Father, I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:22)
I have given them the glory you gave me. The ‘them’ is us: we who believe in Christ.
The ‘I’ is Christ, true God and true man.
The ‘glory’ is the glory which God has given to the Christ. What is this?
From eternity unto eternity, the Father begets the divinity of the Son, the unlimited glory of God.
We, being limited creatures, cannot receive this glory. So He cannot mean this.
From the moment of His conception in the Virgin’s womb, the Christ received from God the fullness of grace, the human share in divinity: wisdom, knowledge, perfect love, indomitable fortitude—the full spiritual equipage of the holy man, the man perfectly united with the Creator and Governor of all.
From the moment of our Holy Baptism, Christ shares this grace with us. It grows in our souls through our pilgrim lives as we persevere in faith, do good, and avoid evil.
Before dawn on Easter Sunday, the Christ received from God the permanent re-invigoration of His human body. This, too, we will receive–on the last day.
Why? Why has the Christ given us the glory that God gave Him?
So that we, His believers, may share the unity of the Father and Son. So that we may share the Holy Spirit.
Again, we cannot share this as God, because we are not God.
But we can share it as divine love poured into human hearts. As Christ’s Heart is, so can our hearts be: Moved altogether with love for the truly beautiful and truly good. Impervious to evil and death. Alive with the same life that made the whole world, keeps it made, and guides it to its fulfillment.
That the Father and Son are one in the Holy Spirit is the foundation of everything else. That foundational love that makes things exist—as opposed to not exist—that very love can be in our hearts now and forever. That very love–nothing less. The love that is the foundation of the earth, of the universe.
Prince, in his heyday; Prince rocking ‘When Doves Cry’ in 1984, would have nothing on us. Michael Jordan in his heyday; Jordan knocking down 69 points in one game would have nothing on us. F. Scott Fitzgerald, sitting down and writing The Great Gatsby like an ethereal poem of pathos, would have nothing on us. Alexander the Great, ruling from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas, would have nothing on us.
To be among those for whom the Lord prays in the words of John 17 is to be a burning candle in the St.-Lucy-Day crown of the world.