I started from a meditation on the words of Christ at the Last Supper, “take and eat, this is my Body given for you” AND “take and drink, this is my Blood of the New Covenant,” and then proceeded, from here, of a meditation of the Tradition as a whole.
I WILL START OFF FIRST BY JUST MAKING A BUNCH OF RANDOM, YET RELATED, POINTS, THE DOTS THAT NEED TO BE CONNECTED:
When he says “this is my Body,” I argue that this is, in fact, the Eschatological Gift of Christ Himself WITHIN the Holy Spirit. Let me explain. On the cross, when he breathes his last, “he gives up the Ghost/Spirit,” and I believe this refers to the Holy Spirit. In ancient Jewish Tradition, a man’s wife was said to be his “bread.” We also know that the first woman, Eve, who came through the first man from his side, was called “bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh,” and this is both covenantal and marital language. Christ gave the Spirit when he breathed his last SIMULTANEOUSLY NEAR the time when his side was pierced, and blood and water flowed out (we’ve always interpreted this to refer to the sacraments, since it also alludes, as the antitype, to the Old Testament Temple sacrifices which were made through blood atonements that were then washed away with holy water [the type]; and many have also interpreted this to refer to the “birth” of the Church). Christ’s sacrifice, in relation to the cross, is typological of Adam sleeping “a sleep like death” and Eve being taken from his side (the Hebrew word can mean both “side” OR “rib”). If we take the typology further, we can argue that, just as God breathed into the first man the “breath of lives” (Eve, the pinnacle of creation…who is also called “the mother of all the “living”…same word as “life” within the “breath of lives”), and later he extracts this first woman from the side of the first man, THEREFORE, God the Father breathes the Spirit through the Son. Just as the side taken from the first man became the first woman, his bride, the Spirit coming through the side of the New Man is the New Woman, the New Bride. In early Syriac Orthodoxy (before any schism), there as a consistent understanding of the Holy Spirit to be feminine through maternal and feminine language (it wasn’t until, I believe, the 4th century, that the Holy Spirit started to be called “He;” I know there’s technically no gender within the Father and the Spirit, but I believe that the Holy Spirit chose a feminine way of relation of relation to us, just as the Father and Christ chose a male way). Hence, the Holy Spirit is the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ (as Eve is the “body” of Adam). Jesus is also resurrected in the Holy Spirit, and ascends within the Glory Cloud (always related to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament). According to Trinitarian theology, the Father breathes the Spirit through the Son. Furthermore, it has always been said that the Holy Spirit is the “soul” of the Church, AND, YET, the Church is the Bride of Christ.
IF YOU CONNECT ALL THE DOTS TOGETHER IN THE COMPLICATED PICTURE, AND FURTHER CONNECT IT ALL TO MANY STATEMENTS OF THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH WITHIN THE NEW TESTAMENT LETTERS, AS WELL AS IN ACCORDANCE TO SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH UNDERSTANDING FROM APOCALYPTIC WRITINGS TO WHICH THE NEW TESTAMENT ALLUDES TO AND CHRIST TAKES FOR GRANTED, YOU’LL END UP WITH THIS PICTURE:
The Church is the Holy Spirit, the Bride and Body of Christ, the Heavenly Temple of Tongues of Fire (Acts 2 AND the Book of Enoch), within which the resurrected, ascended, and enthroned Heavenly High Priest, Jesus, offers his once for all anamnestic love sacrifice back to the Father within Himself. Mary is the Ark and Queen Mother enthroned beside Christ (according to our typology of Adam she wouldn’t be the New Eve, but, rather, the virgin red, pure, non-fallen ground from which Adam was taken). We on earth, and the Saints already in this Holy Spirit Temple, as Members of the Body are the “Living Stones” of the Holy Spirit Temple, “built up all together” into the House of the Lord. Since Christ was a Divine Person possessing the One Shared Divine Nature of Himself, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, but also sharing in our one shared human nature, He can, through the Sacraments, transfer also to us his Divine Nature, in which we now share too (I recommend a study of the Eastern Christian doctrine of Essence vs. Energies, as well as Theosis, for a more complete understanding). What I’m saying is that we are IN the Spirit, but we aren’t absorbed into the Godhead, losing our personhood, or anything like far eastern religions teach. We DO NOT become Divine Persons, but we do share in the Divine Nature of the Divine Persons, therefore, becoming human persons with the one shared human nature AND the Divine Nature, or, essentially, human-persons-God, and not Divine-Persons-God. But, to be more precise, we are human-persons-God WITHIN Divine-Persons-God. And this is what is meant by the words of the Fathers, “God became man so that men could become gods/God.” The Father, according to John’s Gospel, is in Christ Himself, just as Paul says, “God was reconciling the world through Jesus.” Therefore, if Christ is the King, the Holy Spirit is the Bride, we are the Living Stones of the Spirit, Mary is the Queen Mother (the Queen was always the mother in the Old Testament and ancient cultures), then the Father must be the Patriarch of the Family. It’s kind of like, typologically and not literally, saying that the Father is Abraham, Mary is Sarah, Jesus is Isaac, the Holy Spirit is Rebecca, and we are Jacob. I take the Holy Spirit both in terms of identity and maternal relation.