CISTERCIAN GRACE TODAY:
CONFORMITY TO CHRIST
Paul Takahashi Shigeyuki
It has been stated in various official documents that the very purpose of the consecrated life is for us to be "conformed to Christ." The present pontiff in his Apostolic Exhortation, "Vita Consecrata," #16 tells us that "in the consecrated life, then, it is not only a matter of following Christ with one's whole heart, but of living and expressing this by conforming one's whole existence to Christ in an all-encompassing commitment in accordance with the different charisms." (Emphasis here and below added by the author.) In #18 of the same document we read that "the evangelical counsels call for and make manifest in those who accept them an explicit desire to be totally conformed to him (Christ)."
In this working paper I would like to begin in Part One by first studying what is taught in the Word of God about "conformity to Christ". In Part Two, we will consider as basic to our understanding of our conformity to Christ that, first of all, from God's side a movement of love was made manifest. That is, the Son of God Himself took on our form. In Part Three, I thought that we might consider how we as members of the Cistercian Order ought to live this grace in the new millennium.
Part One: Our Conformity to Christ
I-1. Already on the first page of the Word of God, that is in Chapter One of Genesis, the theme is proclaimed that men and women have been created in God's own image. God created us "in his own image" (LXX kat'eikona) and "in his own likeness" (kath' homoiosin) (Gen. 1:26). The well-known teaching of the Fathers on the image of God (Imago Dei) and the likeness to God (similitudo Dei) was drawn from this passage. However, it must be said that the likeness has been lost through sin. The Scriptures then record man's first words as he encounters God, "I was afraid so I hid" (Gen. 3:10). These are words full of bitterness.
I-2. In the Letter to the Romans our progress from a condition of "bondage to sin" (Rom. 7:14) to conformity to Jesus, the Son of God, is illustrated in detail. The Father sent his Son, the "Image of God" (eikon 2Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15) "in the likeness of sinful flesh (en ho homoiomati), and in that sinful flesh God condemned sin" (Rom. 8:3-4). Now the man of flesh, by following and living in the Spirit of him who raised Jesus, has not received "the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again, but the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out 'Abba, Father'" (Rom.8:15). Our status as sons and daughters of God (the redemption of our bodies) will be fully revealed when we arrive at the state of glory (cf. Rom. 8:23).
Filii in Filio: to become sons in the Son, that is the Father's plan of salvation (oikonomia) for us. "They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son (symmorphous tes eikonos tou hyiou autou) so that his Son might become the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory" (Rom. 8:29-30). This plan of God will definitely be realized. That is to say, nothing can ever come between us and the love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 8:31-39). Furthermore, "the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words" (Rom. 8:26-27).
The work of the Holy Spirit in our conformity to Christ is mentioned in 2Cor. 3:18: "And we, reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into his very image (ten auten eikona metamorphoumetha) from glory to glory; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit." In the above mentioned Apostolic Exhortation, "Vita Consecrata", #35 invites us to a "transfigured" existence.
Phil. 3:21 refers to the transformation of our bodies into the same form as the Lord's glorious body. "The Lord Jesus Christ... will transfigure (metasckematisei) these wretched bodies of ours into copies (symmorphon) of his glorious body." (cf. "Vita Consecrata," #6 and the end of #27)
I-3. In the above Scripture passages various terms are used to express our conformation to Christ. Let us now single out and examine a few of these.
a. In the above cited texts from Rom. 8:29 and 2Cor. 3:18 the word eikon is used. (It is a form, image, or model with the meaning of likeness. It is a resemblance of something drawn from existence; i.e. a similarity. It always refers to a model or prototype). In addition to this word eikon, the word morphè is used 13 times.
b-1. This word does not refer to form simply as external appearance; rather the image or form is accompanied by or reveals the content or substance of something. Perhaps to use current terms, "identity" might be closest to the meaning of this word. Let us see Phil. 2:6-7 in the famous "Hymn to Christ." "Jesus Christ, though he was in the form (morphè) of God, emptied himself, taking the form (morphè) of a slave, and became as men are (en homoiomati). And appearing in the form of man (schema) he humbled himself becoming obedient unto death.."
b-2. metamorpho ("to transfigure") is used not only in 2Cor. 3:18, but it is also found in the account of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Mt. 17:2; Mk. 9:2) as well as in Rom 12:2 ("...be transformed in the newness of your mind"). As explained in the first part (# 14-40) of the above mentioned "Vita Consecrata," the consecrated life is to be understood in the light of the Lord's Transfiguration. "But those called to the consecrated life have a special experience of the light which shines forth from the Incarnate Word. Truly those who have been given the grace of this special communion of love with Christ feel as it were caught up in his splendor" (#15).
b-3. The word morpho ("to form") is used by Paul in Galatians 4:19 when he says, " I must go through the pain of giving birth to you all over again until Christ is formed in you.”
b-4. Symorphizo ("to take on the same form"): in Phil. 3:10 the word is used in the passive form. It is in this passage that Paul pours out his true feelings, "All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death (the same form of his death)."
c. Passages where we are to imitate the "example" of Christ.
c-1. After the washing of the feet, Christ, as Lord and Master, speaks, " For I have given you an example (hypodeigma = in the original text this appears at the head of the sentence to give emphasis) that as I have done so you also should do... happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly (Jn. 13:15-30)". Deikumi is the radical meaning to indicate, or to show. Furthermore, the preposition kathos (as = in the same way) does not refer to mere imitation, but has a more dynamic meaning (that which is at the base; that which gives life).
c-2. "Christ also has suffered for you, leaving you an example (hypogrammon) that you might follow in his steps" (1Pet. 2:21). Hypogrammos means to make a copy or an outline. The meaning of this word might make us recall a scene from Roman times. The teacher would copy a letter on a wax tablet and then the pupil would trace it out, and so learn his letters. Or else, the teacher might put his hand directly over the pupil's hand and together they would write the letters. This word appears only once in the New Testament.
d. homoioma (likeness) appears in Phil. 2:7 and Rom. 8:3 as well as in Rom. 6:5. The Christian through baptism (sumphytoi, being united with his body) has been united with him in the likeness of his death, and shall be so in the likeness of his resurrection. In other words, through baptism, by sharing in a likeness of Jesus' death, we shall likewise be united to him in new life.
e. When considering the phrase "conformation to Christ" we must not overlook prepositions (or prefixes to verbs) which convey a dynamic meaning. Such are the following: "in Christ" (en Christo), "to Christ" (eis Christon) and "with Christ" (syn Christo). We ought to pay attention to these words (Rom. 6, Jn. 6 etc.) as they are used in the sacraments or ecclesiology in order to indicate the mystery of our union with Christ. For example "in Christ" (translated into Japanese as "joined to Christ") appears in Romans and First Corinthians twenty times each. The scope of this paper does not allow time to examine in detail the use of each preposition. However, I could suggest for each one’s personal study, the use of "syn" as affixed to the following verbs in the manuscripts: "to die with Christ" (cf. 2Tim. 2:11), "suffer with him" (Rom. 8:17), "crucified with him" (Rom. 6:6; Col. 2:12), "raised up with him" (Eph. 2:6), "brought to life with Christ" (Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13), "live together with Christ" (Rom. 6:8; 2Tim. 2:11).
Conclusion to Part 1
I-4. As we have seen from the above, the New Testament proclaims very firmly that "our conformation to Christ" is the ultimate purpose of God's plan of salvation for us. This conformation is realized and deepened through baptism, the Eucharist and the other sacraments, as well as a deep spiritual life.
The Christian participates in the status of Jesus Christ as "Son of God" and he is joined to the life of Christ. He "learns" (manthano appears in the New Testament six times, note especially Mt. 11:28 "Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart") to think like, act like and love like Christ. The Christian is Christ's "disciple" (mathetes, found only in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, used 268 times), he becomes an "imitator" of the Lord (1Thes. 1:6; 1Cor. 11:1), and a "follower" of Christ (akoloutheo, used a total of 90 times throughout the New Testament, 79 times in the gospels).
Part Two: The Son of God in our Human Likeness
II-1. As the Apostle Paul says, the Father "sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3). In order for us to achieve the salvific plan of being united to or configured to Christ, it was first necessary for the Son to be united with us, taking on our likeness, being sent in love. Thus Christ becomes "the way" (Jn. 4:6) to the Father "drawing all men to himself" by being "lifted up" (Jn. 12:32) on the cross. In order for Jesus Christ to sanctify all people, he "descended down to the lower regions of the earth" (Eph. 4:9), to the lowest point of the earth where the Jordan River flows (Dead Sea, 397 meters below sea level) there mingling with sinners and receiving baptism. In this second part we will consider these things further.
II-2. Our Cistercian Fathers emphasize this aspect of Christ's conformation to us. St. Bernard speaks of Christ as being the "abbreviated Word" (Verbum abbreviatum), He asserts that "in Christ God has become easy to draw near to, one Who can be known, one Whom we can imitate, one Who can be loved". In Bernard's Sermons on the Song of Songs it is the "blackness" (cf. SC 25, 8-9; 28, 2&10) of the Groom that makes the bride beautiful. Furthermore, Christ's sufferings are referred to as "a little bundle of myrrh that lies between the breasts of the bride" (SC 43, 3-5). "Beautiful in his own right, his blackness is because of you. (Ergo formosus in se, niger propter te)" (SC 25, 9).
II-3. The place in the Scriptures where the mystery of Christ's solidarity with us, especially where Christ as our brother becomes like us in all things is treated very beautifully from the standpoint of his priesthood, is found in the Letter to the Hebrews. Among the list of seven questions drafted at the last Central Commission Meeting to guide the reflection for the composition of the House Reports, two of them contain quotations from this Letter (#2 & #3). Let us then try to consider them a bit.
II-4. The first time that the expression "high priest" appears as a central theme of the Letter to the Hebrews is in Chapter 2:17-18. "It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers (kata pantahomoiothenai) so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest of God's religion, able to atone for human sins. That is, because he himself has been through temptation, he is able to help others who are tempted"
a."It was essential that he should become completely like his brothers"
Let us consider the Old Testament high priest. Aaron, for example, after a solemn "ordination" ceremony lasting seven days, becomes high priest separated from the people (cf. Ex. 29). Again during the time of Jesus, Ananias and Caiphas by offering a bribe to the Romans, became high priests through political means. Jesus on the contrary, took the descending way, becoming like his brothers in every respect, and thus became high priest.
b. "merciful and faithful high priest"
To be "merciful" is to have the disposition of heart to offer help to another person in his misery (Mt. 5:7). The Levites were called to the priesthood. However that came as a reward for putting to death three thousand of their "brothers, friends and neighbors." Moses said, "Today you have won yourselves investiture as priests of the Lord at the cost, one of his son, another of his brother; and so he grants you a blessing today" (Ex. 32:25-29; cf. also Deut. 33:8-11). In a similar way the house of Phinehas was chosen to receive "the eternal high priesthood" because he acted as the instrument of God's wrath against his own brethren. The Lord said to Phinehas who ran through with a lance the Israelite who worshiped the Baal of Peor and the Midianite woman, "To him (Phinehas) I grant my covenant of peace. To him and his descendants after him, this covenant will assure the priesthood forever. In reward for his zeal for his God, he will have the right to perform the ritual of expiation for the Israelites" (Nb. 25:1-13; cf. also Si. 45:23-24). However, in the case of Jesus the situation is different. "To be faithful to God" and "merciful to others" is compatible; this reality forms a unified whole. Jesus "loving the Father and acting as the Father commanded" underwent his passion and death (Jn. 14:31) at the same time proving that "a man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15:13).
"He himself has suffered and been tempted"
"He has suffered" is in the perfect tense (perfectum). The nuance contained in this phrase implies that he has suffered, but has overcome the trial. Because of this victory, Jesus "is able to help those who are tempted." "To help (boetheo)" means "to run to (theo) " "a loud cry (boe)." Jesus will never abandon us in our cry for help during a time of trial.
We see from this phrase that Jesus, in becoming "like his brothers in every way" does not simply resemble his brethren, but he "shares the same flesh and blood" (Heb. 2:14), and as a man he has taken upon himself every kind of suffering. In the case of human brothers and sisters there is a natural resemblance, but in the case of Jesus, this likeness was due to the mediation of a great love. "For the one who sanctifies and the ones who are sanctified are of the same stock; that is why he openly calls them brothers.." (Heb. 2:11).
Jesus became high priest to "expiate the sins of the people." The word "people" (laos) is used 13 times in the Letter to the Hebrews. (Heb. 2:17; 4:9 "the people of God"; 5:3; 7:5, 11, and 27; 8:10; 9:7 and vs.19 (twice); 10:30; 11:25 "the people of God"; 13:12 (way ahead of Vatican II!). Jesus "through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God," but the author of the Letter to the Hebrews gives a more detailed explanation of the distinctive quality of his expiation. In Heb. 2:17 the word "expiate" is used in the present tense and therefore shows that this act of expiation is offered in the heavens even at present. (cf. Heb. 7:24-25; 9:24. For more on the relationship between the "sacrifice" of Jesus and the "Holy Spirit" see the present pope's encyclical letter "The Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life" #40-41).
II-5. Heb. 4:15-16
"For the high priest we have is not incapable of feeling our weakness with us, but has been put to the test in exactly the same way as ourselves, apart from sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help."
a. "not incapable of feeling our weakness"
- "to feel or sympathize with" (sympatheo appears in the New Testament only in this one place. As a noun form it appears only in 1Pet. 3:8) syn "with" + pathos "affection, passionate impetus"). It refers to that feeling of tenderness and sympathy which arises from a mother toward her child or a doctor toward his patient in which there is a common sharing of nature and experience. (This is the base for the word "shimpa" which has currently entered the Japanese language.)
! "not incapable of feeling our weakness" This is a double negative implying a strong affirmation.
! "weakness" astheneia= "a"(negative) + sthenos (strength). The weakness of body and spirit which belongs to the man of flesh. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Mk. 14:38). Christ "was crucified through weakness" (2Cor. 13:4). As Eusebius conveys the Word of the Lord (agraphon on Mt. 13:2), " I (Jesus), for the sake of the weak, became weak. For the sake of the hungry, I became hungry. For the sake of the thirsty I became thirsty." Jesus’ compassion (sympathy) arose from his experience of weakness.
b. (This high priest) "has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin" (Heb. 4, 15).
! "in every way that we are" (kata panta kath'homoioteta) Genesis 1:26 tells us that God "made man in his own likeness (kath' homoiosin), but now the Son of God has become "like us in all things." The phrase "only without sin," is to show to just what extent he became exactly like us. To be "without sin" does not weaken or destroy solidarity with us. This is because "sin" is ultimately "love of self = egoism" and it is this egoism that separates us from one another. (Concerning Christ's sinlessness, cf. Heb. 7:27; 9:14).
! "he has been tempted". Concerning the temptation or trial of Jesus see the parallel passage in Mt. 4:1. Also see Lk. 22:28 "You are the men who stood by me faithfully in my trials."
c. "mercy, grace, help, confidence to approach the throne of grace"
Everything that is necessary in order for us to approach God is mentioned here. During the time of the Old Covenant the high priest, in fear and trembling, and only once a year could approach the sanctuary (Lv. 16). But in the New Covenant that is completely changed. The Christian can draw near to the throne of grace "confidently". "Confidently or boldly" (parresia) is mentioned in this same Letter in 3:6; 10:19, 35. The word is a compound made from pan (all) + rema (word). In the democratic society of Athens only the free person had the right to speak in public. In the Septuagint translation of the Bible it is precisely this freedom that is indicated in our relationship to God. "It is I, the Lord your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you should be their slaves no longer, and who broke the bonds of your yoke and made you walk with head held high (with parresia)." The Acts of the Apostles illustrates this privilege of the bold proclamation (preaching) of the apostles. (The word is used as a noun or verb for a total of 12 times, e.g. Ac. 2:29; 4:13,29,31; 28:31; 9:27, etc. Also in Ep. 6:19- 20). Resting his confidence in Jesus the Christian now has the privilege of drawing near to God the Father in complete freedom (Ep. 3:12; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:21; 4:17; 5:14).
II-5. Heb. 5:7-10 (Because of the length of the text passages are omitted.)
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews describes the passion of Jesus from the unique perspective of "the offering of his prayer and entreaty". Jesus offered his sacrifice with "loud cries and with tears." This "loud cry" is the same cry which went forth to God from the Israelites who were maltreated by Pharaoh (cf. Ex. 3:7,9)."Tears" prove an existential suffering. Jesus, in offering his sacrifice "was heard because of his reverent submission." This attitude of reverence implies a complete abandonment to the will of the Father. By acceptance of the Father's will in prayer, Jesus sufferings are transformed, and he is "made perfect" (teleio does not mean simply being made holy. It means that the person of flesh is completely transformed spiritually. Compare Heb. 10:10 and vs.14). In this way, Jesus "became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation and was acclaimed by God with the title of high
priest" (Heb. 5:9-10). In Jesus, it was fitting that God should in bringing many sons to glory, make perfect through suffering the leader of their salvation" (Heb. 2:10).
III-1. In the above considerations of "our conformation to Christ" we have taken as the basic starting point that Christ himself "emptied" (kenos) himself by taking on our nature, and through many sufferings in that nature he became "the way" leading us to the Father. This is the teaching as outlined in the Scriptures, but as we approach the new millennium, as members of the Cistercian Order how to we as individuals and as communities respond to this invitation held out to us by God? First of all, it might be good for each person to reflect quietly on the image that I have of Jesus, and which aspect of Jesus it is that I consider my ideal in living daily life. St. Benedict in his advice to abbots in their care for delinquent brethren suggests that they should imitate "Christ the Good Shepherd" (cf. RB 27). In the Fourth Step of Humility and the following steps which are reached when a person can empty himself, enduring all manner of suffering, the resemblance to "Christ the suffering servant" is suggested. Thus the monk is encouraged to arrive at the summit of love. Dom Vital Lehodey showed the way of holy abandonment through the Child Jesus. In this way the monk or nun seeks to follow Jesus in their individual vocation and charism. However in this working paper I would like to show the way of more intimate participation in the priesthood of Christ who was made perfect through suffering. We can summarize it thus: A) Through the experience of one's own suffering to be able to show sympathy to others; that is to foster a compassionate heart. B) To show to the world the figure of the praying Christ. C) To offer the prayer of intercession for people. D) Finally, by Church community.
III-2. For St. Bernard, Cistercian monks must be imbued with the "spirit of gentleness (spiritus lenitatis)" (cf. Gal. 6:1) and through this they can arrive at the contemplation of the God of truth. The saint taking quotations from exactly the same passages of Chapters 2 and 4 of the Letter to the Hebrews that we have been studying, teaches that the monk must learn from his own experience of weakness how to sympathize with the weakness of others and show a tender pity.
"The 'spirit of gentleness' is that tenderness which is born from the experience of suffering. This spreads in every direction around us embracing everyone, and it fills people’s hearts with that tender Christian kindness in the face of suffering. It is possible for someone visiting a Trappist monastery even just once to have some idea of what St. Bernard is saying simply by the sight of a venerable old monk." (Van Straelen, S.V.D.,"Garden of Silence: the Trappist Spirit" p. 26-27, 1955 Japanese edition only). The noted Japanese Catholic author, Shusaku Endo in many of his works portrays Jesus as the one who accompanies weak people, pouring out upon them limitless mercy. This theme has deeply touched the hearts of many Japanese people.
III-3. Imitating Christ the high priest we manifest before the Father and the world the attitude of prayer.
a. In the "General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours" (#7) we read the following: "There is a special, and very close, bond between Christ and those whom he makes members of his body, the Church, through the sacrament of rebirth. Thus, from the head all the riches that belong to the Son flow throughout the body: the fellowship of the Spirit, the truth, the life, and the sharing of his divine sonship, manifested in all his prayer when he dwelt among us." Borrowing the heart and lips of Christ, in union with the whole of creation, through Christ we offer praise to the Father (Heb. 13:15). In the Acts of the Apostles the first portrait of the Church community we find is the image of the Church gathered in prayer with Mary in the center. (cf. Ac. 1:14; "The General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours #9; see also the present pope ‘s letter marking the 1500th anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict "Sanctorum altrix" IV, "prayer")
b. In the Bible the necessity of prayer for the people, that is the prayer of intercession, is emphasized. For example, Abraham (Gen. 18:22-23 "intercession for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah"), Moses (Ex. 17:8-15 "during the battle with Amalek"; Nb. 12:2-15; 14:11-20), Jeremiah (Jer. 15:11 and especially 2Mac. 15:14, 22-32 "This is a man who loves his brothers <Hic est fratrum amator et populi Israel> and prays much for the people and the holy city - Jeremiah, the prophet of God"), the Apostle Paul (in the opening sentences of his Letters), John, in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 5:8-10) etc. Especially the intercessory prayer of Christ the high priest (Jn. 17; Heb. 7:24-25; 9:24). "The ecclesiastical community thus exercises a true maternal function in bringing souls to Christ by prayer." (General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, #17) Perhaps this participation in Christ's priesthood and prophetic mission could be said especially of the members of those "Institutes dedicated solely to contemplation".
c. The celebration of the Eucharist is the locus of the working of the Triune God. Through the memorial (anamnesis) of the paschal mystery of the Son, and by the prayer in which we call down the Holy Spirit (epiclesis), the bread and wine become the Body and blood of Christ, and now joined in the communion (koinonia) of the Son and the Spirit, we give glory to the Father (doxologia). From this arises the "chorus and dance of eternal love and joy (perichoresis)" The liturgy of the Cistercian community, especially through the celebration of the Eucharist, spreads out all over the earth this ring of love and joy.
In our present day society, poisoned by materialism, we must show before the eyes of people, in a very tangible way, an ecclesial community animated by an authentic Christian spirituality. Isn't this what the documents of Vatican II etc. hoped for in the renewal of contemplative communities? "That monasteries will carry in themselves the seeds of growth of the Christian people. Seminaria aedificationis populi Christiani" (Decree on the Up-to-Date Renewal of Religious Life #9)
I think that this is even more important in a mission area such as Asia, especially in Japan and China where people live within the cultural influence of the Chinese characters. These characters are hieroglyphs or ideograms, that is, written characters that came into being as sketched pictures of objects as they were seen. In contrast to a Greco-Roman culture which places importance on the sense of hearing and its appeal to oratory, people who have been brought up within the cultural context of the Chinese characters place more emphasis on the sense of sight. (Consider for example, Japanese dance, the Noh drama, flower arrangement, and even Japanese food preparation. In Japanese cooking it's important that the prepared food dishes look beautiful.) For these people, therefore, their hearts are not moved by a systematic presentation of doctrine, (of course that too, is important), so much as by the tangible witness of an authentic Christian life which is set out before their eyes.
In any case, living by the Gospel of Christ, we go so far as to say with St. Paul, " I have been crucified with Christ, and I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:19-20). Witness must be given by people who are conformed this much to Christ. Isn't this the basic mission we as Cistercians are called to live in the new millennium? "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come Lord Jesus'" (Rev. 22:17, 20).
Father Paul JAKAHASHI SHIGEYUKI
Phare – Japan
(a) Collectanea OCR XXI (1959) pp. 185-205 "Dieu rendu accessible dans le Christ d'apres St. Bernard" par Amatus van Den Bosch (following references, same author).
b) Ibid. XXII (1960) pp. 11-20 "Dieu rendu connaissable dans le Christ d'apres St. Bernard".
c) Ibid. pp. 341-355 "Le Christ, Dieu devenu imitable d’apres St. Bernard".
d) Ibid. XXIII (1961) pp. 42-57 "Le Christ, Dieu devenu aimable d'apres St. Bernard".
 Concerning the priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of the people of God, see A. VANHOYE "Prêtre Anciens, Prêtre Nouveau selon le N.T." Edit. du Seuil.Paris 1980. Cf. especially the exegesis of Rev. 5:10 on pp. 321-329.
 "Peri" means a circle or ring. "choresis" is the root from which "chorus" is derived in modern languages. The chorus originally meant the dancing ensemble of voices which performed as part of the ancient Greek dramas. "Perichoresis" is translated into Latin as "cirumcessio" or "circumsessio." "cessio" has the same meaning as "incedere" that is, to go out in a queue or procession; to parade or march. "Perichoresis" then means to dance in a ring or circle singing; the circular movement of a dancing chorus. This is the completion of koinonia, communion.