

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February 15th

On Christ's Love for His Disciples

As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9)

I. The word ‘as’ sometimes indicates an equality of nature, and at other times a similarity in acting. The word ‘as’ indicates a likeness in grace and love; for the love with which the Son loves his disciples is a certain likeness of that love with which the Father loves the Son. Since, however, to love someone is to will his good, the Father loves the Son according to his divine nature, insofar as he wills his infinite good, that he himself has; for the Father loves the Son and shows him all things that himself does (John 5:20).

He loves him also according to his human nature, and from this, that God and man would be similar.

But the Son did not love the disciples in either of these ways. For he did not love them to the point of their being God by nature, nor to the point that they would be united to God so as to form one person with him. But he did love them up to a similar point: he loved them to the extent that they would be gods by their participation in grace: I say: you are gods (Ps 82:6); he has granted to us precious and very great promises, that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4), and he loved them to the extent that they would be united to God in affection: he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him (1 Cor 6:17); for those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom 8:29).

Thus the Father communicated to the Son a greater good, with respect to each nature of the Son, than the Son did to his disciples; yet there is a similarity, as was said.

II. Abide in my love. This is like saying: because you have received such a great benefit from my love, abide in it so that you love me. Or it could mean, abide in my love because I love you, that is, abide in my grace so you will not be excluded from the good things I have prepared for you. This meaning is the more apt, so that the thought is: persevere in this state so that you will be loved by me through the effect of grace: every one should remain in the state in which he was called (1 Cor 7:20). He who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16).

(Selections from Ioan.C15.L2)

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