The basic structure of redemptive history is an exitus and reditus structure, going out from God and return to Him. For Thomas, Emery says, “The Trinitarian processions provide the doctrinal foundation of the exitus-reditus structure of the world and of history.” He quotes Thomas as saying, “Just as the procession of persons is the reason of the production of creatures by the first principle, so too this same process is the reason for the return of creatures to their end; since, just as we have been created by the Son and Holy Spirit, so too it is by them that we are united to our ultimate end.” Creatures have a “circular movement” ( circulatio, regiratio ), and the Trinitarian processions are the “dynamic pivot” of the chiasm of history.
Emery fills this out by pointing to the role of the Son and Spirit in creation and restoration. With regard to creation (as posted earlier this week), the Triitarian processions are the uncreated ground of creation. But the “professions that are the cause of the reditus are the missions of the Son and Spirit.” A mission is, for Thomas, a “procession to which a created effect is joined, namely, sanctifying grace.” In the missions, the Son and Spirit impress a likeness of their own eternal properties on the soul, and this indwelling likeness is the source of the wisdom and love that leads to return.
As Emery says, “the theologal gift of love, which is a shared likeness of the personal property of the Spirit, offers us the possibility of entering into relationship with the Son in a mode comparable to that of the Spirit, by imitating the Spirit (Love which proceeds from the Son). The theologal gift of wisdom, which is a shared likeness of the personal property of the Son, offers us the possibility of entering into relationship with the Father in a mode comparable to that of the Word, that is, by imitating the Word (Word of the Father).” In short, the “reality of contact with God in the reditus comes from the fact that the eternal properties of the Word and of the Spirit are the origin and exemplar of the created gifts of wisdom and charity.”