Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feast of Our Lady Queen of Heaven: August 22, 2013

Orders of Different Magnitude: become equal where there is totality of gift.

St. Bernard (August 20) – Breviary: “What then of the bride's hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given.”

O.L: was finite but became able to be the Mother of the Infinite God by giving her finite self totally. The finitude becomes irrelevant when the measure passes to totality of self-gift.

Escriva: the same. He gave his finitude between 1928 and 1931 and was told: “You are my son; you are Christ.” That totality of self-gift is the meaning of the vocation to Opus Dei.

Ratzinger understands this: “Jesus is always infinitely more than the Church. It did not take the recent Council to tell us that as Lord of the Church Jesus also remains her standard.... [there is a] limitless magnanimity of spirit that blows like a vigorous breeze from the words of the Gospels and brings all excessive reverence for the letter of the law tumbling down like a house of cards. We have always known that intimacy with him is as independent of the ecclesiastical rank a person has as it is of knowledge of juridical and historical niceties.... On the other hand, I have never been able to forget that in many respects he requires much more than the Church dares to require and that his radical words call for radical decisions of the kind Anthony, the Desert Father, or Francis of Assisi made when they took the Gospel in a fully literal way. It we not accept the Gospel in this manner, then we have already taken refuge in casuistry, and we remain afflicted by a gnawing feeling of uneasiness,by the knowledge that like the rich young man we have turned away when we should have taken the Gospel at face value....”1

The key to understanding the above words of St. Bernard - “nothing is lacking where everything is given” - is the Christology of the Council of Constantinople III (680-681). Constantinople III wrote:

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.... 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 [Jn. 6, 38]: 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...

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). 2 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.


2 “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.

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