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27. The Proceeding of the Divine Persons

1. Scripture indicates a proceeding in God. This cannot be a creatural movement, nor an operation involving change. It must be in God and of God. And it must be in the order of intellect and will (that is, the intellective order), for this is the most perfect type of proceeding.

2. There is in God an eternal proceeding, likened to our human knowing, in which God (the Father) eternally begets the Word. The Word is God the Son. This proceeding is generation.

3. There is in God an eternal proceeding, likened to our willing or loving, in which Spirit proceeds from Father and Son. The Spirit is God the Holy Ghost. This proceeding is procession.

4. The two proceedings cannot both be called generation, for one is in the order of knowing, and the other is in the order of willing or loving. Speaking in terms of our creatural human processes, the mind begets reality by knowing; the mind generates the mental word or concept. Hence the divine proceeding which is likened to knowing is rightly called generation. And since, when we know a lovable being that can reciprocate our love, love proceeds from lover and beloved, the second divine proceeding is rightly called procession.

5. Proceedings of the intellective order which are in and of the agent, are two only: one in the likeness of knowing; one in the likeness of willing. Hence in God there are no other proceedings than generation and procession. There are other relations, as we shall see, but there are no other proceedings.

"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders."
St Philip Neri

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