on prayer | 13

Sarah Coakley on triadic prayer and Romans 8:14-17 and 26-27:

"What is being described in Paul is one experience of an activity of prayer that is nonetheless ineluctably, though obscurely, triadic. It is one experience of God, but God as simultaneously (i) doing the praying in me, (ii) receiving that prayer, and (iii) in that exchange, consented to in me, inviting me into the Christian life of redeemed sonship. Or, to put it another way: the 'Father' (so-called here) is both source and ultimate object of divine longing in us; the "Spirit' is that irreducibly - thought obscurely - distinct enabler and incorporator of that longing in creation, into whose life I, as pray-er, am caught up . . . As John of the Cross puts it in a lovely passage in The Spiritual Canticle (39.3.4), not coincidentally quoting Romans 8: 'the Holy Spirit raises the soul most sublimely with that His divine breath of love that the Father breathes in the Son and the Son in the Father.'

The Spirit, on this view, note, is no redundant third, no hypostatized afterthought, no cooing 'feminine' adjunct to an established male household. Rather, experientially speaking, the Spirit is primary, just as Pentecost is primary for the church; and leaving noncluttered space for the Spirit is the absolute precondition for the unimpeded flowing of this divine exchange in us, the 'breathing of the divine breath,' as John of the Cross puts it."

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