Essay / Theology

Gift and Giver

catherine-of-siena-dialogue-paulist-coverIn The Dialogue of Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), she describes how God deals with the widespread human tendency to take good things from God and then forget him.

“Those whose love is imperfect,” she reports God as saying, “who love me for my gifts and not for myself the giver, can be and often are deluded.”

“And so that you might have no excuse for not looking at my affection, I found a way to unite gift and giver: I joined the divine nature with the human. I gave you the Word, my only-begotten Son, who is one with me and I with him, and because of this union you cannot look at my gift without looking at me, the Giver.” (Dialogue 72, p. 135 of the Paulist Press edition).

This is clever. God factored in the human tendency to take the gift and ignore the giver, by uniting gift and giver in the trinitarian self-gift of the Father’s sending of the Son.

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