Jan van Ruusbroec
God, by means of the Holy Spirit, inclines himself toward us, and we are thereby touched in love; our spirit, by means of God’s activity and the amorous power, impels and inclines itself toward God, and thereby God is touched. From these two movements there arises the struggle of love, for in this most profound meeting, in this most intimate and ardent encounter, each spirit is wounded by love.
These two spirits, that is, our spirit and God’s Spirit, cast a radiant light upon one another and each reveals to the other its countenance. This makes the two spirits incessantly strive after one another in love. Each demands of the other what it is, and each offers to the other and invites it to accept what it is.
This makes these loving spirits lose themselves in one another. God’s touch and his giving of himself, together with our striving in love and our giving of ourselves in return—this is what sets love on a firm foundation. This flux and reflux make the spring of love overflow, so that God’s touch and our striving in love become a single love.
Catherine Mowry LaCugna
The doctrine of the Trinity is meant to express that who and what God is with us (as redemptive love) is exactly who God is as God. God can draw completely near to us, share history with us, and never be diminished either as mystery or as God. Indeed, one might add that God is Absolute Mystery not because God remains locked in other-worldly transcendence, but because the transcendent God becomes also absolutely immanent….
God does not have to be loved in order to love. This is not the situation of the creature who learns to love in response to being loved. God is Love itself and the origin of Love, that is to say, God is the origin of existence….
To be sure, the reason for creation does not lie in the creature, or in some claim the creature has on God. It would make no sense to say that God ‘needs’ the world in order to be God, if this sets up the creature as a higher or more ultimate principle than God; the creature would have to preexist God so that God could be constituted as God in relation to the creature. This is absurd, since God and the creature simply would have switched places.
The reason for creation lies entirely in the unfathomable mystery of God, who is self-originating and self-communicating love. While the world is the gracious result of divine freedom, God’s freedom means necessarily being who and what God is. From this standpoint the world is not created ex nihilo but ex amore, ex condilectione, that is, out of divine love.
God’s unity is fullness and even overflowing fullness of selfless giving and bestowing, of loving self-outpouring; it is unity that does not exclude but includes; it is a living, loving being with and for another….
Love entails a unity that does not absorb the other person but rather accepts and affirms the other precisely in his otherness and thus only establishes him in his true freedom. Love, which gives to the other not some thing but its very self, involves, in this very self-communication, a self differentiation and self-limitation. The lover must take himself back because his concern is not with himself but with the other. More than this, the lover allows the other to affect him; he becomes vulnerable precisely in his love. Thus love and suffering go together….
God’s freedom and sovereignty … manifests itself historically as a descent into immanence and as a being-with-us…. God is the loving one in freedom and who is free in love and has shown himself as such in Jesus Christ.
Love is not an emanation or ‘property’ of the substance of God … but is constitutive of his substance, i.e. it is that which makes God what he is, the one God. Thus love ceases to be a qualifying property of being and becomes the supreme ontological predicate. Love as God’s mode of existence ‘hypostasizes’ God, constitutes his being.