Monday, January 05, 2015

Burkhart and Lopez affirm that “Christ as man, or by His Humanity (cf. Jn. 1, 14), is efficient ‘instrumental’ cause of grace. “Give grace, St. Thomas affirms, conviene tambien a Cristo en cuanto hombre, pues su humanidad fue instrument de su divinidad” (S. Th III, 9, 1, ad 1). The affirm that the Humanity of Christ possess the fullness of grace, and in a certain way, infinitely, but it is not the Divinity (no hay confusion entre las dos naturalezas de Cristo, la humana y la divina), ni es por tanto causa principal sino instrumental de la gracia; causa que ‘participa  en la operacion de la naturaleza divina, igual que el instrument participa en la accion del agente principal… Esto implica que la presencia de Cristo en cuanto hombre en el Cristiano que recibe la grace, no es como la presencia de la causa principal, la Divinidad, que inhabita en el alma en gracia, sino que es una presencia de su accion o ‘virtud.’ En este sentido se la puded llamar ‘presencia virtual,’ entendiendo este ultimo termino como presencia de la accion de Cristo de su virtus: su ‘poder’ o ‘fuerza.’ La presencia virtual de Cristo en cuanto Hombre en el Cristiano es una presencia verdadera y real pero no sustancial: es presencia del poder o del influjo de la Humanicad de Cristo, node su sustancia. Se trata de una persencia dinamica. Gracias a ella puede decirsae que las acciones de un hijo de Dios, surgidas de su naturaleza elevada por la gracia de Cristo son tambien acciones de Cristo a traves del Cristiano como mimembro suyo: la vida de Cristo en el Cristiano. Y es, ademas, una presencia permanente, que existe mientras permanence la gracia.”

  Me:  Is the Humanity of Christ “instrument” of the Divine Person when the humanity is the Divine Person – dynamited by the one “esse personale” of the Word – S. Th. III, 17, 1?? The humanity of Christ is more than full of grace. It is Christ and therefore not instrument.

For me p. 99 of Burkhart and Lopez – everything is doubtful here.

            To avoid the ontological identity of Christ and man (fear of pantheism), their solution is that: the humanity of Christ that is full of grace and therefore “cause” of action in us – is only the instrumental cause -  i.e. a cause that participates in the divine nature and imparts grace and therefore action (virtue) to man – not Being – because, then, man would be ontologically divine and we have pantheism. Therefore, we have a “virtual presence” of Christ as man in man. It is not “substantial,” but a presence of power or influence of the humanity of Christ, not His “Substance,” i.e. Being. It is a “dynamic” presence. Thanks to it we can say that the humanity of this man, as member of Christ has been elevated by the (created grace ??) of the humanity of Christ to be actions not only of a son of God, but also actions of Christ, Life of Christ in the Christian. And it is as permanent as the permanence of grace.

            But, N.B., we have now lost the radicality of the Ipse Christus and we explain now how Christ is in us. We have now  tiptoed around the very experience we set out to explain.

Burkhart and Lopez’s theology of the Ipse Christus – Cum Critique

The goal of B and L is to give an account of  St. Josemaria’s experience of being Ipse Christus and therefore the Abba of divine filiation, without falling into pantheism. That is, how can one have the experience of being the Son of God without having the ontological identity of Son of God, and therefore being a pantheist?
The Magisterial Presupposition of Christology: Chalcedon (451): In Christ, there is one divine Person and two ontologically distinct natures: the divine (uncreated) and the human (created). There is no attempt to explain the relation of the natures, an explanation which awaits the Council of Constantinople III (680-681).
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 Theological Account of Burkhart and Lopez: (pp. 95-106): they presuppose Chalcedon, which is correct because it is the result of the first 4 centuries of Christological experience and the Church magisterially conceptualized it into one Person, two ontologically distinct nature as created and uncreated.
Ratzinger on Chalcedon: The Council of Chalcedon was considered by Joseph Ratzinger to be “the boldest and most sublime simplification of the complex and many-layered data of tradition to a single central fact that is the basis of everything else: Son of God, possessed of the same nature as God and of the same nature as us. In contrast to the many other approaches that have been attempted in the course of history, Chalcedon interpreted Jesus theologically. I regard this as the only interpretation that can do justice to the whole range of tradition and sustain the full impact of the phenomenon itself. All other interpretations become too narrow at some point. Every other conception embraces only one part of the reality and excludes another. Here and here alone does the whole of the reality disclose itself.” Ratzinger goes on to explain that “he (Jesus) 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. If we do 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]

            This is what I believe is at the core of Escriva's insistence that we are called not to be “alter Christus” but “Ipse Christus.” This was Escriva's personal experience, and he continually returned to the metaphor used by Christ of the “fire.” That is, the experience of Escriva is Chalcedon’s ontologically centrality on the Person of the Logos.

                This is not explainable by any kind of anthropology. What is needed is a Christology that explains the dynamics of the relation of the divine and the human. And then, with that, to craft an anthropology from which a metaphysics can be developed that will give an ultimate account of the anthropology. If Escriva had the experience of actually and really being Christ to the point that he received confirmation by divine locution, “You are my Son, you are Christ,” then what does the Christology of God becoming man look like so that we can retrace it to see what does it take for a man to become God.

                Chalcedon: As we saw above, Benedict XVI considers Chalcedon to be ontologically complete in expressing the architecture of the God-man: One divine Person, two ontologically distinct natures (nature meaning principle of operation): created human nature and uncreated divine nature. But Chalcedon offered the Christology in abstraction., and therefore “objectified.” The solution to the relation of the divine and the human in Christ was confronted in the Council of Constantinople III.

An Attempt to Portray the Mind of Burkhart  and Lopez:
B and L propose a solution that is “inspired in St. Thomas” because 1) en este misterio del union del Cristiano con Cristo se halla implicada directament en la nocion de participaction (el Hijo de Dios, por su Encarnacion, ha querido participar, junto con todos los hombres, de la naturaleza humana; y el Cristiano ha sido hecho participe de la naturaleza divina por medio de Cristo y en El), y es sabido que en el pensameniento de santo Tomas es central la nocion de participacion. El Segundo motive es que el mensaje de san Josemaria en este punto se mueve en el marco de la doctrina del Doctor  Comun, ya que habla de la filiacion adoptive como ‘participacion de la filizcioon del Verbo, de la gracia como ‘participacion en la naturaleza divina, y de a caridad como Participacion de la caridad infinita, que es el Espiritu Santo,’ citando en este ultimo caso expresament al Doctor de Aquino” (p. 96). Then, they say that “our thesis is that the doctrine of St. Thomas permits us to affirm a presence of Christ in the Christian which has the  4  characteristics that they proposed (p. 95): 1) Christ is present in man as man, not as God; 2) the presence is permanent; 3) it  is not  a substantial presence [i.e. it is not the Humanity itself of Christ] but neither can it be a mere “imitation of His example;” 4) it is the presence of the “life of Christ” and of His action, not only a knowledge of Christ or a love for Him. The offer that there could diverse explanations of the 4 conditions.
                 The problem is that the 4 conditions derive in part from a pre-supposed philosophy and theology and therefore prejudice the possibilities. For example:  that the presence of Christ in man must be as man and not as divine. Doesn’t this already imply that the humanity of Christ is not God? That Christ is not God-man? That we are presupposing a spiritualism that the divine is spirit and not matter? And if that is true, then how does the humanity of Christ throne at the right hand of the Father at the Ascension? Or what is the Ascension”… only the ascension of spirit; but we know that Christ is not just spirit as He said: “See my hands and fee t, that it is I myself. Feel me and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Lk. 24, 39-40). Wasn’t this the problem at the end of the 4th c. when Christ was all God but not clearly man (after Arius) and we needed the Nestorius to insist  on the full humanity of Christ without knowing how to distinguish person and nature. And then, the Council of Ephesis (431) and the Theotokos, and finally, Chaldedon.
                Notice, in their account, Christ “participates” in human nature. But the Magisterium asserts that Christ is the very meaning of man: 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). John Paul II, in the same vein, says: “This intimate truth of the human being has to be continually rediscovered in the light of Christ, who is the prototype of the relationship with God” (Dominum et Vivificantem #59).
                In agreement with the 4 conditions, B and L propose the Christian participates in the divine nature by means of Christ and in Christ (96). Therefore, it is clear that we are not Christ, but participate in the divine nature that is Christ’s. We are not Christ ontologically, but He lives in us by participation (partem- capere) through Baptism.  Therefore, the bottom line is: “Nos parece que cuando san Josemaria dice que el Cristiano es ipse Christus, quiere decir ante todo que Cristo esta presente en el Cristiano [my bold]. Pero ademas es necesario que el cristianao quiera dejar que Cristo actue por medio de el. Entonces se puede decir con mas propiedad que es ‘el mismo Cristo’” (96).
                My critique: But by developing the theology of the Ipse Christus in terms of the natures (divine and human) haven’t we departed from the original goal which was to account for our Father’s hearing: “You are my Son, You are Christ”? Is this to be understood as: “My Son is present in you, and therefore divine filiation is present in you? B and L are avoiding pantheism, but are they accounting for  the boldness (parrhesia) of our Father’s affirmations of faith?

Ratzinger on Chalcedon  (451)and Its Development in Constantinople III (680-681)
 “The Parrhesia of faith must be matched by the boldness of reason:” Fides et ratio #48)

Chalcedon and Constantinople III:

Constantinople III following scripture (Jn. 6, 38) moves the explanation from static/objective to dynamic/subjective.

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.

            Ratzinger on the Development of Chalcedon (object) to Constantinople III (subject)     

 Two commentaries on the introduction of the dynamic of the Subject into the Objectivity of Chalcedon:

1)      “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.”[2]

2)       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.

            “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. Wherever the I gives itself to the Thou, there is freedom 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.”[3]

Me: 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). [4] 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. It seems to me that B and L do exactly this. In order to avoid falling into pantheism by proclaiming oneself to be another Christ, they work with the relation of the human nature to the divine nature by participation, be it by Baptism into the Person of Christ , be it by (created ?) grace in the divine nature. The anthropology is substance and natures objectively considered, but not “person” subjectively understood as “I” (as in the revelation of Jn. 6, 38 and the Magisterium of Constantinople III).  This is an anthropology of the Subject, the Person of Christ as “I” Who masters His human will, gets possession of it, and makes the gift of His Self to death on the Cross in obedience to the Will of the Father. This is Who He is as Son, Trinitarian Relation. 

            John Paul II has performed a most helpful service in this regard by developing a realist anthropology of the subject, and this, by identifying two levels of experience whereby we are in contact with reality and are cognizant of it. He speaks of the experience of sensible objects such as neon signs and dollar bills, and the subjective experience of moral good, moral evil, interior peace, responsibility, love, freedom, obligation, shame, etc. These two horizons of reality are present to us according to these two levels of experience, and they are both real in that they are precisely exposures to being. They are not susceptible of proof since they are anterior to conceptual knowing which depends on them in the first place. They are not mutually exclusive but complementary and necessary to know the self as self –determining since both experiences factor into anthropology of being both subject and object.

            We have seen in the Christology of Constantinople III that Jesus Christ as Subject Protagonist subdues His human will which is really Himself since His humanity has been assumed totally and completely by the divine “I.” This being so, we can say that we are before a Christology of self-dominion, self-mast ery and Self-gift. This is the Christology of Constantinople III, and it must inform the anthropology of the baptized image and likeness.

            And we, who have been created precisely in the image and likeness of this divine Person, and baptized into Him empowering us to act as He acts (i.e.  to death on the Cross [which is the meaning of Baptism], can perform the very same act of self-gift to death in the act of obedience, which we understand to be faith. Therefore, is we can perform the very act that is the act that is His Persona, then we ontologically become Him since Who He is and What He does is the same. That is, we can develop our ontological identity and weight – become Ipse Christus -  by a life time of small acts of self-gift which is more than increasing virtue as habits (accidents of substance). We are increasing our very being as persons until transformed into Him.

            I am taking the anthropology of being a subject (not object) from the formulation of GS 24: “Man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds himself, by the sincere gif t of himself.” This is preceded by GS 22 that reads (as above) that Christ is the revelation not only who God is, but who man is. And if the divine Person of Christ is nothing in Himself as substance being-in-self but totally out of self,  then the Person of  the Son is pure Relation “for” the Father and “for” us. And if we are able to perform His act of Self-gift, then we are a work-in-progress to become Him.

   Again, the divine and the human wills are not parallel faculties inhering in a Substance, but two ontologically distinct – created and uncreated – “natures” that “compenetrate” each other because they have the same Subject flowing forth to the Father through them. They are “one” because the Per son is One. The human will does not lose its freedom, but now has it enhanced because the freedom of the one divine Person flows through both wills. Hence, there is only one Personal will. So every human act of Christ is the act of a divine Person not crushing and destroying it, but living out the divine Self-Giftedness for the Father and others.

[1]J. Ratzinger, “Dogma and Preaching,” Franciscan Herald Press (1985) 8-9.
[2] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 92-93.
[3] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One, Ignatius (1986) 37-42.
[4] “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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