Friday, June 20, 2008

Short Course: The Redemptive Work of the Incarnate Word

The Incarnate Word: Constitutive of Man

It belongs to Catholic Faith that the meaning of man is Jesus Christ – the incarnate Logos of the Father - before the foundation of the world, i.e., before sin. It is scriptural revelation that “God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1, 33-4). This means that the Incarnation of the Logos “precedes” – in the “intention” of the Father - the fall into sin which consequently would not be the cause of the Incarnation. It means that God did not become man because of sin. It means that man would be divinized in the flesh – not just created in the image of God, but also actualized as His likeness (as some Fathers of the Church say it[1]), but not saved from sin, because there would have been no sin. It also means – once man has sinned - that we should not be surprised that Jesus Christ as prototype has taken the sin on as his own and pays for it by the obedience of the gift of himself to death. Since Christ is revelation of man before sin, He is also the revelation of man after sin – now repaired by the Cross of the God-man. After sin, the Cross of Christ reveals the kind and intensity of Love with which God has loved man. But this love is antecedent to sin and to the Cross.

John Paul II

“The reality of the creation of man was already permeated by the perennial election of man in Christ: called to holiness through the grace of adoption as sons.”[2]

The human person is ordained to fulfillment in Jesus Christ not because of sin but because of the original intention of the Creator at the moment of creation before sin. The meaning of every man, then, is Jesus Christ, and the anthropology that grounds every human action for every man is that of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is, then, the meaning of every man “before” the salvation from sin. To this effect, John Paul II, in his exegesis of Ephesians, chapters1,[3]-5 distinguishes between the “sacrament of creation” (“the sacramental `beginning’ of man and of marriage in the state of original justice [or innocence”] marriage”[4]) and the “sacrament of redemption.” They are two moments of “gracing.”

With regard to the first, John Paul says: “This salvific initiative comes forth from God, the Creator, and its supernatural efficaciousness is identical with the very act of the creation of man in the state of original innocence. In this state, already beginning with the act of the creation of man, his eternal election in Christ has borne fruit. In this way, one must recognize that the original sacrament of creation draws its efficaciousness from the `beloved Son’ (see Eph. 1, 6, where the author speaks about `his grace, which he has given to us in is beloved Son’). As for marriage, one can deduce that – instituted in the context of the sacrament of creation in its totality, or in the state of original innocence – it was to serve not only to extend the work of creation, or procreation, but also to spread the same sacrament of creation to further generations of human beings, that is, to spread the supernatural fruits of man’s eternal election by the Father in the eternal Son, the fruits man was endowed with by God in the very act of creation.

“Ephesians seems to authorize us to understand Genesis in this way, and the truth about the `beginning’ of man and marriage contained in it.”[5]

With regard to the second, he says: “In Ephesians 5, 31, when the author appeals to the words of the institution of marriage in Genesis 2, 24 (`For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and unite with his wife, and the two will be one flesh’), and immediately after this declares, `This mystery is great; I say this with reference to Christ and the Church’ (Eph. 5, 32), he seems to point out not only the identity of the Mystery hidden in God from eternity, but also the continuity of its realization between the primordial sacrament connected with man’s supernatural gracing [that is, endowment with grace] in creation itself and the new gracing – which was brought about when `Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her, in order to make her holy’ (Eph. 5, 25-26) – an endowment with grace that can be defined in its entirety as the sacrament of redemption. This redemptive gift of self `for’ the Church also includes – according to Pauline thought – Christ’s gift of self to the Church, in the image of the spousal relation that unites husband and wife in marriage. In this way, the sacrament of redemption clothes itself, so to speak, in the figure and form of the primordial sacrament. To the marriage of the first husband and wife, as a sign of the supernatural endowment of man with grace in the sacrament of creation, corresponds the marriage, or rather the analogy of the marriage, of Christ with the Church, as the fundamental `great’ sign of man’ supernatural gracing in the sacrament of redemption, of the gracing in which the covenant of the grace of election that was broken in the `beginning’ by sin is renewed in a definitive way.

“The image contained in the passage quoted from Ephesians seems to speak above all about the sacrament of redemption as the definitive realization of the Mystery hidden from eternity in God. Indeed, in this mysterium magnum, everything that Ephesians talks about in chapter 1 is definitively realized. It says, in fact, as we remember, not only that `in him [that is, Christ] he has chosen us before the creation of the world to be holy and immaculate before him’ (Eph. 1, 4); John Paul II’s addition), but also, `in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his grace. He has abundantly poured it out on us’ (Eph. 1, 7-8). Man’s new supernatural endowment with the gift of grace in the `sacrament of redemption’ is also a new realization of the Mystery hidden from eternity in God, new in comparison with the sacrament of creation. At this moment, endowment with grace is in some sense a `new creation.’ It differs, however, from the sacrament of creation inasmuch as the original gracing, united with the creation of man, constituted that man `from the beginning’ through grace in the sate of original innocence and justice. Man’s new gracing in the sacrament of redemption, by contrast, gives him above all the `forgiveness of sin.’ Still, even here `grace’ can `superabound’ as St. Paul expresses himself elsewhere: `Where sin abounded, grace superabounded’ (Rom. 5, 20).

“On the basis of Christ’s spousal love for the Church [the original sacrament of creation], the sacrament of redemption – fruit of Christ’s redeeming love – becomes a permanent dimension of the life of the Church herself, a fundamental and life giving dimension. It is the `Mysterium magnum of Christ and the Church, the eternal mystery realized by Christ, who `gave himself for her’ (Eph. 5, 25), uniting with her with an indissoluble, just as spouses, husband and wife, unite in marriage. In this manner, the Church lives from the sacrament of redemption and on her part completes this sacrament, just as the wife in virtue of spousal love, completes her husband, which was in some way already brought out `at the beginning’ when the first man found in the first woman `a help similar to himself’ (Gen. 2, 20).”[6]

Redemption is, then, a restoring of man as “ipse Christus.” Man was created in Christ – “Ipse Christus” - before sin. Therefore, there is no such thing as “natural” man. To be truly man is to be Christ.


It seems in the Magisterium of John Paul II, there are two moments of gracing: 1) the sacrament of creation that is matrimony; and 2) the sacrament of redemption. By “grace” Benedict XVI clarifies that it is “relation.”[7]

Person as Relation in the Trinity

(and therefore in the image[8]).

“The First Person does not beget the Son in the sense of the act of begetting coming on top of the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of giving. Only as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving… In this idea of relativity in word and love, independent of the concept of substance and not to be classified among the ‘accidents,’ Christian thought discovered the kernel of the concept of person, which describes something other and infinitely more than the mere idea of the ‘individual.’ Therein lies concealed a revolution in man’s view of the world: the undivided sway of thinking in terms of substance is ended; relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality. It becomes possible to surmount what we call today ‘objectifying thought;’ a new plane of being comes into view.”[9]

Sacrament of Creation: Matrimony and Original Innocence

(Before Sin)

John Paul says: “Ephesians leads ut to approach this situation – man’s state before original sin – from the point of view of the mystery hidden from eternity in God. In fact, at the beginning of the letter we read, `God, the Father our Lord Jesus Christ… has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. In him he has chosen us before the creation of the world [underline mine] to be holy and immaculate before him in love’ (Eph 1, 3-4)

“3. Ephesians opens before us the supernatural world of the eternal mystery, of the eternal plans of God the Father in regard to man. These plans precede the `creation of the world’ and thus also the creation of man. At the same time, these divine plans begin to be realized already in the whole reality of creation. If also the state of original innocence of man created, as male and female, in the image of God belongs to the mystery of creation, this means that the primordial gift given to man by God already included within itself the fruit of election, about which we read in Ephesians: `He has chosen us…to be holy and immaculate before him’ (Eph. 1, 4)…. Only after sin, after the breaking of the original covenant with the Creator, does man feel the need of hiding `from the Lord God:’ `I heard the sound of your step in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked, and I hid myself’ (Gen. 3, 10).

“4. Before sin [underline mine], by contrast, man carried in his soul the fruit of eternal election in Christ, the eternal Son of the Father. Through the grace of this election, man, male and female, was `holy and immaculate’ before God. This primordial (or original) holiness and purity expressed itself also in the fact that, though both were `naked… they did not feel shame’ (Gen. 2, 25), as we tried to show in the earlier analyses. When we compare the testimony of the `beginning’ reported in the first chapter of Genesis with the testimony of Ephesians, we must deduce that the reality of the creation of man was already permeated by the perennial election of man in Christ: called to holiness through the grace of adoption as sons, `predestining us to be his adopted sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise and glory of his grace, which he has given to us in his beloved Son (Eph. 1, 5-6).

“5. From’ the `beginning,’ man, male and female, shared in this supernatural gift. This endowment was given in view of him, who from eternity was `beloved’ as Son, although – according to the dimensions of time and history – it preceded the Incarnation of this `beloved Son’ and also the `redemption’ we have in him `through his blood’ (Eph. 1, 7) [my underline].

“Redemption was to become the source of man’s supernatural endowment after sin and, in a certain sense, despite sin [my underline].This supernatural endowment, which took place before original sin [my underline], that is, the grace of original justice and innocence – an endowment that was the fruit of man’s election in Christ before the ages – was brought about precisely out of regard for him, that one and only Beloved, while chronologically anticipating his coming in the body [my underline]. In the dimensions of the mystery of creation, election to the dignity of adoptive sonship was proper only to the `first Adam,’ that is, to man created in the image and likeness’ of God as male and female.”

Christopher West

Christopher West comments: “It seems that John Paul cannot stress this point enough. Comparing the testimony of the ‘beginning’ with the testimony of Ephesians, he says that ‘one must deduce that the reality of man’s creation was already imbued with the perennial election of man in Christ…. Man, male and female, shared from the “beginning” in this supernatural gift.’ And again he says that this supernatural endowment in Christ ‘took place before original sin’ (334-335). Rereading the account of creation in light of the New Testament, we realize that man’s destiny in Christ is already implied in his creation in the image of God. For it is Christ who ‘is the image of the invisible God.’ Thus, it is in Christ that we image God right from the beginning (see Col. 1, 15-16).”[11]

CCC #280: “Creation is the foundation of ‘all God’s saving plans,’ the ‘beginning of the history of salvation’ that culminates in Christ. Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth:’ from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ.”

CCC #1701: “Christ… in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation.’ It is in Christ, ‘the image of the invisible God,’ that man has been created ‘in the image and likeness’ of the Creator. It is in Christ, Redeemer and Savior, that the divine image, disfigured in man by the first sin, has been restored to its original beauty and ennobled by the grace of God” (Gaudium et Spes #22).

Christopher West continues: “With these statements, the Holy Father appears to be adding his input to a centuries-old theological debate: Would Christ have come had man not sinned? In any case, this pope’s opinion on the matter seems clear. For him, Jesus Christ – the incarnate Christ – ‘is the center of the universe and of history.’ For him, it seems even to entertain the idea of a universe without an incarnate Christ is to miss a central point of the ‘great mystery’ of God’s love for humanity.

Christ is ‘first-born of all creation’ (Col. 1, 15). Everything – especially man in his original unity yas male and female – was created for him, through him, and in expectation of him. When we reread man’s beginning in view of the ‘great mystery’ of Ephesians, we can see that Christ’s incarnate communion with the Church is already anticipated and in some sense ‘contained’ in the original incarnate communion of man and woman. And this original unity in ‘one flesh’ was constituted by God before sin. Man and woman’s original unity, therefore, was a beatifying participation in grace (see #20). This grace made original man’ holy and blameless’ before God. Here John Paul reminds us that their primordial (or original) holiness and purity were also expressed in their being naked without shame. The Holy Father then asserts that this original bounty was granted to man in view of Christ, who from eternity was ‘beloved’ as Son, ‘even though – according to the dimensions of time and history – it had preceded the Incarnation.’ (334).”[12]

What is Redemption?

The Intrinsic Mediation that is Christology. Mediation is the meaning of priesthood. Mediation can be extrinsic such as between persons and persons or persons and things. It is also intrinsic as in the unique case of Jesus Christ where He mediates between Himself and the Father.[13]

“The Logos adopts the being of the man Jesus into his own being and speaks of it in terms of his own I: `For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me’ (Jn. 6, 38). In the Son’s obedience, where both wills become one single Yes to the will of the Father, communion takes place between human and divine being. The `wondrous exchange,’ the `alchemy of being,’ is realized here as a liberating and reconciling communication, which becomes a communion between Creator and creature. It is in the pain of this exchange, and only here, that the fundamental change takes place in man, the change that alone can redeem him and transform the condition of the world. Here community is born, here the Church comes into being. The act whereby we participate in the Son’s obedience, which involves man’s genuine transformation, is also the only really effective contribution toward renewing and transforming society and the world as a whole.”[14]
The Magisterium engenders a new metaphysics:
(“The Parrhesia [daring enlightenment] of faith must be matched by the boldness of reason:” Fides et ratio #48)

Recover the Experience of the Absolute: The God of Jesus Christ

“Nuclear Fission:” The Impact of Christian Revelation on the Greek Mind

The History of the Councils:

There are four major Christological Councils: Nicea (325) Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451) and Constantinople II (680-681).

1) The Nicene Creed: The principal struggle was with the subordinationism of Arius who claimed Christ to be less in being than the Father, and therefore, not God.[15] The basic affirmation is that Jesus Christ is one in being - homoousios –– with the Father, and therefore equal to Him as God.

2) The Council of Ephesus: The principal struggle here during the fourth century came from the lack of emphasis on the completeness and autonomy of the humanity of Christ. The fourth century was dominated by the revolutionary truth that Jesus is homoousios with the Father. Thus a Logos-Sarx (God wrapped in flesh) Christology flourished whereby the Word had become flesh. But the question still remained, had he become fully man also with a human soul and its faculties of intellect and will such that in Christ there would be two intellects and two wills? How would that work?

Nestorius (with the discipleship of Theodore of Mopsuestia) championed the affirmation of the full humanity of Christ. However, the Greek mind and its conceptual metaphysics of substance had to be exploded into the distinction between nature and person precisely here. The heresy that Nestorius proclaimed insisting on the full humanity of Christ (which is the totally correct positions) consisted in proclaiming that if there were two full natures, then there must be two persons. And the inexorable logic of that demanded that the son of Mary would not be the son of God. Mary would not, then, be the Mother of God (Theotokos). Besides, “(t)he two persons are connected with each other by a mere accidental or moral unity. The man Christ is not God, but a bearer of God. The Incarnation does not mean that God the Son became man, but merely that the Divine Logos resided in the man in the same manner as God swells in the just. The human activities (birth, suffering, death) may be asserted of the Man-Christ only; the Divine activities (creation, omnipotence, eternity) of the God-Logos only. Consequently Mary cannot in the proper sense be designated by the title, customary since the time of Origen, of `Mother of God’ (θεοτόκος). She is merely a bearer of man (άνθροποτόκος) or Mother of Christ (χριστοτόκος) The conviction that in Christ there are two persons appears also in the doctrine of authentication peculiar to the Antiochians, according to which the Man-Christ was obliged to merit divine dignity and adoration by his obedience in suffering. Nestorian tendencies appear in the Christology of early scholasticism also, above all in the `habitus’’ theory, which goes back to Peter Abelard, and which was favoured by Petrus Lombardus which compares the assumption of human nature by the Divine Logos to the putting on of a garment. St. Thomas condemns this as heresy, since it implies a mere accidental unification (S. Th. III, 2, 6).”[16]

St. Cyril of Alexandria launched Twelve Anathematisms that were confirmed by the Council of Ephesus and summarized by Ott:

(a) “Christ Incarnate is a single, that is, a sole Person. He is God and man at the same time. (b) The God-Logos is connected with the flesh by an inner, physical or substantial unification. Christ is not the bearer of God, but is God really. (c) The human and the divine activities predicated of Christ in Holy Writ and in the Fathers may not be divided between two persons or hypostases, the Man-Christ and the God-Logos, but must be attributed to the one Christ, the Logos become Flesh. It is the Divine Logos, who suffered in the flesh [Here insert Weinandy and Ratzinger on the suffering of the Person of the Logos], was crucified, died, and rose again. (d) The Holy Virgin is the Mother of God since she truly bore the God-Logos become Flesh.”[17]

St. Cyril of Alexandria wrote to Nestorius the following epistle approved by the Council of Ephesus: “For in the first place no common man was born of the holy Virgin; then the Word thus descended upon him; but being untied from the womb itself he is said to have endured a generation in the flesh in order to appropriate the producing of His own body. Thus [the holy Fathers] did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as the Mother of God.”[18]

The text of Chalcedon (451):

“Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all teach that with one accord we confess one and the same son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in human nature, truly God and the same with a rational soul and a body truly man, consubstantial with the Father according to divinity, and consubstantial with us, according to human nature, like unto us in all things except sin,; indeed born of the Father before the ages according to divine nature, but in the last days the same born of the virgin Mary, Mother of God according to human nature; for us and for our deliverance, one and the same Christ only begotten Son our Lord, acknowledged in two natures, without mingling, without change, indivisibly, undividedly, the distinction of the natures nowhere removed on account of the union but rather the peculiarity of each nature being kept, and uniting in one person and substance, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same son only begotten God Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as from the beginning the prophets taught about Him and the Lord Jesus Himself taught us, and the creed of our fathers has handed down to us.”

The Text of Constantinople III (680-681):

“And we proclaim equally two natural volitions or wills in him and two natural principles of action which undergo no division, no change, no partition, no confusion, in accordance with the teaching of the holy fathers. And the two natural wills not in opposition, as the impious heretics said, far from it, but his human will following, and not resisting or struggling, rather in fact subject to his divine and all powerful will. For the will of the flesh had to be moved, and yet to be subjected to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius. For just as his flesh is said to be and is flesh of the Word of God, so too the natural will of his flesh is said to and does belong to the Word of God, just as he says himself: I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me, calling his own will that of his flesh, since his flesh too became his own. For in the same way that his all holy and blameless animate flesh was not destroyed in being made divine but remained in its own limit and category, so his human will as well was not destroyed by being made divine, but rather was preserved, according to the theologian Gregory, who says: "For his willing, when he is considered as saviour, is not in opposition to God, being made divine in its entirety"… Therefore, protecting on all sides the "no confusion" and "no division", we announce the whole in these brief words: Believing our lord Jesus Christ, even after his incarnation, to be one of the holy Trinity and our true God, we say that he has two natures [naturas] shining forth in his one subsistence[subsistentia] in which he demonstrated the miracles and the sufferings throughout his entire providential dwelling here, not in appearance but in truth, the difference of the natures being made known in the same one subsistence in that each nature wills and performs the things that are proper to it in a communion with the other; then in accord with this reasoning we hold that two natural wills and principles of action meet in correspondence for the salvation of the human race.

The key to understanding the unity of the divine and human in Christ is to understand that there is one divine Person Who has taken the humanity of the man Jesus of Nazareth epitomized in the human will as His own. It is critical to understand that it is not the will that wills, but the person. That is, the divine Person wills with His own human will. Only this can make sense of Jn. 6, 38: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” The divine “I” does not do His own human will, but that of the Father. The dynamic of self-mastery consists in the Person subduing the human will that has been “made to be sin” (2 Cor. 5, 21). [19] In a word, this is the radical self-gift of the Son as God-man.
Put more clearly, the relation of the divine and the human in Christ is not a parallelism of two natures bound together by the commonality of a Person as substance in itself. Rather, it is the compenetration of the divine and the human by the fact that the divine Person has taken the human will as His own and He, the divine Person, wills with the human will. The result is the “compenetration” of the two “wills,” the divine and the human because it is one and the same Person doing the willing.
And yet, the human will does not lose its autonomy and freedom, but rather has it radically enhanced by the fact that it is a divine Person living out the Trinitarian relation to the Father, now as man with a human will.

Ratzinger: Thesis 6: “The so-called Neo-Chalcedonian theology which is summed up in the Third Council of Constantinople (680-681) makes an important contribution to a proper grasp of the inner unity of biblical and dogmatic theology, of theology and religious life. Only from this standpoint does the dogma of Chalcedon (451) yield its full meaning.”

“It is common enough for the theological textbooks to pay scant attention to the theological development which followed Chalcedon. In many ways one is left with the impression that dogmatic Christology comes to a stop with a certain parallelism of the two natures in Christ. It was this same impression that led to the divisions in the wake of Chalcedon. In fact, however, the affirmation of the true humanity and the true divinity in Christ can only retain its meaning if the mode of the unity of both is clarified. The Council defined this unity by speaking of the `one Person’ in Christ, but it was a formula, which remained to be explored in its implications. For the unity of divinity and humanity in Christ which brings `salvation’ to man is not juxtaposition but a mutual indwelling. Only in this way can there be that genuine `becoming like God,’ without which there is no liberation and no freedom.

[Exegesis of Jn 6, 38]

“It was to this question, after two centuries of dramatic struggles which also, in many ways, bore the mark of imperial politics, that the Third Council of Constantinople (680-681) addressed itself. On the one hand, it reaches that the unity of God and man in Christ involves no amputation or reduction in any way of human nature. In conjoining himself to man, his creature, God does not violate or diminish him; in doing so, he brings him for the first time to his real fullness. On the other hand (and this is no less important), it abolishes all dualism or parallelism of the two natures, such as had always seemed necessary in order to safeguard Jesus’ human freedom. In such attempts it had been forgotten that when the human will is taken up into the will of God, freedom is not destroyed; indeed, only then does genuine freedom come into its own. The Council of Constantinople analyzed the question of the two-ness, and the one-ness in Christ by reference t the concrete issue of the will of Jesus. It resolutely maintains that, as man, Jesus has a human will that is not absorbed by the divine will. But this human will follows the divine will and thus becomes one will with it….not in a natural manner but along the path of freedom. The metaphysical two-ness of a human and divine will is not abrogated, but in the real of the person, in the realm of freedom, the fusion of both takes place, with the result that they become one will, not naturally, but personally. This free unity – a form of unity created by love – is higher and more interior than a merely natural unity. It corresponds to the highest unity there is, namely Trinitarian unity. The Council illustrates this unity by citing a dominical word handed down to us in the Gospel of John: `I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me’ (Jn. 6, 38). Here it is the divine Logos who is speaking, and he speaks of the human will of the man Jesus as his will, the will of the Logos. With this exegesis of John 6, 38 the Council indicates the unity of the subject in Christ. There are not two `I’s in him, but only one. The Logos speaks in the I-form of the human will and mind of Jesus; it has become his I, has become adopted into his I, because the human will is completely one with the will of the Logos. United with the latter, it has become a pure Yes to the Father’s will.

“Maximus the Confessor, the great theological interpreter of this second phase of the development of the Christological dogma, illuminates this whole context by reference to Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives, which, as we already saw in Thesis 1, expresses Jesus’ unique relationship to God. Indeed, it is as if we were actually looking in on the inner life of the Word-made-man. It is revealed to us in the sentence, which remains the measure and model of all real prayer: `Not what I will, but what thou wilt’ (Mk. 14, 36). Jesus human will assimilates itself to the will of the Son. In doing this, he receives the Son’s identity, i.e., the complete subordination of the “to the Thou, the self-giving and self-expropriation of the I to the Thou. This is the very essence of him who is pure relation and pure act [my underline]. Wherever the I gives itself to the Thou , there is freedom [See again, Veritatis Splendor #85] because this involves the reception of the `form of God.’

“But we can also describe this process, and describe it better, from the other side: the Logos so humbles himself that he adopts a man’s will as his own and addresses the Father with the I of this human being; he transfers his own I to this man and thus transforms human speech into the eternal Word, into his blessed `Yes, Father.’ By imparting his own I, his own identity, to this human being, he liberates him, redeems him, and makes him God. Now we can take the real meaning of `God has become man’ in both hands, as it were: the Son transforms the anguish of a man into his own filial obedience, the speech of the servant into the Word that is the Son.

“Thus we come to grasp the manner of our liberation, our participation in the Son’s freedom. As a result of the unity of wills of which we have spoken, the greatest possible change has taken place in man, the only change which meets his desire: he has become divine. We can therefore describe that prayer which enters into the praying of Jesus and becomes the prayer of Jesus in the Body of Christ as freedom’s laboratory. Here, and nowhere else, takes place that radical change in man of which we stand in need, that the world may become a better place. For it is only along this path that conscience attains its fundamental soundness and it unshakable power. And only from such a conscience can there come that ordering of human affairs which corresponds to human dignity and protects it. Every generation has to seek anew this right ordering of the world in response to a conscience that is alert, until the kingdom of God comes, which God alone can establish.”[20]Remember that the Kingdom of God is the Person of Christ Himself and all who become other Christs. The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Heaven that is in this world, not outside of it or after it. Christogenesis is brought about by the exercise of the priestly soul, which in turn is identical with the freedom of self mastery of the lay mentality.


Thomas Weinandy and the God Who Does Not Suffer As God

“Here we enter into the heart of the mystery. While the mystery of the Incarnation, by its very nature, remains, the answer lies in the fact that as God the Son is not deprived of any good which would cause him to suffer as God. If the Son of God, as God, were deprived of some good which would cause him to suffer as God, it would mean, as I argued in previous chapters, that he is actually no longer God. Strange as it may seem, but not paradoxically, one must maintain the unchangeable impassibility of the Son of God as God in order to guarantee that it is actually the divine Son of God, one in being with the Father, who truly suffers as man. As man the divine Son of God was deprived, as are we, of human goods which did cause him, like us, to suffer.”[21]

Actiones Sunt Suppositorum: God Suffers As God

I believe that this point can be made clearer even more starkly. Weinandy goes on to say:

“If the Son of God experienced suffering in his divine nature, then it would be God suffering as God in a man. But the Incarnation, which demands that the Son of god actually exists as a man and not just dwells in a man, equally demands that the Son of God suffers as a man and not just suffers divinely in a man. If one wishes to say in truth that the Son of God actually experienced and knew what it was like to be born, eat, sleep, cry, fear, grieve, groan, rejoice, suffer, die, and most of all , love as a man, and it seems this is precisely what one does want to say, then the experience and knowledge of being born, eating, sleeping, crying, fearing, grieving, groaning, rejecting, suffering, dying, and again most of all, loving must be predicated of the Son of God solely and exclusively as a man. Thus, to replace the phrase ‘the Impassible suffers’ with ‘the Passible suffers’ immediately purges the suffering of all Incarnational significance.”[22]

To pin-point the error here, I would offer that Weinandy’s “as a man” is ascribing to the human nature of Christ an agency (and thus a “parallelism” to the divine “nature”) that belongs to the only Subject-Agent that is the divine Person. The man Jesus – as human nature - doesn’t eat, sleep, cry, fear, grieve, groan, rejoice, suffer…. The divine Person of the Logos eats, sleeps, cries, fears, grieves, groans, rejoices, suffers by the human nature that is His very Self. This is Benedict’s precise meaning of Constantinople’s abolishment of the dualism of the two natures in Christ (with such immense ramification). The point is the exegesis of Jn. 6, 38): “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me.” Then-Ratzinger said:

“Here the divine Logos is speaking, and speaking of the human will of Jesus in the mode by which he calls his will the will of the Logos. With this exegesis of John 6, 38, the Council proves the unity of the subject: In Jesus there are not two ‘I,’ but only one. The Logos speaks of the will and human thought of Jesus using the ‘I;’ this has become his ‘I,’ has been assumed into his ‘I,’ because the human will has become fully one with the will of the Logos, and with it has become pure assent to the will of the Father…. The human will of Jesus enters into the will of the Son. By dong so, it receives the identity of the son, which consists in entire subordination of the I to the Thou, in the giving and transferring of the I to the Thou: this is the mode of being of the one who is pure relation and pure act. When the ‘I’ gives itself to the ‘Thou,’ freedom originates, because the ‘form of God’ has been assumed.

“But we can describe this process also and better still from another viewpoint: the Logos stoops to assume as his own the will of man, and speaks to the Father with the ‘I’ of this man, and thereby transforms the world of a man into the eternal word, into his own blessed ‘Yes, Father.’ While giving to this man his own ‘I,’ his own identity, the Logos frees the man, saves him, divinizes him. We here touch almost palpably on the reality meant by the phrase ‘God became man:’ the son transforms the anguish of a man into the obedience of the Son, transforms the speech of the ‘servant’ into the words of the ‘Son.’ Thus becomes comprehensible also our say of liberation, our sharing in the freedom of the Son.

In the unity of wills of which we halved spoken is attained the greatest conceivable transformation of any person, which is at the same time the one thing ultimately desirable: divinization.”[23]

To repeat, the root of this misunderstanding is the failure to experience the Person of Jesus Christ on the second tier of experience that is the I-Gift that is intrinsically relational. It can only be understood experientially and passionately. When this is not done, the human will of Christ is understood to be a mere instrument of the divine Person of the Logos, with the result that we would have to say that it is not the divine Person of the Logos Who suffers, but His humanity that suffers. This same scholastic rationalism then would insist that – assuming a metaphysic where being is substance – that to suffer, there must be diminution of being. If it were affirmed that God suffered, it would mean that God would be less than God. “He” would have to be diminished in his Being as God. Therefore, it is affirmed that God suffered, not as God, but in His humanity that is assumed by Him, but not His intrinsic Person as God.

Benedict remarked that “The topic of the suffering God has become almost fashionable today, not without reason, as a result of the abandonment of a theology which was one-sidedly rationalist and as a result of the rejection of a portrait of Jesus and a concept of God which had been emasculated, where the love of God had degenerated into the cheap platitude of a God who was merely kind, and hence `harmless.’ Against such a backdrop Christianity is diminished to the level of philanthropic world improvement, and Eucharist becomes a brotherly meal. The theme of the suffering God can only stay sound if it is anchored in love for God and in prayerful attention to his love. The encyclical Haurietis aquas sees the passions of Jesus, which are summed up and set forth in the Heart, as the basis, as the reason why, the human heart, i.e., the capacity for feeling, the emotional side of love, must be drawn into man’s relationship with God. Incarnational spirituality must be a spirituality of the passions, a spirituality of `heart to heart;’ in that way, precisely, it is an Easter spirituality, for the mystery of Easter, the mystery of suffering, is of its very nature a mystery of the heart.

“Developments since the Council have confirmed this view on the part of the encyclical. Theology today is certainly no longer confronted with a Stoic ethos of apatheia, but is faced with a technological rationalism which pushes man’s emotional side to the irrational periphery and allots a merely instrumental role to the body. Accordingly, the emotions are placed under a kind of taboo in spirituality, only to be followed by a wave of emotionalism which is, however, largely chaotic and incapable of commitment. We could say that the taboo on pathos renders it pathological, whereas the real issue is how to integrate it into the totality of human existence, the totality of our life as we stand before God. (…)

“All this shows that Christian spirituality involves the senses, which are structured by and united in the heart, and the emotions, which are focused on the heart. We have shown that this kind of heart-centered spirituality corresponds to the picture of the Christian God who has a heart.”[24]

The ontological grounding of this is the following from Benedict: “It is common enough for the theological textbooks to pay scant attention of the theological development which followed Chalcedon. In many ways one is left with the impression that dogmatic Christology comes to a stop with a certain parallelism of the two natures in Christ. It was this same impression that led to the divisions in the wake of Chalcedon. In fact, however, the affirmation of the true humanity and the true divinity in Christ can only retain its meaning if the mode of the unity of both is clarified. The Council defined this unity by speaking of the `one Person’ in Christ, but it was a formula which remained to be explored in its implications. For the unity of divinity and humanity in Christ which brings `salvation’ to man is not a juxtaposition but a mutual indwelling. Only in this way can there be that genuine `becoming like God,’ without which there is no liberation and no freedom (underline mine).

“It was to this question, after two centuries of dramatic struggles which also, in many ways, bore the mark of imperial politics, that the Third Council of Constantinople (680-681) addressed itself. On the one hand, it teaches that the unity of God and man in Christ involves no amputation or reduction in any way of human nature. In conojoining himself to man, his creature, God does not violate or diminish him; in doing so, he brings him for the first time to his real fullness. On the other hand (and this is no less important), it abolishes all dualism or parallelism of the two natures, such as had always seemed necessary in order to safeguard Jesus’ human freedom. In such attempts it had been forgotten that when the human will is taken up into the will of God, freedom is not destroyed; indeed, only then does genuine freedom come into its own.”[25]

The key to understanding this is to go to the Scripture that says, “I have come down from heaven, not opt do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (Jn. 6, 38). Benedict says, and I repeat: “Here it is the divine Logos who is speaking, and he speaks of the human will of the man Jesus as his will, the will of the Logos. With this exegesis of John 6, 38 the Council indicates the unity of the subject in Christ. There are not two `I’s in him but only one. The Logos speaks in the I-form of the human will and mind of Jesus; it has become his I, has become adopted in to his I, because the human will is completely one with the will of the Logos. United with the latter it has become a pure Yes to the Father’s will.”[26]

These remarks are incalculably important because they save us from a reductionism of the human will to be an objectivized “part” of the divine Person that is not the divine Person willing, but that somehow or other wills independently as a will. In this way, it is “parallel” to the divine but not divinized and yet autonomous.

Once you do that, you will now tend to say, as does Weinandy, that the human will - and humanity of Christ in general - will suffer, but not the divine Person. In this regard, perhaps Bernard Lonergan can be helpful:

“Q. Who suffered under Pontius Pilate?
A. Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
Q. Did he himself suffer, or was it somebody else, or was it nobody?
A He himself suffered.
Q. Did he suffer unconsciously?
A. No, he suffered consciously. To suffer unconsciously Is not to suffer at all. Surgical operations cause no pain, when the patient is made unconscious by an anesthetic.
Q. What does it mean to say that he suffered consciously?
A. It means that he himself really and truly suffered. He was the one whose soul was sorrowful unto death. He was the one who felt the cutting, pounding scourge. He was the one who endured for three hours the agony of the crucified.
Q. Do you mean that his soul was sorrowful but he himself was not sorrowful” [Weinandy]
A. That does not make sense. The Apostles’ Creed says explicitly that Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, suffered under Pontius Pilate.
Q. Do you mean that his body was scourged and crucified but he himself felt nothing?
A. No, he felt all of it. Were our bodies scourged and crucified, we would feel it. His was scourged and crucified. He felt it.
Q. Is not Jesus Christ God?
A. He is.
Q. Do you mean that God suffered?
A. In Jesus Christ there is one person with two natures. I do not mean that the one person suffered in his divine nature. I do mean that the one person suffered in his human nature.
Q. It was really that divine person that suffered though not in his divine nature?
A. It was. He suffered. It was not somebody else that suffered. It as not nobody that suffered;”[27]

The thrust of Lonergan’s dialogue is to point out the confusion – the reification of faculties into personal agents – objects (faculties) into subjects (persons). Only persons – or subjects – suffer since only subjects exist and are the agents or patients of action.

Errors Concerning the Nature of Salvation/Redemption

Two Fundamental Options: Gnosticism and Christianity (Creationism)


“(T)he mystery of suffering, of love, of substitutionary redemption, is rejected in favor of a control of the world and of life through knowledge. Love appears too insecure a foundation for life and world. It means one has to depend on something unpredictable and unenforceable, something we cannot certainly make for ourselves, but can only await and receive. What is awaited may fail to appear. It makes me permanently dependent. It seems like a permanent risk factor, a source of insecurity over which I have no control… (L)ove becomes an unbearable feeling of dependence, of subjection. The risk factor must be eliminated…. All we can rely on is what we can control, knowledge, which gives us power over the world”[29] [underline mine].

Knowledge and Power: “The Gnostic option aims at knowledge and at power through knowledge, the only reliable redemption of humankind. Gnosticism will not entrust itself to a world already created, but only to a world still to be created. There is no need for trust, only skill.”[30]

1) Individualism: One saves one’s soul through the exercise of “power” understood as dominion over creation. Knowledge is not to know Being as created by divine Reason and Truth but as a function of art. If one is able to do it, one should do it. Power and its function of dominion becomes the arbiter of good and evil. The great lapsus here is the loss of the sense of creation (Being) and “evidential character” that it imparts to one who can hear it in the experience of the self as being.[31]

a) “Adam reaches for the fruit that promises to give him knowledge of good and evil. The crucial point here is that he is not interested in knowledge as knowledge, as perceiving the real in order to subject himself to it and live from this perception, that is, in accordance with it. The will formed in the conversation with the serpent is turned in just the opposite direction: Adam is looking for knowledge as power. He is not looking for knowledge to understand the language of being better or to listen more accurately and thus be able to obey more faithfully; instead he seeking it because God’s power has become suspicious and because he wants to counter it with equivalent power. He is seeking knowledge because he thinks that only in rebellion will human be free. He himself wants to be a god, and by that he no longer understands having to listen, but only exercising power. Knowledge serves the purpose of taking hold, of dominating. It is purely functional, geared to use and domination. Such power does not entail responsibility, but in only being able and being in charge. Its nature appears to be nothing short of having no one over oneself and referring everything to oneself and one’s own use so that power may become the ‘splendor of power’ [as opposed to the ‘splendor of truth’].”[32]

b) Spe Salvi (#17) “Anyone who reads and reflects on these statements attentively will recognize that a disturbing step has been taken: up to that time, the recovery of what man had lost through the expulsion from Paradise was expected from faith in Jesus Christ: herein lay ‘redemption.’ Now, this ‘redemption’, the restoration of the lost ‘Paradise’ is no longer expected from faith, but from the newly discovered link between science and praxis. It is not that faith is simply denied; rather it is displaced onto another level—that of purely private and other-worldly affairs—and at the same time it becomes somehow irrelevant for the world. This programmatic vision has determined the trajectory of modern times and it also shapes the present-day crisis of faith which is essentially a crisis of Christian hope. Thus hope too, in Bacon, acquires a new form. Now it is called: faith in progress. For Bacon, it is clear that the recent spate of discoveries and inventions is just the beginning; through the interplay of science and praxis, totally new discoveries will follow, a totally new world will emerge, the kingdom of man.16 He even put forward a vision of foreseeable inventions—including the aeroplane and the submarine. As the ideology of progress developed further, joy at visible advances in human potential remained a continuing confirmation of faith in progress as such.
18. At the same time, two categories become increasingly central to the idea of progress: reason and freedom. Progress is primarily associated with the growing dominion of reason, and this reason is obviously considered to be a force of good and a force for good. Progress is the overcoming of all forms of dependency—it is progress towards perfect freedom. Likewise freedom is seen purely as a promise, in which man becomes more and more fully himself. In both concepts—freedom and reason—there is a political aspect. The kingdom of reason, in fact, is expected as the new condition of the human race once it has attained total freedom. The political conditions of such a kingdom of reason and freedom, however, appear at first sight somewhat ill defined. Reason and freedom seem to guarantee by themselves, by virtue of their intrinsic goodness, a new and perfect human community. The two key concepts of “reason” and “freedom”, however, were tacitly interpreted as being in conflict with the shackles of faith and of the Church as well as those of the political structures of the period. Both concepts therefore contain a revolutionary potential of enormous explosive force.”
Ratzinger’s preliminary conclusion on Gnostic autonomous salvation:

“Humans are dependent. They cannot live except from others and by trust. But there is nothing degrading about dependence when it takes the form of love, for then it is no longer dependence, the diminishing of self through competition with others. Dependence in the form of love precisely constitutes the self as self and sets it free, because love essentially takes the form of saying, ‘I want you to be.’ It is creativity, the only creative power, which can bring forth the other as other without envy or loss of self. Human are dependent – that is the primary truth about them. And because it is, only love can redeem them, for only love transforms dependence into freedom. Thus human beings will only succeed in destroying their own redemption, destroying them selves, if they eliminate love ‘to be on the safe side.’ For humans, the crucified God is the visible certainty that creation is already an expression of love: we exist on the foundation of love. It is therefore a constitutive part of Christian faith to accept mystery as the center of reality, that is to say, to accept love, creation as love, and to make that love the foundation of one’s life.[33]

Extrinsic “Mechanism of Injured and Restored Right”[34]

Anselm’s “Satisfaction Theory”

The “satisfaction theory” “was developed by St. Anselm of Canterbury on the threshold of the Middle Ages and moulded the Western consciousness more and more exclusively. Even in its classical form it is not devoid of one-sidedness, but when contemplated in the vulgarized form which has extensively moulded the general consciousness it looks cruelly mechanical and less and less feasible.


“Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033-1109) had been concerned to deduce the work o Christ by a train of necessary reasons (rationibus necessaries) and thus to show irrefutably that this work had to happen in the precise way I which it in fact did. His argument may be roughly summarized like this: by man’s sin, which was aimed against God, the order of justice was infinitely damaged and God infinitely offended. Behind this is the idea that the measure of the offence is determined by the status of the offended party; if I offend a beggar the consequences are not the same as they would be if I offended a head of state. The importance of the offence varies according to the addressee. Since God is infinite the offence to him implicit in humanity’s sin is also infinitely important. The right thus damaged must be restored, because God is a God order and justice; indeed, he is justice itself. But the measure of the offence demands infinite reparation, which man is not capable of making. He can offend infinitely – his capacity extends that far – but he cannot produce an infinite reparation; what he, as a finite being, gives will always be only finite. His powers of destruction extend further than his capacity to reconstruct. Thus between all the reparations that man may attempt and the greatness of his guilt there remains an infinite gulf which he can never bridge. Any gesture of expiation can only demonstrate his powerlessness to close the infinite gulf which he himself opened up.

“Is order to be destroyed for ever, then, and man to remain eternally imprisoned in the abyss of his guilt? At this point Anselm hits on the figure of Christ. His answer runs thus: God himself removes the injustice; not (as he could) by a simple amnesty, which cannot after all overcome from inside what has happened, but by the infinite Being’s himself becoming man and then as a man – who thus belongs to the race of the offenders yet possesses the power, denied to man, of infinite reparation – making the required expiation. Thus the redemption takes place entirely through grace and at the same time entirely as restoration of the right. Anselm thought he had thereby given a compelling answer to the difficult question of `Cur Deus homo,’ the wherefore of the incarnation and the cross. His view has put a decisive stamp on the second millennium of Western Christendom, which takes it for granted that Christ had to die on the cross in order to make good the infinite offence which had been committed and in this way to restore the damaged order of things.

“Now it cannot be denied that this theory takes account of crucial biblical and human perceptions; anyone who studies it with a little patience will have no difficulty in seeing this. To that extent it will always command respect as an attempt to synthesize the individual elements in the biblical evidence in one great all0embracing system. Is not hard to see that in spite of all the philosophical and juridical terminology employed, the guiding thread remains that truth which the Bible expresses in the little word `For,’ in which it makes clear that we as men live not only directly from God but from one another, and in the last analysis from the One who lived for all. And who could fail to see that thus in the schematization of the `satisfaction’ theory the breath of the biblical idea of election remains clear, the idea that makes election not a privilege of the elected but the call to live for others? It is the call to that `For’ in which man confidently lets himself fall, ceases to cling to himself and ventures on the leap away from himself into the infinite, the leap through which alone he can come to himself. But even if all this is admitted it cannot be denied on the other hand that the perfectly logical divine-cum-human legal system erected by Anselm distorts the perspectives and with its rigid logic can make the image of God appear in a sinister light. We shall have to go into this in detail when we come to talk about the meaning of the cross. For the time being it will suffice to say that things immediately look different when, in place of the division of Jesus into work and person, it becomes clear that with Jesus Christ it is not a question of a piece of work separate from himself, of a feat which God must demand because he himself is under and an obligation to the concept of order; that with him it is not a question… of having, but of being human. And how different things look further on when one picks up the Pauline key, which teaches us to understand Christ as the `last man (’έσχατος Άδάμ: 1 Cor. 15, 45) - the final man, who takes man into his future, which consists of his being not just man but one with God”[35] [my bold].

The Cross and Atonement: The New (intrinsic) Priesthood of Jesus Christ.

“What position is really occupied by the cross within faith in Jesus as the Christ… As we have already established, the universal Christian consciousness in this matter is extensively influenced by a much coarsened version of St. Anselm’s theology of atonement, the main lines of which we have considered in another context. To many Christians, and especially to those who only know the faith from a fair distance, it looks as if the cross is to be understood as part of a mechanism of injured and restored right. It is the form, so it seems, in which the infinitely offended righteousness of God was propitiated again by means of an infinite expiation. It thus appears to people as the expression of an attitude which insists on a precise balance between debit and credit; at the same time one gets the feeling that this balance is based on a fiction. One gives first secretly with the left hand what one takes back again ceremonially with the right. The `infinite expiation’ on which God seems to insist thus moves into a doubly sinister light. Many devotional texts actually force one to think that Christian faith in the cross visualizes a God whose unrelenting righteousness demanded a human sacrifice, the sacrifice of his own Son, sinister wrath makes the message of love incredible.

“This picture is as false as it is widespread [my emphasis]. In the Bible the cross does not appear as part of a mechanism of injured right; on the contrary, in the Bible the cross is quite the reverse: it is the expression of the radical nature of the love which gives itself completely, of the process in which one is what one does, and does what one is; it is the expression of a life that is completely being for others. To anyone who looks more closely, the scriptural theology of the cross represents a real revolution as compared with the notions of expiation and redemption entertained by non-Christian religions, though it certainly cannot be denied that in the later Christian consciousness this revolution was largely neutralized and its whole scope seldom recognized. In other world religions expiation usually means the restoration of the damaged relationship with God by means of expiatory actions on the part of men. Almost all religions center round the problem of expiation; they arise out of man’s knowledge of his guilt before God and signify the attempt to remove this feeling of guilt, to surmount the guilt through conciliatory actions offered up to God. The expiatory activity by which men hope to conciliate the divinity and to pout him in a gracious mood stands at the heart of the history of religion.

“In the New Testament the situation is almost completely reversed. It is not man who goes to God with a compensatory gift, but God who comes to man, in order to give to him. He restores disturbed right on the initiative of his own power to love, by making unjust man just again, the dead living again, through his own creative mercy. His righteousness to grace; it is active righteousness, which sets crooked man right, that is, bends him straight, makes him right. Here we stand before the twist which Christianity put into the history of religion. The New Testament does not say that men conciliate God, as we really ought to expect, since after all it is they who have failed, not God. It says on the contrary that `God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself’ (2 Cor. 5, 19). This is truly something new, something unheard of – the starting-point of Christian existence and the center of New Testament theology of the cross: God does not wait until the guilty come to be reconciled; he goes to meet them and reconciles them. Here we can see the true direction of the incarnation, of the cross.

“Accordingly, in the New Testament the cross appears primarily as a movement from above to below. It does not stand there as the work of expiation which mankind offers to the wrathful God, but as the expression of that foolish love of God’s which gives itself away to the point of humiliation in order thus to save man; it is his approach to us, not the other way about [my underline]. With this twist in the idea of expiation, and thus in the whole axis of religion, worship too, man’s whole existence, acquires in Christianity a new direction. Worship follows in Christianity first of all in thankful acceptance of the divine deed of salvation. The essential form of Christian worship is therefore rightly called `Eucharistia,’ thanksgiving. In this form of worship human achievements are not placed before God; on the contrary, it consists in man’s letting himself be endowed with gifts; we do not glorify God by supposedly giving to him out of our resources – as if they were not his already! – but by letting ourselves be endowed with his own gifts and thus recognizing him as the only Lord. We worship him by dropping the fiction of a realm in which we could face him as independent business partners [individual substances of a rational nature], whereas in truth we can only exist at all in him and from him. Christian sacrifice does not consist in a giving of what God would to have without us but in our becoming totally receptive and letting ourselves be completely taken over by him. Letting God act on us – that is Christian sacrifice.”[36]

Salvation: If there is nothing in God that is not personal, and the divine Persons are pure relations, then, salvation for man must consist in being in relation. Divinization understood as “salvation” will consist in becoming relational in one’s entire self.

Restoring Relationality

The Metaphysics of Intrinsic Mediation: Jesus of Nazareth is Jesus the Christ

The enfleshed Logos – the Person of Christ - is pure relation to the Father. If extended to anthropology, this would mean that the enfleshed Logos in the exercise of activity such as speaking doing would be word and deed. He would not act and speak as “accidental” performances extrinsic to His Being, but would be His very “substantial” Being that is not a substance. He Himself would be His word and deed. He would speak Himself and perform Himself; which is another way of saying that He is Self-gift. The truth of Christ is this divine, relational-mysterious Person Who cannot be divided up conceptually.[37]

Priest, Prophet and King: Since the Person of Christ is pure relation to the Father, his work and his word are his very Self.

Person as Self-gift:

As we saw in the notion of “person” in the Trinity (supra p. 4), the Greek metaphysic of “substance” and “accident” was exploded in the uptake of conceptual thought into the Christian consciousness of the Person of Christ. This was already the work of the Council of Nicea (325) in its struggle with Gnostic Arianism where the Father and the Son were irreducibly distinct persons but equal in the dignity of God. They are equal, but not the same.

Such a state of affairs could be explained by recourse to a metaphysic other than substance which is available to us in the experience of spousal self-giving where the very “I” of husband and wife are given away in the uniqueness of spousal love.[38] This has not been able to be appreciated until now due to the undisclosed ontological density of the irreducible “I.” The “I” has been masked throughout modern thought as consciousness and hence having no ontological density. It was not until the discovery and turn to the phenomenological method that internal experiences were evaluated to be no less objective than sensible experience. It was Karol Wojtyla who crafted precisely a description of the experience of the “I” as being in his “Acting Person.”

When this notion of self-gift is applied to Christ, we find the very name Jesus Christ is already a melding of being and function. The word “Christ” is not a name but title. Ratzinger says that “the Christian community at Rome, which formulated our Creed, was still completely aware of the significance of the of word’s content. The transformation into a mere proper name, which it is for us today, was certainly complete at a very early period, but here ‘Christ’ is still used as the definition of what this Jesus is. The fusion with the name Jesus is well advanced, it is true; we stand here at the last stage, so to speak, in the change of meaning of the word Christ.”[39]

The Present Figure of Christ:

Keep in mind that “the question of Jesus is really the question on which the Church stands or falls, that that Man is the center of everything. It means to know that the figure of Jesus is in danger, in the sense that, on one hand, there is a faith that tends to obscure His true identity (think of the protests aroused by Dominus Jesus, not outside the Church, but within), and, on the other hand, a manifest refusal. The Pope felt the dramatic urgency expressed in these attitudes. He wanted to tackle them head-on, presenting Jesus in His essentials. He did this with a book, a universal instrument that can reach everyone, without filtering and mediation.”[40]

Distortion of the Figure of Christ (Benedict XVI): “(I)t is disturbing to note that, within Christianity itself, Christology has been losing its meaning. It started with the effort to rediscover the man Jesus behind the gilded background of dogma [the modernist crisis], to return to the simplicity of the Gospels. Of course, it quickly became evident that the figure of Jesus in the Gospels cannot be reduced to that of a bland philanthropist – that precisely the Jesus of the Gospels, too, bursts open the framework of what is merely human, posing questions and demanding decisions that challenge man to the very depths of his soul. And so it became necessary then to pick and choose even in the Gospels themselves, in order to find a little consolation and not be exposed to any disturbance of one’s own world view., Today in broad circles, even among believers, an image has prevailed of a Jesus who demands nothing, never scolds, who accepts everyone and everything, who no longer does anything but affirm us; the perfect opposite of the Church, to the extent that she still dares to make demands and regulations….

“The presence of the figure of Jesus itself is becoming diminished – also with regard to the non-Christian contemporaries who surround us; the figure is transformed from the ‘Lord’ (a word that is avoided) into a man who is nothing more than the advocate of all men. The Jesus who makes everything okay for everyone is a phantom, a dream, not a real figure. The Jesus of the Gospels is certainly not convenient for us. But it is precisely in this way that he answers the deepest question of our existence, which – whether we want to or not – keeps us on the lookout for God, for a gratification that is limitless, for the infinite. We must again set out on the way to this real Jesus.”[41]

The way to set out to find the real living Jesus is to live Him. In 2000, Ratzinger wrote “The New Evangelization” [which is to walk persons through the relation where it is experienced and become consciousness] wherein he spelled out: “There is no access to Jesus without the Baptist; there is no possibility of reaching Jesus without answering the call of the precursor” to convert [like is known by like[42]]. “The Greek word for converting means: to rethink – to question one’s own and common way of living; to allow God to enter into the criteria of one’s life; to not merely judge according to the current opinions. Thereby, to convert means: not to live as all the others live…to look for a new style of life, a new life… all this does not simply imply moralism; reducing Christianity to morality loses sight of the essence of Christ’s message: the gift of a new friendship, the gift of communion with Jesus and thereby with God. Whoever converts to Christ does not mean to create his own moral autarchy for himself, does not intend to build his own goodness through his own strengths.

‘Conversion’ (metanoia) means exactly the opposite: to come out of self sufficiency to discover and accept our indigence – the indigence of others and of the Other, his forgiveness, his friendship. Unconverted life is self-justification (I am not worse than the others); conversion is humility in entrusting oneself to the love of the Other, a love that becomes the measure and the criteria of my own life.”[43]

Salvation is a Metaphysic of Relation

The priesthood of Christ is a metaphysic of relation (self-gift). It is radical. Observe Ratzinger’s notion of priesthood: “Only from this Christological center can we understand the ministry of the Apostles to which the priesthood of Christ’s Church traces it origin. Towards the beginning of His public life, Jesus created the new figure of 12 chosen men, a figure which is continued after the Resurrection in the ministry of the Apostles – that is, of the ones sent. Of great importance for our question is the fact that Jesus gave His power to the Apostles in such a way that He made their ministry, as it were, a continuation of His own mission. ‘He who receives you receives me,’ He himself says to the Twelve (Mt. 10, 40; cf. Lk. 10, 16; Jn. 13, 100. 6, 7; 13, 34. Many other texts in which Jesus gives His power to the disciples could here be cited: Mt 9:8: 10:1: 21:23; Mk 6:7: 13:34; Lk 4:6: 9:1; 10:19. The continuity between the mission of Jesus and that of the apostles is once again illustrated with great clarity in the Fourth Gospel: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you" (20:21: cf. 13:20; 17:18).
“The weight of this sentence is evident if we recall what we said above concerning the structure of the mission of Jesus. As we saw, Jesus Himself, sent in the totality of His person, is indeed mission and relation from the Father and to the Father. In this light the great importance of the following parallelism appears: "The Son can do nothing of His own accord" (Jn 5:19-30). "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5).
“This "nothing" which the disciples share with Jesus expresses at one and the same time both the power and the infirmity of the apostolic ministry. By themselves, of their own strength, they can do none of those things which apostles must do. How could they of their own accord say, "I forgive you your sins"? How could they say, "This is my body"? How could they perform the imposition of hands and say, "Receive the Holy Spirit"? None of those things which constitute apostolic activity are done by one's own authority. But this expropriation of their very powers constitutes a mode of communion with Jesus, who is wholly from the Father, with Him all things and nothing without Him. Their own "nihil posse", their own inability to do anything, draws them into a community of mission with Jesus. Such a ministry, in which a man does and gives through a divine communication what he could never do and give on his own is called by the tradition of the Church a "sacrament".
“If Church usage calls ordination to the ministry of priesthood a "sacrament", the following is meant: This man is in no way performing functions for which he is highly qualified by his own natural ability nor is he doing the things that please him most and that are most profitable. On the contrary, the one who receives the sacrament is sent to give what he cannot give of his own strength; he is sent to act in the person of another, to be his living instrument. For this reason no human being can declare himself a priest; for this reason, too. no community can promote a person to this ministry by its own decree. Only from the sacrament, which belongs to God, can priesthood be received. Mission can only be received from the one who sends, from Christ in His sacrament, through which a person becomes the voice and the hands of Christ in the world. This gift of himself, this renunciation and forgetfulness of self does not however destroy the man; rather, it leads to true human maturity because it assimilates him to the Trinitarian mystery and it brings to life the image according to which we were created. Since we were created in the image of the Trinity, he who loses himself will find himself. But here we have got somewhat ahead of ourselves. In the meantime we have acquired a number of conclusions of great importance. According to the? Gospels, Christ Himself handed on the essential structure of His mission to the apostles, to whom He grants His power and whom He associates with His power. This association with the Lord, by which a man receives the power to do what he cannot do alone is called a sacrament. The new mission created in the choosing of 12 men has a sacramental nature. This structure flows, therefore, from the centre of the biblical message.”[44]
The Asceticism of Christian Priesthood: “Priestly Soul”

The Experience of St. Josemaria Escriva:

Alvaro del Portillo suggested this same theological anthropology on the occasion of the beatification of Josemaria Escriva. Pointing toward the identification with Christ, he cited Furrow (809), “Look – we have to love God not only with our heart but with his,” and then went on to declare, “The identification of his very self with his foundational activity implied that Mons. Escriva perfected himself as a subject – up to the point of living the virtues to a heroic degree – in the measure in which he carried out Opus Dei….”[45] This blends with the constant implicit and explicit teaching of our Father: “Christ’s life is our life, just as he promised his Apostles at the last supper: `If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’ (Jn. 14, 23). That is why a Christian should live as Christ lived, making the affections of Christ his own, so that he can exclaim with St. Paul: `It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me’” (Gal. 2. 20).[46] And then more radically: “In the spiritual life, there is no new era to come. Everything is already there, in Christ who died and rose again, who lives and stays with us always. But we have to join him through faith, letting his life show forth in ours to such an extent that each Christian is not simply alter Christus: another Christ, but ipse Christus: Christ himself!”[47] At the same time, this blends with his call to us “hacer el Opus Dei en la tierra, siendo tu mismo Opus Dei.”[48]

The Priestly Soul:

The Overriding vision of our Father: “Quiero que todos mis hijos, sacerdotes y seglares, grabéis firmemente en vuestra cabeza y en vuestro corazón algo que no puede considerarse en modo alguno como cosa solamente externa, sino que es, por el contrario, el quicio y el fundamento de nuestra vocación divina.

“En todo y siempre hemos de tener – tanto los sacerdotes como los seglares – alma verdaderamente sacerdotal y mentalidad plenamente laical para que podamos entender y ejercitar en nuestra vida personal aquella libertad de que gozamos en la esfera de la Iglesia y en las cosas temporales, considerándonos a un tiempo ciudadanos de la ciudad de Dios (cfr. Ephes. II, 19) y de la ciudad de los hombres.”[49]

The sharing in the priesthood of Christ for our Father pertains to the interiority of being to such an extent that the “mystery of Jesus Christ (is) something which continues to work in our souls. The Christian is obliged to be alter Christus, ipse Christus: another Christ, Christ himself.” [50] He then says: “Through baptism all of us have been made priests of our own existence... Everything we do can be an expression of our obedience to God’s will and so perpetuate the mission of the God-man.”[51]

The Lay Mentality: Freedom
(Secularity as “Characteristic” of the Laity)
The priestly soul that is self-gift is already the lay mentality that is the freedom of self-determination as we will see below when presenting the anthropology of kingship. To master self is to be liberated from cosmic causalities that would determine me necessarily. The priestly soul is to decide about oneself. That decision to about oneself is the lay mentality. They are two sides of the same coin. See Gaudium et spes #36 on the nature of true autonomy (or “theonomy”): “if by the autonomy of earthly affairs is meant that gradual discovery, exploitation, and ordering of the laws and values of matter and society, then the demand for autonomy is perfectly in order: it is at once the claim of modern man and the desire of the creator.” Secularity is the result of this freedom of autonomy which derives from the assumption of an integral human nature by the divine Logos. The entire Church is then said to be “secular” as dimension. The laity are “secular” as characteristic in that they achieve this freedom of autonomy precisely in the act of self-determination in the exercise of work and family affairs in the world: “The ‘world’ thus becomes the place and the means for the lay faithful to fulfill their Christian vocation because the world itself is destined to glorify God the Father in Christ.” [52] The laity instantiate the Kingdom of God in the world in that they become “Christ Himself” by the free self-determination to be self gift in the exercise of secular work. I would dare say that this is the supreme point disclosure of the mind of Benedict XVI: The Kingdom of God is the Person of Christ and those who have become “other Christs.” As they are in the world in an autonomous and secular mode as “other Christ” (because they are living the gift of self precisely on the occasion and in the exercise of secular work), they are the Kingdom of God that is present in a hidden way and perceptible only by one who is “like” the Christ Who is pure relation to the Father. To pray the work as self gift centered in the Mass as instantiation of Calvary is to be Christ crucified within the world.
Prophet: The prophetic character of Christ is the identification of His Word with Himself (Who is Word of the Father). Ratzinger said: “Jesus did not leave behind him (again as the faith expressed in the Creed understood it) a body of teaching that could be separated from his ‘I,’ as one can collect and evaluate the ideas of great thinkers without going into the personalities of the thinkers themselves. The Creed offers no teachings of Jesus; evidently no one even conceived the – to us – obvious idea of attempting anything like this, because the operative understanding pointed in a completely different direction. Similarly, as faith understood the position, Jesus did not perform a work that could be distinguished from his ‘I’ and depeicted separately. On the contrary, to understand him as the Christ means to be convinced that he has put himself into his word. Here he has identified himself so closely with his word that ‘I’ and word are indistinguishable: he is word. In the same way, to faith, his work is nothing else than the unreserved way in which he merges himself into this very work; he performs himself and gives himself; his work is the giving of himself.”[53]

Christ as Word and the Word of Christ (Ratzinger)

“But we must go a step further. Jesus does not convey a knowledge that is independent from his own person, as any teacher or storyteller would do. He is something different from, and more than, a Rabbi. As his preaching unfolds, it becomes ever clearer that his parables refer to himself, that the “Kingdom” and his person belong together, that the Kingdom comes in his person. The decision that he demands is a decision about how one stands toward him, as with Peter, who said, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29). Ultimately, the message of his preaching about the Kingdom of God turns out to be quite clearly Jesus’ own Paschal mystery, his destiny of death and resurrection. We see this, for example, in the parable of the murderous vine-dressers (Mark 12:1-11). Word and reality are here intertwined in a new way: the parable arouses the anger of his adversaries, who do everything the parable says. They kill the son. This means that the parables would be void of meaning, were it not for the living person of the incarnate Son who has “come out [exelthon] for this” (Mark 1:38), who “was sent” from the Father (Mark 12:6). The parables would be empty without a confirmation of his word by the Cross and the Resurrection. We now understand that Jesus’ preaching can be called “sacramental” in a deeper sense than we could have seen before. His word contains in itself the reality of the Incarnation and the theme of the Cross and the Resurrection. It is “deed/word” in this very profound sense, instructing the Church in the mutual dependence of preaching and the Eucharist, and in the mutual dependence, as well, of preaching and an authentic, living witness.
“We take yet another step forward with the Paschal vision St. John presents us in his Gospel. Peter had said that Jesus is the Christ. John now adds that Jesus Christ is the Logos. He himself is the eternal Word of the Father, who is with God and who is God (John 1:1). In him, this Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). In Christian preaching, one is not dealing with words, but with the Word. “When we speak of the ministry of the word of God, the inter-Trinitarian relation is also understood.” 3 Yet at the same time, “this ministry participates in the function of the Incarnation.” 4 It has rightly been pointed out that the fundamental difference between the preaching of Jesus and the lessons of the Rabbis consists precisely in the fact that the “I” of Jesus—that is, he himself—is at the center of his message. 5 But we must also remember that Jesus himself understood that what especially characterized his speaking, was that he was not speaking “in his own name” (cf. John 5:43 & 7:16). His “I” is totally open to the “Thou” of the Father; it does not remain in itself, but takes us inside the very life of the Trinity. This means that the Christian preacher will not speak about himself, but will become Christ’s own voice, by making way for the Logos, and leading, through communion with the Man Jesus, to communion with the living God.
“This brings us back to the Vatican II Decree on the Priesthood. It emphasizes a common characteristic found in all forms of preaching. The priest should never teach his own wisdom. What always matters is the word of God that impels towards truth and holiness (no. 4). With St. Paul as a model, the ministry of the word demands that the priest divest himself profoundly of his own self: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
“I would like to recall now an episode from the early days of Opus Dei, which illustrates the point. A young woman had the opportunity to listen for the first time to a talk given by Fr. Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. She was very curious to hear a famous preacher. But after participating in a Mass he celebrated, she no longer wanted to listen to a human orator. She recounted later that from that moment on, her only interest was to discover the word and will of God.
“The ministry of the word requires that the priest share in the kenosis of Christ, in his “increasing and decreasing.” The fact that the priest does not speak about himself, but bears the message of another, certainly does not mean that he is not personally involved, but precisely the opposite: it is a giving-away-of-the-self in Christ that takes up the path of his Easter mystery, and leads to a true finding-of-the-self, and communion with him who is the Word of God in person. This Paschal structure of the “not-self” that turns out to be the “true self” after all, shows, in the last analysis, that the ministry of the Word reaches beyond all “functions” to penetrate the priest’s very being, and presupposes that the priesthood is a sacrament.”[54]
Christ as King

What is Kingship in Christ and therefore in us? To master self [the human will] in order to serve!

“One element seems to stand out in the midst of all these riches: the sharing in Christ’s kingly mission, that is to say the fact of rediscovering in oneself and others the special dignity of our vocation that can be described as `kingship.’ This dignity is expressed in readiness to serve, in keeping with the example of Christ, who came not to be served but to serve.’ If, in the light of this attitude of Christ’s, `being a king’ is truly possible only by `being a servant,’ then `being a servant’ also demands so much spiritual maturity that it must really be described as `being a king.’ In order to be able to serve others worthily and effectively we must be able to master ourselves, possess the virtues that make this mastery possible. Our sharing in Christ’s kingly mission – His `kingly function’ (munus) – closely lined with every sphere of both Christian and human morality…. It is precisely the principle of the `kingly service’ that imposes on each one of us, in imitation of Christ’s example, the duty to demand of himself exactly what we have been called to, what we have personally obliged ourselves to by God’s grace, in order to respond to our vocation.”[55]

The Dynamic of Kingship must first be exercised in the self as self-mastery.” This is Kingship. Only he who can master self owns self, and is therefore capable of the gift of self, since you can’t give what you don’t have. The following is the anthropological dynamic of John Paul II:

“In Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, we read that "the human being, who is the only creature on earth that God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself or herself except through a disinterested gift of himself or herself" (24)….

As I said earlier, in the experience of self-determination the human person stands revealed before us as a distinctive structure of self-possession and self-governance. Neither the one nor the other, however, implies being closed in on oneself. On the contrary, both self-possession and self-governance imply a special disposition to make a "gift of oneself," and this a "disinterested" gift. Only if one possesses oneself can one give oneself and do this in a disinterested way. And only if one governs oneself can one make a gift of oneself, and this again a disinterested gift. The problematic of disinterestedness certainly deserves a separate analysis, which it is not my intention to present here. An understanding of the person in categories of gift, which the teaching of Vatican II reemphasizes, seems to reach even more deeply into those dimensions brought to light by the foregoing analysis. Such an understanding seems to disclose even more fully the personal structure of self-determination.
Only if one can determine oneself—as I attempted to show earlier—can one also become a gift for others. The Council's statement that "the human being...cannot fully find himself or herself except through a disinterested gift of himself or herself" allows us to conclude that it is precisely when one becomes a gift for others that one most fully becomes oneself. This "law of the gift," if it may be so designated, is inscribed deep within the dynamic structure of the person. The text of Vatican II certainly draws its inspiration from revelation, in the light of which it paints this portrait of the human being as a person. One could say that this is a portrait in which the person is depicted as a being willed by God "for itself" and, at the same time, as a being turned "toward" others. This relational portrait of the person, however, necessarily presupposes the immanent (and indirectly "substantial") portrait that unfolds before us from an analysis of the personal structure of self-determination….
I have attempted, however, even in this short presentation, to stress the very real need for a confrontation of the metaphysical view of the person that we find in St. Thomas and in the traditions of Thomistic philosophy with the comprehensive experience of the human being. Such a confrontation will throw more light on the cognitive sources from which the Angelic Doctor derived his metaphysical view. The full richness of those sources will then become visible. At the same time, perhaps we will better be able to perceive points of possible convergence with contemporary thought, as well as points of irrevocable divergence from it in the interests of the truth about reality.”[56]

In a word, one can become ipse Christus-Rex by the exercise of self-mastery whereby one exercises kingship over self and therefore freedom: “The Crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; he lives it fully in the total gift of himself and calls his disciples to share I his freedom.[57] It is the same dynamic that is the mediation of priesthood: mediation by self-mastery, self-possession, self-gift.

1) Christ is King: “`Art thou the king of the Jews?’” Jesus answered, `Dost thou say this of thyself, or have others told thee of me?’ Pilate answered, `Am I a Jew? Thy own people and the chief priests have delivered thee to me. What hast thou done?’ Jesus answered, `My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my followers would have fought that I might not be delivered to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to him, `Thou are then a king?’ Jesus answered, `Thou sayest it; I am a king. This is why I was born and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’ Pilate said to him, `What is truth?’” (Jn. 18, 34-38).
2) His Kingdom is neither here nor there but within: “Then if anyone say to you, `Behold, here is the Christ,’ or, `There he is,’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you beforehand. If therefore they say to you, `Behold, he is in the desert,’ do not go forth; `Behold, he is in the inner chambers,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines even to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Mt. 24, 23-28).
3) Origen: “The kingdom of God, in the words of our Lord and Savor, does not come for all to see; nor shall they say: Behold, here it is, or behold, there it is; but the kingdom of God is within us, for the word of God is very near, in our mouth and in our heart. Thus it is clear that he who prays for the coming of God’s kingdom prays rightly to have it within himself, that there it may grow and bear fruit and become perfect. For God reigns in each of his holy ones. Anyone who is holy obeys the spiritual laws of God, who dwells in him as in a well-ordered city. The Father is present in the perfect soul, and with him Christ reigns, according to the words: We shall come to him and make our home with him.
“Thus the kingdom of God is within us, as we continue to make progress, will reach its highest point when the Apostle’s words are fulfilled, and Christ, having subjected all his enemies to himself, will hand over his kingdom to God the Father, that God may be all in all. Therefore, let us pray unceasingly with that disposition of soul which the Word may make divine, saying to our Father who is in heaven: Hallowed be your name; you kingdom come….
“Therefore, if we wish God to reign in us, in no way should sin reign in our mortal body; rather we should mortify our members which are upon the earth and bear fruit in the Spirit. There should be in us a kind of spiritual paradise where God may walk and be our sole ruler with his Christ. In us the Lord will sit at the right hand of that spiritual power which we wish to receive. And he will sit there until all his enemies who are within us become his footstool, and every principality, power and virtue in us is cast out.”[58]
4) St. Josemaria Escriva: August 7, 19031: “Et si exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum” (Jn. 12, 32): “Y el concept preciso: no es en el sentido en que lo dice la Escritura: te lo digo en el sentido de que me pongais en lo alto de todas las actividades humanas; que, en todos los lugares del mundo,haya cristianos, con una dedicacion personally liberrima, que sean otros Cristos.” The point: Christ reigns in all human activities by the conversion of each person – by the gift of self in the exercise of ordinary work – to become “another Christ.”
5) The Kingdom of God:
a) The Kingdom is intimately connected with the Person of Jesus Christ.
“Christ not only proclaimed the kingdom, but in him the kingdom itself became present and was fulfilled. This happened not only through his words and his deeds: `Above all… the kingdom is made manifest n the very person of Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, who came `to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mk. 10, 45).’ The kingdom of God is not a concept, a doctrine, or a program subject to free interpretation, but it is before all else a person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God. If the kingdom is separated from Jesus, it is no longer the kingdom of God which he revealed. The result is a distortion of the meaning of the kingdom, which runs the risk of being transformed into purely human or ideological goal, and a distortion of the identity of Christ, who no longer appears as the Lord to whom everything must one day be subjected (cf. 1 Cor. 15, 27).”[59]
The Nature of the Temptations of Christ:

Having become fully human in every respect save sin, His divine Person – the Trinitarian “I Am” – cannot be perceived via any sensible experience because as God He transcends any and all created sensible experience: “No one has at any time seen God” (Jn. 1, 18). As we above, Jesus lines up with sinners at the Baptism and is confused with them in His solidarity with us.

In the case of the temptations, a similar situation obtains. The devil demands of Christ that He prove to the satisfaction of human sensation and scientific method that He is, indeed, God, and therefore the rightful and necessary center of our attention and love. “At the heart of all temptations… is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives.”[60] The pope clarifies the essence of the temptations then, and the same obtaining now: “God is the issue: Is he real, reality itself, or isn’t he? Is he good, or do we have to invent the good ourselves? The God question is the fundamental question, and it sets us down right at the crossroads of human existence. What must the Savior of the world do or not do? That is the question the temptations of Jesus are about. The three temptations are identical in Matthew and Luke…”[61]

Benedict’s main point for our times is that God is in the dock to be subjected to the positivism of the historical-critical method – outside of which there is no reality, and hence a quiet atheism issuing into a quiet, but relentless attrition.[62] God is not denied. He is simply overlooked as trivial and inconsequential. We demand that God pass the test and prove to our satisfaction, and on our terms, that He is, indeed, God. That means that God must respond within the epistemological horizon of sense experience, conceptual abstraction and syllogistic reasoning. Whatever falls outside that template is officially declared “unreal.”

It is the principal point he develops in his 1964 talks “What It Means To Be a Christian” and throughout his “Eschatology.” Keep in mind the epistemological question running through the whole of the pope’s theology, namely that there are two levels of experience in every act of knowing: the sensible empirical (“objectifying”) and the personal empirical (the “ontological subject”). He is not doing philosophy but theology with the philosophical underpinnings. That is, he doesn’t do phenomenology and metaphysics as John Paul II. He does it with the use of Scripture as in John the Baptist pointing to Jesus and announcing, “Behold the Lamb of God” (Jn. 1, 37). Nathaniel and Andrew then ask: “Rabbi, where dwellest thou”? (39) Jesus responds: “Come and See” (39). That is, come and enter into the distinctly experiential (and therefore ontological) consciousness of being a subject, a person. Once that is done, it is possible to experience being “I” as Jesus experiences being “I” and transfer that experience and consciousness from self to Him and say: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 18). We will have transcended objectifying positivism and entered into the consciousness of being Sons of God

Here he says: “When God is regarded as a secondary matter that can be set aside temporarily or permanently on account of more important things, it is precisely these supposedly more important things that come to nothing. It is not just the negative outcome of the Marxist experiment that proves this.

“The aid offered by the West to developing countries has been purely technically and materially based, and not only has left god out of the picture, but has driven men away from God. And this aid, proudly claiming to ‘know better,’ is itself what first turned the ‘third world’ into what we mean today by that term. It has thrust aside indigenous religious, ethical, and social structures and filled the resulting vacuum with its technocratic mind-set. The idea was that we could turn stones into bread: instead our ‘aid’ has only given stones in place of bread. The issue is the primacy of God. The issue is acknowledging that he is a reality, that he is the reality without which noting else can be good.”[63]

- First Temptation: Bread: “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread” (Mt. 4, 3). If you are God as Lord of creation, then You have control over the world. If not, then what kind of God are you? Therefore, solve the first of all the human problems: bread to eat. That is, if there is hunger in the world, then You are a scandal. You cannot be really God. The Pope puts it: “’If you exist, God, way say, ‘then you’ll just have to show yourself. You’ll have to part the clouds that conceal you and give us the clarity that we deserve. If you, Christ, are really the son of God, and not just another one of the enlightened individuals who deep appearing in the course of history, then you’ll just have to prove it more clearly than you are doing now. And if the Church is really supposed to be yours, you’ll have to make that much more obvious than it is at present.’”[64] Then he makes it even clearer: “Is there anything more tragic, is there anything more opposed to belief in the existence of a good God and a Redeemer of mankind, than world hunger? Shouldn’t it be the first test of the Redeemer, before the world’s gaze and on the world’s behalf, to give it bread and to end all hunger? ... Did not, and does not, the Redeemer of the world have to prove his credentials by feeding everyone? Isn’t the problem of feeding the world – and, more generally, are not social problems s- the primary, true yardstick by which redemption has to be measured?”[65]

The Response: Seek first the Kingdom of God. “Man does not live by bread alone, but… by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8, 3). And the Kingdom of God is the Person of Christ. Therefore, a) the Sermon on the Mount: The people did not come for bread but for hearing the word of God. Then they are fed with the 5 loaves and 2 fish; b) At the Last Supper, Christ has become Bread for us.

- Second Temptation: a) “for he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in
all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Ps. 91, 11f).

b) “If thou art the Son of God, throw thyself down; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge concerning thee; and upon their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone’” (Mt. 4, 6).

Ratzinger: “The devil proves to be a Bible expert who can quote the Psalm exactly. The whole conversation of the second temptation takes the form of a dispute between two Bible scholars. Remarking on this passage, Joachim Gnilka says that the devil presents himself here as a theologian. The Russian writer Vladimir Soloviev took up this motif in this short story ‘The Antichrist.’ The Antichrist receives an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Tübingen and is a great Scripture scholar. Soloviev’s portrayal of the Antichrist forcefully expresses his skepticism regarding a certain type of scholarly exegesis current at the time…. The fact is that scriptural exegesis can become a tool of the Antichrist. Soloviev is not the first person to tell us that; it is the deeper point of the temptations story itself. The alleged findings of scholarly exegesis have been used to pout together the most dreadful books that destroy the figure of Jesus and dismantle the faith.

“The common practice today is to measure the Bible against the so-called modern worldview, whose fundamental dogma is that God cannot act in history – that everything to do with God is to be relegated to the domain of subjectivity [i.e. consciousness, not the ontological “I”]. And so the bible no longer speaks of God, the living God; no, now we alone speak and decide what God can do and what we will and should do. And the Antichrist, with an air of scholarly excellence, tells us that any exegesis that reads the Bible from the perspective of faith in the living God, in order to listen to what God has to say, is fundamentalism; he wants to convince us that only his kind of exegesis, the supposedly purely scientific kind, in which God says nothing and has nothing to say, is able to keep abreast of the times.”[66]

- Third Temptation: The devil shows him all the kingdoms of the earth and their splendor and offers him kingship over the world. “Isn’t that precisely the mission of the Messiah? Isn’t he supposed to be the king of the world who unifies the whole earth in one great kingdom of peace and well-being?...

“The risen Lord gathers his followers ‘on the mountain (cf. Mt 28, 16). And on this mountain he does indeed say ‘all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me’ (Mt. 28, 18).”[67] Benedict calls attention to the fact that Christ’s authority is “in heaven” as well as earth. But Jesus Himself is heaven. His power and authority issue from His relation to the Father. He rules by eliciting men to be in relation, not by the imposition of political power. “The Kingdom of Christ is different from the kingdoms of the earth and their splendor, which Satan parades before him…. This is not the sort of splendor that belongs to the Kingdom of Christ. His Kingdom grows through the humility of the proclamation in those who agree to become his disciples…”[68]

But let’s hasten to make the very large point that the Kingdom of God that is also the Kingdom of heaven is the very Person of Jesus of Jesus Christ.[69] That Kingdom is in the world insofar as there are persons in the world who become “other Christs.” Hence, the Kingdom of God is a personal reality, and not the presence of a particular structure such as “Christendom.” Benedict asks the question most pointedly and correctly. To the question “What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought?

“The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God. He has brought the God who formerly unveiled his countenance gradually, first to Abraham, then to Moses and the Prophets, and then in the Wisdom Literature – the God who revealed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the true god, whom he has brought to the nations of the earth.”[70]

Benedict goes on to explain the scandal from John the Baptist to our own day: “It is only because of our hardness of heart that we think this is too little. Yes indeed, God’s power works quietly in this world, but it is the true and lasting power.”[71] The temptations end with the angels ministering to him. Psalm 91 comes to fulfillment. “The angels serve him, he has proven himself to be the Son, and heaven therefore stands open above him, the new Jacob, the Patriarch of a universalized [my underline] Israel (cf. Jn. 1, 51; Gen. 28, 12).”[72] The promise to Abraham is fulfilled in Christ.

The Transfiguration: The overriding point with Benedict is the connection between being-in-relation (which as enfleshed is Cross) and revelation. Christ reveals His divinity precisely in living out His relation to the Father in obedience to death. The Cross then is the ontological revelation of divinity and freedom.[73]
When the Logos of the Father becomes enfleshed in time and history, He becomes prayer. Ratzinger’s first thesis of “Behold the Pierced One” reads: “According to the testimony of Holy Scripture, the center of the life and person of Jesus is his constant communication with the Father.” He finds it all in Luke: 6, 12; 9, 18 and 9, 28 which is the Transfiguration. He writes: “In the Gospels, ‘the mountain is always the realm of prayer, of being with the Father. It was to this ‘mountain’ that Jesus had taken the Three who formed the core of the community of the Twelve: Peter, James and John. ‘As he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered,’ Luke tells us (9, 29). Thus he makes it plain that he Transfiguration only renders visible what is actually taking place in Jesus’ prayer[74]: his sharing in God’s radiance and hence in the manner in which the true meaning of the Old Testament – and of all history – is being made visible, i.e., revelation. Jesus’ proclamation proceeds from this participation in God’s radiance, God’s glory, which also involves a a seeing with the eyes of God [Thesis 3] – and therefore the unfolding of what was hidden. So Luke also shows the unity of revelation and prayer in the person of Jesus: both are rooted in the mystery of Sonship. Furthermore, according to the Evangelists, the Transfiguration is a kind of anticipation of Resurrection and Parousia (cf. Mk. 9. 1). For his communication with the Father, which becomes visible in his prayer in the Transfiguration, is the true reason why Jesus could not remain in death and why all history is in his hands. He whom the Father addresses is the Son (cf. Jn. 10, 33-36). But the Son cannot die. Thus Luke suggests that the whole of Christology – our speaking of Christ – is nothing other than the interpretation of his prayer: the entire person of Jesus is contained in his prayer.”[75]
Also, the time factor of 6-8 days after the Feast of Tabernacles (Atonement) the Transfiguration occurs. Also, the “mountains” in the life of Jesus: “the mountain of the temptation; the mountain of his great preaching; the mountain of his prayer [Lk. 6, 12]; the mountain of the Cross; and finally, the mountain of the Risen Lord [the Ascension]... But in the background we also catch sight of Sinai, Horeb, Moriah – the mountains of Old Testament revelation. They are all at one and the same time mountains of passion and of Revelation, and they also refer in turn to the Temple of Mount, where Revelation becomes liturgy [which means divine action].”[76] “The appearance of his glory is connected with the Passion motif. Jesus’ divinity belongs with the Cross – only when we put the two together do we recognize Jesus correctly. John expressed this intrinsic interconnectedness of Cross and glory when he said that the Cross is Jesus’ ‘exaltation,’ and that his exaltation is accomplished in no other way than in the Cross.”[77] To be is to be in relation.
The Resurrection

“What does `Rising From the Dead’ Mean?”

In his Easter Vigil homily, Benedict XVI reported that “A German theologian once said ironically that the miracle of a corpse returning to life – if it really happened, which he did not actually believe – would be ultimately irrelevant precisely because it would not concern us.” Basically, it would be a miracle of an isolated event, of an isolated individual, and therefore would not in itself have any cosmic or universal human repercussion. And that seems quite correct. Why would Benedict go on to say that “Christ’s Resurrection is something more, something different” “the greatest `mutation,’ absolutely the most crucial leap into a totally new dimension that there has ever been in the long history of life and its development: a leap into a completely new order which does concern us, and concerns the whole of history.”

Jesus Christ is Prototype of Man, not Exception

As we have seen below, then-Cardinal Ratzinger labored to clarify that scholastic philosophy had not permitted Christian faith to penetrate radically into the pre-Christian philosophy that had assumed and was using. In the struggle of the early Church to generate an adequate Christology, it had to go through four major councils: Nicea (325), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451) and Constantinople (480-481). It labored to distinguish nature and person, and in doing so transmogrified the Greek and Latin meaning of being from individual substance into constitutive relation. But this was/is not easily grasped. Ratzinger commented:

“The first misunderstanding is to take the statement, `Christ has only one person, namely, a divine person,’ as a subtraction from the wholeness of Jesus’ humanity. This misunderstanding has occurred de facto and is still occurring. All too easily one thinks as follows: Person is the authentic and true apex of human existence. It is missing in Jesus. Therefore, the entirety of human reality is not present in him. The assumption that some defect is present here was the point of departure of various distortions and aberrations, for example in the theology of the saints and of the Mother of God. In reality, this formula does not mean that anything is lacking in the humanity of the man Jesus. That nothing is lacking in his humanity was fought through inch by inch in the history of dogma, for the attempt was made again and again to show where something is missing. Arianism and Appollinarianism first thought Christ had no human soul; monophysitism denied him his human nature. After these fundamental errors had been rejected, weaker forms of the same tendency made their appearance. The monothelites asserted that although Christ had everything, he had at least no human will, the heart of personal existence. After this view had been rejected too, monergism appeared. Although Christ had a human will, he did not have the actualization of this will; the actualization comes from God. These are all attempts at localizing the concept of person at some place in the psychic inventory. One after the other was rejected in order to make one point clear: this is not how the statement is meant; nothing is missing; no subtraction from humanity whatever is permitted or given. I believe that if one follows this struggle in which human reality had to be brought in, as it were, and affirmed for Jesus, one sees what tremendous effort and intellectual transformation lay behind the working out of this concept of person, which was quite foreign in its inner disposition to the Greek and Latin mind. It is not conceived in substantialist, but, as we shall soon see, in existential terms. In this light, Boethius’s concept of person, which prevailed in Western philosophy, must be criticized as entirely insufficient. Remaining on the level of the Greek mind, Boethius defined `person’ as naturae rationalis individua substantia, as the individual substance of a rational nature. One sees that the concept of person stands entirely on the level of substance. This cannot clarify anything about the Trinity or about Christology; it is an affirmation that remains on the level of the Greek mind which thinks in substantialist terms.”[78]

Ratzinger then points out that, although scholastic philosophy moved from the level of essence and substance to the level of existence in people like Richard of St. Victor and St. Thomas Aquinas, they kept the insight to the level of the Trinity and Christology, but did not bring it to bear on the level of anthropology. Certainly, St. Thomas Aquinas gave ontological primacy to existence, or more exactly to “esse” as the “act of all acts and perfection of all perfections,”[79] but he did not make the relationality of the Esse Personale of the Logos (which he saw clearly[80]) hold through to the meaning of man. Rather, he treated Christ, says Ratzinger, “as the simply unique ontological exception which must be treated as such. This exception is an object of highly interesting ontological speculation, but it must remain separate in its box as an exception to the rule and must not be permitted to mix with the rest of human thought”[81] (underline mine).

Vatican II Makes Explicit the Connection Between Christology and Anthropology

Christ is not the exception, but the meaning of man

Vatican II: In Gaudium et Spes #22, it reads, “In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Adam, the first man, was a type of him who was to come, Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling.” Gaudium et Spes #22 then goes on to present Christ as St. Paul: “He who is the `image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1, 15), is himself the perfect man who has restored in the children of Adam that likeness to God which had been disfigured ever since the first sin.” The footnote refers to Romans 5, 14 that reads: “yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin after the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come” and then quotes Tertullian in the same footnote: “For in all the form which was moulded in the clay, Christ was in the thoughts as the man who to be.”

All of this means that Jesus Christ is not merely a religious figure, but the anthropological prototype. When God thought man, He did not think Adam; He thought Christ. Jesus Christ, as God-man, is not the exception, but the meaning of man - every man. And that is the reason why the resurrection of Christ from the dead has implications for the resurrection from the dead for every man. Perhaps, even a stronger reference to the meaning of the human person is Ephesians 1, 4-5: “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ as his sons according to the purpose of his will…”

There is only one act of existence – “Esse” – in Jesus Christ:

St. Thomas poses the question as to whether there are one or two acts of existence in Christ. In accord with his metaphysics of “esse,” he states: “It seems that in Christ there is not only one at of existence but two. For Damascene states that whatever follows upon nature is in Christ two-fold. But the act of existence follows upon nature since it is a consequence of form. Therefore in Christ there are tow acts of existence.” His “sed contra” states that “a thing is one to the extent that it is a being; for `that which is one’ and `that which is a being’ are convertible terms. If, then, there were two acts of existence in Christ and not only one, he would be two and not one.” Thomas then “replies:” “Since in Christ there are two natures and one subsisting subject, it necessarily follows that what pertains to nature is in Christ two-fold, while what pertains to the subsisting subject is one only. Now the act of existence pertains both to nature and to the subsisting subject. It pertains to the subject as to that which possesses existence. It pertains to the nature as to that by which something has existence; thus the nature is considered as a form which belongs to the order of existence inasmuch as by it something exists.”[82] Finally, in his response to the second objection, he says: “The esse aeternum of the Son of God which is identified with the divine nature becomes the existence of the man inasmuch as the human nature is assumed by the Son of God into the unity of his person.”

This is the major point that Benedict makes. The “Esse” of Christ is the very relational Person of the Son. The Son is son as subsistent only insofar as He is relation from and to the Father. As the Father is the engendering of the Son, the Son is the glorification and obedience to the Father.
The man, Jesus of Nazareth, does not exist in a static fashion because of the personal Esse of the Son. The Esse of the Son is the relation of obedience. Since the human will of the man Jesus is the human will of the divine Person, there is a crescendo to a radical maximum in the obedience to death on the Cross. There is a historical development of the assimilation of the human will by the divine Person until finally in living out radically who He is as obedient Son, the humanity of Christ is given totally and radically. Hence, after the crucifixion, death and resurrection, those who recognized Jesus before did not recognize Him in His post-resurrection appearances.

The Resurrected Christ Is “Mutation” into a New Order of Being: the Original Pre-Destination of Man

Benedict said in his Easter Vigil Homily: “Christ’s Resurrection is something more, something different. If we may borrow the language of the theory of evolution, it is the greatest `mutation,’ absolutely the most crucial leap into a totally new dimension that there has ever been in the long history of life and its development: a leap into a completely new order which does concern us, and concerns the whole of history.” He asks: “What happened there? What does it mean for us, for the whole world and for me personally? Above all: what happened? Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He is in a totally new life”[83] (bold mine).

Christ: Not a Resurrected “Corpse:”

A resurrected “corpse” would be a return to βίος or ψυχη, but not a progression into ζώην αιώνιον (eternal life). Eternal life is intrinsically relational as Trinitarian Life, and the conversion of the physical death of Christ into prayer – a “Yes” – to the will of the Father radically divinizes the body of Christ and makes it unrecognizable by those who have not entered into a similar radicality of self-gift.

“First of all it is quite clear that after his resurrection Christ did not go back to his previous earthly life, as we are told the young man of Naim and Lazarus did. He rose again to definitive life, which is no longer governed by the chemical and biological laws and therefore stands outside the possibility of death, in the certainty conferred by love. That is why the encounters with him are `appearances;’ that is why he with whom people had sat at table two days earlier is not recognized by his best friends and, even e\when recognized, remains alien: only where he grants vision is he seen; only when he opens men’s eyes and makes their hearts open up can the countenance of the eternal love that conquers death become recognizable in our mortal world, and in the new, different world, the world of him who is to come. That is also why it is so difficult, indeed absolutely impossible, for the gospels to describe the encounter with the risen Christ; that is why they can only stammer when they speak of these meetings and seem to provide contradictory descriptions of them. In reality they are surprisingly unanimous in the dialectic of their statements, in the simultaneity of touching and not-touching, or recognizing and not-recognizing, of complete identity between the crucified and the risen Christ and complete transformation. People recognize the Lord and yet do not recognize him again; people touch him, and yet he is untouchable; he is the same and yet quite different. As we have said, the dialectic is always the same; it is only the stylistic means by which it is expressed that changes.”[84]

The Christological Anthropology of Resurrection

Continuing the line of thought in Benedict’s Easter Vigil Homily, he asks: “What happened there? What does it mean for us, for the whole world and for me personally? Above all: what happened? Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He is in a totally new life. But how could this happen? What forces were in operation?” He answers: “The crucial point is that this man Jesus was not alone, he was not an “I” closed in upon itself. He was one single reality with the living God, so closely united with him as to form one person with him. He found himself, so to speak, in an embrace with him who is life itself, an embrace not just on the emotional level, but one which included and permeated his being. His own life was not just his own, it was an existential communion with God, a `being taken up’ into God, and hence, it could not in reality be taken away from him. Out of love, he could allow himself to be killed, but precisely by dong so he broke the definitiveness of death, because in him the definitiveness of life was present. He was one single reality with indestructible life, in such a way that it burst forth anew through death. Let us express the same thing once again from another angle. His death was an act of love. At the Last Supper he anticipated death and transformed into self-giving. His existential communion with God was concretely an existential communion with God’s love, and this love is the real power against death, it is stronger than death. The Resurrection was like an explosion of light, an explosion of love which dissolved the hitherto indissoluble compenetration of `dying and becoming.’ It ushered in a new dimension of being, a new dimension of life in which, in a transformed way, matter too was integrated and through which a new world emerges.”

The Christology is the following: The divine nature and the human nature are not sitting in parallel next to each other tied together by the Person of the Logos. We have seen in other postings below that the act of existence and dynamics of the man, Jesus of Nazareth, is the Esse of the divine Logos.[85] That means, not that the humanity of Christ existed in fact and functioned as a “pure nature” endowed with human intellect and will as the knowing and consenting source of the crucifixion. Rather, it means that the humanity of Jesus Christ is the humanity of the Person of the Logos and that He willed obedience to the Father’s will. He said “Yes” to the will of the Father, and the human will and divine will were one “Yes” of the “I” of the Son of God.
The Ascension
The Kingdom of Heaven
Perhaps the most daring statement - and for that the most clarifying – is the following:

“What, then, is the meaning of Christ’s ‘ascension into heaven’? It expresses our belief that in Christ human nature, the humanity in which we all share, has entered into the inner life of God in a new and hitherto unheard of way. It means that man has found an everlasting place in God. Heaven is not a place beyond the stars, but something much greater, something that requires far more audacity to assert: Heaven means that man now has a place in God.”
“The basis for this assertion is the interpenetration of humanity and divinity in the crucified and exalted man Jesus. Christ, the man who is in God and eternally one with God, is at the same time God’s abiding openness to all human beings. Thus Jesus himself is what we call ‘heaven; heaven is not a place but a person, the person of him in whom God and man are forever and inseparably one. And we go to heaven and enter into heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him. In this sense, ‘ascension into heaven’ can be something that takes place in our everyday lives.’”[86]
This is the founding charism of St. Josemaria received on August 7and October 16, 1931: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself” (John 12, 32): that Jesus Christ wanted to be placed at the summit of all human activities by the conversion of each of us into Himself (“other Christs”). Since the Kingdom of God is a Person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth (Redemptoris Missio #18), to be other Christs is to be the Kingdom of God personally. The kingdom, then, is wherever we are in the midst of the secular world making the gift of self as sons of the Father.

[1] “In recording the first creation of man, Moses before all others says, `And God said, Let us make man in our own image and likeness.’ Then he adds afterwards, `And God made man; in the image of God made he him; male and female made he them, and he blessed them.’ Now the fact that he said `he made him in the image of God’ and was silent about the likeness points to nothing else but this, that man received the honor of God’s image in his first creation, whereas the perfection of God’s likeness was reserved for him at the consummation. The purpose of this was that man should acquire it for himself by his own earnest efforts to imitate God, so that while the possibility of attaining perfection was given to him in the beginning through the honor of the `image,’ he should in the end through the accomplishment of these works obtain for himself the perfect likeness;” Origen, On First Principles 3, 6, 1 (244).
[2] John Paul II, “The Theology of the Body, A New Translation Based on the John Paul II Archives” by Michael Waldstein, #96, “Marriage as te Primordial Sacrament” Pauline Books and Media (2006) 505.
[3] “Blessed by God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. In him he has chosen us before the foundation of the world to be holy and immaculate in his sight in love, predestining us to be his adoptive sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise and glory of his grace that he gave us in his beloved Son
[4] John Paul II, TOB op. cit. 507.
[5] Ibid. 506-507.
[6] Ibid. 507-509.
[7] “What is grace? This question thrusts itself upon our text [Our Lady, “full of grace”]. Our religious mentality has reified this concept much too much; it regards grace as a supernatural something we carry about in our soul. And since we perceive very little of it, or nothing at all, it has gradually become irrelevant to us, an empty word belonging to Christian jargon, which seems to have lost any relationship to the lived reality of our everyday life. In reality, grace is a relational term: it does not predicate something about an I, but something about a connection between I and Thou, between god and man;” Hans Urs von Balthasar, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “Mary at the Source of the Church,” Ignatius (2005) 67.
[8] “The Lord Jesus, when praying to the Father ‘that they may all be one… even as we are one’ (Jn. 17, 21-22), has opened up new horizons closed to human reason by implying that there is a certain parallel between the union existing among the divine persons and the union of the sons of God in truth and love. It follows, then, that if man is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself;” Gaudium et spes #24.
[9] Benedict XVI “Introduction to Christianity” Ignatius (1990) 131-132.
[10] John Paul II, “The Theology of the Body,” op. cit. 504-507.
[11] Christopher West, “The Theology of the Body Explained,” Pauline Books and Media (2003) 347.
[12] Ibid 348.
[13] Cf. Heb. 9,10.
[14] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 92-93.
[15] The Creed reads: “Accordingly it is the right faith, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is God and man. He is God begotten of the substance of the Father before time, and he is man born of the substance of his mother in time: perfect God, perfect man, consisting of a rational soul and a human body, equal to the Father according to his Godhead, less than the Father according to humanity. Although he is God and man, yet he is not two, but he is one Christ; one, however, not by the conversion of the Divinity into a human body, but by the assumption of humanity in the Godhead; one absolutely not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For just as the rational soul and body are one man, so God and man are one Christ. He suffered for our salvation…” Denzinger “The Sources of Catholic Dogma” (Enchiridion Symbolorum) Herder (1957) #40, 16.(Enchiridion Symbolorum).
[16] Ludwig Ott, “Fundamental of Catholic Dogma,” Herder (1964) 143-144.
[17] Ibid. 144.
[18] Denzinger, #111a, p. 49.
[19] “Made to be sin” is to enter into the loneliness of sin as the rejection of the Triune God, and therefore of the others. This is Benedict’s interpretation of Jesus death cry, `My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Mark 15, 34) which is the first and only time that Jesus refers to the Father as “El” and not as “Abba.” Benedict says: “In this last prayer of Jesus , as in the scene on the Mount of Olives, what appears as the innermost heart of his passion is not any physical pain but radical loneliness, complete abandonment;” “Introduction to Christianity,” op. cit 227.
[20] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One, Ignatius (1986) 37-42.
[21]Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., “Does God Suffer?” UNDP (2000) 205.

[22] Ibid 204.
[23] J. Ratzinger, “Journey Towards Easter,” Crossroad (1987) 89-90.
[24] Ibid. 54-58.
[25] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Scepter (1986) 37-38.
[26] Ibid 39.
[27] Bernard Lonergan, “Christ as Subject: A Reply,” Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, Vol. 4 Collection, University of Toronto Press (1988) 179-180.
[28] The foundations of modernity according to Ratzinger: Renaissance as the restoration of the Greek: 1) Giordano Bruno: that the world depend on creation deprives it of “power” and therefore an impediment to freedom; 2) Galileo: restoration of the platonic mathematical as the meaning of the real. Nature is mathematics. Nature (mathematics) replaces creation and is the object of science. The self and everything else is subjective, and is arbitrary, private and unworthy of knowledge. God dwindles as mere first cause; 3) Luther: get rid of the Greek. Therefore get rid of “being” and creation. Redemption takes place when there is liberation from being. Ratzinger sums up: “for the modern age, the dualism becomes typically one between ‘divine geometry, on the one hand, and a world of intrinsic corruption, on the other.”
[29] J. Ratzinger, “‘In the Beginning…’” Eerdmans (1995) 96-97.
[30] Ibid 97.
[31] There was a conviction “that was common to almost the whole of mankind before the modern period, the conviction that man’s Being contains an imperative; the conviction that he does not himself invent morality on the basis of calculations of expedience but rather finds it already present in the essence of things. Log before the outbreak of terrorism and the invasion by drugs, the English author and philosopher C.S. Lewis pointed to the fatal danger of the abolition o man that lies in the collapse of the foundations of our morality, emphasizing the evidential character of mankind as a whole on which the existence of man qua man rests. He reviews all the great cultures to show the existence of the evidential character…. ‘This thing which I have called for convenience the Tao, and which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgements. If it is rejected, all value is reject4ed. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory’ (Lewis, “The Abolition of Man” 56);” J. Ratzinger, “Turning Point For Europe,” Ignatius (1994) 29-31.
[32] J. Ratzinger, “God’s Power, Our Hope,” in A New Song for the Lord, Crossroad (1996) 43-44.
[33] J. Ratzinger, “‘In the Beginning…’” Eerdmans (1995) 98-99.
[34] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” op. cit. 213.
[35] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” op. cit. 172-174.
[36] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction…” op. cit. 213-215.
[37] Sandro Magister reported that “Benedict XVI proposed that Christianity is so divided because of a rivalry expressed in ‘prophetic actions’ that tend to distinguish and divide the communities from ‘communion with the Church in every age,’ and because of ‘a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies.’
“So instead of preaching Jesus Christ ‘and him crucified’ (1 Cor. 2, 2) – meaning the ‘objective truth’ of the apostolic faith – many Christians of the various denominations prefer to urge each one to follow his own conscience and choose the community that best meets his personal tastes. In the judgment of Benedict XVI, this reluctance to assert the centrality of doctrine ‘for fear that it would only exacerbate rather than heal the wounds of division’ is also present within the ecumenical movement.
“On the contrary, this is the appeal of the Pope: ‘Only be “holding fast” to sound teaching (2 Thess. 2, 15; cf. Rev. 2, 12-29) will we be able t respond to the challenges that confront us in an evolving world. Only in this way will we give unambiguous testimony to the truth of the Gospel and itrs moral teaching. This is the message which the world is waiting to hear from us.’ This appeal is relevant ‘at a time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel (cf. Rom. 1, 18-23);” Inside the Vatican May 2008, 29.
[38] “Spousal love differs from all the aspects or forms of love analyzed hitherto. Its decisive character is the giving of one’s own person (to another). The essence of betrothed love is self-giving, the surrender of one’s ‘I.’ This is something different from and more than attraction, desire or even goodwill. These are all ways by which one person goes out towards another, but none of them can take him as far in his quest for the good of the other as does spousal love. ‘To give oneself to another’ is something more than merely ‘desiring what is good’ for another – even if as a result of this another ‘I’ becomes as it were my own, as it does in friendship. Spousal love is something different from and more than all the forms of love so far analyzed, both as it affects the individual subject, the person who loves, and as regards the interpersonal union which it creates. When betrothed love enters into this interpersonal relationship something more than friendship results: two people give themselves each to the other;” Karol Wojtyla, “Love and Responsibility,” Ignatius (1990) 96.
[39] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 149.
[40] Sandro Magister, “He Reminds Me of St. Augustine,” Traces No. 4, 2008, 19.
[41] J. Ratzinger, “On the Way to Jesus Christ,” Forward, 7-8.
[42] See Ratzinger’s “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 25-27.
[43] J. Ratzinger, “Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers,” Jubilee of Catechists, 12 December 2000.
[44] J. Ratzinger, “The Nature of Priesthood,” Given at the Synod of Bishops, October 1, 1990.
[45] Alvaro del Portillo, L’Osservatore Romano, N. 21 – 27 May 1992, 6.
[46] Josemaria Escriva, Christ is Passing By, Scepter (1990) #103.
[47] Ibid. #104.
[48] Prologue to the Catecismo de la Obra.
[49] Carta, 2-II-1945, n. 1 in Cronica II- 1993, 69.
[50] Josemaria Escriva, Christ is Passing By, Scepter (1982) #96: Todos, por el Bautismo, hemos sido constituidos sacerdotes de nuestra propia existencia. The English translation says, “life,” but “existencia” in the Spanish implies the entire self.
[51] Ibid
[52] Christifideles Laici #15.
[53] Ibid. 149-150.
[54] J. Ratzinger, “The Ministry and Life of Priests” October 1995, 1.2; reprinted in Homileticand Pastoral Review, August-September 1997.
[55] Redemptor Hominis #21.
[56] Karol Wojtyla, “The Personal Structure of Self-Determination “ in Person and Community Lang (1993) 193-195.This paper was presented by then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla at an international conference on St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and Naples, 17-24 April 1974.
[57] Veritatis Splendor #85.
[58] Origen, “On Prayer” Cap. 25; PG 11, 495-499.
[59] Redemptor Missio, #19.
[60] Benedict XVI, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Doubleday (2007) 28.
[61] Ibid 29.
[62] See Benedict’s response to the questions put to him by the bishops in Washington.
[63] Ibid. 35. It is important to note that the elimination of pagan and non-Christian experiences of the self transcending itself in search of the divine is severely damaging to the human person as person in that he/she is ontological hard-wired in the image and likeness of God with the ontological tendency to self-gift to the Absolute. De Lubac copies from Augustine “that divine mercy was always at work among all peoples, and that even the pagans have had their ‘hidden saints’ and their prophets. In spite of differing explanations of detail and with degrees of optimism or pessimism according to the variations of individual temperament, experience or theological tendencies, it is generally agreed nowadays, following the lead of the Fathers and the principles of St. Thomas, that the grace of Christ is of universal application, and that no soul of good will lacks the concrete means of salvation, in the fullest sense of the word;” H. de Lubac, “Catholicism” Ignatius (1988) 219.
[64] Ibid 30.
[65] Ibid 31.
[66] Benedict XVI “Jesus of Nazareth,” Doubleday (2007) 35-36.
[67] Ibid 38-39.
[68] Ibid 39.
[69] John Paul II, “Redemptoris Missio” #18.
[70] Benedict XVI, “Jesus of Nazareth” op. cit. 44.
[71] Ibid. 44.
[72] Ibid. 45.
[73] John Paul II “Veritatis Splendor” #85: “The Crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; he lives it fully in the total gift of himself and calls his disciples to share in his freedom.”
[74] Note that Ratzinger asserts that Luke sees best into the Person of Christ: “According to Luke, we see who Jesus is if we see him at prayer. The Christian confession of faith comes from participating in the prayer of Jesus, from being drawn into his prayer and being privileged to behold it; it interprets the experience of Jesus’ prayer, and its interpretation of Jesus is correct because it springs from a sharing in what is most personal and intimate to him;” Behold the Pierced One 9below) 19.
[75] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One” Ignatius (1986) 19-20.
[76] Ibid. 308-309.
[77] Benedict XVI, “Jesus of Nazareth,” op. cit. 305.
[78] J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio 17 (Fall, 1990) 447-448
[79] “Esse est actualitas omnium actuum, et propter hoc est perfectio omnium perfectionum;” Qu. Disp. De Anima, q. 7, art. 2, ad 9m.
[80] Summa Theologiae, I, 40, 2, ad 1: “Dicendum quod personae sunt ipsae relationes subsistentes;” Ad 4m: “Dicendum quod relatio praesupponit distinctionem suppositorum, quando est accidens; sed si relatio sit subsistens, non praesupponit, sed secum fert distinctionem.”
[81] Ibid. 449
[82] Summa Theologiae, III, 17, 2.
[83] Benedict XVI, Easter Vigil Homily, Holy Saturday, 15 April 2006 [his birthday].
[84] J. Ratzinger, op. cit. 235.
[85] See above. Summa Theologiae, III, 17, a.2, ad 2.
[86] J. Ratzinger, “Dogma and Preaching,” Franciscan Herald Press (1985) 63.

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