Consecration and the States of Life

Personal Singularity and the Communio Personarum: A Creative Development of Thomas Aquinas' Doctrine of Esse Commune

Adrian J. Walker

"To be a person is to be a member of a communio personarum."



God is the unity of being and love. In him, substance and the fully conscious act of loving are one. By the same token, each of the three divine persons, who is identical with the one divine substance, is his conscious act of loving the other two.2 And if that is the case, then it follows that the personal singularity3 of Father, Son, and Spirit is constituted wholly within communion.4 But we human beings are not God. Apparently, then, we human beings must first begin to exist in ourselves—and then, only much later, if at all, go out of ourselves in a fully conscious act of loving (and being loved). It would seem, in other words, that, whatever might be true about God, in our case personal singularity cannot be constituted even partly, let alone wholly, within communion. Communion cannot be the context in which personal singularity arises and makes sense, but can be only the result of the action of already constituted personal singularities. Communion cannot embrace the whole arc of our personal existence, from conception on, but can only follow upon our conscious acts of love. Or, at least, so it has seemed to many.

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