There are four internal divine relations in the Holy Trinity, of which only three are really distinct relations. To grasp this very important concept in the theology of the Triune God, we begin by considering again what we have said of the Trinitarian processions, namely, that there are two processions, generation and spiration. We may schematize the processions thus:
This paper summarizes Catholic teaching on the procession of the Son from the Father, and of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.
Given that the Son and the Holy Ghost are consubstantial with the Father, that is, of the same substance and numerical nature as the First Person, the question arises: “If they are not created, where do they come from?” The answer is that the origin or principle of each of these divine Persons comes by way of two internal processions. That is, each of them comes forth by an immanent act of the Divine Trinity. The word “procession” is the scriptural term for this reality, for Jesus says, concerning his own procession from the Father: “If God were your Father, you would indeed love me. For from God I proceeded, and came; for I came not of myself, but he sent me” (Jn. 8:42). Elsewhere, Our Lord calls the Paraclete, the “the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father” (Jn 15:26). Continue reading
The following is from Blessed Columba Marmion’s masterful Christ, the Life of the Soul. In the larger context, Abbot Marmion is considering the mystery of holiness, first in God, then in men. After speaking of holiness considered as an attribute of God (i.e., in the Divine Nature), he goes on to consider holiness in the Trinity: Continue reading
The eternal processions in the Blessed Trinity – the Son’s generation from the Father and the Holy Ghost’s spiration from the Father and the Son – are reflected in creation in the temporal missions of the Son and the Holy Ghost. A divine mission involves a temporal “sending” of one divine Person by another (or others). Father Kenneth Baker defines “mission” as “the procession of one Person from another with reference to a new way of existing in an external term.” As we shall see, this “external term” can be creation in general (“the world”) or the soul of the individual Christian in the state of grace. Continue reading