Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1691-1699 – Life in Christ

clock May 3, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections begin the discussion on the “Life in Christ”. Supporting material comes from the Sermons of St. Leo the Great.

PART THREE:

LIFE IN CHRIST

1691 "Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God's own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God."1

1692 The Symbol of the faith confesses the greatness of God's gifts to man in his work of creation, and even more in redemption and sanctification. What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become "children of God,"2 "partakers of the divine nature."3 Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life "worthy of the gospel of Christ."4 They are made capable of doing so by the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit, which they receive through the sacraments and through prayer.

1693 Christ Jesus always did what was pleasing to the Father,5 and always lived in perfect communion with him. Likewise Christ's disciples are invited to live in the sight of the Father "who sees in secret,"6 in order to become "perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."7

1694 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord.8 Following Christ and united with him,9 Christians can strive to be "imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love"10 by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the "mind . . . which is yours in Christ Jesus,"11 and by following his example.12

1695 "Justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God,"13 "sanctified . . . (and) called to be saints,"14 Christians have become the temple of the Holy Spirit.15 This "Spirit of the Son" teaches them to pray to the Father16 and, having become their life, prompts them to act so as to bear "the fruit of the Spirit"17 by charity in action. Healing the wounds of sin, the Holy Spirit renews us interiorly through a spiritual transformation.18 He enlightens and strengthens us to live as "children of light" through "all that is good and right and true."19

1696 The way of Christ "leads to life"; a contrary way "leads to destruction."20 The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: "There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference."21

1697 Catechesis has to reveal in all clarity the joy and the demands of the way of Christ.22 Catechesis for the "newness of life"23 in him should be:
-a catechesis of the Holy Spirit, the interior Master of life according to Christ, a gentle guest and friend who inspires, guides, corrects, and strengthens this life;
-a catechesis of grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and again it is by grace that our works can bear fruit for eternal life;
-a catechesis of the beatitudes, for the way of Christ is summed up in the beatitudes, the only path that leads to the eternal beatitude for which the human heart longs;
-a catechesis of sin and forgiveness, for unless man acknowledges that he is a sinner he cannot know the truth about himself, which is a condition for acting justly; and without the offer of forgiveness he would not be able to bear this truth;
-a catechesis of the human virtues which causes one to grasp the beauty and attraction of right dispositions towards goodness;
-a catechesis of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity, generously inspired by the example of the saints; -a catechesis of the twofold commandment of charity set forth in the Decalogue;
-an ecclesial catechesis, for it is through the manifold exchanges of "spiritual goods" in the "communion of saints" that Christian life can grow, develop, and be communicated.

1698 The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is "the way, and the truth, and the life."24 It is by looking to him in faith that Christ's faithful can hope that he himself fulfills his promises in them, and that, by loving him with the same love with which he has loved them, they may perform works in keeping with their dignity:

I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head, and that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs to its members; all that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his body and soul, and all his faculties. You must make use of all these as of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God. You belong to him, as members belong to their head. And so he longs for you to use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father.25
 
For to me, to live is Christ.26

SECTION ONE

MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

1699 Life in the Holy Spirit fulfills the vocation of man (chapter one). This life is made up of divine charity and human solidarity (chapter two). It is graciously offered as salvation (chapter three).

St. Leo the Great exhorts us to live a worthy life in Christ in his Sermon 21.

Let us then, dearly beloved, give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Spirit , Who for His great mercy, wherewith He has loved us, has had pity on us: and when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together in Christ Ephesians 2:4-5, that we might be in Him a new creation and a new production. Let us put off then the old man with his deeds: and having obtained a share in the birth of Christ let us renounce the works of the flesh. Christian, acknowledge your dignity, and becoming a partner in the Divine nature, refuse to return to the old baseness by degenerate conduct. Remember the Head and the Body of which you are a member. Recollect that you were rescued from the power of darkness and brought out into God's light and kingdom. By the mystery of Baptism you were made the temple of the Holy Ghost: do not put such a denizen to flight from you by base acts, and subject yourself once more to the devil's thraldom: because your purchase money is the blood of Christ, because He shall judge you in truth Who ransomed you in mercy, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

1 St. Leo the Great Sermo 22 in nat. Dom., 3: PL 54, 192C.
2 ⇒ Jn 1:12; 1 ⇒ Jn 3:1[ETML:C/].
3 ⇒ 2 Pet 1:4.
4 ⇒ Phil 1:27.
5 Cf. ⇒ Jn 8:29.
6 ⇒ Mt 6:6[ETML:C/].
7 ⇒ Mt 5:48.
8 ⇒ Rom 6:11 and cf. ⇒ 6:5; cf. ⇒ Col 2:12.
9 Cf. ⇒ Jn 15:5.
10 ⇒ Eph 5:1-2.
11 ⇒ Phil 2:5.
12 Cf. ⇒ Jn 13:12-16.
13 ⇒ 2 Cor 6:11.
14 ⇒ 1 Cor 1:2.
15 Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 6:19.
16 Cf. ⇒ Gal 4:6.
17 ⇒ Gal 5:22, 25.
18 Cf. ⇒ Eph 4:23.
19 ⇒ Eph 5:8, 9.
20 ⇒ Mt 7:13; cf. ⇒ Deut 30: 15-20.
21 Didache 1, 1: SCh 248, 140.
22 Cf. John Paul II, CT 29.
23 ⇒ Rom 6:4.
24 ⇒ Jn 14:6.
25 St. John Eudes, Tract. de admirabili corde Jesu, 1, 5.
26 ⇒ Phil 1:21.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 731-741, 747 – The Holy Spirit and the Church in the Last Days

clock January 6, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the Holy Spirit and the Church. Supporting material comes from St. Leo the Great’s Sermons.

V. The Spirit and the Church In the Last Days

Pentecost

731 On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance.122

732 On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity. By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the "last days," the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated.

We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith: we adore the indivisible Trinity, who has saved us.123

The Holy Spirit - God's gift

733 "God is Love"124 and love is his first gift, containing all others. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."125

734 Because we are dead or at least wounded through sin, the first effect of the gift of love is the forgiveness of our sins. the communion of the Holy Spirit126 in the Church restores to the baptized the divine likeness lost through sin.

735 He, then, gives us the "pledge" or "first fruits" of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as "God (has) loved us."127 This love (the "charity" of ⇒ 1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit.128

736 By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit: . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."129 "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit."130

Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God "Father" and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.131

The Holy Spirit and the Church

737 The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. the Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. the Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit."132

738 Thus the Church's mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity (the topic of the next article):

All of us who have received one and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense blended together with one another and with God. For if Christ, together with the Father's and his own Spirit, comes to dwell in each of us, though we are many, still the Spirit is one and undivided. He binds together the spirits of each and every one of us, . . . and makes all appear as one in him. For just as the power of Christ's sacred flesh unites those in whom it dwells into one body, I think that in the same way the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in all, leads all into spiritual unity.133

739 Because the Holy Spirit is the anointing of Christ, it is Christ who, as the head of the Body, pours out the Spirit among his members to nourish, heal, and organize them in their mutual functions, to give them life, send them to bear witness, and associate them to his self-offering to the Father and to his intercession for the whole world. Through the Church's sacraments, Christ communicates his Holy and sanctifying Spirit to the members of his Body. (This will be the topic of Part Two of the Catechism.)

740 These "mighty works of God," offered to believers in the sacraments of the Church, bear their fruit in the new life in Christ, according to the Spirit. (This will be the topic of Part Three.)

741 "The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sighs too deep for words."134 The Holy Spirit, the artisan of God's works, is the master of prayer. (This will be the topic of Part Four.)

In Brief

747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.

St. Leo the Great discusses the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in his Sermons (75).

II. How marvellous was the gift of divers tongues.

For as the Apostles' story testifies: while the days of Pentecost were fulfilled and all the disciples were together in the same place, there occurred suddenly from heaven a sound as of a violent wind coming, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance Acts 2:1-4 . Oh! How swift are the words of wisdom, and where God is the Master, how quickly is what is taught, learned. No interpretation is required for understanding, no practice for using, no time for studying, but the Spirit of Truth blowing where He wills , the languages peculiar to each nation become common property in the mouth of the Church. And therefore from that day the trumpet of the Gospel-preaching has sounded loud: from that day the showers of gracious gifts, the rivers of blessings, have watered every desert and all the dry land, since to renew the face of the earth the Spirit of God moved over the waters , and to drive away the old darkness flashes of new light shone forth, when by the blaze of those busy tongues was kindled the Lord's bright Word and fervent eloquence, in which to arouse the understanding, and to consume sin there lay both a capacity of enlightenment and a power of burning.

Footnotes

122 Cf. ⇒ Acts 2:33-36.
123 Byzantine liturgy, Pentecost Vespers, Troparion, repeated after communion.
124 1 ⇒ Jn 4:8,16.
125 ⇒ Rom 5:5.
126 2 Cor 13:14.
127 1 ⇒ Jn 4: 12; cf. ⇒ Rom 8:23; ⇒ 2 Cor 1:21.
128 ⇒ Acts 1:8; cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 13
129 ⇒ Gal 5:22-23.
130 ⇒ Gal 5:25; cf. ⇒ Mt 16:24-26.
131 St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, 15,36: PG 32,132.
132 ⇒ Jn 15:8, ⇒ 16.
133 St. Cyril of Alexandria, In Jo. ev., 11,11: PG 74, 561.
134 ⇒ Rom 8:26.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 659-664 – Jesus Ascended into Heaven

clock December 27, 2012 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the Ascension of Jesus and His place “at the Right Hand of the Father”. Supporting material comes from St. Leo the Great’s “Sermon on the Ascension”

Article 6

"HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER"

659 "So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God."531 Christ's body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.532 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.533 Jesus' final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God's right hand.534 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul "as to one untimely born", in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.535

660 The veiled character of the glory of the Risen One during this time is intimated in his mysterious words to Mary Magdalene: "I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."536 This indicates a difference in manifestation between the glory of the risen Christ and that of the Christ exalted to the Father's right hand, a transition marked by the historical and transcendent event of the Ascension.

661 This final stage stays closely linked to the first, that is, to his descent from heaven in the Incarnation. Only the one who "came from the Father" can return to the Father: Christ Jesus.537 "No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man."538 Left to its own natural powers humanity does not have access to the "Father's house", to God's life and happiness.539 Only Christ can open to man such access that we, his members, might have confidence that we too shall go where he, our Head and our Source, has preceded us.540

662 "and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."541 The lifting up of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by his Ascension into heaven, and indeed begins it. Jesus Christ, the one priest of the new and eternal Covenant, "entered, not into a sanctuary made by human hands. . . but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf."542 There Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he "always lives to make intercession" for "those who draw near to God through him".543 As "high priest of the good things to come" he is the center and the principal actor of the liturgy that honors the Father in heaven.544

663 Henceforth Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father: "By 'the Father's right hand' we understand the glory and honor of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified."545

664 Being seated at the Father's right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah's kingdom, the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel's vision concerning the Son of man: "To him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed."546 After this event the apostles became witnesses of the "kingdom [that] will have no end".547

The following excerpt comes from St. Leo the Great’s “Sermon on the Ascension II”:

The Son of Man and Son of God, therefore, dearly-beloved, then attained a more excellent and holier fame, when He betook Himself back to the glory of the Father's Majesty, and in an ineffable manner began to be nearer to the Father in respect of His Godhead, after having become farther away in respect of His manhood. A better instructed faith then began to draw closer to a conception of the Son's equality with the Father without the necessity of handling the corporeal substance in Christ, whereby He is less than the Father, since, while the Nature of the glorified Body still remained the faith of believers was called upon to touch not with the hand of flesh, but with the spiritual understanding the Only-begotten, Who was equal with the Father. Hence comes that which the Lord said after His Resurrection, when Mary Magdalene, representing the Church, hastened to approach and touch Him: Touch Me not, for I have not yet ascended to My Father (John 20:17): that is, I would not have you come to Me as to a human body, nor yet recognize Me by fleshly perceptions: I put you off for higher things, I prepare greater things for you: when I have ascended to My Father, then you shall handle Me more perfectly and truly, for you shall grasp what you cannot touch and believe what you cannot see. But when the disciples' eyes followed the ascending Lord to heaven with upward gaze of earnest wonder, two angels stood by them in raiment shining with wondrous brightness, who also said, You men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven? This Jesus Who was taken up from you into heaven shall so come as you saw Him going into heaven (Acts 1:11) . By which words all the sons of the Church were taught to believe that Jesus Christ will come visibly in the same Flesh wherewith He ascended, and not to doubt that all things are subjected to Him on Whom the ministry of angels had waited from the first beginning of His Birth. For, as an angel announced to the blessed Virgin that Christ should be conceived by the Holy Ghost, so the voice of heavenly beings sang of His being born of the Virgin also to the shepherds. As messengers from above were the first to attest His having risen from the dead, so the service of angels was employed to foretell His coming in very Flesh to judge the world, that we might understand what great powers will come with Him as Judge, when such great ones ministered to Him even in being judged.

Footnotes

531 ⇒ Mk 16:19.
532 Cf ⇒ Lk 24:31; ⇒ Jn 20:19, ⇒ 26.
533 Cf. ⇒ Acts 1:3; ⇒ 10:41; ⇒ Mk 16:12; ⇒ Lk 24:15; ⇒ Jn 20:14-15; ⇒ 21:4.
534 Cf. ⇒ Acts 1:9; ⇒ 2:33; ⇒ 7:56; ⇒ Lk 9:34-35; ⇒ 24:51; ⇒ Ex 13:22; ⇒ Mk 16:19; ⇒ Ps 110:1.
535 ⇒ 1 Cor 15:8; cf. ⇒ 9:1; ⇒ Gal 1:16.
536 ⇒ Jn 20:17.
537 Cf. ⇒ Jn 16:28.
538 ⇒ Jn 3:13; cf. ⇒ Eph 4:8-10.
539 ⇒ Jn 14:2.
540 Missale Romanum, Preface of the Ascension: sed ut illuc confideremus, sua membra, nos subsequi quo ipse, caput nostrum principiumque, praecessit.
541 ⇒ Jn 12:32.
542 ⇒ Heb 9:24.
543 ⇒ Heb 7:25.
544 ⇒ Heb 9:11; cf. ⇒ Rev 4:6-11.
545 St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 4, 2: PG 94, 1104C.
546 ⇒ Dan 7:14.
547 Nicene Creed.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 648-655, 658 – The Resurrection – A Work of the Trinity

clock December 26, 2012 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the Resurrection as a work of the Trinity. Supporting material comes from St. Leo the Great.

II. THE RESURRECTION - A WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY

648 Christ's Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history. In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. The Father's power "raised up" Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son's humanity, including his body, into the Trinity. Jesus is conclusively revealed as "Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead".514 St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God's power515 through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus' dead humanity and called it to the glorious state of Lordship.

649 As for the Son, he effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power. Jesus announces that the Son of man will have to suffer much, die, and then rise.516 Elsewhere he affirms explicitly: "I lay down my life, that I may take it again. . . I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."517 "We believe that Jesus died and rose again."518

650 The Fathers contemplate the Resurrection from the perspective of the divine person of Christ who remained united to his soul and body, even when these were separated from each other by death: "By the unity of the divine nature, which remains present in each of the two components of man, these are reunited. For as death is produced by the separation of the human components, so Resurrection is achieved by the union of the two."519

III. THE MEANING AND SAVING SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION

651 "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain."520 The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ's works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised.

652 Christ's Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life.521 The phrase "in accordance with the Scriptures"522 indicates that Christ's Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.

653 The truth of Jesus' divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection. He had said: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he."523 The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly "I AM", the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: "What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'"524 Christ's Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God's Son, and is its fulfillment in accordance with God's eternal plan.

654 The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God's grace, "so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace.526 It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ's brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: "Go and tell my brethren."527 We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.

655 Finally, Christ's Resurrection - and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: "Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."528 The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment. In Christ, Christians "have tasted. . . the powers of the age to come"529 and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may "live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."530

IN BRIEF

658 Christ, "the first-born from the dead" (⇒ Col 1:18), is the principle of our own resurrection, even now by the justification of our souls (cf ⇒ Rom 6:4), and one day by the new life he will impart to our bodies (cf ⇒ Rom 8:11).

The following comes from St. Leo the Great’s “Surmon on the Lord’s Resurrection”:

Accordingly, since the Apostle says, the first man is of the earth earthy, the second man is from heaven heavenly. As is the earthy, such also are they that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such also are they that are heavenly. As we have borne the image of the earthy, so let us also bear the image of Him Who is from heaven , we must greatly rejoice over this change, whereby we are translated from earthly degradation to heavenly dignity through His unspeakable mercy, Who descended into our estate that He might promote us to His, by assuming not only the substance but also the conditions of sinful nature, and by allowing the impassibility of Godhead to be affected by all the miseries which are the lot of mortal manhood. And hence that the disturbed minds of the disciples might not be racked by prolonged grief, He with such wondrous speed shortened the three days' delay which He had announced, that by joining the last part of the first and the first part of the third day to the whole of the second, He cut off a considerable portion of the period, and yet did not lessen the number of days. The Saviour's Resurrection therefore did not long keep His soul in Hades, nor His flesh in the tomb; and so speedy was the quickening of His uncorrupted flesh that it bore a closer resemblance to slumber than to death, seeing that the Godhead, Which quitted not either part of the Human Nature which He had assumed, reunited by Its power that which Its power had separated.

Footnotes

514 ⇒ Rom I 3-4; cf. ⇒ Acts 2:24.
515 Cf. ⇒ Rom 6:4; ⇒ 2 Cor 13:4; ⇒ Phil 3:10; ⇒ Eph 1:19-22; ⇒ Heb 7:16.
516 Cf. ⇒ Mk 8:31; ⇒ 9:9-31; ⇒ 10:34.
517 ⇒ Jn 10:17-18.
518 ⇒ I Th 4:14.
519 St. Gregory of Nyssa, In Christi res. Orat. I: PG 46, 617B; cf. also DS 325; 359; 369.
520 ⇒ I Cor 15:14.
521 Cf. ⇒ Mt 28:6; ⇒ Mk 16:7; ⇒ Lk 24:6-7, ⇒ 26-27, ⇒ 44-48.
522 Cf. ⇒ I Cor 15:3-4; cf. the Nicene Creed.
523 ⇒ Jn 8:28.
524 ⇒ Acts 13:32-33; cf. ⇒ Ps 2:7[ETML:C/].
526 Cf. ⇒ Eph 2:4-5; ⇒ I Pt 1:3.
527 ⇒ Mt 28:10; ⇒ Jn 20:17.
528 ⇒ I Cor 15:20-22.
529 ⇒ Heb 6:5.
530 ⇒ 2 Cor 5:15; cf. ⇒ Col 3:1-3.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 612-618, 623 – Jesus’ Agony in the Garden and Crucifixion

clock December 22, 2012 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss Jesus’ agony in the Garden and His crucifixion. Supporting material comes from St. Leo the Great.

The agony at Gethsemani

612 The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father's hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani,434 making himself "obedient unto death". Jesus prays: "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . ."435 Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.436 Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the "Author of life", the "Living One".437 By accepting in his human will that the Father's will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for "he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree."438

Christ's death is the unique and definitive sacrifice

613 Christ's death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world",439 and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the "blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins".440

614 This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices.441 First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience.442

Jesus substitutes his obedience for our disobedience

615 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous."443 By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who "makes himself an offering for sin", when "he bore the sin of many", and who "shall make many to be accounted righteous", for "he shall bear their iniquities".444 Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.445

Jesus consummates his sacrifice on the cross

616 It is love "to the end"446 that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life.447 Now "the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died."448 No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

617 The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ's sacrifice as "the source of eternal salvation"449 and teaches that "his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us."450 And the Church venerates his cross as she sings: "Hail, O Cross, our only hope."451

Our participation in Christ's sacrifice

618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men".452 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men.453 He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow (him)",454 for "Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example so that (we) should follow in his steps."455 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.456 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.457 Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.458

IN BRIEF

623 By his loving obedience to the Father, "unto death, even death on a cross" (⇒ Phil 2:8), Jesus fulfils the atoning mission (cf ⇒ Is 53:10) of the suffering Servant, who will "make many righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities" (⇒ Is 53:11; cf. ⇒ Rom 5:19).

St. Leo the Great comments on the redemptive nature of Jesus’ Passion in his “Sermon 67”.

V. Christ's Passion was for our Redemption by mystery and example

The fact, therefore, that at the time appointed, according to the purpose of His will, Jesus Christ was crucified, dead, and buried was not the doom necessary to His own condition, but the method of redeeming us from captivity. For the Word became flesh in order that from the Virgin's womb He might take our suffering nature, and that what could not be inflicted on the Son of God might be inflicted on the Son of Man. For although at His very birth the signs of Godhead shone forth in Him, and the whole course of His bodily growth was full of wonders, yet had He truly assumed our weaknesses, and without share in sin had spared Himself no human frailty, that He might impart what was His to us and heal what was ours in Himself. For He, the Almighty Physician, had prepared a two-fold remedy for us in our misery, of which the one part consists of mystery and the other of example, that by the one Divine powers may be bestowed, by the other human weaknesses driven out. Because as God is the Author of our justification, so man is a debtor to pay Him devotion.

Footnotes

434 Cf. ⇒ Mt 26:42; ⇒ Lk 22:20.
435 ⇒ Phil 2:8; ⇒ Mt 26:39; cf. ⇒ Heb 5:7-8.
436 Cf. ⇒ Rom 5:12; ⇒ Heb 4:15.
437 Cf. ⇒ Acts 3:15; ⇒ Rev 1:17; ⇒ Jn 1:4; ⇒ 5:26.
438 2 Pt 224; cf. ⇒ Mt 26:42.
439 ⇒ Jn 1:29; cf. ⇒ 8:34-36; ⇒ 1 Cor 5:7; ⇒ 2 Pt 1:19.
440 ⇒ Mt 26:28; cf. ⇒ Ex 24:8; ⇒ Lev 16:15-16; ⇒ 2 Cor 11:25.
441 Cf. ⇒ Heb 10:10.
442 Cf. ⇒ Jn 10:17-18; ⇒ 15:13; ⇒ Heb 9:14; ⇒ 1 Jn 4:10.
443 ⇒ Rom 5:19.
444 ⇒ Is 53:10-12.
445 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.
446 ⇒ Jn 13:1.
447 Cf. ⇒ Gal 2:20; ⇒ Eph 5:2, ⇒ 25.
448 ⇒ 2 Cor 5:14.
449 ⇒ Heb 5:9.
450 Council of Trent: DS 1529.
451 LH, Lent, Holy Week, Evening Prayer, Hymn Vexilla Regis.
452 1 Tim 2:5.
453 GS 22 # 5; cf. # 2.
454 ⇒ Mt 16:24.
455 I Pt 2:21.
456 Cf ⇒ Mk 10:39; ⇒ Jn 21:18-19; ⇒ Col 1:24.
457 Cf. ⇒ Lk 2:35.
458 St. Rose of Lima: cf. P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 410-412, 420-421 – Redeemed by Christ’s Death

clock November 28, 2012 01:01 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the redemption won for us by Christ’s death on the cross and the preservation of Mary from the stain of original sin. Supplemental material comes from St. Leo the Great’s “Sermo 73”.

IV. "YOU DID NOT ABANDON HIM TO THE POWER OF DEATH"

410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall.304 This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium ("first gospel"): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.

411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.305 Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the "Proto-evangelium" as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.306

412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, "Christ's inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon's envy had taken away."307 and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature's being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more'; and the Exsultet sings, 'O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'"308

IN BRIEF

420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (⇒ Rom 5:20).

421 Christians believe that "the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator's love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . ." (GS 2 # 2).

St. Leo the Great in his “Sermo 73” stated the grace we received through Christ’s death was greater than that which we lost in the fall:

IV. Christ's ascension has given us greater privileges and joys than the devil had taken from us
Accordingly, dearly-beloved, throughout this time which elapsed between the Lord's Resurrection and Ascension, God's Providence had this in view, to teach and impress upon both the eyes and hearts of His own people that the Lord Jesus Christ might be acknowledged to have as truly risen, as He was truly born, suffered, and died. And hence the most blessed Apostles and all the disciples, who had been both bewildered at His death on the cross and backward in believing His Resurrection, were so strengthened by the clearness of the truth that when the Lord entered the heights of heaven, not only were they affected with no sadness, but were even filled with great joy. And truly great and unspeakable was their cause for joy, when in the sight of the holy multitude, above the dignity of all heavenly creatures, the Nature of mankind went up, to pass above the angels' ranks and to rise beyond the archangels' heights, and to have Its uplifting limited by no elevation until, received to sit with the Eternal Father, It should be associated on the throne with His glory, to Whose Nature It was united in the Son. Since then Christ's Ascension is our uplifting, and the hope of the Body is raised, whither the glory of the Head has gone before, let us exult, dearly-beloved, with worthy joy and delight in the loyal paying of thanks. For today not only are we confirmed as possessors of paradise, but have also in Christ penetrated the heights of heaven, and have gained still greater things through Christ's unspeakable grace than we had lost through the devil's malice. For us, whom our virulent enemy had driven out from the bliss of our first abode, the Son of God has made members of Himself and placed at the right hand of the Father, with Whom He lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

304 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:9, ⇒ 15.
305 Cf. ⇒ I Cor 15:21-22, ⇒ 45; ⇒ Phil 2:8; ⇒ Rom 5:19-20.
306 Cf. Pius IXs Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573.
307 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 73, 4: PL 54, 396.
308 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, I, 3, ad 3; cf. ⇒ Rom 5:20.