Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

One of the large questions in philosophical theology is whether God has emotions or passions.  Does God feel in a similar fashion to how we as human beings feel?  Theologians in our tradition have described God as existing outside the realm of space and time, un-changing, and ordaining all things to the benefits of His beloved creation.  The concern with describing God with emotions is the implication that would have to God change: God goes from being happy to sad, irate to merciful.  When we have stories in the Gospel how Jesus was moved to act, it paints a wider picture of God beyond the traditional theological and philosophical formulations.

Imagine the scene.  Jesus sees an aggrieved mother on her way to bury her son.  I think anyone who has encountered a similar situation would resurrect the child who died after seeing the parents of the child.  The loss of identity as a mother, her flow of tears, and a natural order reversed would have been on the mother’s face.  It is hard to not be moved when seeing someone in that kind of internal state.  Jesus, being fully divine and human, responded to what he saw in this mother; the Gospel writer describes that Jesus felt pity for the woman.

As Jesus has ascended into the fullness of the Triune God, we know a piece of our human nature remains in His divine life.  Our ability to feel, to be in pain, to laugh, and to love is united to the God to whom we pray.   Whether we encounter the joyful or the sorrowful mysteries of our lives, our God is able to relate, and responds with a feeling heart to what is best for our needs.

When I have experienced the emotion of God?  Was there a time I was afraid to pray with my emotions in prayer?

September 13th, 2016