CHAPTER XIV: QUESTION 12: THE ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST'S SOUL

First Article: Whether Christ Knew All Things By This Knowledge

Reply. Christ did not know by this knowledge all things without exception, because all things cannot be known by species abstracted from the senses, and so by this knowledge He did not have quiddative knowledge of the angels, or also of all past, present, or future sensible singulars.[1244] By this knowledge, however, He knew everything capable of being known by the abstractive faculty, because Christ's intellective power was most excellent.

Objection. But Christ did not have experimental knowledge of all these things.

Reply to first objection. But from those things of which Christ had experimental knowledge, He came to acquire knowledge of everything else in this order by means of this actual experimental knowledge, namely, by induction and deduction, understanding causes from effects, effects from causes, like from like, contraries from contraries, according to the power of His intellective faculty.

Reply to second objection. "Thus in seeing heavenly bodies Christ could comprehend their powers and the effects they have upon other things here below."

Wherefore Christ's soul by this acquired knowledge did not know the rate of acceleration of falling objects, and hence the universal law of gravitation. St. Thomas, long before Newton, in explaining the following text of St. Paul, "Comforting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching,"[1245] wrote this most profound comment: "One might say, why must we advance in faith? It is because natural motion, the more it approaches its terminus, the more it increases in intensity. It is the contrary with force. But grace inclines in a natural way. Therefore those in a state of grace, the nearer they approach their end, the more they must increase [in grace] "[1246] in accordance with the scriptural text: "'The path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forward and increaseth even to perfect day."[1247]

If St. Thomas, considering natural motion, such as that of a falling stone, observes not only that natural motion is swifter toward the end, but also that the connatural motion of souls toward God, their ultimate end, must be for them swifter as they approach nearer to God and are attracted by Him. If St. Thomas sees this, formulating, as it were, the law of attraction not only for bodies but also for spirits that tend toward God, what must have been the knowledge of Christ's most sublime intellect, even by means of acquired knowledge !

This article presupposes the doctrine of inequality in human souls, notwithstanding their specific identity, as St. Thomas says: "The better the disposition of a body, the better the soul allotted to it."[1248]

Hence, as St. Thomas says in another of his works: "We see real aptitude for vigorous thought in persons who are delicately constructed.... Likewise those in whom the imaginative, estimative, and memorative powers of the soul are better developed are better disposed for the act of understanding."[1249] Providence eternally decreed in the case of Christ that this body of His should be better disposed for His soul.[1250] Christ's body was formed miraculously in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and destined for that most sublime soul united personally with the Word. Christ's intellect was far nobler than the intellects of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and others.

Second Article: Whether Christ Advanced In This Knowledge

St. Thomas affirms that Christ did advance in this knowledge, both in the habit and in the act of knowledge. Thus the Evangelist says: "Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, ... and grace with God and men,"[1251] which St. Ambrose understands of acquired knowledge.[1252]

The reason given by St. Thomas is that Christ, after abstracting the first intelligible species from phantasms, could abstract others, and others again.

Thus St. Thomas retracts here what he wrote in an earlier work.[1253]

On the contrary, Christ did not advance as regards the beatific vision and infused knowledge, but as He increased in age He performed greater works.

Reply to second objection. "This acquired knowledge was always perfect for the time being, " which means that He always had every perfection of knowledge adapted to each age, so that He was never ignorant even by His acquired knowledge of those things that according to time and place befitted Him. Thus certain saints who died very young, at about the age of ten years, such as Blessed Imelda, practiced heroic virtues proportionate to this age. What is said of their relatively perfect virtues, must be said of Christ's acquired knowledge, but not of His holiness, since from the first moment of His conception He had not only the commencement of this plenitude of holiness, as the Blessed Virgin had, but also the consummation of this plenitude of habitual grace and charity, as already stated.[1254]

Third Article: Whether Christ Learned Anything From Man

State of the question. It seems that Christ learned something from man, for the Evangelist says that Jesus was in the Temple asking the doctors questions.[1255] But if He gradually acquired knowledge through the senses by the process of abstraction from phantasms, why not from men?

Nevertheless, St. Thomas denies that Christ learned anything from man. The reason is that, just as the first mover is not moved, the supreme teacher is not taught, but teaches. But Christ, even on this earth, was the supreme teacher of all men and even of angels. Therefore "'it did not befit His dignity that He should be taught by any man."[1256]

Reply to first objection. As Origen says: "Our Lord asked questions not in order to learn anything, but in order to teach by questioning."[1257] Thus Socrates made use of maieutics,[1258] and thus he illumined and was not illumined.

Reply to second objection. To acquire knowledge from things by abstraction, is to be taught by God, the author of things, and it is more dignified to be taught by God than by man.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ Received Knowledge From The Angels

Reply. It is denied that Christ received knowledge from the angels, because His soul was filled with knowledge and grace by reason of its immediate union with the Word of God.

Thus indeed the Evangelist says that in the garden of Gethsemane "an angel from heaven appeared to Christ, strengthening Him,"[1259] and this strengthening must be understood, as stated in this article,[1260] for the purpose not of instructing Him, but of proving the truth of His human nature, as Venerable Bede explains.[1261] Likewise St. Thomas remarks that Christ was strengthened by an angel by way of companionship and compassion, just as by the presence and conversation of a friend a man is naturally consoled in sadness, or also the angel strengthened the body of Christ, for instance, by wiping away the blood from His face.

This concludes the questions concerning the threefold knowledge of Christ. From what has been said, it is evident how sublime, even in this life, was Christ's contemplation, which continued on the cross, when He said, viewing all the fruits of the mystery of redemption: "It is consummated.... Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."[1262]

Christ's doctrine, which St. Thomas discusses farther on,[1263] is the complimentary of this question. He shows that it was fitting for this doctrine to be preached both by Christ Himself and by the apostles, first of all only to the Jews, to whom He was sent. It was also His duty publicly to refute the scribes and Pharisees for the preservation and salvation of souls. It was likewise fitting that He should teach all that pertains to the salvation of mankind not secretly but openly. Nevertheless He often proposed to the people spiritual matters disguised in the form of parables, and more explicitly to the apostles so that they could teach others. Finally, St. Thomas shows[1264] that it was not fitting for Christ to commit His doctrine to writing, for the most excellent manner of teaching is for one to make his doctrine appeal immediately to the mind and hearts of his hearers. Moreover, Christ's sublime doctrine and all He accomplished in souls could not be understood in writing, and finally the new law was not first written, but it was first imprinted on the hearts by grace, as St. Paul says: "You are the epistle of Christ... written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart."[1265]


CHAPTER XV: QUESTION 13: THE POWER OF CHRIST'S SOUL

If Christ had, as stated, knowledge of all things and even practical knowledge, why did He not have omnipotence? Certain Lutherans who are called Ubiquists because of their heresy, say that Christ's humanity as also His divinity is everywhere, and always omnipotent.

First Article: Whether The Soul Of Christ Had Omnipotence In The Absolute Sense

Conclusion. The soul of Christ could not have omnipotence in the absolute sense.

Scriptural proof. It is said of God: "Almighty is His name,"[1266] which means that omnipotence applies only to God.

Theological proof. In the hypostatic union the two natures remained distinct, each retaining its own properties. But omnipotence in the absolute sense is a property of the divine nature. Therefore omnipotence in the absolute sense cannot be attributed to Christ's human nature.

Thus, in created things, operation follows being, and only the divine nature, or the self-subsisting Being, has active omnipotence with respect to everything to which the term "being" can apply, or to which the notion of being is not repugnant. Hence Christ's human nature can neither create, nor produce whatever does not involve contradiction, nor cause itself.

Reply to first objection. Nevertheless, just as, on account of the unity of person in Christ, we can say: "This man, Jesus, is God, " so we can say: "This man is omnipotent, " not because of His human nature, but because there is one person in Christ, who is both God and man.[1267]

Reply to second objection. Although the knowledge of Christ's soul extends to everything present, past, and future, it is not so with His active power, because infinite might is not required for the above-mentioned knowledge, whereas, on the contrary, it is required in creating,[1268] for the most universal effect, namely, absolute being, can be produced only by the most universal cause.

Reply to third objection. "It is not necessary that Christ's soul should have practical knowledge of those things of which it has speculative knowledge." Thus Christ's soul has speculative knowledge of creation, since it knows how God creates, but it has not factual knowledge of creation.

Another objection. Nevertheless Christ said: "All things are delivered to Me by My Father,"[1269] and "All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth."[1270]

Reply. These words are true according to the predication of idioms, just as it is true to say, because of the one person in Christ, "this man is God." Moreover, the above-quoted texts can be understood of Christ as man concerning the power of excellence He had in commanding the preaching of the gospel. Hence Jesus says: "Going therefore teach ye all nations."[1271]

But I insist. According to the teaching of St. Thomas,[1272] there is only one being in Christ, namely, one divine existence, and even Christ's human nature is holy because of His substantial and uncreated holiness. Therefore, on similar grounds, He can be omnipotent.

Reply. The difference here is that omnipotence not only includes divine being, divine sanctity, and divine perfection, but it also implies the infinite mode in which this perfection is in God.

Hence absolute omnipotence is incommunicable. Moreover, divine being and divine holiness are said to be communicated to Christ's human nature because of the person, by means of the terminative but not informing union, for being follows person and where there is one person there is one being. Similarly the human nature is sanctified by the grace of union, inasmuch as it is terminated and possessed by the Word. But omnipotence could not be communicated to the human nature solely in the terminative sense, but only by way of the informing form, that is, as the operative principle, and there is no divine perfection that can be communicated by way of informing form, but only as a terminus; for the informing form is less perfect than the whole of which it is a part. Finally, it is evident that Christ's human nature could not cause itself.

Second Article: Whether Christ's Soul Had Omnipotence With Regard To The Transmutation Of Creatures

State of the Question. This article differs from the first article only in this, that the work of creation is included under omnipotence as discussed in the first article, whereas here we are concerned only with the miraculous transmutation of creatures.

It seems that Christ's soul would be endowed with this omnipotence, because He possessed most fully the grace of miracles which is mentioned among the graces gratis datae, and He also illumined the higher angels, inasmuch as they are ministers in the kingdom of heaven.

Conclusion. Nevertheless St. Thomas says that Christ's soul did not have omnipotence with regard to the transmutation of creatures.

1) General proof. It is taken from the counterargument of this article and may be expressed as follows: To transmute creatures miraculously belongs to Him who has the power to create and preserve them, as explained by St. Thomas.[1273] The reason is that only the most universal cause, which can immediately produce and preserve any universal effect, whether this effect is embedded in material things or separated from matter, can immediately effect a change in it, because this immediate change presupposes the same universality in the cause as this latter immediate production. Thus God alone, who created and preserved things in being, can immediately change being as such by transubstantiation, prime matter by acting immediately on its obediential potency, also immediately change internally the intellect and the will that is ordained to universal good.[1274]

Christ's soul did not have this same universality in causation as the divine nature, and so it cannot be the principal cause of miracles.

2) Particular proof. It is drawn more from the properties of Christ's soul, and is explained by three subordinated conclusions.

First conclusion. Christ's soul, by its own natural or gratuitous power, was able to produce those effects that are befitting to the soul, such as to rule the body, direct human acts and illumine by His plenitude of grace and knowledge even the angels. Nevertheless St. Thomas does not mean to say that Christ's soul is the physical and principal cause of grace, but that it is the moral cause by way of merit, and also, as he immediately remarks afterward, it is the physical and instrumental cause, by its effectiveness.

Second conclusion. Christ's soul, as it is the instrument of the Word, had instrumental power to effect all the miraculous transmutations ordainable to the end of the Incarnation, which is to restore all things either in heaven or on earth.[1275] This is evident from the end of the Incarnation.

Third conclusion. Christ's soul, even as the instrument of the Word, has not the power to annihilate the creature, because annihilation corresponds to creation, which cannot be done by an instrument, because there is no presupposed subject that can be disposed for this action, as was shown above.[1276]

Reply to third objection. Thus Christ had most excellently the grace of working miracles.

The Instrumental Causality Of Christ's Human Nature

The question, whether Christ's human nature is the physical instrument of grace, miracles, and other supernatural effects, or merely the moral instrument, is one that is disputed in the schools of theology, and it finds its place here as an appendix to this article.[1277]

The Thomists maintain that Christ's human nature is a physical instrument, whereas the Scotists hold that it is a moral instrument. There is this same divergence of opinion as regards the causality of the sacraments, which are instruments of grace separated from the divine nature, whereas Christ's human nature is an instrument that is personally united with the divine nature.[1278]

It is presupposed as certain (1) that Christ's human nature is not the principal physical cause of sanctifying grace, because St. Thomas makes it clear that "the gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature, since it is nothing else than a certain participation in the divine nature.... And thus it is necessary that God alone should deify... just as it is impossible that anything but fire can enkindle."[1279] (2) It is likewise certain that Christ's human nature is also the principal moral cause of grace and miracles, because He merited these by condign merit, and there is no other assignable meritorious cause above Christ.

Therefore the only question is whether Christ's human nature, after the accomplishment of the Incarnation, was not merely the moral cause, but also the physically instrumental cause of grace and miracles, and of other supernatural works that serve the end of the Incarnation.

It is a certainty that before the accomplishment of the Incarnation, Christ's human nature was not the physical cause, but only the moral cause of the grace bestowed on the patriarchs of the Old Testament, because physical operation follows physical being, or the existence of a physical cause. Therefore the question concerns only the influence exerted by Christ's human nature after the Incarnation.

The Thomists unanimously admit that after the completion of the Incarnation, Christ's human nature, either during His life on earth or as He is in heaven, was and is the physically instrumental cause of grace and miracles.

1) This conclusion is at least implied in Sacred Scripture, for the Evangelist says of Christ: "Virtue went out from Him and healed all,"[1280] and Christ says of Himself: "I know that virtue is gone out from Me."[1281] This can scarcely be interpreted as meaning moral power, such as the power of prayer, which, since it is a mental process, can be said only in a very improper sense to go forth from the body.

Likewise, according to the Sacred Scripture, Christ by breathing upon His apostles gave them the Holy Spirit, in a loud voice and commanding tone raised Lazarus to life. All such acts seem to imply a causality that is not moral but physical. Likewise, when Christ says: "The works [miraculous] that I do in the name of My Father, they give testimony of Me."[1282] In other words, it was not only by means of prayer and merit that Jesus obtained the gift of miracles from His Father, but He actually performed them by His own power.

Similarly the First Council of Ephesus defined in its eleventh canon that "Christ's flesh has a vivifying power because of its union with the Word."[1283] But Christ's flesh cannot have vivifying power morally by way of merit or prayer; therefore the power must be physical. Likewise, in the liturgy it is said of Christ's body in the Eucharist, that it is "a living and vital bread,"[1284] namely, a feeding and nourishing grace; therefore it produces graces not morally but physically.

But these quotations from Sacred Scripture and the councils are to be taken in their proper and obvious sense, according to the commonly accepted rule, unless anything unbefitting results therefrom. However, the words "healing power has gone forth from the body..., to do, to operate, to vivify, " in their proper and obvious sense denote physically instrumental causality, and, as will at once be seen, nothing unbefitting results therefrom.

Authoritative proof from St. Thomas. In this second article he says: "If we speak of the soul of Christ as it is the instrument of the Word united to Him, it had an instrumental power to effect all the miraculous transmutations ordainable to the end of the Incarnation." Evidently it is a question here not of moral causality that operates by way of merit or prayer, but of physical causality. St. Thomas, in speaking of Christ as head of the Church, taught that He causes grace both meritoriously and efficiently.[1285]

To be sure, Christ's passion is now something of the past, but does it not virtually persist in the scars remaining from the wounds? Hence the physically instrumental cause is now Christ's human nature qualifiedly changed by His passion. Moreover, there remains in Christ's soul that willingness by which He offered Himself and by which "He is always living to make intercession for us,"[1286] in that, as the Council of Trent says in its treatise on the Sacrifice of the Mass, "the same victim is now offering by the ministry of His priests, who then offered Himself on the cross."[1287]

Theological proof. To act not only morally but also physically is more perfect than merely moral action, so that a physical concurrence that truly produces its effect is more perfect than moral concurrence, by which the effect is obtained only by way of merit or prayer. But it must be admitted that Christ's human nature is more perfect if it proves to be compatible either in itself, or to the end of the Incarnation. Therefore, it must be conceded that Christ's human nature is the physically instrumental cause of supernatural effects that serve the end of the Incarnation.

Confirmation. According to the traditional terminology of the Fathers and theologians, Christ's human nature is the physical instrument of His divine nature in the production of grace and the working of miracles. It is not, however, the moral instrument, for Christ is the principal moral cause of the effects, inasmuch as there is no assignable meritorious cause above Him. Therefore Christ's human nature is the physical instrument, provided the distinction is drawn between physical and moral, to the exclusion of either metaphysical or spiritual.

Solution of objections.

First objection. An instrument must really contact the subject upon which it acts. But Christ's human nature, since it is now in heaven, does not really contact us in the production of our grace. Therefore Christ's human nature is not the instrument of our grace.

Reply. I distinguish the major: an instrument must really contact the subject upon which it acts, by virtual contact, this I concede; by quantitative and personal contact, this I deny. Thus a trumpet is a physical instrument for the transmission of sound, yet it does not touch the ears of the hearers. So also the sun illumines and heats the earth from on high, and the magnet attracts iron to itself from a distance. I contradistinguish the minor; Christ's human nature as now existing in heaven does not really contact us, by His quantitative and personal contact, this I concede; by a virtual contact, that I deny.

There is no difficulty in this, especially for instruments made use of by divine power, in virtue of which all things that must be changed are made present to omnipresent omnipotence. Moreover, the superior part of Christ's soul is not itself located, and thus it is not locally distant from our souls. Finally, Christ's soul is united to God, and also our soul is united to God, although in a different way.[1288]

Second objection. An instrument, that it be not purely a medium, must by its own action have a disposing influence in producing the effect of the principal agent. But Christ's human nature cannot thus be a disposing influence, by producing some disposition for grace or for a miraculous effect. We can in no way conceive what would be the nature of this previous disposition.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that an instrument must by its own action exert a disposing influence on the manner of operating of the principal agent, this I concede; thus a trumpet reinforces and directs the sound in the mode of its transmission; that an instrument always produces something objectively real that is the result of its action, this I deny; some instruments do so, such as a pen that deposits ink on the paper, but not all instruments, such as a trumpet, act in this manner.

Thus an instrument does not have to produce in the subject to be changed some prior effect or previous disposition. It suffices that the instrument operates by disposing the subject that must undergo a change. Thus Christ's human nature had and has its own action as regards miracles and grace, for instance, operating by means of words, signs, gestures, acts of the will, and other ways. Thus it is a disposing influence in the production of the divine effect at this particular time and place, for example, the healing of this particular man, of this particular disease in preference to some other disease.

Third objection. An instrument must receive its power from the principal cause, so as to be capable of producing the effect that surpasses its own power. But the power derived from the principal cause in Christ's human nature is either spiritual, and as such it cannot be received in Christ's flesh, or else it is corporeal, and consequently cannot produce grace. Therefore Christ's human nature cannot be the instrument of the principal cause in His operations.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that an instrument must receive transient power, or rather a transient motion from the principal cause, this I concede; a permanent motion, this I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: that this power is spiritual and cannot be in Christ's flesh as a permanent motion, let this pass without comment; as a transient motion, this I deny, because this transient motion is proportioned rather to the term of the action than to the subject of the action.

Explanation. This instrumental motion, however, as being something transient, differs completely from permanent power. For a permanent power is strictly for the benefit of the subject in which it inheres; hence it is proportioned to this subject. On the contrary, a transient motion, although it is in the instrument, since it is an accident, nevertheless, as it is formally transient, tending to produce the term of the action, must be proportioned preferably to the subject of inhesion. Thus, from the expression of a man's countenance, from the tone of his voice, and the manner of his utterance, something spiritual goes forth that is adapted to the hearer so that we say: a few words suffice to the wise.

In fact, this transient motion, also as a spiritual accident, is not received in Christ's body, inasmuch as Christ's body is formally something corporeal, but inasmuch as it is a being, for it is received in His body because of its obediential capacity, which applies to created things under the general notion of being and created substance. God makes use of bodies inasmuch as they are beings.

Finally, there seems to be nothing repugnant in the idea of a spiritual power being subjected to what is corporeal, inasmuch as the body is born to obey the spirit. Thus the rational soul, although it is spiritual, is dependent on the body, which it controls rather than being controlled by the body. Likewise the moral virtues of temperance and fortitude, although they are spiritual and infused virtues, are dependent on the sensitive faculties of the soul, which are intrinsically dependent on the animal organism.

Thus it befits Christ's human nature to be the physically instrumental cause of grace and miracles or of effects that serve the end of the Incarnation, as St. Thomas says in the present article. To exert one's influence on beings in both the moral and the physical orders shows greater perfection than to manifest it merely in the moral order, and therefore this greater perfection must be conceded to Christ as man.

This is a better way of illustrating what was said above concerning Christ's headship[1289] and His influence on the members of His Church in the production of both habitual and actual grace.

Third Article: Whether Christ's Soul Had Omnipotence With Regard To His Own Body

Reply. Christ's soul in its proper nature and power was incapable of changing the natural disposition of its body, so that it could not have the effect of exempting the body from the laws of gravitation or of the necessity of taking food, or of feeling the blows inflicted on it. The reason is that the soul of its own nature has a determinate relation to its own body. Christ's soul, although it was already beatified, had assumed a passible body, namely, a body that conformed to the conditions of passibility.[1290]

Christ's soul, however, inasmuch as it was the instrument of the Word, could miraculously change the natural disposition of its body, so that the body was not subject to the laws of gravitation, or did not suffer from the blows and wounds inflicted on it. So also Christ miraculously preserved several martyrs from physical pain.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ's Soul Had Omnipotence As Regards The Execution Of His Will

Reply. (1) Christ's soul was able by its own power to bring about absolutely whatever was willed for it; but Christ, in His wisdom, did not will absolutely that it should by its own power do what surpassed it, for there could have been no presumption in Christ.

2) Christ's soul, as the instrument of the Word, could do whatever it absolutely willed was to be accomplished by divine power, such as the resurrection of its own body. But it could will in this way only what God had efficaciously decreed, and it knew these decrees.[1291]

Was Christ's prayer always heard? The prayer He made according to His absolute will, was always heard, but not the prayer that was conditional, such as when He said: "If it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me."[1292]

St. Thomas says farther on: "Christ willed nothing but what He knew God to will. Wherefore every absolute will of Christ, even human, was fulfilled, because it was in conformity with God."[1293]

It is manifestly a sign of imprudence to will absolutely and efficaciously what certainly cannot come to pass. But Christ, as stated, certainly knew all future things by the beatific vision. Therefore He did not will absolutely and efficaciously what was not to be done either by His own power or by means of others.[1294]

This concludes the question of Christ's power, and now we must consider antithetically the defects of Christ's human nature inasmuch as it was passible before the Resurrection.


CHAPTER XVI: QUESTION 14: THE BODILY DEFECTS ASSUMED BY THE SON OF GOD

Our first consideration must be about Christ's bodily defects inasmuch as He assumed a passible body; then in the following question the defects of soul must be discussed, namely, the passions or propassions such as sadness and fear, so as to explain what the Evangelist means by saying: "And Jesus began to fear and to be heavy."[1295]

In this fourteenth question there are four articles about the bodily defects assumed by Christ.

1) Whether the Son of God ought to assume them.

2) Whether they were necessary or voluntary in Christ.

3) Whether He contracted these defects as we do.

4) Whether He assumed all bodily defects, such as sickness.

In these questions we see a marvelous progression in thought and methodical arrangement. They must be carefully considered. so as to avoid the confusion of ideas that not infrequently results concerning the death of Christ and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

First Article: Whether The Son Of God In Human Nature Ought To Have Assumed Defects Of Body

State of the question. The question concerns bodily defects inasmuch as the body is passible or subject to pain, hunger, thirst, and death.

It seems that Christ ought not to have assumed these defects, because, just as His soul had every perfection both of grace and of truth, why was not His body in every way perfect? Such perfection of body seems befitting for Christ, inasmuch as He was already in possession of the beatific vision and was likewise innocent, for punishment presupposes some fault. These bodily defects seem also to be an obstacle to the end of the Incarnation, which was destined to be a manifestation not only of God's goodness but also of His strength.

Conclusion. Nevertheless it was fitting for the body assumed by the Son of God to be subject to human infirmities and defects.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says of Christ: "For in that, wherein He Himself hath suffered and been tempted, He is also able to succor them that are tempted."[1296] There are likewise other texts that prove Christ was hungry and tired.

Traditional proof. It is also declared of Christ: "He suffered, was crucified, and died."[1297] The Church also declared in the Council of Ephesus: "If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, was crucified in the flesh, and experienced death, ... let him be anathema."[1298]

Theological proof. It was fitting for Christ's body to be subject to defects, and this for three reasons.

1) So as to satisfy for us, by enduring for us the penalty for sin, namely, death, hunger, thirst, for "by sin death entered into the world."[1299]

2) That He might establish the truth of His human nature, suffering truly as a man.

3) That He might give us a most heroic example of patience.

Reply to first objection. These sufferings are not contrary to the perfection of Christ's soul, for they are, as it were, the matter of satisfaction, whose meritorious principle was Christ's eminent charity. Thus in this reply St. Thomas draws a most admirable distinction between the matter of satisfaction and its principle or faculty. The principle of this satisfaction is Christ's love for God and for souls, and this love was of infinite value because of the divine personality of the Word incarnate.[1300]

In fact, Christ willed to fear and be weary, so that His holocaust be perfect, whereas, on the contrary, He preserved certain martyrs from pain.

Reply to second objection. According to God's will, before Christ's resurrection the beatitude of His soul did not overflow into His body, except on the day of His transfiguration. Thus Damascene says: "It was by the consent of the divine will that the flesh was allowed to suffer and do what belonged to it, " that is, what befitted a passible nature. His naturally passible flesh suffered under the blows inflicted on it.

Reply to third objection. Thus the absolutely innocent Christ was for us a voluntary victim.

Reply to fourth objection. "And although these infirmities concealed His Godhead, they made known His manhood, which is the way of coming to the Godhead." In this bodily infirmity, Christ showed heroic fortitude, by which He conquered the devil and healed our human and moral infirmity.

It does not follow, however, from these reasons, as Calvin would have it, that for Christ truly to satisfy for us, He had to undergo the punishment of hell deserved by sinners. Satisfaction for the sin of another does not require that the one who satisfies for the sin of another should undergo all the penalty that is due to the sin of another; it suffices that the satisfaction be equivalent, and Christ's satisfaction was more than this. As St. Thomas says: "He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race";[1301] for the immense charity of the incarnate Son was more pleasing to God than all the sins of men were displeasing to Him, because this act of charity was a theandric act, inasmuch as it proceeded radically from the person of the Word.

Moreover, if Calvin's argument were valid, then it would follow that Christ ought to have suffered forever the punishments of hell, because sinners deserve eternal punishment. Calvin did not consider that the price of satisfaction, just as the value of merit, is the result of love. Merit and satisfaction have the same foundation, for the meritorious work is satisfactory when it is of an afflictive nature.

Second Article: Whether Christ Was Of Necessity Subject To These Defects

State of the question. It seems on the one hand that Christ was not, because He was a voluntary victim, and because His soul, united to His divine nature of which it was its instrument, could preserve His body from suffering, just as He did afterward to several martyrs. But, on the other hand, the Word assumed a passible body, which is under the natural necessity of dying and enduring other sufferings of a similar nature. Thus the saying that man is by nature mortal, and this necessity is physical. How then must this difficulty be solved?

Reply. St. Thomas says that as regards the assumed nature these defects were necessary, but as regards Christ's divine will and His deliberate human will these defects were objectively voluntary.

The first part of this conclusion is evident, namely, as regards the assumed nature, these defects were necessary, as it is necessary for a body composed of contraries to be dissolved. Thus every man is by nature mortal. And since the Word came in passible flesh for our salvation, He did not assume a body exempt from suffering, this exemption being a privilege bestowed upon Adam's body in the state of innocence. Hence St. Paul says: "God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh."[1302] Hence Christ's death through the blows inflicted upon His body followed as a natural consequence, and was in no way, as in us, the consequence of original sin. Likewise in the Blessed Virgin Mary death followed as a natural consequence because she was conceived in passible flesh, and this death was not the result of original sin, from which she was preserved.

The second part of this conclusion is also apparent, namely, as regards Christ's divine will, and His deliberate human will, these sufferings were objectively voluntary. For indeed, by these two wills, He voluntarily accepted them, and He could have prevented them, if He had so willed, namely, if it had been the will of His Father. Thus the Blessed Virgin accepted her death in the natural order that she might be associated with the sacrifice of Christ for our salvation.

The reply of the following article completes this doctrine. What has been said shows clearly the most beautiful parallelism prevailing between Christ the Redeemer, and Mary the immaculate co-Redemptress.

Third Article: Whether Christ Contracted These Bodily Defects

State of the question. In the title to this article the word "contracted" implies something more than "assumed" and "subjected to, " for what is derived from some cause is said to be contracted, and so a disease or bad habit is said to be contracted. On the one hand, it seems that Christ contracted these defects, because together with His passible nature He derived them through His birth from His mother; for these infirmities are natural, resulting from the principles of nature, as stated in the preceding article, and Christ was like other men in His human nature, and they contracted these defects. On the other hand, however, St. Paul says. "By one man sin entered into this world, and by sin, death."[1303]

But there was neither original sin nor actual sin in Christ, and the same must be said of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Reply. Christ did not, like us, contract these defects as the result of original sin, but He voluntarily took them upon Himself.

First part of conclusion. It is proved by the following theological reasoning in syllogistic form.

That is said to be contracted which is derived of necessity together with its cause. Thus a person suffering from some congenital hereditary disease is said to have contracted it from birth. But the cause of death and suffering is sin,[1304] which had absolutely no place in Christ. Therefore Christ did not contract these defects.[1305]

Second part of conclusion. It is proved from the consideration that Christ willed for our salvation to assume a naturally passible body, which is composed of contraries.[1306]

Reply to first objection. St. Thomas does not say: "the Virgin as a person was conceived in original sin, " but "the flesh of the Virgin was conceived in original sin, " and in accordance with this terminology of the thirteenth century, he distinguished between conception and subsequent animation when the rational soul comes that is created by God.

Nowadays we firmly believe, however, that the Blessed Virgin by a privilege was redeemed by preservative redemption. Thus she was preserved from sin, which from her birth she ought to have contracted with all its consequences. Hence in the Blessed Virgin death was not the effect of sin, but the consequence of a passible nature, which she voluntarily accepted to be offered up in sacrifice in union with Christ. Hence the death of Christ and that of the Blessed Virgin are not the result of original sin, although they presuppose it in this sense, that the Incarnation in passible flesh presupposes the reparation of sin. On this point confusions frequently arise because not sufficient attention is paid to the distinctions so magnificently formulated by St. Thomas.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ Ought To Have Assumed All The Bodily Defects Of Men

State of the question. What is asked in this article is whether Christ ought to have assumed not only hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and death, but also other bodily defects, such as diseases, fever, leprosy.

Reply. Christ assumed only the defects that follow from the common sin of the whole human race, and that are not incompatible with the end of the Incarnation.

Christ assumed human defects precisely because He wished to satisfy for the sin of human nature. But satisfaction, which is penal, must correspond to the sin. Therefore, in reparation for the common sin, Christ voluntarily assumed common penalties, such as hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and death.

He did not assume, however, defects that are incompatible with the end of the Incarnation, such as difficulty in the performance of good works, proneness to evil. He did not either assume sicknesses and diseases that result from the actual sins of man, or from the defect in generative power. Christ was impeccable, and His body was most perfect in that it was miraculously conceived.

As regards the beauty of Christ's body, St. Thomas says: "Christ had beauty as it befitted His state and the reverence that is due to His condition";[1307] and in another work he says: "Christ was not imposing in aspect as it is said of Priam that his countenance befitted his imperial dignity."[1308] In other words, the beauty of His countenance manifested especially the beauty of His most holy soul.


CHAPTER XVII: QUESTION 15: THE DEFECTS OF SOUL ASSUMED BY CHRIST

In this question St. Thomas asks: (1) whether there was sin in I Christ, or at least the inclination to sin; (2) whether He had passions, such as sadness, fear, anger, at least holy anger.

First Article: Whether There Was Sin In Christ

State of the question. The particular purpose of this article is to inquire why Christ was sinless, in fact, why He was morally perfect

Reply. Christ in no way assumed the defect of sin, either original or actual. This doctrine is of faith and manifestly has its foundation in Sacred Scripture.

Scriptural proof. That Christ was without original sin is evident from the following words of the Evangelist: "'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."[1309] This means that Christ did not descend from Adam by the natural process of seminal propagation. He was conceived miraculously by the Holy Ghost. Moreover, from the moment of His conception, as stated above, He was full of grace and enjoyed the beatific vision, both of which are incompatible with original sin.

As regards actual sin, there is the testimony of Christ Himself, when He said to His enemies: "Which of you shall convince Me of sin?"[1310] Similarly St. John the Baptist says: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world."[1311] Likewise St. Peter says: "Who did no sin."[1312] St. Paul also says: "For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners."[1313]

There are several definitions of the Church that affirm the sinlessness of Christ.[1314] Moreover, the Church has declared that Christ was impeccable (and not merely sinless) even before His resurrection,[1315] and that He did not need purification.[1316] This last declaration is directed against the Jansenists, who said that the Blessed Virgin Mary was in need of purification at the time of her purification, and that her Son contracted this stain from his mother, as the Mosaic law says.[1317]

Theological proof. Christ assumed our defects that He might satisfy for us, and that He might prove the truth of His human nature, and be for us an example of virtue.[1318] But sin instead of being conducive to this threefold end was a hindrance to it. Therefore Christ did not assume the defect of sin.

Sin is more of a hindrance to satisfaction, and it does not prove the truth of human nature, since it is contrary to reason; and it is not an example of virtue, since it is contrary to it. This proof receives its confirmation from the solution of the objections of this article.

Reply to first objection. St. Thomas explains how the words of the psalmist, "O God, my God, look upon me; why hast Thou forsaken me. Far from my salvation are the words of my sins,"[1319] are said of the person of Christ. He also shows with St. John Damascene and St. Augustine that certain things are said of Christ in our person, namely, those things that nowise befit Him, inasmuch as "Christ and His Church are taken as one person."[1320] And in this sense Christ, speaking in the person of His members, says: "Far from my salvation are the words of my sins,"[1321] not that there were any sins in the Head. Such is the meaning of this particular Messianic psalm, the first words of which Christ uttered on the cross.

Reply to second objection. It explains how Christ was in Adam and how He is of the "seed of David."[1322] Christ, says St. Augustine, was in Adam "according to bodily substance"[1323] but not according to seminal virtue, that is, by way of natural generation. He did not receive the human nature actively from Adam but materially, and from the Holy Ghost actively. Thus He "was of the seed of David"[1324] only materially, but not formally and actively. But if He accepted circumcision, which was a remedy for sin, He did so not as in need of it, but that He might give us an example of humility.[1325]

Moreover, even though Christ had descended from Adam according to seminal propagation, He could not have contracted original sin, since this was incompatible with the grace of union and the fullness of inamissible habitual grace and by reason of the beatific vision, all of which adorned His soul from the moment of His conception. Thus the Blessed Virgin, although she descended from Adam according to seminal propagation, was preserved from original sin.

Reply to fourth objection. St. Thomas here explains the meaning of the words: "Him who knew no sin, God hath made sin for us";[1326] which means that God made Him a victim of sin, as the prophet says: "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."[1327] Thus Christ willingly bore the punishment for sin.[1328]

Calvin[1329] objected that Christ in dying gave vent to feelings, if not of desperation, at least to words of such a nature when He said: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[1330] and in the Garden He prayed inordinately, saying: "My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me."[1331]

Reply. Concerning these words uttered by our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane it is generally agreed that they are an expression of His sensible will and are conditional, but that they are not an expression of His rational and absolute will. They manifest, as will be stated in the next question in treating of Christ's sadness, that He completely gave Himself up to grief, even extreme sadness, so as to make His sacrifice perfect and more meritorious.

The first quotation is not the utterance of one who is in despair, but it is the expression of one who experiences the greatest of grief. In fact, the words, "O God, My God, look upon Me; why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[1332] constitute the first verse of one of the Messianic psalms. The end of this psalm, however, is a most beautiful expression of complete confidence in God, in spite of all adversities. Finally, immediately after these words, Christ says on the cross: "It is consummated.... Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."[1333] These final words are an expression of perfect confidence and love. Last of all, certainly how can He despair who has already acquired the beatific vision and who by His sacrifice gives eternal life to others?

First doubt. Was Christ not only sinless but impeccable already before His resurrection?

Reply. The Second Council of Constantinople affirms and declares this against Theodore of Mopsuestia.[1334] All theologians hold that at least according to the ordinary operation of divine law Christ was impeccable for three reasons; namely, because of the hypostatic union, the beatific vision, and the fullness of His inamissible habitual grace.[1335]

The Scotists, however, admit that, if God by His absolute power were to take away from Christ His habitual grace and the beatific vision, then He would be peccable.

But the common opinion of Thomists and other theologians is that Christ as man, precisely by virtue of the grace of union, even independently of the fullness of habitual grace and the beatific vision, was absolutely incapable of sinning, whether such sin left the union intact or destroyed it. The principal reason is that otherwise sin would redound upon the Word itself, inasmuch as elicited actions are referred to the suppositum, because the principle that elicits the actions is the suppositum. Thus, as will be more clearly explained farther on,[1336] the meritorious actions of Christ are of intrinsically infinite value because of the suppositum or divine person of the Word, and they are theandric. Thus it is absolutely impossible for the Word incarnate to sin.[1337]

The Thomists and other theologians generally assign three causes for Christ's absolute impeccability. These are: (1) the grace of union; (2) fullness of inadmissible habitual grace by reason of its connection with the grace of union; (3) the beatific vision by which even the rest of the blessed are confirmed in good, and are no more capable of sinning, or turning away from God clearly seen, or ceasing from the act of loving God, because this act is indeed spontaneous; but it is not a free act, since it transcends liberty, inasmuch as concerning God clearly seen and to be loved above all things, there is no longer indifference either of judgment or of will, and concerning particular goods the blessed are free, to be sure, but they are incapable of sinning; in other words, they are free to do only what is good. St. Thomas says: "The will of him who sees the essence of God, of necessity loves whatever he loves in subordination to God."[1338] Moreover, Christ always received efficacious grace by which de facto the will does not commit sin.[1339]

We shall see farther on[1340] that it is indeed extremely difficult to reconcile impeccability and free will in Christ, for without this freedom He would not have merited for us. We shall say here that Christ's impeccable liberty is the most pure image of God's impeccable liberty, and that the command of dying for us, given by the Father to Christ, takes away moral liberty but not psychological liberty, since it is given, like every command, for the free fulfillment of the act; for a command that would destroy psychological freedom in the fulfillment of the act, would destroy the very nature of the command.

Second doubt. Could there have been moral imperfection in Christ, such as less fervent acts of charity, and less promptitude in the observance of God's counsels?

Reply. The answer is that there could have been no moral imperfection. This question has been the subject of special investigation by the Salmanticenses who, in their commentary on this article, distinguish between imperfection and venial sin.[1341] For venial sin is absolutely an evil; although it is not a turning away from the final end, it is a morally evil deordination with reference to what pertains to the end. Moral imperfection, however, is not absolutely an evil, because it is not a privation of good that is strictly owing to one, for there is no obligation that we set before ourselves the greatest morally possible generosity as the ideal in our actions, except when anyone has made a vow to do what appears to be more perfect for such a person at the moment.

But imperfection is a lesser good. Thus a less fervent act of charity is not so great a good as a fervent act, but it is not an evil. In fact, in this less fervent act of charity, its diminished fervor or imperfection in the formal sense is indeed not a good thing, but it is not an evil, because it is not a privation of good that is strictly owing to anyone, because, as has been said, there is no obligation to set before ourselves the greatest morally possible generosity as the ideal in our actions each time we act. This imperfection is not good, it being a denial of greater perfection, rather than a privation in the strict sense. Thus, in some way, the fact that God does not preserve a creature in moral good, which means the permission by God to commit sin, is not a good thing, yet it is not an evil, not even an evil to which a punishment is attached. On the contrary, the refusal of efficacious grace by God is a punishment that presupposes sin or at least the beginning of the first sin.

Thus, even though moral imperfection is distinct from venial sin, there could have been no such imperfection in Christ because if we exclude God, no greater perfection could have been given to anyone than to Christ. Christ's acts of charity never diminished in fervor or were less in intensity or perfection as befitted the Word incarnate and He had the infused virtue of charity in the highest degree, according to the ordinary dispensation of God's power.

Expressed more briefly, there was never an occasion when Christ's human will was not so prompt in observing the divine counsels, in following the inspirations of grace given by way of counsel, and this is also commonly admitted concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Salmanticenses,[1342] after proving that there could have been no transgression of the divine counsels in Christ, show clearly what is the foundation for the distinction between venial sin and imperfection. Concerning the distinction between a slight venial sin and imperfection, it must be observed that a few theologians do indeed call that an imperfection which is truly a venial sin, but these two are in themselves just as distinct as the difference between what is absolutely evil and that which is a less good. And this distinction is evident not only in the abstract but also in the concrete, especially in the lives of Christ and His Blessed Mother, who never were remiss in following the divine counsels.[1343]

Second Article: Whether There Was The Fomes Of Sin In Christ

State of the question. The "fomes", of sin implies the inclination of the sensual appetite to that which is contrary to right reason, as in the case of excessive pleasure. Thus, the "fomes" of sin is an inclination to sin, and when it actually inclines anyone to sin, it is called "fomes" in the second act.

St. Thomas does not even ask whether there was in Christ the "fomes" of sin in its second act, namely, an inordinate movement of the sensitive appetite.

Reply. The negative answer to this query is already sufficiently established from the first article. For the Word can and must prevent these irregular motions of the sensible nature, and He prevents them because He is under obligation to rule His assumed human nature, not only as it is rational, but as it is sensitive. These irregular motions of the sensitive nature not only were not in Christ, but could not have been in Him, because He was impeccable. The Second Council of Constantinople in canon ten declared: "If anyone defends the impious Theodore of Mopsuestia, who said that God the Word is different in person from Christ who suffered from the passions of the soul and the troublesome desires of the flesh, and who, gradually getting away from this inferior state, improved His condition by advancing in the performance of good works, ... let him be anathema."[1344]

If Christ was tempted, however, St. Thomas explains farther on,[1345] He was tempted without having to endure sin and moral disgrace, consequences so derogatory to His sanctity.

Therefore, what theologians especially ask here, is whether the inclination to sin in its first act was in Christ.

St. Thomas answers this question in the negative, meaning that there neither was nor could have been such an inclination.

Scriptural proof. The angel said: "That which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost."[1346] But the Holy Ghost excludes both sin and the inclination to sin, which is what is meant by "fomes."

Theological proof. The moral virtues are in the sensitive appetite; and the more perfect they are, the more they subject it to reason. But these virtues were most perfect in Christ. Therefore there was no fomes in Christ or inclination of the appetite to that which is contrary to reason.[1347] This conclusion confirms the more common opinion of the Thomists, namely, that Christ possessed perfectly from the beginning not only the infused virtues, but also the acquirable moral virtues that make man absolutely good, and not merely good in a qualified sense, such as a good sculptor or carpenter.

Confirmation. The Word assumed all those human defects that can be ordained for the satisfaction of sins. The fomes of sin, however, cannot be ordained to this end, but, on the contrary, inclines to sin. Thus it was neither in Adam in the state of innocence, nor in the Blessed Virgin. But the grace of union is of a far higher order than the grace of original justice, which latter excluded the fomes of sin in Adam.

First objection. But if there was passibility of body in Christ and hence pain and death, why not the fomes of sin?

Reply to first objection. There is no parity of argument here, because the sensitive appetite must obey reason, whereas the vegetative powers of the souls do not obey it. Hence, among the principal consequences of original sin there are two that are deordinations, namely, error and concupiscence, and neither of these was in either Christ or the Blessed Virgin. There are two consequences, however, that imply no moral deordination, namely, grief and death, and these were both in Christ and in His Blessed Mother, not indeed as consequences of original sin, but as properties of nature, inasmuch as the Word assumed a passible flesh, and the Blessed Virgin was conceived without original sin but in passible flesh. But that the Word had to become incarnate in passible flesh, according to God's decree, this indeed presupposes God's permission of original sin, reparation for which was to be made by the redemptive Incarnation.

Third Article: Whether In Christ There Was Ignorance

St. Thomas answers that there was not, proving this from what He had already said about the fullness of grace and knowledge in Christ,[1348] where the following words of the Evangelist are explained: "We saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."[1349]

There could not have been either error or ignorance in Him who said: "'I am the way and the truth, and the life."[1350] Ignorance is a privation of that which a person ought to have, and so it is opposed to simple nescience, or simple negation or absence of knowledge, as in a child who is not yet capable of knowing. Thus in Christ there was a certain nescience as regards His acquired knowledge, in which He made progress, as stated above.[1351]

Fourth Article: Whether Christ's Soul Was Passible

State of the question. It seems that Christ's soul was not passible, both because His soul was nobler than all creatures, and because the passions of the soul seem to be ailments of the soul as Tully says. Furthermore, the passions of the soul seem to be the same as the fomes of sin.

Reply. St. Thomas says, however, that in Christ there were both bodily passions and animal or psychological passions; yet they were otherwise in Christ than in us, and they are preferably called propassions.

Scriptural proof. The Psalmist says, speaking in the person of Christ: "My soul is filled with evils,"[1352] meaning that it is filled with pains and sadness. The Evangelist says that in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Jesus began to fear and to be heavy."[1353]

Theological proof. First part. There are two kinds of passions in the soul: some are bodily passions, such as physical pain, by which the soul suffers when the body is hurt; others are called animal or psychological passions, because of some object that is presented to it, such as sensible sadness on foreseeing the details of a horrible death.

But Christ had a passible body and a sensitive appetite, both of which belong to the human nature, otherwise He would not have been truly man. Therefore Christ had both bodily passions, and animal or psychological passions.

Second part. These passions were in Christ otherwise than in us In us the passions often tend toward what is unlawful, often enough forestalling the judgment of reason, and sometimes they deflect the reason and obtain the consent of the will.

But in Christ the passions were able to produce none of these effects, because "in Christ all movements of the sensitive appetite sprang from the disposition of the reason,"[1354] and according to the consent of His will, as St. Augustine says.[1355]

Hence, in Christ the passions never preceded the judgment of reason and the consent of the will, but followed them. Therefore they are preferably called propassions.

Therefore St. Jerome, commenting on the words, "He began to grow sorrowful and to be sad,"[1356] says: "Our Lord, in order to prove the reality of the assumed manhood, was sorrowful in very deed; yet lest a passion should hold sway over His soul, it is by a propassion that He is said to have begun to grow sorrowful."[1357] Thus Christ's sensitive nature was most holy, and devotion to His most Sacred Heart is an expression of this sensibility.

Fifth Article: Whether There Was Sensible Pain In Christ

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative, for the prophet says: "Surely He hath borne our infirmities."[1358] It is evident that Christ's passible body was hurt during His passion, and He felt that He was hurt, since Christ's soul was perfectly in possession of all natural powers. Thus His passible flesh naturally felt the pain of the blows inflicted on it.

Sixth Article: Whether There Was Sorrow In Christ

Reply. The answer is that there was sorrow in Christ, for He said: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death."[1359] Truly Christ's sorrow was natural at the thought of the horrible death He had to endure on the cross; and there was spiritual sorrow because of the sin of His disciples and of those who would kill Him, and this sorrow arose from His love for God and for souls and hence it was supernatural. Thus in the exalted region of Christ's soul there was sorrow although not in the summit of His soul, because in the highest part of His intellect He enjoyed the beatific vision; but He most freely prevented its overflow into the inferior parts of the soul so that He might deliver Himself up fully to pain, and so be a perfect holocaust.

Seventh Article: Whether There Was Fear In Christ

It is not a question here of the gift of fear, which has already been discussed,[1360] but of fear inasmuch as it is a movement of the sensitive appetite.

Reply. The answer is that there was sensible fear in Christ, for the Evangelist says: "Jesus began to fear and to be heavy."[1361] Truly, Jesus was able to perceive His death on the cross as an evil that cannot easily be avoided, which is the object of fear. There was natural fear in Christ, or the act of the soul naturally shrinking from evil and from contracting it. From another source Christ knew this evil as certainly to come, according to God's decree, and in the higher part of His soul He rejoiced at the thought of having accepted this pain for our salvation.

Eighth Article: Whether There Was Wonder In Christ

St. Thomas replies by saying that there was wonder in Christ as regards His experimental knowledge, but not as regards His divine knowledge, His beatific knowledge, and His infused knowledge. The reason is that wonder concerns the attention given by the faculties of the soul to what is new and unwonted, and this wonder was in Christ as regards only His experimental knowledge. Thus, "Jesus hearing the words of the centurion, marveled."[1362]

Ninth Article Whether There Was Anger In Christ

Reply. There was holy anger or holy indignation in Christ against those buying and selling in the Temple, but in no way was there sinful anger in Him. This holy anger is called "the zeal of God's house."[1363] It is a passion that follows an act of avenging justice, which inflicts punishment in accordance with right reason, how, when, and where it must be administered, and neither in excess nor defect.

Tenth Article Whether Christ Was At The Same Time Wayfarer And Comprehensor

Reply. The answer is that Christ was comprehensor, inasmuch as He enjoyed the beatific vision in the higher part of the soul. But He was also wayfarer, because concerning some things beatitude was wanting, for His soul was passible and His body passible and mortal.

Thus discussion ends concerning those things that pertain to what the Son of God assumed, along with His human nature, both as regards perfections, namely, His grace, knowledge, and power, and as regards defects, both of body and of soul.


CHAPTER XVIII: QUESTION 16 THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE HYPOSTATIC UNION

After considering the mode of the union in itself, as regards the person assuming, the nature assumed, and what was assumed with it, we come to discuss the consequences of the union.

There are three divisions to this part of the treatise on the Savior, inasmuch as the consequences of the union are considered, as to those things that belong to Christ:

1) In Himself as regards His being, will, and operation by which He merited for us.

2) In His relation to God the Father, for example, Christ's prayer, priesthood, predestination.

3) In His relation to us, namely, Christ as the object of our adoration, and His mediation on our behalf.

The Consequences Of The Union As Regards Those Things That Belong To Christ In Himself

This question is about the terms employed in speaking of the mystery of the Incarnation.

We are concerned here with what is technically called the communication of idioms. "Idiom" is derived from the Greek and means the same as property in Latin. Hence communication of idioms is communication of properties. In other words, although the two natures in Christ are really distinct and inconfused, as defined against Eutyches, yet by reason of the hypostatic union the properties of the divine nature can be predicated of this man Jesus, and human attributes of God. Hence the communication of idioms is usually defined as the mutual predication and interchange in themselves of the two natures, the divine and the human, and their properties, by reason of the hypostatic union. The foundation for this communication of idioms in Christ is the hypostatic union itself, by reason of which one and the same suppositum has two natures, the divine nature and the human nature.

It must be observed concerning this communication that concrete names, such as God, man, in opposition to abstract names, such as Godhead, humanity, signify directly the suppositum, and indirectly the nature. For "God, ' signifies the suppositum that has the divinity, and "man" signifies the suppositum that has the humanity. If, therefore, the suppositum is the same for the two natures, then it is true to say: "God is man, " although it is false to say: "The Godhead is the humanity." Thus we shall see[1364] that the generally accepted rule, namely, concrete words of concrete subjects, both of natures and properties, generally speaking, can of themselves be predicated of either; but abstract words of abstract subjects cannot of themselves formally be predicated of either. Thus we shall see that we cannot say the Godhead is the humanity or that God is the humanity, or that the humanity is God.[1365]

Therefore we must take great care to distinguish between abstract terms and concrete terms. The abstract term signifies the nature separated from the subject, for example, humanity. The concrete term signifies the nature as existing in the subject, for example, man. Hence this distinction between concrete and abstract term is of great importance in distinguishing between the nature and the suppositum, since the nature is an essential part of the suppositum. There is the same distinction between "being" as a noun and "being" as a participle, or between the reality and the real itself.

The principal definitions of the Church about the communication of idioms are to be found in the fourth and tenth canons of the Council of Ephesus,[1366] and in the tenth and twelfth canons of the Second Council of Constantinople.[1367]

First Article: Whether This Is True: God Is Man

Reply. The proposition is affirmed to be true, and proper on account of the truth of the predication.

The reason is that in this proposition the concrete term "God" stands for the person of the Son. But the person of the Son is a man, although not the humanity, which is only a part of this suppositum. It is true to say: "Jesus is a man, " as when it is said: "Peter is a man."

Hence to say: "God is a man" is to say: "God the Son is the same suppositum that is man." In every affirmative judgment, however, the verb "is" expresses real identity between subject and predicate. Hence this proposition is true in the formal sense.[1368]

Doubt. Is the word "man" predicated univocally of God and human beings in this mystery?

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative.[1369] For the word "man" signifies the suppositum that subsists in the human nature. But this nature is of the same species in Christ as in human beings. Therefore Christ is truly called a man.

Second Article: Whether This Is True: Man Is God

Reply. The answer is yes, because in this proposition the subject "man" can stand for whatever hypostasis of the human nature, and therefore for the person of the Son of God, who is truly God.

Third Article: Whether Christ Can Be Called A Lordly Man

Reply. The answer is No, because "lordly" is said denominatively and by participation from Lord. But the name "Christ" stands for the person of the Son of God who is essentially the Lord, and not lordly by participation.

Hence it would be absolutely contrary to custom to conclude the liturgical orations by saying: "through Christ the lordly man", and not: "through Christ our Lord." Hence the expression that was in use among certain seventeenth-century authors in France is not entirely to be approved; namely, "Jesus is the perfect religious of His Father." It cannot properly and truly be said that He who is the very Lord is a lordly man.

Reply to third objection. Nevertheless we generally speak of the divine Word, the divine person, because the adjective "divine" is wont to be predicated of God's nature, which is called the divine nature and not merely as being a participation of this nature.

Fourth Article: Whether What Belongs To The Son Of Man Can Be Asserted Of The Son Of God And Conversely

Reply. The answer to this question is in the affirmative.[1370]

The reason for this is that, since there is one hypostasis of both natures, the same hypostasis is signified by the name of either nature. Thus it may be said that the Son of God suffered, was crucified; also it may be said that the Son of man is immortal, eternal, omnipotent, because the meaning is: this suppositum having the human nature is immortal, eternal, and possessing other divine attributes.

Fifth Article: Whether What Belongs To The Son Of Man Can Be Predicated Of The Divine Nature, And What Belongs To The Son Of God Of The Human Nature

Reply. The answer is in the negative. Thus it cannot be said that the Godhead suffered, or that Christ's human nature is omnipotent, because the two natures are entirely distinct, and abstract things, those that signify a nature and not the subject, cannot formally be predicated of abstract things (those that signify another nature), nor of concrete things. Hence, just as we cannot say the Godhead is the human nature, neither can we say that God is the human nature, or the human nature is God.

Only in the material sense and as expressing identity of person can it be said: "This man is the Godhead, the Godhead is this man, " meaning that this man is God, who is His Godhead.

Sixth Article: Whether This Is True: God Was Made Man

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative. Thus, we can say: "And the Word was made flesh." For a thing is said to be made that which begins to be predicated of it for the first time.

However, the expression, "God becomes man, " does not mean that God becomes so in the absolute sense of the term, for God became man without undergoing any change in Himself.

Seventh Article: Whether This Is True: Man Was Made God

Reply. The answer is in the negative, because in this proposition, since the subject "man" stands for the person of the Word, the meaning would be that the suppositum or person that is eternally God. became in time God, or that some pre-existing man became God, and each assertion is false.

For the same reason the expression, "man was assumed, " cannot be admitted, but we must say: "the human nature was assumed, " for the former statement would mean that some pre-existing man was assumed by the Word. Thus the Word would have assumed a human nature, and, if the human personality did not cease to exist at the moment of the assumption, there would be two persons, as the Nestorians maintained.[1371]

Hence, although this proposition is true, "Man is God, " the following proposition is false: "Man became God."

Eighth Article Whether This Is True: Christ Is A Creature

Reply. The answer is that the proposition is not true. The purpose is to avoid the suspicion of favoring the Arian heresy, and moreover, the assertion is false. But it can and must be said that Christ has a created nature, namely, a human nature. The reason why we cannot say that Christ is a creature, is that creation belongs to subsisting things, and to be created is consequent to person as the one that has being, but it is consequent to the nature as that by which something is such as it is. But as the person of Christ is uncreated and eternal, "creature, ' would apply not only to the created nature, but to the person of Christ, and this is false.

Ninth Article Whether This Is True: This Man, Pointing To Christ, "Began To Be"

Reply. The answer is that this assertion is not true, for Christ said of Himself: "Before Abraham was made, I am."[1372] The aforesaid proposition must be avoided both because it sounds like Arianism, and also because it is false. Although the person of the Word for which Christ stands, began to be man, yet this person did not begin to be so in the absolute sense.

Tenth Article Whether This Is True: Christ As Man Is A Creature

Reply. The answer is that this proposition is more to be accepted than rejected, because the term covered by the reduplication signifies the nature rather than the suppositum.

Eleventh Article Whether This Is True: Christ As Man Is God

Reply. The answer is that this proposition is not true, because the term placed in the reduplication stands more for the nature, as stated above, than for the person.

Twelfth Article Whether This Is True: Christ As Man Is A Hypostasis Or Person

Reply. This proposition must be avoided, because it favors Nestorianism and can be taken in a false sense. For if the word "man" taken exactly in its reduplicative sense, so that the particle as in its reduplicative sense, gives the formal reason why Christ is a person, then this assertion is false, because it would signify that in Christ there would be a created person, as the Nestorians said.

However, this proposition could be accepted if interpreted in a good sense, if the term "man, ' were taken for the suppositum or for the specific nature, because it belongs to the human nature to be in a person. Hence this proposition is equivocal and as such must be avoided.

This terminates the question concerning the manner of speaking about Christ.


CHAPTER XIX: QUESTION 17: WHAT PERTAINS COMMONLY TO CHRIST'S UNITY OF BEING

This question concerns unity in common, but not unity in detail. It has already been determined (q. 9) that there is only one knowledge in Christ, and farther on (q. 35) it will be concluded that there are two births in Christ, the one eternal, the other temporal, but only one real filiation.

In treating of Christ's unity in common, we must consider His unity (1) Of being, (2) of will, (3) of operation.

On unity of being there are two articles:

1) Whether Christ is one or two.

2) Whether there is only one being in Christ

First Article: Whether Christ Is One Or Two

Reply. It is of faith that Christ is one (unus).

This conclusion is evident from the condemnation of Nestorianism, that admitted two persons in Christ; for the masculine form "unus" signifies a person. Hence, the Church has defined that "Christ is not two, but one."[1373] And again: "I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ."[1374] Likewise it can and must be said that Christ is one in the neuter form. The reason is that there is one person and one suppositum in Christ.

Some erroneously said, however, that there is one person but two supposita in Christ, and therefore they maintained Christ is one in person, but that He is not one being, because there are in Him two supposita. But it is false to assert that there are two supposita in Christ.[1375] There is in Christ only one center of attribution, which is expressed by the personal pronoun I.[1376]

Fifth objection. The three divine persons are declared one in being on account of their one nature; therefore there must be two beings in Christ because of the two natures.

Reply to fifth objection. I deny the consequence, for the difference here is that, since God is His Godhead, in the mystery of the most Holy Trinity the Godhead is predicated even in the abstract of the three persons; hence it may be said simply that the three persons are one. But in the mystery of the Incarnation, both natures are not predicated in the abstract of Christ. For Christ is not His humanity, this latter constituting a certain part of Him, and the part is not predicated of the whole. Therefore it follows that it cannot be said simply that Christ is two.

Doubt. Can it be said that Christ is both His divine nature and His human nature?

Reply. This proposition is not true in the strict and formal sense, because the term "Christ" includes more than is signified by both the divine and human natures, for it includes the note of person. But it must be said that Christ is a person that has both the divine nature and the human nature. Therefore Christ is one and He is also one being.

Second Article: Whether There Is Only One Being In Christ

State of the question. It seems that there are two beings in Christ, that is, two existences, for being follows the nature. Moreover, the being of the Son of God is the divine nature itself and is eternal, whereas the being of the man Christ is not the divine nature and is not eternal.

Likewise in the Trinity there is one being on account of the one nature. Therefore in Christ there are two beings just as there are two natures.

Finally, in Christ the soul gives some being to the body, but it does not give the uncreated being. Therefore there are two beings in Christ.

There are three different opinions on this question.

1) The reply of St. Thomas is that there is one substantial being in Christ.

Thus the separated soul at the moment of the resurrection communicates its being to the re-assumed body. This thesis of St. Thomas is of sublime conception in that Christ's human nature enjoys not only the ecstasy of knowledge and love because of the beatific vision, but also the ecstasy of His very being, inasmuch as it exists by reason of the eternal being itself of the Word. Such is the opinion of all Thomists.

2) On the contrary, Scotus, the Scotists, Suarez, and generally those who deny a real distinction between created essence and existence, hold that there are two substantial existences in Christ, the divine existence, which is identical with His Godhead, and the human existence, which in their opinion is not really distinct from Christ's human nature.

3) Father Billot, however, defends the thesis that there is one substantial existence in Christ, but he identifies this unique existence with Christ's personality. According to his opinion, as stated above,[1377] personality or subsistence is identical with existence. Against this opinion we stated above,[1378] in challenging the major adduced by Father Billot to prove the real distinction between created essence and existence, by the following syllogism.

That which is not its own existence is really distinct from this existence. But Peter's person, even Peter's personality, is not his existence, which is predicated of it contingently. Therefore Peter's person, even Peter's personality, is really distinct from his existence.

Not even Peter's person is his humanity, because the humanity is only an essential part of his person. But the distinction is greater between Peter and his existence, than between him and his humanity, for he differs from his humanity as the whole from its essential part, whereas existence from which Peter differs is a contingent predicate of Peter, which nowise pertains to his essence. Therefore the denial of this conclusion would mean the destruction of the very foundation for the real distinction between created existence and created essence, a distinction that Father Billot always intended to maintain.

Moreover, if, in the opinion of St. Thomas, what formally constitutes personality were existence, being, then he would have spoken rather late of this formal constituent of personality in the present article, for he treated this subject ex professo concerning the mode of the union when discussing the union itself,[1379] showing what is meant by a personal or hypostatic union, and that this union is not accidental but substantial, that is, subsistential. In the present question he is concerned only with the consequences of the union. It would be most surprising if now he were to take up the question of what formally constitutes the hypostatic union, after having treated in fourteen questions concerning the mode of the union on the part of the person assuming, and on the part of the nature assumed and those things assumed with it.

These things being posited, let us see how St. Thomas proves his opinion, namely, that there is one substantial being in Christ.

Everything is said to be a being inasmuch as it is one, for one and being are convertible. But Christ is one, not two. Therefore in Christ there is one being and not two beings. For "being" comes from "to be"; being is that whose act is to be. It is that which is.

In other words, if there were two substantial existences in Christ, there would be two beings. This conclusion rests on the following words of Christ: "Before Abraham was made, I am."[1380]

This argument is valid against Suarez. It must be said in refutation of his view that Christ's human nature, if it had its own substantial being, would be entirely complete as a substance, with its ultimate actuality, and therefore complete as a suppositum, and hence its union with the Word could be only accidental, which is contrary to what was said above.[1381] Thus in Christ there would be two supposita, or two things, or two beings. The substantial mode of Suarez, which accrues to being that already has its own existence, appears to be something entirely accidental, and so there is a certain danger of Nestorianism suggested in this doctrine.

Second proof. It is founded on what properly belongs to the notions of substantial being, hypostasis, and nature, as declared in the argumentative part of this article.

Substantial being, which belongs to the notion of person as that which is, cannot be multiplied, since such multiplication is possible only of accidental being. Christ's human nature, however, does not accrue to the Son of God accidentally but personally, so that there is only one person in Christ.[1382] Hence, there is only one substantial being in Christ.

Explanation of major. Substantial being belongs to the hypostasis as that which has being and to nature as that whereby anything has being. As St. Thomas says: "Being is consequent upon nature, not as upon that which has being, but as upon that whereby a thing is [such] ; whereas it is consequent upon person or hypostasis, as upon that which has being. Hence it has unity from the unity of hypostasis, rather than duality from the duality of the nature."[1383]

This denial of multiplicity in substantial being is well explained in the body of this article, by a comparison with accidental being, that can be multiplied.

In fact, the being of an accident is to inhere; thus, to be white is the being of Socrates, not as he is Socrates but inasmuch as he is white. And there is no reason why this being should not be multiplied in one hypostasis or person; for the being whereby Socrates is white is distinct from the being whereby he is a musician; but it is impossible that there should not be for one thing (or person) one (substantial) being. Being derives its name from "to be, " because being is that which is or can be, and if there are two substantial beings, there are two beings, two supposita; and it is false to say that there are two such beings in Christ.

Explanation of minor. If, as Nestorius contends, the human nature of Christ were to accrue accidentally to the Word, as to be white or to be a musician accrues to Socrates, then there would be two substantial beings; but it accrues to him personally and substantially, just as when sight came to him who was born blind, this accrued to him as belonging to the constitution of his person. Hence there is only one substantial being in Christ, which is the eternal being of the Word that is communicated to the assumed human nature, just as at the moment of the resurrection substantial being of the soul is communicated to the re-assumed body.

This argument can be presented in another form, as several Thomists have so presented it.

A thing that has acquired its ultimate actuality is incapable of being in potentiality for further determination. But existence is the ultimate actuality of a thing or person, whereby person is placed outside all its causes. Therefore a person having one substantial existence is incapable of further substantial existence. The idea is especially repugnant for the uncreated person of the Word that already has its own uncreated existence to exist by a created existence. Cajetan's interpretation concerning the formal constituent of person is completely in agreement with what is said in this article.[1384]

Conclusion confirmed. There are four reasons advanced for this.

1) If Christ's human nature were to exist by its own created existence, it would also subsist by its own subsistence, because existence, since it is its ultimate actuality and presupposes subsistence, or personality, and there is only one personality in Christ, which is the divine personality.

2) If Christ's human nature were to exist by its own created existence, it could not be terminated by the subsistence of the Word; because what has its ultimate act, cannot be further determined.

3) If Christ's human nature were to exist by its own created existence, then it would not be one per se and substantial with the Word, because this supposition would postulate a double existence, one to which it would be in potentiality, and the other which would be its ultimate act. But also one created substantial existence, since it is the ultimate act, makes the human nature incapable of receiving another substantial existence.[1385]

4) If Christ's human nature had its own created natural existence before it was assumed by the Word, then the Blessed Virgin Mary would not be the Mother of God. In fact, that Mary be truly the Mother of God, the term of her concurrence in the generation of the Son must be the God-man. But this could not be so if Christ's human nature had its own created existence, for the concurrence of whatsoever cause is considered totally terminated when the effect produced by it is existing, or has its ultimate actuality.

This conclusion of St. Thomas is also confirmed by the solution of the objections proposed in this article.

Reply to first objection. "Being is consequent upon person, as upon that which has being." Therefore, where there is only one person, there is likewise one being. It must be noted that St. Thomas says "'being is consequent upon person"; he does not say: "being constitutes person." This text proves St. Thomas to be of the opinion that personality or subsistence is not the same as existence, which is a contingent predicate of a created person.

Reply to second objection. "The eternal being of the Son of God, which is the divine nature, becomes the being of man, inasmuch as the human nature is assumed by the Son of God, to unity of person." Thus the being of the separated soul will become, on the resurrection day, the being of the reanimated body.

Reply to third objection. "Because the divine person is the same as the nature, there is no distinction in the divine persons between the being of the person and the being of the nature." Hence in the Trinity there is one being because of the unity of the nature, between which and both the being and the persons there is no distinction; and in Christ there is one being, because of the unity of the person, which is really distinct from the human nature.[1386]

It must be noted that this doctrine of St. Thomas, "the three divine persons have only one being, " cannot be reconciled with Father Billot's opinion and with that of certain other theologians who say that personality is the same as existence; for there are in the Trinity three personalities and only one existence.

Reply to fourth objection. Soul and body constitute the human nature, whereby Christ is man, and independently of Christ's divine person they are not what is.[1387]

Those who deny a real distinction between essence and being (existence) present the following objection.

Being that is produced is prior to being that is assumed. But the production of anything terminates in its existence. Therefore Christ's human nature exists by its own existence before it is assumed by the Word.

In other words, it is assumed because it is; and it is, not because it is assumed.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that produced being exists by priority of reason, this I concede; that it exists by priority of time, this I deny. I subdistinguish the minor: that the production of anything terminates in its existence so that this thing always has this act of existence in the formal sense, please prove this; that it has this existence by something being, namely, by the being that assumes it, in a case that is absolutely miraculous, this I concede.

Hence, when it said, "Christ's human nature is therefore assumed because it exists, " a distinction must be made in the expression, "because it exists"; by saying, because it is in the process of becoming to exist, in that it tends to exist, this I concede; because it exists in the sense that it is a complete and existing being, this I deny.

Hence at the very same moment, all these things take place, namely, Christ's soul is created, it is united with the body, and is assumed by the Word; therefore we must not seek for a created existence where the divine existence is communicated.

Similarly, prime matter, which, as St. Thomas teaches, cannot exist without a form, was created prior to the production of the whole composite by a priority of reason on the part of the material cause; but it was created instantaneously along with the form. Hence it is more correct to say, that is created along with its form that has priority as formal and final cause. Therefore prime matter has not its own existence, but it exists by the existence of the whole composite, or of the suppositum. Causes mutually interact. Thus the Word that terminates is prior as the terminating form, but the human nature is prior as material cause. The general rule is for essence to precede existence as a quasi-material cause, and for existence to precede essence as a quasi-formal cause. But in the Incarnation, existence is the eternal existence of the Word. Hence Christ said: "Before Abraham was made, I am."[1388] He speaks as man, and hence implies that also His human nature exists by the eternal existence of the Word; but what is directly affirmed is the eternal pre-existence of Christ's one and only person.

But I insist. The Word did not assume a possible human nature, but a complete being. Therefore it previously existed.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: that the Word assumed a human nature that is a complete being existing by its own existence, this I deny; that it existed by the existence of the Word, which was communicated to it by the assumption, this I concede.

Another objection. The Thomistic thesis presupposes that subsistence precedes existence. But this is false, because subsistence is the very act itself of existence.

1) Indirect reply. The argument is reversed. If subsistence is the same as existence, then the Word assumed the human nature before it existed and subsisted, which is the heresy of Nestorius.

2) Direct reply. To subsist in the concrete includes both subsistence and existence; for subsistence is the abstract correlative name of what in the concrete is called suppositum, just as personality is the correlative of person; and to subsist is the existing of the suppositum.[1389]

Hence there is a double correlative:

[diagram page 435]

ABSTRACT—existence of substance

subsistence

personality

CONCRETE—to exist of the substance or to subsist

suppositum

person

Hence even Suarez in a certain way distinguishes subsistence from existence, saying that subsistence is a mode of existence. But this presupposes the denial of a real distinction between created essence and being. Thus the truth of this particular judgment is not preserved intact, namely, Peter's human nature before any consideration of the mind is not his being.

Moreover, since existence is the ultimate actuality of a thing, the Suarezian mode of subsistence accrues only as an accident to the already existing nature. Thus the hypostatic union would be accidental.

Another objection. St. Thomas says: "The being of the human nature is not the divine being. Yet it must not be said simply that there are two beings in Christ; because the eternal suppositum does not refer equally to each being."[1390]

Reply. Certain Thomists, such as Billuart, say that this passage is concerned with the being of the essence, and not with the being of existence.

Yet this answer does not remove all doubt from the mind, because generally when St. Thomas speaks of being, he means existence, and from a consideration of the context of this quotation it appears, as at least more probable, that St. Thomas is concerned with existence.

According to some modern critics, such as Mandonnet and Grabmann, this disputed question was written before the third part of the Theological Summa, and so it is not surprising to find the more perfect formula in the Summa. But several other more recent critics, Peltzer, Synave, Glorieux, are of the opinion that this disputed question had been written after the third part of the Summa. They acknowledge, however, that the Compendium of Theology is still later, and in it St. Thomas speaks as he did in the Summa theologica.[1391]

Solution. This disputed question most probably concerns the distinction between the eternal existence of the Word and the same existence as communicated in time to Christ's human nature. Thus the existence of the separated soul at the moment of the resurrection is communicated to the body, and there is absolutely one existence, although it is true to say that now the human body again exists, but not before this reunion, because then there were only dust and ashes.

This interpretation of this particular disputed question has its foundation in the context, for in the body of this article it is said: "Existence properly and truly is predicated of the subsisting suppositum.... But Christ is absolutely one on account of the unity of the suppositum, and two in a qualified sense (secundum quid) because of the two natures; thus He has one existence on account of the one eternal existence of the eternal suppositum. But there is an other existence of this suppositum, not inasmuch as it is eternal, but inasmuch as in time this suppositum became man..., which is a secondary existence. But if there were two supposita in Christ, then each suppositum would have its own principal existence, and thus there would be absolutely two existences in Christ."[1392]

The present article gives us the simpler and more perfect formula, for the argumentative part most splendidly says: "By the human nature there accrued to Christ no new personal being, but only a new relation of the pre-existing personal being to the human nature."[1393]

Last difficulty. No divine perfection can actuate a created nature, for then this perfection would be limited since it would be received in a created nature, and would constitute with it a composite that is more perfect than its parts.

Reply. That no divine perfection can actuate a created nature by way of an intrinsically informing form, this I concede; by way of an intrinsically terminating term, this I deny. Thus, God's essence clearly seen terminates the act of the beatific vision. Thus the eternal existence of the Word is the ultimate act that terminates Christ's human nature, just as the apex of the pyramid terminates the new lines that are directed toward it.

Hence some appropriately said that in Christ there is not only ecstasy of contemplation and love, but also ecstasy of His existence, inasmuch as Christ's human nature exists by the eternal existence of the Word; being rapt as it were toward it, just as an ardent lover is attracted to the object loved.

Thus the doctrine of this article is fully in agreement with what was said above,[1394] and Cajetan's interpretation concerning what constitutes personality plainly has its foundation in all these texts of St. Thomas and, moreover, is in conformity with natural reason, inasmuch as person is the intelligent and free subject or the ego, or the primary center of attribution to whom are attributed intellectual nature and existence. Thus, personality is distinct from both nature and existence.

This doctrine is the quasi-corollary of the real distinction between created essence and existence. Contrary to what Suarez says, however, this distinction most certainly follows from the fact that God alone is His existence, and, before any consideration of the mind, the creature is not its existence. This will be most clearly evident when we shall see God as He is, and then we shall realize what an infinite difference there is between our essence and the divine essence. Moreover, if the divine person of the Word can take the place of the created personality, why could not the uncreated existence of the Word take the place of the created existence?


CHAPTER XX: QUESTION 18: WHAT PERTAINS TO THE UNITY OF CHRIST AS REGARDS HIS WILL

This question concerns the human will of Christ as distinct from His divine will and as always freely in conformity with the divine good pleasure.

First Article: Whether There Are Two Wills In Christ

State of the question. Several heretics denied that there are two wills in Christ, and for various reasons. Thus Apollinaris and his disciples said that the Word in Christ took the place of His mind; hence they denied that Christ had a human will and a human intellect.

Eutyches and the Monophysites, deciding that there is only one nature in Christ, concluded that there is only one will.

The Nestorians, asserting that there was only an accidental union of love between Christ and the Word, also posited one will in Christ.

Finally, the Monothelites, namely, Sergius of Constantinople, Macharius of Antioch, Cyrus of Alexandria, asserting that there are two natures in the one person of Christ, thought that Christ's human nature was never moved by its own proper motion, but only as it was moved by the divine nature; and so they denied two wills and two volitions in Christ and admitted only the divine will.

Reply. There are two wills in Christ, namely, the divine will and the human will.

This conclusion is de fide, defined by the Church, against the Monothelites.[1395]

This defined truth is expressed in several texts of Holy Scripture. Thus we read: "Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from Me, but yet not My will but Thine be done."[1396] And again: "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt."[1397] Also Jesus says: "I seek not My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me."[1398]

Theological proof. The human will belongs to the perfection of the human nature, just as the divine will belongs to the perfection of the divine nature. But Christ is truly God and truly man, having two distinct natures. Therefore He likewise has two wills, namely, the divine will and the human will. Otherwise Christ could neither have obeyed nor have merited, for obedience and merit presuppose a created will that is subordinated to the divine will.

Reply to first objection. But Christ by His human will always followed the divine will. There was most perfect subordination of the human will to the divine will.[1399]

Reply to second objection. Thus the human nature of Christ was the animated and free instrument of the divine nature.

Reply to third objection. Christ's human will, like ours, is inclined by its nature to something such as to happiness, or to good in general and to anything freely.

Second Article: Whether In Christ There Was A Will Of Sensuality Besides The Will Of Reason

Reply. There was in Christ the sensitive appetite, which sometimes is called the sensual will, and this because the Word assumed a complete human nature.

Reply to second objection. In Christ there was no concupiscence (fomes peccatl), and there was no indeliberate act in Him that in the sensitive part preceded reason.

Third Article: Whether In Christ There Were Two Wills As Regards The Reason

Reply. In Christ there is one power or faculty of the human will; but if we consider the human will with reference to its acts, then there is a distinction between the natural will that is naturally inclined to good in itself, shrinking from what is harmful to nature, and the rational will, or free will, that is drawn to its object by comparison and deliberation.

Reply to second objection. Thus in the same intellective faculty there is a distinction between the intellect inasmuch as it is drawn toward principles as its object, and the discursive reason inasmuch as it is drawn toward conclusions as its object.

Fourth Article: Whether There Was Free Will In Christ

State of the question. The difficulty here is that the nature of free will is to be indifferent in its choice. But Christ's will was determined to be good, because He could not sin. Therefore it seems that there was not free will in Christ.

Reply. There was free will in Christ. This conclusion is of faith, just as it is of faith that Christ obeyed His Father and merited for us; for merit presupposes freedom not only from compulsion, but also from necessity.

Theological proof. The argument has its foundation in the previous article. Since there was in Christ not only the will as nature, but also the will as reason, we must say that He could choose, and consequently had free will, whose act is choice.

However, there was no doubt in Christ's deliberative judgment as to what must be chosen, because He had perfect knowledge of things.

Reply to third objection. St. Thomas answers the objection taken from Christ's impeccability by saying: "The will of Christ, though determined to good, is not determined to this or that good." Thus He was free to choose Peter in preference to John, as His vicar. "Hence it pertains to Christ, even as to the blessed, to choose with a free will confirmed in good." Thus God Himself cannot will evil, but most freely chooses this created good in preference to some other, this passible world in preference to some other.

In the above-quoted text, St. Thomas solves, indeed, the difficult problem of the compatibility of Christ's impeccability with His freedom. The words of the text were ever of penetrating clarity to him because he saw clearly that, just as God Himself is both impeccable and absolutely free, so also in due proportion is Christ as man, and it was a profound utterance when he said, "that it pertains to Christ, even as to the blessed, to choose with a free will confirmed in good, " who remain free, not only in loving God clearly seen, but also concerning the possibility of choice as regards particular goods, and yet there is no fear of their changing their mind.

Nevertheless afterward, as the history of theology shows, this problem was very much disputed, especially concerning Christ's freedom as regards the commands of His Father, which He was not free to disobey. Therefore this question must be given special consideration so as to make it clear how Christ's will was free, though confirmed in good.

Reconciliation Between Christ's Freedom Of Will And His Impeccability

State and difficulty of the question. It is certain that the soul of Christ was endowed with free will, which means not only freedom from internal compulsion, but also from external constraint. The Catholic Church defined against Calvin, Luther, and Jansenius, that free will implies these two kinds of freedom. The third condemned proposition of Jansenius reads: "For meriting and demeriting in the state of man's fallen nature, freedom from internal compulsion is not required; it is sufficient to be free from external constraint."[1400] This means that the contradictory proposition is true, namely, for meriting and demeriting in the state of man's fallen nature, not only freedom from external constraint or spontaneity is required, which is found in the irrational animal, but also freedom from internal compulsion, or a dominating indifference of choice, under the direction of free judgment, as St. Thomas explains.[1401] He also says: "The will of Christ, though determined to good, is not determined to this or that good. Hence it pertains to Christ, even as to the blessed, to choose with a free will confirmed in good."[1402]

Where there is no command there is no difficulty, and so Christ freely chose Peter as His vicar in preference to John.

It is of faith that Christ had free will, because it was defined that there are two inconfused natures in Christ, and that each nature retains its own properties, faculties of understanding and willing, and each its own operations.[1403]

The Catholic Church likewise defined that Christ freely merited and satisfied for us.[1404] But, as already stated, against the Jansenists, free will is required for meriting, and freedom from internal compulsion.

All Catholic theologians are agreed on these declarations and they reject the teaching of Jansenius, who said that Christ was interiorly compelled to observe the command of His Father, since freedom from external constraint was, in the opinion of Jansenius, sufficient for meriting.

Likewise it is certain that there never was the stain of either original sin or actual sin in Christ, and this statement is of faith, as was shown above.[1405] In fact, the Second Council of Constantinople declared that Christ was impeccable even before the Resurrection.[1406]

All theologians maintain that Christ was thus impeccable at least by God's ordinary law, and this for three reasons, namely, because of the hypostatic union, the plenitude of inamissible habitual grace, and the beatific vision. In fact, as stated above,[1407] the Thomists contend against the Scotists that, if God were to take away habitual grace and the beatific vision from Christ, He would still be impeccable and not merely sinless, because of the hypostatic union. In any other case, sin would be charged to the Word itself, since actions belong to the supposita or are elicited by the suppositum.

Thus Christ even in this life was absolutely impeccable, and this for three reasons: (1) because He had the grace of union; (2) because He had the fullness of inamissible habitual grace; (3) because He had the beatific vision. He was also de facto sinless since He always received efficacious grace to do what is right, and this befitted Him as it did the Blessed Virgin Mary.

These facts being admitted, there arises the great difficulty about how we shall reconcile Christ's freedom from internal compulsion, in the acts commanded, with His absolute impeccability, which is more than sinlessness. For either Christ could refuse to perform the act commanded, and then He could sin, or He could not refuse, and then He was not free, with freedom from internal compulsion, and hence His act was not meritorious. It seems that Christ's impeccability and the freedom required in Him for meriting are irreconcilable. But our faith tells us that these two properties most certainly belonged to Christ even in this life. Christ's impeccability and His merits are underlying principles of all Christianity.

Scriptural proof. On the one hand, the Gospels and epistles state it to be an established fact that Christ's death was a truly free act. Thus Jesus says: "Therefore doth the Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from Me; but I lay it down of Myself and I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again. This commandment I have received of My Father."[1408] These words express Christ's liberty and the divine command. Christ reaffirms this in His discourse at the Last Supper: "The prince of this world cometh and in Me he hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I."[1409] It is also evident that Christ's death was truly meritorious.[1410] On the other hand, it is certain that Christ was not only sinless but absolutely impeccable. Therefore He could not disobey. Then how was it possible for Him to obey or disobey as He chose?

Various Opinions Proposed For The Solution Of This Doubt[1411]

These may be reduced to the following three: (1) Some said that Jesus did not receive from the Father a true command to die. So said Lorca, who quotes Paludanus. Afterward Petavius and Franzelin held this view, and among more recent theologians was Father Billot.[1412] To these must be added, with some modification, Father de la Taille,[1413] as we shall state farther on.

According to this opinion, Christ was not free in things that are commanded, either by the natural law or the positive law, because it is physically impossible for the comprehensor to will not to obey.

2) Others said that Christ received from the Father a command that determined only the substance of the death, but not circumstances of time, manner of death, and other conditions. Tournely said that Christ could have been dispensed by His Father from this command to die. Vasquez,[1414] de Lugo,[1415] and Lessius[1416] held this view. This second opinion is eclectic and holds with the first opinion that Christ was not free in things commanded, though it maintains with the third opinion that Christ received the command to die. On seeking to reconcile the command with free will it restricts the command to the substance of the work.

3) There are those who say that Christ received a true and strict command to die, and it determined both the substance and the circumstances of His death. Nevertheless Christ offered Himself freely on the cross, because He was free not only from external constraint, but also from internal compulsion. This third opinion maintains, contrary to the two other opinions, that Christ was free even in things strictly commanded, both of the natural law and of the positive law. So say the Thomists; and also, with some qualification, St. Robert Bellarmine,[1417] and Suarez; who explain their view by means of the scientia media, which the Thomists do not admit. The Thomists maintain that Christ's impeccable freedom of will is like God's freedom, whose will is both absolutely free and absolutely impeccable, inasmuch as God loves His own good, but He most freely loves it as the reason for loving creatures.[1418] But there can be no command for God.

The secondary subject of dispute among Thomists, however, concerns the regulation of Christ's free choice, as to whether it was also possibly regulated by the beatific vision, or only by the infused knowledge. This will be examined afterward.

Thus the fundamental difference between these opinions is clearly seen, inasmuch as the first two opinions assert that Christ was not free in things commanded, whereas the third opinion declares that He was free.

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Importance of this discussion. Thomists believe that it is a grave matter to deny Christ's freedom of will in things commanded, because Christ is the exemplar of all virtues, and especially in the conformity of His will with the divine will that commands. The denial of this freedom appears to them to be an entirely rash statement and somewhat of an insult to Christ. They are generally chary of detracting from the sublimity of mysteries in seeking for apparent clarity, which, instead of disposing a person for the contemplation of divine things, has rather the opposite effect. First of all, we must bear in mind that faith is of things not seen, and so too is contemplation that proceeds from living faith, illumined by the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Hence, concerning the method to be followed by the theologian in these things, it must be noted first of all that most certain truths must not be either denied or minimized, as in the present question Christ's impeccability and His freedom from internal compulsion. This freedom of Christ must not be restricted, because it is the exemplar for our life and undoubtedly the most sublime image of God's freedom, which is both supreme and impeccable.

But no wonder that there must be for us obscurity in the intimate reconciliation of these most certain truths. It is not obscurity of the lower order, namely, of incompatibility or absurdity, but it is the higher obscurity of the mystery itself which is the object of faith and contemplation. Thus in the question of predestination, on the one hand it is certain that God does not command the impossible, and He makes salvation really possible for all. On the other hand, it is certain that, although God's love is the cause of goodness in things, nobody would be better than another unless that person were loved more by God, as St. Thomas shows.[1419] But the intimate reconciliation of these two truths is hidden from us, because it is the reconciliation of supreme mercy, supreme justice, and supreme freedom in the Godhead. This intimate reconciliation can be seen only by seeing God Himself through the beatific vision.

Thomism does not fear either logic or mystery, for logic leads us to the most sublime of God's mysteries. Thus the beauty of the chiaroscuro in these mysteries is apparent.

The first two opinions that declare Christ was not free in things commanded must now be examined.

Was Christ Truly Under Obligation To Die For Us, Because Of The Command Imposed Upon Him By The Father?

State of the question. That Christ had to die for us was denied by Lorca, Petavius, Franzelin, Billot, and de la Taille because, so they say, in such a case, He would not have been free, for, inasmuch as He was impeccable, He could not disobey this command. Hence they held that God, apart from the command by which Christ was compelled to die, in His foreknowledge disposed and decreed that order in which He knew that the Jews, through their own malice, would kill Christ, and that Christ, by conformity of His will with the divine good pleasure, which was not obligatory, freely would embrace death on the cross. Father de la Taille[1420] concedes to the Thomists that Christ was under a real moral obligation of dying for us, but in his opinion this obligation did not arise from the Father's command, for Christ contracted this obligation at the Last Supper by offering Himself to the Father to be put to death for us. Thus God inspires certain generous souls by way of counsel, but not of obligation, to offer themselves in holocaust along with Christ for the salvation of sinners, and they contract this obligation only after having freely accepted this divine inspiration, for example, by vowing to be a victim.

Reply. With the Thomists we say that Christ was really under obligation to die because of the command of His Father.

Scriptural proof. Sacred Scriptures speaks in various places of commands imposed upon Christ, especially of the command to die.

According to the general rule laid down by St. Augustine and commonly admitted by theologians, the words of Sacred Scripture are to be accepted in their literal sense when there is no incongruity.

We read in the Gospel that Jesus says: "Therefore doth the Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I may take it up again. No man taketh it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to lay it down and have power to take it up again. This commandment I have received of My Father."[1421] The words used by Jesus to express His Father's command,[1422] are always technical terms in the New Testament, that signify divine commands in the strict sense.[1423] There is no reason for saying here that this is a command improperly so called; otherwise it could always be said, when the word "command" occurs in the Scripture, that this word is not to be taken in the strict sense. Moreover, these words are said by Christ before He offers Himself at the Last Supper to the Father to die for us. Therefore Christ did not contract the obligation of dying for us from a later oblation of Himself, but from the command of the Father. In things that are partly clear and partly obscure, what is clear must not be denied, otherwise the mystery undergoes a change if the inferior obscurity of incoherence and contradiction is substituted for the higher obscurity.

Jesus also says after the Last Supper: "The prince of this world cometh, and in Me he hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given Me a command so do I."[1424] This text is concerned strictly with the command of dying for our salvation.

Again Jesus says: "If you keep My commandment, you shall abide in My love; as I also have kept My Father's commandments, and do abide in His love."[1425] In this text Christ gives the same meaning to the word "commandments" as imposed upon Him by His Father, and those He imposed on His apostles. But these were commandments in the strict sense, therefore those imposed upon Him by the Father were likewise strict commandments. Thus Christ was the exemplar of perfect obedience. Moreover, this text is concerned not only with the commandment to die, but with all the commandments of the Father observed by Christ, and He observed them indeed freely and meritoriously for us. It seems impossible to reconcile this text with the thesis that affirms Christ was not free in things commanded. But several of these commandments, those that are of the natural order, precede Christ's spontaneous oblation.

Likewise Jesus says: "And the Son of man indeed goeth according to that which is determined."[1426] Again Jesus says in the Garden of Olives: "Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from Me; but yet not My will, but Thine be done."[1427] The Apostle declares that Christ says, when He cometh into the world: "Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not, but a body Thou hast fitted for Me; holocausts for sin did not please Thee. Then I said: Behold I come; in the head of the book it is written of Me that I should do Thy will, O God."[1428] These texts concern Christ's will in the strict sense, and are not merely a simple counsel given to the Son to make an oblation of Himself for our salvation.

Hence it seems impossible to exclude the notion of a divine command from these texts of Sacred Scripture.

Confirmation. There are other texts of Sacred Scripture that refer to Christ's obedience. St. Paul says: "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross."[1429]

Again he says: "For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just."[1430] There is no reason to deny that these texts refer to both obedience and disobedience in the true and strict sense of these terms. But the formal object of obedience in the strict sense of the term consists in the absolute command given by the superior; for counsel is not of itself binding, nor does it distinguish the superior as such from inferiors; for equals and inferiors can also give advice as superiors can.

Finally, in the last quoted text (Rom. 5:19), Christ's obedience is placed in opposition to Adam's disobedience, which consisted in not complying with a strict command. Therefore the text refers to obedience in the strict sense, which consisted in complying with a strict command.

Furthermore it must be said that an appeal to God's counsel does not help in upholding Christ's freedom; for it is also repugnant to Christ's supreme holiness for Him to have been able to omit or neglect the counsels of God the Father, especially the counsel that is dependent on the eternal decree, and is that ordained for the salvation of mankind and for the greater glory of God. Even apart from any command,[1431] it remains true that Christ's death with all its circumstances was decreed before all time, and Christ also knew the will of His Father, and it was no less repugnant for Him not to be in conformity with it as to sin.

Two theological reasons are given which show clearly that the command to die cannot be denied.

First theological reason. It is a direct proof and it starts from the definition of command and it shows that a command does not take away psychological liberty.

Every command is given for the free fulfillment of the act. Thus it would be useless and foolish for fire to be commanded to burn, for the heart to be commanded to beat. Hence the command that would destroy psychological freedom in the person obeying, would destroy the essential meaning of command.

But the command to die for us, as a command, did not lose its essential meaning from the fact that Christ was impeccable. Therefore this command to die did not take away psychological freedom from Christ, or His free will as regards the act to which He was inclined.

Major. It is absolutely certain, for a command does indeed take away moral liberty inasmuch as it makes the opposite act illicit, but it does not take away psychological liberty, for it even requires this liberty in that it demands the free fulfillment of what is commanded.

Minor. It is likewise certain. Thus the command given by God to the good angels to perform some ministerial work for Him, does not lose its nature as a command because they cannot sin. And they freely comply with this command, inasmuch as its object is not in every respect good so that it necessitates their will. Thus the object of this command differs from God clearly seen.

Second theological reason. If the strict command to die for us had destroyed Christ's freedom and power to merit, the result would have been the same with natural commands and thus Christ would neither have been free nor merited in the observance of all commands of the natural law.

But to affirm this is to restrict Christ's freedom and merit without any reason, and it would be an excessive restriction, even, so it seems, derogatory to Christ's honor because He would no longer be the model of all virtues.

Christ's merit must in no way be restricted; on the contrary, it is beyond our power of conception. Hence, too, His freedom must not be restricted, for it is the perfect image of God's supreme and impeccable freedom. Hence the idea of a command must be admitted.

What Was The Scope Of This Command To Die For Us?

Did it concern only the substance of the death, or did it include also circumstances of time, place, manner of death, and similar conditions?

As we remarked, Vasquez, de Lugo, and Lessius say that the scope of this command was only the substance of the death. Thus, in the opinion of these theologians, Christ was free only concerning the circumstances of His death, and it was not precisely because He died that He merited, but only because He died in such a place, such a time, and such a manner.

For these theologians, the command eliminates freedom in the impeccable Christ.

The Thomists give the following proofs of the contrary opinion.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says of Christ: "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross for which cause God also hath exalted Him."[1432] Therefore the scope of Christ's obedience included even this mode of death, namely, death on the cross. Also, concerning the other circumstances, after Christ was apprehended by the Jews on the night of His passion, the Evangelist says: "Now all this was done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."[1433] Even the time is included: "Before the festival day of the Pasch, Jesus knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end."[1434]

Doctrine of the Church. The councils of the Catholic Church always affirmed that Christ merited our salvation by His passion and death and not only by the circumstances of His death. There are many texts in Sacred Scripture, even in the Old Testament, that confirm this assertion. Thus the prophet says: "If He shall lay down His life for sin, He shall see a long-lived seed."[1435] The Council of Trent says that Christ "merited justification for us by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross."[1436] All the faithful, in all centuries, attributed our redemption to Christ's death, and not only to its circumstances.

Theological proof. It must again be said that a command, which would take away psychological freedom, would destroy its own nature as a command, since it is given for the free fulfillment of the act. It would likewise follow that there was no merit in Christ's obedience, because He would not have been free concerning the thing commanded, inasmuch as it was commanded, and He would not have been free concerning the commands of the natural law.

It cannot be said that the command to die was imposed upon Christ conditionally, so that whenever He wished He could be dispensed from it, which is the contention of Tournely. Thus there would be absolutely no merit in Christ's obedience, or at least hardly any at all; for there is scarcely any obedience in a subordinate who is given freedom of choice so as to be able at any time to obtain a dispensation. Moreover, the work of our redemption would be attributed more to Christ's human will than to the divine will, which is an unbefitting condition.

Finally, the precepts of the natural law do not depend on Christ's acceptance of them, nor do they allow of a dispensation, and yet He observed them freely and meritoriously, saying: "If you keep My commandments you shall abide in My love; as I also have kept My Father's commandments."[1437]

Hence the first two above-mentioned opinions: (1) have no basis in the Sacred Scriptures but, on the contrary, are rather in opposition to the testimony of Scripture; (2) they are false in presupposing a command that destroys psychological liberty whereas, on the contrary, the command presupposes this liberty; (3) they are useless as a means of reconciliation between Christ's freedom and His impeccability concerning the precepts of the natural law; (4) they unduly restrict the freedom and merit of Christ, who no longer would be the model of all virtues, and especially of perfect obedience. Thus they do not solve the difficulty but seek to escape from it. They do not ascend to a certain understanding of the mystery in this problem, but rather descend to merely human concepts of this mystery. Thus truth is sought, not so much by a penetration of the principles involved, but rather by a quasi-mechanical translocation of the element of the problem.

Principal Question

Positing the precepts of the natural law, and the strict command to die, how could Christ, who was impeccable, and free not only from internal compulsion but also from external constraint, perform a free and meritorious act in obeying?

The fact that Christ's freedom is compatible with His impeccability, notwithstanding the command, is expressed in the very words our Lord uttered, as recorded in the Gospel: "I lay down My life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power [freedom] to lay it down and I have power to take it up again."[1438]

The difficulty in explaining the compatibility of Christ's freedom with His impeccability is, as we already said,[1439] that He could either disobey the command, and so could commit sin, or He could not disobey, and so He was not free, and His obedience was not meritorious.

Prerequisites. In the solution of this difficulty, there being a real command, several requirements are to be noted.

1) Liberty of exercise alone suffices to preserve intact the essence of free will, because by it man is sufficiently master of his act, which he can do or not do: the essence of free will does not require liberty of specification[1440] either of contraries, as in the case of loving and hating, or of disparities, choosing for the end this means or another.

2) The power and freedom to commit sin is not required for real freedom of will; it is rather a sign of freedom, as a disease is a sign of life. This freedom to sin pertains to the defectibility of our nature and is therefore an imperfection in freedom. It is nowise found either in God or in the blessed. God is both supremely free and absolutely impeccable. But Christ's human freedom must be the most perfect image of divine freedom. This calls for most special consideration,[1441] namely, that the impeccable God possesses this freedom only for what is good, but He created most freely. There is a certain fitness in His act of creating, inasmuch as good is self-diffusive; but He is most free in creating, so that neither His goodness nor His wisdom would have been less if He had not created. He is not better because He created the universe and because He sent us His only-begotten Son.

3) Not to obey can be taken either as a privation or as merely a negation. As a privation it signifies the omission of obedience that is of obligation, or a sin of disobedience, and this is therefore strictly to disobey rather than to obey. But taken in the negative sense, it signifies simply the absence of obedience, as when a person performs an act that is not commanded, as in the case of sleeping; and this is rather not to obey than to disobey; not to obey in the sense of a privation is to combine the omission of obedience with the command. Whereas not to obey in the negative sense is not to perform the act, prescinding from the idea of a command.[1442]

Thus that God does not preserve a creature in doing what is good and permits the beginning of the first sin is something that is not good, but it is not the evil of punishment. On the contrary, the divine denial of efficacious grace is a punishment that presupposes guilt, at least the beginning of the first sin.[1443] In all these most difficult questions, we must carefully distinguish between negation and privation. But as evil is the privation of a good that one ought to have, so the denial of a good that is not due to a person is not an evil; for example, that God does not preserve a certain creature in the performance of good at this very moment and in the present circumstances. For He is not bound to preserve every creature in the performance of good, otherwise He could not permit sin since this would be impossible and what is liable to fail would never fail.

Hence it must be said of Christ, who was impeccable, that He was incapable of not obeying in the privative sense, because in such a case He would have been able to sin; He was not only sinless but absolutely impeccable, just as He not only never erred, but He was infallible.

It remains for us to examine whether He could not obey in the negative sense, prescinding from the idea of a command, carefully bearing in mind the distinction between privation and negation.

4) It is presupposed that death on the cross for our salvation has intrinsically no necessary connection, at the moment and in the present circumstances, with Christ's will, or with His enjoyment of the beatific vision. The present object differs from others that necessarily move the will as regards their specification, such as being, living, and understanding, if considered in themselves, without any annexed incongruity.

5) It is presupposed that a command is merely extrinsic to the will and nowise interiorly changes it, so that the will which before the command is presupposed to be psychologically free, after the giving of the command remains psychologically free, since a command cannot be given about necessary things. In fact, it is presupposed that God, in commanding His Son to die, at the same time willed that He should submit to death by obeying freely and thus meriting. For a command is given for the free fulfillment of the act; if it were to destroy this freedom, as stated above, it would destroy the very nature of a command. The distinction between psychological freedom and moral freedom is a common sense distinction which all understand; for a command that is a moral obligation is morally binding so that the act that is opposed to it is illicit or forbidden; but the command does not take away psychological freedom either as regards the exercise of the act or as regards its specification, and this psychological freedom or free will remains either in sin freely committed against the command, or in the free fulfillment of the command.

6) The common distinction of Thomists in the matter of helps in general are presupposed, such as necessity of consequence or hypothetical necessity and necessity of consequent or absolute necessity, as also the divided and composite senses, distinctions given by St. Thomas elsewhere,[1444] in which he shows that if I see Peter running, he must necessarily run, by a necessity of consequence but not of consequent, for he runs freely; but it is necessary for him to run as long as he is running and while I see him running, because as Aristotle says: "Everything that is, while it is, must be."[1445]

Likewise Peter must sit while he is sitting, that is, he cannot combine sitting with standing, or both sit and not sit in the composite sense; but while sitting he is able to stand, in the divided sense, that is, while sitting he retains the real power of standing, but not the act of standing; likewise, while sleeping he retains the real power of seeing and is not blind.

It remains, therefore, for us to see whether Christ's impeccability enabled Him not to obey in the negative or divided sense; so that, when He obeyed, His act of obedience was necessary by a necessity of consequence or hypothetical necessity, but not by a necessity of consequent or absolute necessity.

With these prerequisites, it must be shown in what the freedom of Christ's impeccability consists: (1) in its relation to God's impeccable freedom, of which it is the most pure created image; and (2) in its relation to command, especially the command to die for our salvation.

Christ's Impeccable Freedom Inasmuch As It Is The Most Pure Image Of The Uncreated Impeccable Freedom

It is evident that God nowise is free to sin, that is, He cannot turn away from Himself, from His infinite goodness which He necessarily loves. Nevertheless He is supremely free in what pertains to good, as regards His goodness inasmuch as it is the reason of His love for creatures, or the reason for the communication, diffusion, and manifestation of His goodness. These assertions are of faith as defined by the Vatican Council.[1446]

There is indeed a mystery in this, namely, although it was truly fitting that God create the world, inasmuch as good and especially the supreme good is self-diffusive, yet God created with such absolute freedom that He could have most properly not created; it would not have been improper if He had not created. Whatever Leibnitz may say, God would not have been deficient either in wisdom or goodness if He had not created.[1447] God is neither greater nor better for having created the universe.

Likewise, although it was truly fitting for God to have raised the human race and the angels to the life of grace, yet He could have not so raised them. Also, although it was truly fitting that God sent His Son into the world for our redemption, it was in His power not to have willed the redemptive Incarnation.

St. Thomas explains elsewhere the two aspects of this mystery of uncreated freedom.[1448]

The fittingness of creation, as also the fittingness of the Incarnation, is apparent from the fact that good is self-diffusive. As St. Thomas says: "If natural things, so far as they are perfect, communicate their good to others, much more does it appertain to the divine will to communicate by likeness its own good to others, as much as possible."[1449]

The fitness of creation that has its foundation in the aforesaid principle appears of such importance that Leibnitz, and several philosophers before him, said: "If God had not created, He would have been neither infinitely good nor infinitely wise."[1450]

Nevertheless the Vatican Council defined it to be of faith that "God with absolute freedom of counsel created."[1451] St. Thomas explains this assertion as follows: "The divine will has a necessary relation to the divine goodness, which is its proper object. Hence God wills His own goodness necessarily.... But God wills things apart from Himself so far as they are ordered to His own goodness, as their end.... Hence, since the goodness of God is perfect and can exist without other things, inasmuch as no perfection can accrue to Him from them, it follows that His willing things apart from Himself is not absolutely necessary."[1452]

Hence we can present the argument in the following syllogistic form.

God is free, not to love His goodness in itself, but inasmuch as it is the reason for His loving creatures, which have no right to being. And although God is infinitely good and wise, He does not become better from the fact that He willed most freely to create. Thus, He enjoys supreme freedom as well as impeccability, namely, supreme freedom in what appertains only to good.

But the human will of Christ is the most pure reflection of the uncreated will, inasmuch as it is the human will of the incarnate Son of God. Therefore the human will of Christ must be likewise both impeccable and most free, not indeed in its relation to the divine goodness considered in itself and clearly seen, but in its relation to the divine goodness inasmuch as it is the reason for His loving creatures. There is no reason for surprise that there is a mystery in this, just as there is a mystery in uncreated freedom.

In other words, Christ as man, was not free to sin, for this results from a certain defectibility in our nature. He was truly not only sinless, but absolutely impeccable, and this for three reasons: (1) because of the hypostatic union; (2) because of the inamissible fullness of grace; (3) because of His having the beatific vision.

Strictly speaking, on account of the beatific vision, Christ necessarily loved the divine goodness clearly seen as it is in itself, and this act of love was indeed spontaneous, though it transcended freedom; but, like God, He freely loved the divine goodness, inasmuch as it is the reason for God's love of creatures. The mystery, indeed, is that for God to create is so fitting that not to create would be unfitting, and there is a similar mystery in Christ's human will.

However, there is a special difficulty to be explained. For God, though it is fitting for Him to create, there is no command. On the contrary, Christ was bound to obey the commands of His Father, even the command to die for our salvation. It is, indeed, easy to understand that, just as God most freely chose whom He wills for eternal salvation, Christ freely chose and called certain fishermen in preference to others for the grace of the apostolate. But it is very difficult to understand how He was free in the observance of His Father's commands. The whole difficulty, as we say, concerns the command; for if Christ could refrain from performing the act commanded, He could sin, for He was perhaps sinless but not impeccable. But if He could not refrain from performing the act commanded, then He was not free, and therefore He could not merit for us. This dilemma is the Thermopylae of theology, just as is the difficulty of defending the reconciliation of God's foreknowledge with free will, especially with true culpability in the sinner.

Solution

Christ, though impeccable, was free as regards the commands of His Father, especially concerning the command to die for our salvation.

The argument for reconciling freedom with the commands imposed upon the impeccable Christ may be reduced to the following syllogism.

A command in the strict sense does not indeed leave the will morally free, in that it imposes an obligation, but it does leave it psychologically free; in fact, of itself the command is given for the free fulfillment of the act, and, if it were to destroy this psychological freedom, it would destroy its very nature as a command.

But before the command, Christ has psychological and impeccable freedom of will, a freedom, as was stated, that is the most pure reflection of the uncreated freedom concerning those things that are not necessarily and intrinsically connected, hic et nunc, with beatitude.

Therefore this psychological freedom is not destroyed by the commands of the Father, otherwise these commands would lose their very nature as such.

The major is evident from what has been said.

Explanation of minor. Indeed Christ's love for God clearly seen, as the ultimate end, and the means that are intrinsically and necessarily connected hic et nunc with this end, such as being, life, understanding, are not a free act but a necessary one; yet He freely loves the means that are only accidentally connected with the ultimate end because of an extrinsic command. There is, indeed, a speculative-practical judgment arising from the command, namely, this must be done;[1453] but the practico-practical judgment, namely, death on the cross here and now is simply to be loved, remains undetermined because of the indifferent merits of the object; for the object commanded is not universally good, but is good in a certain sense as being useful for the salvation of man, and as being commanded; and in another sense it is not good, on account of the horrible pain it involves.

For the formation of this practico-practical judgment, namely, death on the cross is here and now simply to be loved, there must be an actual preference for the offering of this holocaust, or there must be an intervention of the free will. But there is befitting intervention of Christ's will, because the will of Christ, who is impeccable, is absolutely upright. Hence this ultimate practical judgment and the subsequent choice are necessary only by a necessity of consequence or of infallibility, but not by a necessity of consequent. There remains, therefore, liberty of exercise between willing to obey and not willing to obey in the negative sense, or refusing death in itself, but not between willing to obey and not willing to obey, in the privative sense, or refusing death as a command. Experience itself makes sufficiently clear the distinction between not obeying in the negative sense and not obeying in the privative sense. For if a superior were to command a most obedient religious something truly difficult, for example, not to go on a long journey to give the last absolution to his most beloved spiritual son, whom another priest will be able to assist in this case, then this obedient religious is right in feeling sad because it would be most sweet for him to assist his spiritual son who is dying and clamoring for him. Nevertheless, because he is obedient, he is not even inclined to do so against the command of his superior, that is, not to obey in the privative sense. On the contrary, another less obedient religious in this case, not only would be right in feeling sad, but would be inclined not to obey in the privative sense, and perhaps would not sufficiently resist the temptation.

A good religious would wish to perform this ministerial act in itself, but not inasmuch as it is forbidden. Likewise Christ could refuse death in itself, and it made Him sad; but He could not refuse death inasmuch as it was commanded, nor did it make Him sad inasmuch as it was commanded. Therefore this distinction is not merely a subtle play upon words, but has its manifest foundation in something psychological.

This problem is made clear for us in two most exalted examples of obedience: Abraham's obedience and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Calvary.

When Abraham had to prepare to sacrifice his son, he did not even think of the possibility of not obeying; he immediately was disposed to obey. Nevertheless he saw very clearly that the object of this act was in one aspect good, and in another aspect not good, even repugnant to natural paternal love. Therefore in the formation of the ultimate and determinate practical judgment, namely, this is for me here and now good, not only relatively but absolutely, and to be done, although it is most difficult, in the formation of this ultimate practical judgment, which directs the choice, Abraham's free will had to intervene, so that the former aspect of the object might prevail over the latter; but Abraham's will, moved by efficacious grace, befittingly intervened, freely indeed, and heroically. He could obey and not obey in the negative sense; in fact, because he was not impeccable, he could disobey in the privative sense by an act of disobedience or at least by a sin of omission, but he did not even think of this. So immediate, holy, and most meritorious was his obedience that he became for all posterity an example of both heroic obedience and perfect faith.

In this example we find verified what is said about free will in the twenty-four Thomistic theses proposed by the Sacred Congregation of Studies. The twenty-first reads: "The will that is free in its choice follows the judgment of reason, but that this judgment be the last and that another in opposition to it be not subsumed, this is effected by the free will, in accepting or not accepting this intellectual direction."

The Blessed Virgin Mary on Calvary gave us another example of heroic obedience. When she had to give her consent to the immolation of her Son, she did not even think of the possibility of disobedience or of deliberately praying that it may not happen.

Yet she most clearly saw that the object of this act of obedience was in one aspect good for our salvation, and in another aspect it was a very great affliction to her maternal heart. To form the ultimate practical judgment which directs the choice, the free will of the Blessed Virgin Mary must intervene, so that one aspect of the object may predominate over the other. But under the influence of efficacious grace and the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, by which she was preserved from even the least stain of sin, the will of the Blessed Virgin intervened most befittingly, freely indeed and heroically, so that she became forever the Queen of martyrs.

In these two examples, we have a clarification of the problem concerning Christ's impeccable freedom which is increasingly seen to be the most perfect reflection of God's impeccable freedom. It is freedom for good and not for evil, namely, free will confirmed in good,[1454] as St. Thomas with the greatest of wisdom and brevity had said in the present article.

Confirmation. If this were not true, the blessed would not retain their freedom concerning those things that are not necessarily and intrinsically connected with beatitude. It is the common opinion among theologians, however, that the blessed, for example, St. Dominic, by necessarily loving God's goodness clearly seen, freely loves this son of his living on this earth and freely prays to obtain for him this or that grace. Even though God were to command St. Dominic to pray for this religious, he would still freely pray for him, because the command that is given for the free fulfillment of the act cannot destroy the psychological freedom of this act, for then the very nature of the command would be destroyed. Thus all the blessed are impeccable and yet they retain their freedom concerning certain things, but for good and not for evil. Such was the case for Christ here below. But the saints no longer merit because they are no longer wayfarers.

Solution Of Objections

If we posit the certainty of command to die for us, we say that Christ, who was impeccable, did not obey freely. Therefore the thesis is false. I prove it.

First objection. Anyone freely wills anything when he is able not to will it. But, posited the certainty to die for us, Christ, who was impeccable, had to will to die for us. Therefore, posited the certainty to die for us, Christ, who was impeccable, did not obey freely.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that anyone freely wills anything when he is able at least in one aspect of the object not to will it, this I concede; that anyone must be able not to will anything in every aspect of the object, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: Christ had to will death as commanded, I concede; death in itself, that I deny; for this the object was not universally good, and the fact that it was also commanded did not change the nature of this object, and, through taking away moral liberty by imposing this obligation, nevertheless the command left the will free.

I insist. But Christ, posited the certainty of the command, was incapable of not willing death in itself. Therefore the difficulty remains.

Proof. Christ, who was impeccable, could not disobey. But if, the certainty of the command to die being posited, He had not willed death in itself, then He would have disobeyed. Therefore, posited the certainty of this command, He had to will death in itself.

Reply. I distinguish the major: Christ, who was impeccable, had to obey in the privative sense, this I concede; in the negative sense, that I deny. I contradistinguish the minor. So that He would have disobeyed in the negative sense, this I concede; in the privative sense, that I deny.

Explanation. Inasmuch as Christ was indeed impeccable, He did not have the power to sin, not even by omission; but this freedom as regards specification of the object that is a contrary to either good or evil, is not required for free will. But He was capable of not obeying in the negative sense, because the supervening command, as stated, being quasi-extrinsic to the will, did not change the will psychologically and is given for the free fulfillment of the act. Not even Christ could sin in sensu diviso (as we can), but He was capable of not obeying in the negative sense.

Again I insist. But Christ was also incapable of disobeying in the negative sense, though this was not disobedience in the privative sense. Therefore the difficulty remains.

Proof. Not to obey in the negative sense is to separate the refusal to die from the command to die for us. But Christ, who was impeccable, could not separate the refusal to die from this command, or rid Himself of the command. Therefore Christ, who was impeccable, was incapable of not obeying in the negative sense, though this was not disobedience in the privative sense.

Reply. I distinguish the major. That not to obey in the negative sense is a positive separation, a quasi-separation of the refusal of death from the command to die, this I deny; that it is a precise separation of the refusal to die from the command to die, this I concede. I contradistinguish the minor in the same way.

I explain the distinction. In a true and good object, the intellect in attaining to truth does not separate it from the good, for there is only a distinction of reason between them, but it prescinds from the good; there is nothing more possible to prescind from than the formal object of a faculty. Likewise we cannot separate essence from existence, but we consider existence to be a contingent predicate of whatsoever creature, and that before the consideration of our mind, a creature is not its existence, and that its essence is really distinct from it. Therefore the notion of existence can be prescinded from that of essence without separating them.

Moreover, it sufficed for Christ's freedom that He could posit the refusal to die considered in itself, prescinding from the command, because the act was specified by an object that does not infallibly abstract the will, and the superadded command did not change the nature either of the specificative object or of the specified act; but the nominalists do not understand this, for they consider solely the concrete act but not its nature that is specified by the object. Moreover, it would follow from the denial of what has been said that the angels would not comply freely with God's commands; that the angel Gabriel did not come freely to the Blessed Virgin on the day of the Annunciation.

Hence Christ obeyed freely, not in this sense, that He could go against the command, but in this sense, that He had the power not to do what, because of another only, was commanded. Thus Christ freely obeyed the command to die for us by liberty of exercise.

Moreover, it must be noted that these objections presuppose the Molinist definition of psychological freedom; namely, a faculty that, presupposed all things required as prerequisite for acting, it can still act and not act.

The Thomists in their treatises on free choice[1455] most wisely distinguish by saying that psychological freedom is a faculty that, presupposed what is required by a priority of time for acting, can still act or not act, even in sensu composito; but, presupposed all that is required only by a priority of nature, such as the divine efficacious motion and the ultimate practical judgment, it can still act or not act only in sensu diviso, that is, under the divine efficacious motion to act there remains only the power not to act.[1456]

Finally, it must be noted that liberty of equilibrium is of rare occurrence, and it is not at all required for free will. Liberty of equilibrium is that which exists between two goods that are equally eligible, so that there is no reason why one is more to be preferred than the other. This is the very ideal of freedom, as when a workman constructs a wall of absolutely equal stones, he most freely takes one stone for the highest part of the wall and another for the lowest. Thus God could have chosen and predestined Judas in preference to Peter in accordance with His most free good pleasure.[1457]

But generally freedom is found without this perfect equilibrium as to choice, as when a man chooses honest good in preference to delectable and dishonest good. Honest good is absolutely good and qualifiedly not good, and the converse is true for merely apparent good.

Hence freedom is defined[1458] as the dominating indifference of the will concerning an object that is not universally good. St. Thomas does not say, concerning an object that is equally good under one aspect and not good under another; even though the object may appear far more lovable than what is lacking in some good, as God not yet clearly seen, freedom remains intact.

Moreover, our mind does not pass from the speculative-practical judgment, namely, to see the better things and approve of them, to the practico-practical judgment, but I follow the worse, judging practically here and now that they must be chosen, unless our will already begins to be attracted actually by the object which de facto is chosen, and which thus appears to me here and now as absolutely good, although to be sure, if it concerns a sinful object, it is good only in a qualified sense.

Hence it is false to say that anyone is said freely to will anything for which the will already has an actual affection, when the will has the power not to will it even though this incipient actual affection of the will for this same object remains. This actual incipient affection must be repressed so that here and now this object be repudiated. Thus anger must be repressed for correct judgment.

The adulterer never gives up the sin of adultery unless the actual affection for it is given up and yet, though this affection for it remains, the sin is freely committed.

Similarly, in the present case, Christ refrained from obeying only when there was no command and yet, posited this command, He obeyed freely. Hence He freely willed death as commanded, although He was obliged to will it inasmuch as it was commanded, that is, although He could not commit sin. Thus He could obey in the negative sense, but not in the privative sense.

This distinction, however, is not understood by the nominalists because they consider only the fact, for example, either of obeying or of disobeying, and not the very nature of the fact, in our case the very nature of the free act that is specified by an object that is not in every respect good. There is a very great difference between their mental attitude concerning this problem and that of the truly speculative theologian. Their approach turns the mind away from the contemplation of divine things rather than disposing for it.

The distinction remains intact between disobeying in the privative sense and disobeying in the negative sense, which was explained analogically by examples taken from the lives of Abraham and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Other objections concern the commandment of loving God, and other natural commandments of the Decalogue, especially negative commandments. In such cases the problem presents greater difficulty.

Objection. The blessed must love God clearly seen, even as regards the exercise of the act. But Christ already on earth enjoyed the beatific vision. Therefore He was not free concerning the command to love God.

The Thomists reply in two ways to this objection.

1) Capreolus, Francis Sylvester (Ferrariensis), Medina, and Soto say that the love of God in Christ, inasmuch as it was regulated by the beatific knowledge, was a necessary act, this I concede; that the love of God as regulated by the infused knowledge was a necessary act, this I deny. Thus there are two acts, or two kinds of love, which are specifically distinct, not substantially, but modally, on account of the twofold regulation, although they proceed from the same infused virtue of charity, concerning the same object, but taken in a different sense.

But this modal distinction suffices so that these two acts may be both present, one as a necessary act, the other as a free act.

Thus it is at least probable that Christ merited, not only by loving creatures for God's sake, but by loving God in Himself and for His own sake as known, not by the beatific vision, but by the infused knowledge.

However, even though this probable solution were not true, there would be this second solution, that must immediately be explained.

2) John of St. Thomas, who thinks both solutions are probable, and Alvarez and Gonet say that in the same act of love that is regulated by the beatific vision, there is a double termination: the first terminates in the divine goodness considered in itself, inasmuch as it is the reason for loving God and His necessary perfections; the second terminates in the divine goodness, inasmuch as it is the reason for loving creatures or the means not essentially and intrinsically necessary for the preservation of happiness.

Proof. Thus, according to the teaching of St. Thomas,[1459] God's uncreated love is necessary as regards His own goodness, and free as regards this same goodness, in that it is the reason for His loving creatures, inasmuch as "God's goodness, which is infinite in perfection, can exist without other things, '[1460] But this twofold termination is not incompatible with Christ's created love as regulated by the beatific vision; for even as regards this created love, creatures are not necessarily and intrinsically connected with the possession of God clearly seen. John of St. Thomas says: "It is befitting for the same act to be free and necessary, but from different points of view, as is evident in the act of beatific love, which, as it refers to God, is necessary, but as it refers to creatures is free."[1461] Thus the saints in heaven, whereas they necessarily love God clearly seen, freely pray for this or that wayfarer, requesting for such a person this or that grace.

In fact, this free act that is regulated by the beatific vision could have been meritorious as long as Christ was both wayfarer and comprehensor; because the subject in question was still a wayfarer, this act was not only free, but meritorious.[1462] This second solution appears to us to be more probable.

Therefore Christ's impeccability is compatible with His freedom even in things commanded. Therefore His freedom and His merit must not be restricted. It suffices to bear in mind: (1) that Christ's will is the most pure reflection of God's will that is both absolutely impeccable and absolutely free as regards creatures; (2) that, although the command takes away moral freedom, it does not take away psychological freedom concerning the means that are not necessarily, intrinsically, and evidently connected here and now with beatitude. In fact, every command presupposes this psychological freedom, inasmuch as it is directed for the free fulfillment of the act, and if it were to take away this freedom, then it would destroy its own nature as command.

These two truths are most commonly accepted.

Thus the mystery indeed remains, but contradiction is avoided, and Christ is the most perfect model of free and meritorious obedience to the divine commands. On the contrary, the other explanations unduly restrict Christ's freedom and merit to those things that are not commanded. Thus they do not solve the question of Christ's freedom and merit, but either take it away or avoid it.

Corollary. But if Christ's freedom remains notwithstanding that there are three causes for His impeccability, namely, the hypostatic union, the fullness of inamissible grace, and the beatific vision, and notwithstanding the fact that He always received efficacious grace which is intrinsically efficacious, a fortiori our freedom remains intact under the influence of intrinsically efficacious grace; but we have the power to sin, which Christ did not have. Under the influence of this grace the free will has the power to refuse its consent if it so wills, but under this influence it never wishes to refuse its consent.

Fifth Article: Whether The Will Of Christ Was Altogether Conformed To The Divine Will In The Things Willed

State of the question. This doubt arises because we read in the Gospel that Christ as man somehow did not will His own death, yet He evidently willed it by His divine will. Hence the following words of Christ: "not as I will, but as Thou wilt,"[1463] must be reconciled with the above-expounded principles, namely, that Christ's charity was most perfect, the result of which is that His will was most perfectly in conformity with the divine will. Christ was also comprehensor, but comprehensors will only what God wills, otherwise they would not be blessed.

Reply. The rational will in Christ, considered after the manner of reason, as the absolute and efficacious will in that it was free, always was in conformity with the divine will, even in material things willed; it was not so, however, with either the sensual will, or the will considered after the manner of nature.

This is also the view of St. Augustine, who is quoted in the counterargument.

Proof of first part. Our Lord Himself says: "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt."[1464] Christ, indeed, by His will as reason, because of His supreme charity that was illumined by the beatific vision, deliberately, absolutely, and efficaciously willed the divine will to be fulfilled, that is, He willed to die a violent death for our salvation.

Proof of second part. St. Thomas says: "Now it was said above (q. 14, a. I, ad 2) that by a certain dispensation, the Son of God before His passion allowed His flesh to do and suffer what belonged to it.... But it is plain that the will of sensuality, which is called will by participation, naturally shrinks from sensible pains and bodily hurt. In like manner the will as nature turns from those things that are against nature,"[1465] which at times are chosen for a higher end.

Reply to third objection. Christ was still a wayfarer and was passible in the flesh, although He was enjoying God in the mind.

Doubt. Can it be admitted that in Christ's will as reason, there were certain inefficacious and imperfect acts not in conformity with the divine will in material things willed, for example, concerning death on the cross, yet so that such an act was not a voluntary imperfection?

Reply. Several Thomists, such as Billuart, see no repugnance in this: that Christ could by His will as reason, shrink inefficaciously from death, not precisely as harmful to nature, but inasmuch as it presupposed several sins of the Jews, and others that united result therefrom. Thus from supreme charity He inefficaciously willed the salvation of all men; in fact, these acts can be declared also to be in conformity with the divine will, that is, to the inefficacious will.

Thus Christ's efficacious human will was always in conformity with the divine efficacious will, and Christ's inefficacious human will was always in conformity with the inefficacious divine will.

Sixth Article: Whether There Was Contrariety Of Wills In Christ

State of the question. The purpose of this article is to explain that diversity of wills, which was discussed in the preceding article, was not such as to induce real contrariety, either between the divine will and the human will, or between the human will and the sensitive appetite; because the diverse movements of these wills, although they are sometimes concerned about the same thing, yet they are considered under different aspects.

Reply. There was no contrariety of wills in Christ. It is of faith, having been decided in the Third Council of Constantinople, and quoted in the counterargument of the article, the council declaring: "We confess two natural wills, not in opposition..., but following His human will, and neither withstanding nor striving against but rather being subject to His divine and omnipotent will."[1466]

Theological proof. Contrariety is opposition in the same subject and for the same reason. But this opposition was not in Christ, for the sensual will and the natural will shrank from death as harmful to nature, whereas the divine will and the rational will, in that it was free, willed death as good for the human race.

Moreover, Christ by His divine will and His rational will willed that both His sensual will and His natural will be moved according to the inclination of each, yet so that there be no deordination in them.


CHAPTER XXI: QUESTION 19: CHRIST'S OPERATION AND HIS MERITS

After considering the two wills in Christ, which are principles of action, the four articles of this question discuss His diverse operations.

1) Whether in Christ there is only one or several operations of the Godhead and manhood.

2) Whether in Christ there are several operations of the human nature.

3) Whether Christ by His human operation merited anything for Himself.

4) Whether He merited anything for us by it.

First Article: Whether In Christ There Is Only One Operation Of The Godhead And Manhood

The principal conclusion of this article is that there are two operations in Christ, one of the human nature, the other of the divine nature. It is of faith, decided in the Third Council of Constantinople, against Monothelitism as quoted in the body of this article.[1467]

Theological proof. It is evident, for operations follow forms, which are principles of action. But in Christ there are two principles of action, namely, two distinct natures and two wills. Therefore in Christ there are diverse operations.

Confirmation. The Scripture says that Christ was obedient and merited. But He could neither obey nor merit by the divine will. Therefore He obeyed and merited by the human will that was in conformity with the divine will. Manifestly obedience and merit presuppose subordination of the lower will to the higher will.

Second conclusion. Nevertheless the divine nature operates by means of the human nature, using it as an instrument. Thus Christ as man in His ministry worked miracles, and the principal cause of these can be only God.[1468]

Reply to fifth objection. It is pointed out that the two operations concurred even in these miracles; there was, for example, in the healing of the leper the proper operation of Christ's human nature, namely, contact with the body of the leper, and the divine operation, namely, the miraculous healing of the leper.

Corollary. We distinguish between three kinds of operations in Christ. Some are merely divine, such as creation and conservation. Some are merely human, namely, those which Christ performed by the power of His own human nature, such as eating, drinking, weeping, deliberating. Some are mixed, namely, those to which each nature contributes, the divine as the principal cause, the human as the instrumental cause, such as the raising of Lazarus, sight given to the man born blind, and others of this nature. The strictly miraculous operation, for example, the raising of the dead to life, is indeed one operation, which depends on God as the principal cause and on the human nature of Christ as the instrument in conjunction with it. But even in such a case there is at the same time the operation that belongs properly to the instrument, which does not exceed its own power, such as shouting, touching, speaking. This operation disposes for the effect of the principal agent, either producing its own disposition to be accomplished in the subject, as the pen contributes the ink, or acting only in a dispositive way, as the trumpet transmits the sound in a certain direction rather than in another.

What is the theandric or God-man operation?

St. Thomas explains this term in his reply to the first objection where he says: "Dionysius places in Christ a theandric, that is a God-man-like or divino-human operation not by any confusion of the operations or powers of both natures, but inasmuch as His divine operation employs the human, and his human operation shares in the power of the divine as when He healed the leper with a touch." Then there are two subordinated operations, namely, the touch that need not be miraculous, and the actual miraculous healing, which proceeds from God as the principal cause and from Christ's human nature as the instrumental cause. Yet it must furthermore be remarked that the very action alone of Christ's human will is usually called in another sense theandric on account of the infinite value it derives from the divine suppositum that is the agent which operates. Thus it is said that Christ's meritorious and satisfactory acts were theandric in this sense, that they proceeded both from His human will and from His divine personality. And herein consists the essence of the very mystery of Redemption, in that the infinite value of these theandric acts of Christ, which are called theandric because of the suppositum or divine person of the Word incarnate, who operates through Christ's most holy soul.

Second Article: Whether In Christ There Are Several Human Operations

Reply. St. Thomas says: "Much more than in any other man whatsoever, there is one operation in Christ." The sense is that according to the human nature there is in Christ one principle of free operation, to which every action of Christ as man was attributed as to the subject and was subordinated. For "there was in Him no motion of the sensitive part which was not ordered by reason. Even the natural and bodily operations pertained in some respects to His will, inasmuch as it was His will that His flesh should do and suffer what belonged to it, as stated above,"[1469] but without any deordination.

Third Article: Whether The Human Action Of Christ Could Be Meritorious To Him

State of the question. St. Thomas presupposes that Christ could have merited,[1470] and in the present article he teaches what He merited for Himself, and in the subsequent article what He merited for us.

Reply. The Council of Trent in its sixth session, the seventh chapter, defined it to be of faith that Christ truly and properly merited, and in the tenth canon of this session expressly stated that Christ was the meritorious cause of our justification.[1471]

Scriptural proof. The New Testament establishes clearly the fact that Christ merited something for Himself. St. Paul says that Christ's exaltation is the reward of His humility and obedience, as in the following text: "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death... for which cause God also hath exalted Him."[1472] Therefore He merited His exaltation by obeying, and so He merited something for Himself. Similarly St. Paul says: "We see Jesus..., for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor."[1473] The Evangelist quotes Jesus as saying: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so to enter into His glory?"[1474] namely, glory of the body. At the Last Supper Jesus said: "I have finished the work... and now glorify Me, O Father."[1475] From these texts it is evident that Christ merited for Himself glory of the body, exaltation of His name, His ascension, and the adoration of the faithful.

Theological proof. It is nobler to merit anything than not to merit it, when there is parity in other respects, namely, when it does not detract from the greater dignity of another. But Christ could merit glory of the body, and other extrinsic good things, for He did not have these from the beginning, and these do not seem at all to have detracted from His greater dignity.

Therefore Christ merited for Himself this glory of His body and other extrinsic good things. Calvin unwarrantedly denied this merit to Christ, so that he might praise more His love for us, as if Christ willed to merit only for us.

Contrary to this, Christ did not merit for Himself either grace, or knowledge, or beatitude of soul, or the divine nature, because, since merit regards only what is not yet possessed, it would be necessary that Christ should have been without these at some time; and to be without them would have diminished Christ's dignity more than His merit would have increased it.[1476] Moreover, the principle of merit, namely, habitual grace, does not come under merit.[1477] Consequently Christ did not merit for Himself the infused virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, for these are quasi-properties of habitual grace.

For the same reason Christ did not merit His incarnation, for this was in Him the principle of merit; for merit presupposes a constituted person who produces the meritorious act.

The principal conclusion of this article becomes more evident when we consider that the six conditions required for merit, as explained in the treatise on grace, were verified in Christ: (1) the acts of His will were free; (2) they were good on the part of the object and the circumstances; (3) they were the acts of a person who is just and pleasing to God; (4) they were ordered by the virtue of charity for the glory of God; (5) they were the acts of a wayfarer, for Christ was both wayfarer and comprehensor; (6) it was in accordance with the divine plan that they should be rewarded.

Objection. Christ was indeed a wayfarer as regards His passible and mortal body, but not as regards His soul that enjoyed the beatific vision; but it is the soul that must merit, not the body.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent. That Christ was not a wayfarer as regards His soul considered in itself and as directed to God clearly seen, this I concede; considered as the form of the body, this I deny.

It suffices that the subject be still a wayfarer so that his acts, even those more sublime, be free and meritorious. Thus all Thomists maintain that Christ's acts of charity, which were regulated by His infused knowledge, were both free and meritorious, although the infused knowledge did not belong to the soul inasmuch as it is the form of the body. For the same reason it seems correct to say that Christ's acts of charity for the salvation of mankind, even as regulated by the beatific knowledge, were not only free but also meritorious, as stated above.[1478]

Reply to first objection. Christ merited as a wayfarer and therefore by charity not inasmuch as it was the charity of the comprehensor, but of the wayfarer.

Here it must be noted that Christ's merit could not be regulated by faith, which He did not have, but it was regulated either by the beatific knowledge or the infused knowledge, this latter presupposing the beatific knowledge and following from it as a property.

Thus the truth is established that Christ could not merit for Himself essential glory, or the beatific vision, which was in Him the principle of His merits; but the principle of merit does not come under merit.

Corollary. Christ obtained the glory of the body on two grounds, namely, that it was connatural to Him, and so it was already due to Him, as being a redundance of glory from the soul; it was also due to Him on the grounds of merit. Thus the king's son can possess the kingdom on two grounds, namely, of inheritance and of merit.[1479]

Solution Of Objections

First objection. If Christ had merited anything for Himself, He would have died for Himself, which is condemned by the Council of Ephesus.[1480]

Reply. The council condemned the proposition that Christ suffered for His own sins. It would be false to say that the primary purpose of Christ's sufferings was for Himself, for He came down from heaven for us men and for our salvation. Yet He could as a consequence of this and in a secondary sense merit something for Himself, and also for the angels, since He merited accidental graces for them, that they may be His servants in the kingdom of God.

Second objection. On the contrary, it is more perfect to merit glory of soul than not to merit it. But we must attribute to Christ what is more perfect. Therefore He merited glory of soul.

Reply. I distinguish the major: it is more perfect when glory is the terminus of merit, this I concede; but if glory is the principle of merit in anyone, then I deny it. In Christ, however, glory of soul is the principle of merit, for in Him the regulating principle of the meritorious act was not faith, but the beatific vision or infused knowledge which followed from the beatific vision as a property.

But I insist. There is no repugnance in the notion that Christ's merit be regulated by His infused knowledge and that He merited His beatific knowledge.

Reply. The notion is repugnant because Christ's infused knowledge was a quasi-property following from the beatific vision, just as habitual grace in some way followed from the grace of union; for infused grace was given to Christ on this earth as a consequence of the mystery of the Incarnation, for the perfection of the human nature assumed by the Word, and Christ enjoyed the beatific vision prior to this consequence of the grace of union. Thus we shall see farther on[1481] that Christ was predestined first to be the natural Son of God, then to glory, namely, to the beatific vision which He at once received as a consequence of the grace of union, and then to the graces of His life as a wayfarer.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ Could Merit For Others

State of the question. The article concerns condign merit. The difficulty is that other persons who are in the state of grace cannot merit condignly, but only congruously, grace for another, as shown in the treatise on grace.[1482] Moreover, if Christ as the God-man and the head of the Church condignly merited salvation for all, then, as stated in the third objection to this article, Christ would be unjust not to save all, and thus all would be entitled to grace, and all would have to be saved.

The common statement, indeed, is that "Christ's passion is of infinite value as regards its sufficiency for the salvation of all mankind, but it is efficacious only for those to whom it is applied."[1483] This must be carefully examined.

Reply. Christ's merit extends to others inasmuch as they are His members, says St. Thomas; and this refers to condign merit.

1) Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "As by the offense of one, unto all men to condemnation, so also by the justice of one unto all men to justification of life,"[1484] which means: just as others became partakers of Adam's transgression, so much more did they become partakers of Christ's merit. Thus he also says: "Blessed be the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ."[1485] So also Christ Himself said: "Without Me you can do nothing."[1486] And the Evangelist says: "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace."[1487]

2) The councils of the Church affirmed this truth on several occasions. The Council of Milevum[1488] against the Pelagians, and the Second Council of Orange[1489] against the Semi-Pelagians equivalently affirmed this truth under the metaphor of the vine and the branches. The truth is expressly declared in the Council of Trent, in which, discussing the causes of justification, it says: "The final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting; while the efficient cause is a merciful God who washes..., but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who when we were enemies[1490] for the exceeding charity wherewith He loved us,[1491] merited justification for us by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father."[1492] The Council says the same in the corresponding canon on justification.[1493] In the strict sense, Christ as man is called the Savior, inasmuch as He merited our salvation.

Likewise the Church in all orations earnestly entreats graces of salvation, invoking the merits of Christ, when it says: Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Theological proof. Merit is co-extensive with the divine plan and grace. But according to the divine plan, grace was in Christ not only as in an individual, but as in the head of the whole Church, to whom all are united as members to the head, who constitute one mystical person. Therefore Christ's merit extends to others as to His members. Thus this revealed proposition is explained by something previously and equally revealed.

Thus, analogically, in our organism the head and the members harmoniously combine in the processes of sense perception. The solution of the objections confirms this.

Reply to first objection. "Just as the sin of Adam, who was appointed by God to be the principle of the whole nature, is transmitted to others by carnal propagation, so, too, the merit of Christ... extends to all His members."

Reply to second objection. Other men have only a particular grace and so they cannot merit for another condignly.

Reply to third objection. Grace that is granted to us by baptism and any other way, although it is owing to Christ's merits, yet it is gratuitous with reference to us.

Moreover, Christ's merits, the validity of which is sufficient for the salvation of all men, are efficacious for the salvation of those to whom they are applied and until the end of their lives; but several put an obstacle in the way.

This question receives but a brief comment here by St. Thomas because he discusses it farther on in this treatise, inquiring whether Christ's predestination is the cause of ours.

He answers that it is, and in this sense: "For God, by predestinating from eternity, so decreed our salvation that it should be achieved through Jesus Christ."[1494]

With reference to Christ's merits several doubts demand an explanation.

First doubt. Did Christ merit all the effects in the predestination of the elect, namely, their calling, justification, and glorification?

Reply. The common teaching of the Thomists is that Christ did not merit our predestination on the part of God who predestines.[1495] But He condignly merited all the effects of our predestination. And this is true only of Christ, not of the Blessed Virgin, who, nevertheless, congruously merited these effects.

Thus St. Paul says: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ,"[1496] which means through Christ or through Christ's merits; but the highest benediction given to man is his predestination. The Apostle also says: "God hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ."[1497] This text also concerns predestination in the comparative sense, namely, of these in particular in preference to others in accordance with the Gospel text: "I have called you friends.... You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you."[1498] Thus St. Thomas, following St. Augustine, says: "It follows from this that our predestination is gratuitous as regards ourselves, but not as regards Christ."[1499]

Nevertheless the truth remains that the predestination of these in preference to others depends on God's good pleasure; for Christ neither chose these and those in preference to others, nor petitioned and merited that they be chosen, unless He had been directed and moved to do so by the will of His Father. Hence Christ Himself says: "Thine they were, and to Me Thou hast given them";[1500] that is, "Thou hast given them to Me, moving My will by the offering of My merits to have these chosen in preference to others, and Thou hast given to Me in time those whom Thou hadst chosen from eternity in view of My merits."[1501] St. Thomas, too, inquiring whether Christ's prayer was always heard, says that it certainly was when it was the result of His consequent will.[1502]

Second doubt. Whether Christ's merits were predestined before God's consequent will of efficaciously saving these in preference to others for example, Peter in preference to Judas.

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative. Christ's merits were predestined or efficaciously willed by God, if not before His antecedent will of saving all men, at least before His consequent will of saving some and certain persons in preference to others, that is, before He chose and predestined the elect. Thus our predestination and salvation is the means ordained for the glory of Christ, the first predestined, which is the common teaching of the Thomists in their discussions on the motive of the Incarnation. Thus Christ evidently was predestined before Peter and Paul, for the latter apostle says: "He predestinated us to be made conformable to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. And whom He predestinated, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified. And whom He justified, them He also glorified."[1503]

Third doubt. Whether Christ merited eternal life for all men.

Reply. Yes, He did; but He merited only for the elect the attainment of eternal life.[1504] Thus the just person who is not predestined while remaining just, by means of good works merits eternal life, but eventually these merits are lost and with them the attainment of eternal life. The Council of Trent declares: "If anyone shall say that the good works of one that is justified... do not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life, if so be, however, that he depart in grace and also an increase of glory, let him be anathema."[1505] Christ indeed did not lose His merits, but He knew that God permitted the sin of those not predestined and He consented to this divine permission for a greater good, namely, the manifestation of God's attributes. He most deeply grieved at the loss of these souls, but already on this earth He most clearly saw the higher good for which God permits sins, even the sin of final impenitence, namely, to manifest the splendor of divine justice above diabolical and human malice.

Fourth doubt. How did Christ merit efficacious graces which de facto are not granted, such as would be the grace of a good death for Judas?

The Thomists answer that Christ merited these graces as offered to men in sufficient grace that is given, but not as here and now conferred or to be conferred. For God offers efficacious grace to us as contained in the sufficient grace, as the fruit is contained in the flower; but if the sufficient grace is refused, the efficacious grace is not conferred. So say Lemos, O. P.,[1506] John of St. Thomas,[1507] and the Salmanticenses.[1508] The same distinction must be made concerning Christ's prayer, whether it was always heard. On this subject St. Thomas says: "Our Lord did not pray for all those who crucified Him, for all those who would believe in Him, but for those only who were predestinated to obtain eternal life through Him."[1509]

First corollary. Christ merited for the redemption of man all actual graces that dispose one for justification, such as the grace itself of justification, infused virtues, gifts, actual graces, and glory itself, that is, all the effects of predestination. Thus He could say: "Without Me you can do nothing"[1510] that concerns salvation.

The reason is that Christ merited for us all graces necessary for salvation; for St. Paul says: "Where sin abounded grace did more abound,"[1511] and this properly belongs to the role of the perfect Savior and Redeemer as Christ was. As St. Luke says: "Neither is there salvation in any other."[1512]

First objection. Grace and justification are absolutely gratuitous. Therefore they are not on account of merits.

Reply. That they are gratuitous on our part, I concede; on Christ's part, I deny.

Second objection. Merit must precede the reward, since it is the cause of the reward. But Christ did not precede the fathers of the Old Testament. Therefore He did not merit grace for them.

Reply. That merit must precede reward as foreknown by the person rewarding, I concede; that it must actually, I deny. Since merit is only a moral cause, that it is foreknown by God is sufficient, for a moral cause moves inasmuch as it is known as the regulation of the superior advising something to be done, and it can be known by God from all eternity as destined to exist in some future time.

Second corollary. Christ did not merit essential grace and glory for the angels, but only accidental graces by which they are His ministers.[1513]

Third corollary. Christ did not merit the grace that our first parents had in the state of innocence,[1514] because He was not their head for that state. But He merited all the effects of predestination for Adam converted after the sin or as redeemed.

Other Special Doubts

First doubt. Did Christ merit from the moment of His conception until the end of His life? Reply. It is generally affirmed with St. Thomas[1515] that He did. This answer has its foundation in the following scriptural text:

"Coming into the world, Christ says: Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not, but a body Thou hast fitted to Me.... Then I said: Behold I come; in the head of the book it is written of Me, that I should do Thy will, O God."[1516]

"Coming into the world" means from the moment of His conception, for afterward He had already come. But this oblation by which Christ offered Himself as victim was meritorious at this moment, for it had everything required for merit.

Theological proof. It explains this merit, for, although Christ did not have as yet acquired knowledge, He already had from the moment of His conception until the end of His life infused knowledge, which He could use independently of reverting to phantasms. Thus He could from the first moment of His life to the end uninterruptedly elicit meritorious acts. Thus certain saints had infused knowledge on various occasions so that they were able sometimes to merit even during sleep, and several theologians say that the Blessed Virgin Mary probably enjoyed this privilege.

Thus the very moment Christ's soul was created, He already began to merit; and so His soul as regards merit had priority of nature, but not of time. Thus Christ merited neither the Incarnation nor fullness of grace and glory, but other things He merited for Himself and for us.

Objection. If Christ had merited from the moment of His conception, already this merit would have been of infinite value. Therefore He could not have merited anything afterward.

Reply. If this argument proved anything, it would prove that Christ could merit only at the last moment of His life. As a matter of fact, however, it does not prove this. This first merit of Christ was, indeed, of infinite value, but not separated from the other merits ordained and accepted for a reward. In fact, already from the beginning Christ offered His whole life until His death.

Second doubt. Did Christ merit actually the moment of His death in fact?

Reply. St. Thomas denies this, saying: "Christ's death in the becoming was the cause of our salvation, considered as His passion, that is, by way of merit; but Christ's death in fact cannot be the cause of our salvation, by way of merit, but only by way of causality."[1517] The reason is that a wayfarer can merit, and the first moment of ceasing to be a wayfarer is the first moment of separation of the soul from the body, and already at this moment there is no longer a wayfarer, but a separated soul. Christ did not give any indication that He was exempt from this law, for He said: "I must work the works of Him that sent Me, whilst it is day; the night cometh when no man can work."[1518] The Fathers of the Church understand by "day" the time of this life. and by "night" the moment of death.

Third doubt. Were all the free acts of Christ's human will meritorious?

Reply. The answer is that they were.[1519] The reason is that, freedom in Christ's human actions as long as He was a wayfarer being presupposed, there was nothing that prevented them from being meritorious, as stated above.[1520] They were the actions of a wayfarer, in every respect good, in fact theandric, and were ordained by Christ's charity to God's glory and were ordained by God to a reward.

First corollary. Christ merited by an act of love for God inasmuch as it was regulated by infused knowledge, for thus this act was the free act of a wayfarer. Even the act of love for God, inasmuch as it is the reason for loving creatures, was a free act in that it was regulated by the beatific vision; yet certain Thomists say that this act so regulated belonged to Christ as comprehensor but not as wayfarer, and so they said it was not meritorious.[1521] That Christ merited by a free act of love for God, inasmuch as it is the reason for loving creatures is indicated by our Lord in these words: "'That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I. Arise, let us go hence."[1522]

Second corollary. Christ, while still a wayfarer, merited by all acts elicited or commanded by charity, and by all acts of all virtues, for in these acts He was free.

Third corollary. Christ merited by all acts, even of His sensitive and vegetative faculties, inasmuch as these were under the dominion of His will. Thus He merited not only by acts of seeing, hearing, walking, groaning, and crying, but also by the beating of the heart, in His sleep, and when He was thirsty.[1523] They note that, although these actions, especially those that pertain to the vegetative life, are not in themselves formally free, they were nevertheless subjected to Christ's will, because of the control He exercised over His body and His faculties. Hence, inasmuch as they were permitted for good ends, there was a certain moral goodness in these actions. Thus he was able not to suffer and not to die under the blows inflicted upon Him, because He could have miraculously prevented the suffering, as He did for divers martyrs; but, on the contrary, He freely and fully delivered Himself up to suffering.[1524]


CHAPTER XXII: CHRIST'S RELATION TO THE FATHER : QUESTION 20: CHRIST'S SUBJECTION TO THE FATHER

First Article: Whether Christ Is Subject To The Father

It seems that Christ is not, because He is not a creature and because He is called Lord But on the other hand, it is said that "He took the form of a servant,"[1525] and "was obedient even to the death of the cross."[1526] How shall we reconcile these seemingly apparent contradictions?

Reply. Christ as man is truly subject to the Father, and this for three reasons: (1) because His human nature only participates in the divine goodness; (2) because it is subject to the divine power; (3) because Christ's human will must obey the divine commands. Hence it must be said that Christ is subject to the Father by reason of His human nature.

Reply to first objection. Nevertheless, on account of the uncreated person of the Word, it cannot be said that Christ is a creature, although He has a created nature.

Likewise, because Christ is a person, He is called Lord; in fact, Christ as man on account of the hypostatic union is King of kings, Lord of lords.[1527]

Second Article: Whether It Can Be Said That Christ Is Subject To Himself

Reply. This can be said of Christ, because of the diversity of natures in the same person. But this diversity must not be understood in the sense that there are two persons in Christ, one of which would be subject to the other, for this would be the heresy of Nestorius.


CHAPTER XXIII: QUESTION 21: CHRIST'S PRAYER

First Article: Whether It Is Becoming For Christ To Pray

Reply. The Gospel records that Christ prayed, and to pray befitted Him as man, because His human will was incapable of doing all things, and Christ knew that it was in accordance with His Father's divine plan that He should receive certain things only by prayer. He also prayed so that He might give us an example of having recourse to God.

Doubt. Does Christ now in heaven truly and in the strict sense pray for us. Medina, Vasquez, and certain others, such as Father de la Taille, say that Christ now in heaven prays for us only in the broad sense of the term, showing His human nature and His past merits to the Father.

The Thomists and many other theologians reply that Christ in heaven in the strict sense prays for us, interceding as our advocate so that at the favorable moment the fruits of His past merits and satisfaction may be applied to us.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "Christ... who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."[1528] Again he says of Christ: "Always living to make intercession for us."[1529] This prayer of Christ in heaven has its own particular name, being called "intercession." Elsewhere it is said of Christ now in heaven that He is "our advocate, " and that "we have an advocate with the Father."[1530]

Thus St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Gregory the Great, and St. Thomas say that Christ also now in heaven prays for the Church. He can no more, indeed, either merit or satisfy for us, because He is no longer a wayfarer. But He can offer intercessory prayer for us; the saints pray for us in heaven, and the greater their charity is, the greater is their influence.[1531]

But if in the litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary we do not say "Christ, pray for us, " but "Christ, hear us, " this is because Christ, as God, hears our prayers, and we also say "Christ, hear us" to avoid the error of Nestorianism. Finally, it is a more perfect act to hear a prayer than to pray.[1532]

Second Article: Whether It Pertains To Christ To Pray According To His Sensuality

In other words, what did Christ mean when He said in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Let this chalice pass from Me"?[1533]

Reply. It means that then His prayer expressed to God the affection of His sensible nature, and in this His prayer was for our instruction in three things: (1) to show that He assumed a truly human nature with all its natural affections: (2) to show that we are permitted in accordance with our natural affection to request something conditionally from God; (3) to show that a man ought to subject his own affections to the divine will. Hence He said: "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt."[1534]

Third Article: Whether Christ Prayed For Himself

Reply. Christ prayed for Himself in two ways: (1) by expressing to God the desire of His sensual nature and of His will, considered as a nature, as when He said: "Let this chalice pass from Me";[1535] (2) by expressing the desire of His deliberate will, which is regarded as reason, as when He asked for the glory of His resurrection, saying: "Father... glorify Thy Son."[1536] Thus He showed us that the Father is the author of all the good that He possesses in the human nature.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ's Prayer Was Always Heard

Reply. A distinction must be made: Christ's prayer in the strict sense, namely, that which proceeded from His absolute will as the result of deliberate reason, was always heard, because His will was always in conformity with the divine will, so that by this prayer He willed or sought only what He knew God wills. The words that Martha addressed to our Lord are to be understood in this sense when she said: "I know that whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee."[1537] Also, when our Lord says: "And I knew that Thou hearest Me always."[1538] And St. Paul says of Christ: "He was heard for His reverence."[1539]

Christ's conditional prayer expressing the desire of His sensitive nature or of His will considered as nature, was not always heard, which is evident from His prayer in the Garden.

Second objection. Christ prayed that the sin of those who crucified Him might be forgiven.[1540] Yet not all were pardoned this sin, since the Jews were punished on account thereof.

Reply to second objection. St. Thomas says: "Our Lord did not pray for all those who crucified Him, nor for all those who would believe in Him, but for those only who were predestinated to obtain eternal life through Him."[1541]


CHAPTER XXIV: QUESTION 22: THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST[1542]

First Article: Whether It Is Fitting That Christ Should Be A Priest

State of the question. It seems that it is not fitting: (1) because a priest is less than an angel; (2) because Christ was not descended from the priests of the Old Law, but from the tribe of Juda; (3) because Christ is a legislator and in the Old Testament, which is a figure of the New Testament, legislator and priest are distinct.

Reply. Nevertheless the affirmative answer is of faith, for St. Paul says: "Having, therefore, a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God."[1543] The councils of Ephesus[1544] and Trent[1545] and the encyclical of Pius XI[1546] concerning Christ's kingship, confirm this truth.

Theological proof. The office proper to a priest is to be a mediator between God and the people, inasmuch as He bestows sacred things on the people, and offers to God the prayers of the people and sacrifice for them. But this is most befitting to Christ, for St. Peter says: "He hath given us most great and precious promises, that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature."[1547]

And St. Paul says: "In Him [Christ] it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell. And through Him to reconcile all things."[1548] From these texts it is evident that Christ as man is a priest.

Reply to first objection. Christ the priest, as regards the passibility of His flesh, is inferior to the angels, but also as man He is superior to them because of the hypostatic union and His fullness of grace and glory.

Reply to second objection. Christ did not wish to be born of the stock of the figural priests, that He might make it clear that the true priesthood is not quite the same as the figural priesthood.

Reply to third objection. Christ, inasmuch as He is the head of all men, has the perfection of all graces and so He is eminently and formally legislator, priest, and king, as announced by the prophet.[1549]

Second Article: Whether Christ Was Himself Both Priest And Victim

State of the question. It seems that He was not: (1) because it is the duty of the priest to kill the victim or offer it in sacrifice, and Christ did not kill Himself; (2) because in the Old Testament, which is a figure of the New Testament, a man was never offered in sacrifice; (3) because every victim that is offered to God is consecrated to Him, but Christ's humanity from the beginning was consecrated to God.

Reply. Yet the answer is that Christ was both priest and victim. It is also of faith, for St. Paul says: "Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness."[1550] It was also defined by the Council of Trent in its canons concerning the institution of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the priesthood of the New Law established by Christ.[1551]

Theological proof. St. Thomas shows that Christ was not only a victim, but a most perfect victim.

A man is in need of sacrifice for three reasons: first, for the remission of sins, for which the victim for sin was offered in the Old Testament; secondly, that man may be preserved in the state of grace, for which the sacrifice of peace-offering was offered under the Old Law; thirdly, that the spirit of man be perfectly united to God, which will be most perfectly realized in glory. Hence in the Old Law the holocaust was offered as symbolizing the state of the perfect, in which the victim was entirely burnt in God's honor. But Christ was a most perfect victim, being at the same time victim for sin, victim for a peace-offering, and a holocaust, as clearly established from the scriptural texts quoted in the argumentative part of this article.

Reply to first objection. Christ did not kill Himself, but He willingly exposed Himself to death, willingly offered Himself, inasmuch as He willingly endured the blows of those killing Him, whom He could easily have repelled, as shown in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He answered those that came to apprehend Him with such authority that they fell to the ground. Hence He had said: "No man taketh it [My life] away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself."[1552] It was the fire of love coming from heaven that burnt the victim, says St. Thomas elsewhere.[1553]

The difference between Christ's death and the death of the martyrs consists in this, that theirs is not a sacrifice in the strict sense, although it is voluntary. Granted that the wound was mortal, the martyrs, unlike Christ, were not free to preserve their life or give it up, whereas Christ, unless the Father had given Him the command to die for us, miraculously had it in His power not to die under the blows inflicted upon Him. Hence Christ offered Himself as holocaust.[1554]

Corollary. The priesthood of Christ cannot be more perfect, because the priest cannot be more united to God, the victim, and the people.[1555] Christ is God, moreover, Christ is both priest and victim, and finally Christ is the head of His mystical body and of all mankind.[1556]

Third Article: Whether The Effect Of Christ's Priesthood Is The Expiation Of Sins

Reply. It is affirmed on the authority of St. Paul's texts quoted in this article.[1557]

Theological proof. St. Thomas shows that Christ by His death merited grace for us whereby sin is blotted out, and He fully satisfied for the punishments that are due to sin. Hence the effect of Christ's priesthood is the expiation of sins as regards both guilt and punishment. "He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows."[1558]

Reply to second objection. "The sacrifice which is offered every day in the Church is not distinct from that which Christ Himself offered, but is a commemoration thereof." It is substantially the same sacrifice, inasmuch as it is the one identical victim, the one identical principal priest; but the manner of offering is different; for now Christ's sacrifice is not bloody, but unbloody and sacramental. Moreover, Christ does not now either merit or sorrowfully satisfy for us, but the fruits of His past merits and satisfactions are applied to us.[1559]

Reply to third objection. The paschal lamb was one of the principal figurative victims of the Old Testament; hence St. John the Baptist said of Christ: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world."[1560]

Fourth Article: Whether The Effect Of The Priesthood Of Christ Pertained Not Only To Others But Also To Himself

Reply. The Council of Ephesus denies that the effect of the priesthood pertains to Christ.[1561] The reason is that Christ as man was already most holy, full of grace, impeccable, and the fountainhead of the entire priesthood. Thus the sun illumines but is not illumined. This is clearly expressed by St. Paul, for he says: "Who [Christ] is innocent, needeth not daily, as the other priests, to offer sacrifices first for His own sins."[1562]

Fifth Article: Whether The Priesthood Of Christ Endures Forever

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative, for the Psalmist says: "Thou art a priest forever."[1563] Likewise St. Paul declares: "[Christ is] always living to make intercession for us."[1564]

Nevertheless the difficulty is that the priesthood does not endure unless there is sacrifice in the strict sense, or a visible sacrifice, and this will cease after the celebration of the last Mass at the end of the world; for in heaven the blessed see God face to face, and no more need sensible signs.

Therefore St. Thomas answers the question of this article more precisely by saying that the priesthood of Christ is said to be eternal, not because of the sacrifice that is offered, but because of its consummation, namely, because of the perpetual union of men redeemed with God clearly seen, for this is the eternal fruit of the Savior's sacrifice.

Wherefore St. Paul says: "But Christ, being come a high priest of the good things to come... by His own blood entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption."[1565] Hence, after the celebration of the last Mass there will be no more sacrifice in the strict sense, nor reparation, nor prayer of petition; but there will always be the cultus of adoration and thanksgiving.[1566]

Hence Christ's priesthood is said to be eternal: (1) because its effect is the eternal salvation of men, (2) because He had no successor in this respect; (3) because He continually intercedes for us and will offer sacrifice by His ministers until the end of time; (4) because He is anointed as High Priest.

Several Thomists, such as Billuart, say that Christ's priesthood is said to be eternal because of His imperishable anointing, which is nothing else but the hypostatic union itself. If there were in heaven a sacrifice in the strict sense, then it would be a more exalted sacrifice than the sacrifice on the cross, which would not be subordinated to this latter sacrifice, but would be coordinated with it also as more exalted, and therefore the words of Christ dying on the cross, "it is consummated,"[1567] would be meaningless. On the contrary, the sacrifice of the Last Supper is directed to the sacrifice on the cross, and the sacrifice of the Mass is subordinated to the sacrifice of the cross, of which it is the application.

First doubt. What formally constitutes Christ's priesthood?[1568]

It is a disputed question among Thomists. The Salmanticenses and certain other theologians maintain that the grace of headship is what constitutes Christ's priesthood so far as this grace presupposes or connotes the grace of union. Thus Christ would be a priest by the same created habitual grace by which He is the head of the Church.

Several other Thomist theologians, such as Gonet and Hugon, are of the opinion, which is now becoming more generally admitted, that the substantial grace of union is what formally constitutes Christ's priesthood, whereby Christ as man is primarily holy by a holiness that is not only innate, but also substantial and uncreated. By this same grace Christ is holy and the sanctifier. Hence Pius XI says in one of his sacred discourses: "It is solely because it is the Homoousion of Nicaea who became incarnate... who gives Himself lavishly, inexhaustible and infinite in Jesus Christ, what the theologians call substantial victim, which consecrated Him a priest."[1569]

Scriptural proof. Christ as man is a priest inasmuch as He is anointed by God.[1570] But His primary anointing is by the grace of union. Therefore Christ is a priest by the grace of union.

Theological proof. Christ is a priest who must offer sacrifice that is of infinite value for the redemption of men. But it was only by the grace of union that His sacrifice was of infinite value; for the offering of Himself is a theandric act.

It is not enough for Christ to be the head of the human nature, for Adam was the head of the human nature raised to the supernatural order, and yet he was incapable of offering a sacrifice of infinite value.

It does not suffice to say with the Salmanticenses that what formally constitutes Christ's priesthood is habitual grace inasmuch as it connotes the grace of union, because Christ's priesthood, in what formally constitutes it as such, must be capable of offering a sacrifice that is of intrinsically infinite value; and this formally depends on the grace of union.

This seems to be the opinion of St. Thomas; for, speaking about Christ's human nature, he says: "It acquired then the actual holiness of a victim, [on the cross] from the charity it had from the beginning and from the grace of union sanctifying it absolutely."[1571] Likewise it is evident from another text of St. Thomas that Christ was predestined to natural divine sonship before He was predestined to glory and habitual grace; for it was only because Christ had to be the Son of God that He was predestined to the highest degree of glory.[1572]

Also, in the opinion of St. Thomas it is especially by the grace of union that Christ is the mediator.[1573] This opinion is also admitted by Bossuet.[1574]

Second doubt. Which title is greater in Christ, Savior or Priest forever?

Reply. Savior is the greater title, for the name "Jesus" signifies Savior. Hence the title generally used in the treatise on the Word incarnate and the Redeemer is, as in the Theological Summa of St. Thomas, the Savior, in preference to Christ the priest.

Moreover, the Savior must be a priest capable of offering a sacrifice of infinite value. But not every priest is strictly speaking a savior. The idea of savior includes more than the idea of priest.

Finally, the principal act of a priest is the act that belongs to the virtue of religion, namely, to offer sacrifice for the people; whereas the principal act of the Savior is the act of a higher virtue, namely, of charity, which commands the virtue of religion. Thus the principal act of Christ the Savior is the act of love, whereby on the cross He showed His supreme love for His Father and for souls to be saved.

Sixth Article: Whether The Priesthood Of Christ Was According To The Order Of Melchisedech

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative, for the prophet says: "Thou are a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech."[1575]

The meaning is that the priest Melchisedech typified, far more than the other priests of the Old Law, Christ the priest: and there are four reasons given for this.

1) Because Melchisedech offered bread and wine,[1576] and not sheep and oxen, as Aaron did. But Christ at the Last Supper offered His body and His blood under the appearance of bread and wine.

2) Because Melchisedech is presented to us in Sacred Scripture as "without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life,"[1577] that is, contrary to the custom of Sacred Scripture, no mention is made of his parents. In this he represents Christ's eternal priesthood, who had neither earthly father nor heavenly mother.

3) Because Melchisedech, having received tithes from Abraham as the superior of the latter, blessed Him and the lawful priests of the Old Law; and thus he typified the superiority of Christ's priesthood over that of the Law.

4) Melchisedech means the same as king of justice and of peace; But Christ was king of justice and of peace.

What has been said suffices for Christ's priesthood. It must be remembered that there cannot be a more perfect priesthood because no other priest can be more united to God, the victim, and the people.[1578]


CHAPTER XXV: QUESTION 23: THE ADOPTION OF CHRIST

The purpose of this question is to refute the heresy of the Adoptionists who, following in the wake of Nestorianism, said in the eighth century that Christ as man is the adoptive son of God.

The Church has defined that the man Christ is the only and natural Son of God,[1579] and nowise the adoptive son.[1580] The Church also declared that it is only allegorically on account of Christ's obedience to His Father that He is called a servant.[1581] He is not the Son of the Holy Spirit,[1582] but truly the Son of the Virgin Mary.[1583] In fact, He has two births, His eternal birth as God, and His temporal birth as man,[1584] but not two sonships, neither adoptive sonship as regards God the Father, nor a real relation of sonship as regards the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The principal definitions of the Church against the errors of the Adoptionists are to be found in the Enchiridion.[1585] The assertion that Christ as man is the adoptive son of the Father is rejected as heretical in both the Council of Frankfort and the Council of Frejus.[1586] This assertion was again condemned in the Second Council of Lyons.[1587]

This error gives St. Thomas the opportunity to explain here more fully what is the nature of divine adoption than in the treatise on grace, although the fundamentals of the doctrine concerning divine adoption are explained in the treatise on grace.

First Article: Whether It Is Fitting That God Should Adopt Sons

State of the question. It seems that it is not fitting, because only strangers are adopted, and nobody is a stranger to God.

Reply. Yet the answer is in the affirmative, for the Apostle says: "Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children."[1588]

Theological proof. To adopt is to admit someone to share in another's inheritance. Thus a rich man adopts a poor man's son. But it is fitting that God of His infinite goodness admit His intellectual creatures to share in His inheritance, which is the enjoyment of Himself. For God is rich and happy in Himself, that is to say, in the enjoyment of Himself. Therefore it is indeed fitting for God to adopt sons.

It must be noted that reason alone cannot apodictically prove the possibility of this adoption; for this would be to prove the possibility of grace, which is essentially supernatural in that it is a participation of the divine nature of God's intimate life which therefore transcends the scope of truths that can be proved by reason alone.

But posited the revelation of this truth, God's infinite goodness makes it clear that it befits Him to adopt. Its possibility can neither be proved nor disproved, but we are persuaded of it and it is firmly held by faith alone.

First doubt. What is the difference between divine adoption and human adoption?[1589]

Reply. The difference is that a man in adopting someone, for example, a poor man's son, does not make this son worthy to inherit from him, but in adopting such a person presupposes as worthy him whom he chooses. On the contrary, God makes the man whom He adopts worthy by the gift of His grace to receive the heavenly inheritance. Hence divine adoption is far superior to human adoption and much more real; for it elevates one to the higher order of the divine life and proceeds from uncreated love which is effective and productive of grace. It regenerates the soul so that the adoptive son is said to be "born... of God,"[1590] not indeed by nature as the only-begotten Son, but by grace, that is, regenerated spiritually by infused grace.

Second doubt. What is the difference between adoptive sonship and natural sonship?

Natural sonship is the relation that befits anyone inasmuch as by virtue of birth such a person receives from the generator either the numerically identical nature as in the case of the divine person or specifically the same nature as in created beings. Hence taken in the strict sense it is defined as "the origin of a living being from a living principle in the likeness of nature."[1591] Thus the foundation of natural sonship is passive generation.

Adoptive sonship is a qualified imitation of natural sonship inasmuch as the adopted does not receive the adopter's nature, but a right to the inheritance as if he were the true son. Hence adoption among jurists and theologians is generally defined as being the gratuitous and free assumption of a stranger to the inheritance of the adopter.

The solution of the objections of this article confirms the reply.

Reply to first objection. "Considered in his nature, man is not a stranger in respect to God as to the natural gifts bestowed on him; but he is as to the gifts of grace and glory, " because he has these not by nature, but only by adoption.

Reply to second objection. Adoptive sonship is a participation in the resemblance of divine natural sonship, hence the Apostle says: "He predestinated us to be made conformable to the image of His Son."[1592] In other words, just as the only-begotten Son received from all eternity the whole divine nature from His Father, so the adoptive son receives in time a participation of the divine nature.

Reply to third objection. "Spiritual goods can be possessed by many at the same time, not so material goods. Wherefore none can receive a material inheritance except the successor of a deceased being; whereas all receive the spiritual inheritance at the same time in its entirety without detriment to the ever-living Father."

Second Article: Whether It Is Fitting That The Whole Trinity Should Adopt

State of the question. The difficulty is that, on the one hand, men are made by adoption brethren of Christ rather than His sons, for the Apostle says: "That He might be the first-born among many brethren."[1593] On the other hand, when in the Lord's Prayer we say, "Our Father, " this refers to the entire Trinity, equally with "Thy kingdom come, " and "Thy will be done."

Reply. To adopt is an act that belongs to the whole Trinity.

Authoritative proof. When in the Lord's Prayer we say "Our Father, " the word "Father" connotes the essence and not the person.[1594] The same is to be said of "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done."

Theological proof. Every divine free action ad extra is befitting to the whole Trinity, because it proceeds from omnipotence, which, like the divine nature, is common to the three persons. But to adopt is a divine free action ad extra, for it is the bestowal of grace. Therefore to adopt is befitting to the whole Trinity.

In other words, whereas the natural Son of God is "begotten not made,"[1595] the adoptive son is made, for the Evangelist says: "He gave them power to be made the sons of God."[1596] Nevertheless the adoptive son is said to be "born of God,"[1597] on account of the spiritual regeneration that is gratuitous and not natural.

Reply to second question. "By adoption we are made the brethren of Christ, as having with Him the same Father who, nevertheless, is His Father in one way and ours in another. Whence, pointedly our Lord says, separately: 'My Father, and your Father.'[1598] For He is Christ's Father by natural generation, and this is proper to Him; whereas He is our Father by a voluntary operation, which is common to the three persons." Hence, when we say, "Our Father, " the word "Father" refers to the essence and not to the person. It is the opposite when Christ says, "My Father, " for Christ is not the Son of the Trinity, as we are. Father Lebreton, S. J., in his recent work on the Trinity, insists exegetically very much on this point. This observation is referred to in its proper terms by St. Thomas in the present article, which is seldom quoted.[1599]

Doubt. Is adoption, although common to the whole Trinity, appropriated to the Father?

Reply to third objection. "It is appropriated to the Father as its author, to the Son as its exemplar, to the Holy Ghost as imprinting on us the likeness of this exemplar."

Adoption is here taken in the active sense, and not in the passive sense, which is called "a participated likeness of eternal sonship,"[1600] in a quasi-passive sense.

The reason is that appropriation is a manifestation of the divine persons by means of essential attributes which enter more closely into what constitutes this or that person. Thus to the Father, inasmuch as He is the principle from no principle, omnipotence is appropriated; to the Son, inasmuch as He is the Word, wisdom is appropriated; to the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as He is personal love, is appropriated goodness, sanctification, which is the special effect of infused charity.[1601]

Third Article: Whether It Is Proper To The Rational Nature To Be Adopted

Reply. Every intellectual creature, and only such, can be adopted. for only such a creature is capable of grace on which adoption rests, and of happiness in which inheritance consists.

Therefore the angels are adoptive sons of God; likewise our first parents in the state of innocence; the just of the Old Testament; also all who are in the state of grace, as long as they remain so, even though they are not predestined.

Objection. St. Paul introduces a state of opposition between the Christians and the just of the Old Testament,[1602] inasmuch as the latter received the spirit of bondage in fear, whereas the Christians received the spirit of the adoption of sons.

Reply. St. Paul does not introduce opposition between them because of personal justice, but by reason of the difference of state and law in which each class lived; for the Old Law was the law of fear in itself, and of itself it did not have the power to justify; whereas the New Law is the law of grace previously imprinted on the hearts and having the power to justify.[1603] Thus it is sufficient for salvation, although not all the just are actually saved, for some fall away from grace.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ As Man Is The Adopted Son Of God

State of the question. About the end of the eighth century Archbishop Elipandus of Toledo, and Bishop Felix of Urgel, Adoptionists, taught that Christ as man is the adopted son of God. And more probably, whatever Vasquez says, they defended this thesis in the Nestorian sense, namely, by positing two persons in Christ. They were condemned as heretics in the Council of Frankfort (794) under Pope Hadrian I.[1604]

But Durandus and Scotus were unaware of the acts of the Frankfort council, which for a long time remained unknown because of the astuteness of the heretics. These theologians said: The unity of the person being preserved intact, Christ as man is the adopted Son of God, inasmuch as He received habitual grace by which we are adopted sons.

Is this opinion of Scotus and Durandus already condemned by the Council of Frankfort, the acts of which were unknown to these theologians? The answer is that the Council of Frankfort excludes even this opinion, for it says: "Adopted, if indeed this means that Jesus Christ is not the natural Son of God." This council also says: "The unity of person eliminates the insult of adoption." St. Thomas in the counterargument to this article also quotes St. Ambrose as against this opinion.

Theological proof. The argumentative part of this article refutes the adoptive sonship of Christ as follows:

Sonship properly belongs not to the nature, but to the person, and He who is already the natural Son cannot be called the adopted son, because He is not a stranger to His Father according to His nature. Thus a man cannot adopt a boy who is already his son. But Christ is the natural Son of God. Therefore Christ cannot be called the adopted son.

In explanation of this proof, it must be observed that: (1) Adoption cannot apply to the humanity of Christ, both because the humanity is not a person, and only a person can be adopted, and because, on account of the hypostatic union, it already is entitled to the inheritance of God, which is the beatific vision.

2) It must be noted that Christ as man is already in the formal sense the natural Son of God, inasmuch as the Word who subsists in the human nature is the natural Son of God, for by assuming the human nature Christ did not lose His divine natural sonship.

The solution of the objections confirms this answer.

Reply to first objection. If it is said that "carnal humility was adopted by the Word', ; the expression is metaphorical for "was assumed"; for adoption properly belongs only to the person, not to the nature, or to a part of the nature.

Reply to second objection. "Christ, by the grace of union, is the natural Son, whereas a Christian by habitual grace is an adopted son. Habitual grace in Christ does not make one who was not a son to be an adopted son, but is a certain effect of filiation in the soul of Christ."

Adopted sonship is not the formal and primary effect of habitual grace, but only the secondary effect; hence habitual grace can be in the soul without the former. It is present in Christ's soul as a participation of the divine nature rendering Christ more pleasing to God, and it enables Him in a special manner to merit continually by infused charity and the other virtues, of which habitual grace is the source.

Reply to third objection. We may say that Christ according to His human nature is a creature, and is subject to God; but we cannot say that He is the adopted Son of God, because sonship is not said of the nature but only of the person; for we do not say the humanity of Christ is the Son of God.

Corollary. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the first adopted daughter of God.


CHAPTER XXVI: QUESTION 24: THE PREDESTINATION OF CHRIST IMPORTANCE OF THIS QUESTION

This most famous question evidently belongs to the relations prevailing between Christ and His Father.

Scotus engages in a lengthy discussion on Christ's predestination, and in his theological summa he explains his own view about the motive of the Incarnation, seeking to rest it on the principle that Christ is the first of all the predestined, and therefore the first intended by God, even before Adam. To this the Thomists reply that Christ is the first intended by God in the genus of final cause; but because He was willed by God as the Savior or Redeemer, the permission of Adam's sin to be repaired is first in the genus of material cause. Thus God wills the soul prior to the body in the genus of final and formal cause, but He first wills the body in the genus of material cause to be perfected, and if the embryonic body were not disposed for the reception of the rational soul, this soul would not be created. Likewise, in virtue of the present decree, if Adam had not sinned, the Word would not have become incarnate. St. Thomas realized the importance of the predestination of Christ, who is the first of all the predestined.

St. Thomas says indeed, as we shall immediately see, that Christ was not predestined first to glory, as Scotus contends, but to divine and natural sonship, which is more exalted, and he shows that Christ's gratuitous predestination is the exemplar and cause of our predestination, inasmuch as Christ condignly merited all the effects of our predestination.

There are four articles to this question.

1) Whether Christ is predestinated.

2) Whether He is predestinated as man.

3) Whether His predestination is the exemplar of ours.

4) Whether it is the cause of ours.

First Article: Whether It Is Befitting That Christ Should Be Predestinated

State of the question. It would seem unfitting: (1) because Christ is not the adopted Son of God, for St. Paul says: "God hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children";[1605] (2) because the person of Christ is uncreated and therefore not predestinated, but predestining, and it cannot be said that Christ is predestined by reason of His human nature, for only persons are predestined, for example, Peter, Paul; (3) Christ was always God and the Son of God; therefore He was not predestined to be the natural Son of God.

Reply. Nevertheless the answer is in the affirmative.

Scriptural and authoritative proof. St. Paul says of the Son of God: "Who was made to Him of the seed of David according to the flesh who was predestinated the Son of God in power."[1606] But this text presents a difficulty.[1607]

St. Augustine understands the Greek word to mean "predestined,"[1608] because in Sacred Scripture, to destine, to define, to appoint, to declare, are the same in meaning. Thus divine knowledge is the same as foreknowledge.

Hence St. Augustine says: "Jesus was predestined, so that He who was to be the son of David according to the flesh would yet be in power the Son of God."[1609]

The interpretation given by the Greeks seems to be more literal. But as regards the doctrine and the application of the notion implied in predestination, there is no difficulty, as will at once be evident from the argument as expounded in the body of this article.

Theological proof. Predestination, in its proper sense, is a certain divine preordination from eternity of those things which are to be done in time by the grace of God.[1610] But it was done in time by God, through the grace of union, that the man Jesus should be God. Therefore the union of natures in the person of Christ falls under eternal predestination, and because of this union Christ is truly said to be predestinated.

Reply to first objection. Christ is not predestined, however, as we are, to be the adopted son of God, but to be the natural Son of God.

Reply to second objection. Predestination is attributed to the person of Christ, not indeed in itself, but inasmuch as the person subsists in the human nature; for by the grace of union it befits Christ, in His human nature, to be the Son of God.

Reply to the third objection. The antecedence implied in eternal predestination is not to be referred to the person of the Word in Himself but to Him by reason of the nature.

Second Article: Whether This Proposition Is False: Christ As Man Was Predestined To Be The Son Of God

Reply. The proposition is not false, because predestination is attributed to Christ only on account of His human nature, which means as man.

Reply to first objection. The meaning is that Christ as man was predestinated the Son of God, inasmuch as His human nature received the grace of union.

Reply to second objection. It is false to say that, just as Christ is visible by reason of His human nature, so it would be natural for Him to be the Son of God; but it is so inasmuch as His human nature is hypostatically united to the Word of God. Hence it is said that Christ as man was predestined the natural Son of God, but not the adopted son.

Doubt. Was Christ, as man, predestined primarily and principally to be the natural Son of God, and only secondarily to the beatific vision and other supernatural gifts bestowed on Him?

Reply. The Thomists affirm, against Scotus, that Christ was so predestined. They say that what was intended first and principally in the decree of predestination is to be the natural Son of God, or the hypostatic union, because it is greater to be God than to enjoy Him as the other blessed do. This decree of Christ's predestination to be the natural Son of God is nothing else but the decree of the Incarnation. It is only in consequence of this decree that Christ was predestined to glory, as to something secondary, resulting from the grace of union.

Likewise, in the treatise on Mariology, St. Thomas and very many theologians, such as Suarez and several others, say that by the decree of the Incarnation the Blessed Virgin Mary was first predestined to be the Mother of God, and only as a consequence of this to fullness of grace and glory "so that she might be fittingly and worthily the Mother of God."[1611]

Objection. But Christ is made more perfect by the light of glory and the beatific vision. Therefore these are more perfect than the hypostatic union.

Reply. I deny the consequence, because the hypostatic union is not related to the light of glory, as a disposition to a more perfect form, but rather as an eminent cause to what results from it. In fact, the hypostatic union formally constitutes the hypostatic order, which infinitely transcends the order of grace and glory. Even the divine maternity belongs, because of that in which it terminates, to the hypostatic order, and it transcends the plenitude of grace in Mary although this plenitude is, indeed, a derived and most fitting perfection so that the Blessed Virgin Mary may be worthy to be the Mother of God.

Thus the rational soul, inasmuch as it pertains to the substantial order, is more perfect than the intellectual faculty and intellection, which pertain to the order of accidents and properties, though they perfect the substance.

Moreover, it must be noted that the common saying, namely, that everything is for its operation, does not mean that substance is for accident, for this would be false. The meaning of this axiomatic statement is, as Cajetan observes, that everything operates for its own sake. And the thing with its operation is a greater perfection than the thing apart from its operation, just as a tree and its fruit are more perfect than the tree alone. But it is better to give the tree than to give only the fruit or the usufruct. Wherefore, St. Thomas says: "He who vows something and does it, subjects himself to God more than he who only does it; for he subjects himself to God not only as to the act, but also as to the power, since in future he cannot do something else. Even so he gives more who gives the tree with its fruit than he who gives the fruit only, as Anselm says."[1612] Operation follows being, and operation is for the perfection of the substance.

Hence Christ certainly was predestined to be the natural Son of God prior to His predestination to glory, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, by the same decree of the Incarnation, was predestined to be the Mother of God prior to her predestination to plenitude of grace and glory.

Corollary. Evidently both the predestination of Christ and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary are absolutely gratuitous. Neither Christ nor the Blessed Virgin Mary could merit the Incarnation, and the merits of Christ and of the Blessed Virgin Mary are the effects, and not the cause of their predestination; just as the merits of the elect are the effects and not cause of their predestination, as St. Thomas shows.[1613] St. Paul says: "What hast thou that thou hast not received?"[1614] And again: "God chose us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in His sight in charity,"[1615] not because He foresaw our future holiness. God is not only the spectator, but the author of salvation.

Third Article: Whether Christ's Predestination Is The Exemplar Of Ours

The answer is in the affirmative.

Authoritative proof. St. Augustine, in one of his works,[1616] explains in his own admirable way, how Christ's predestination to be the natural Son of God, which is the result of no foreseen merits, is the exemplar of our predestination to salvation or to adoptive sonship of glory, which likewise is not because of our foreseen merits, since the merits of the elect are the effects and not the cause of their predestination.

Theological proof. It is explained in the body of this article as follows:

Christ's predestination is the exemplar of ours not on the part of God willing, but on the part of the object willed.

It is not the exemplar because of God willing, for in God there are not several acts of intellect and will; hence St. Thomas says: "God wills this to be as means to that (on the part of things willed), but He does not on account of this (first intended) will that (by a consequent act)."[1617] In this God differs from us, who are moved by the end to choose the means.

On the part of the objects willed, however, Christ's predestination is the exemplar of ours in two ways.

a) As regards the good to which we are predestinated; for Christ was predestinated to be the natural Son of God, whereas we are predestinated to be the adopted sons of God, which is a participated likeness of natural sonship, for St. Paul says: "He predestinated us to be made conformable to the image of His Son."[1618]

b) As to the manner of obtaining this good, which is by grace, our preceding merits are not the cause but the effect of our predestination by God. Under this aspect, Christ's predestination is the exemplar of ours, because St. Thomas, following St. Augustine, says that "this is most manifest in Christ, because human nature in Him, without any preceding merits, was united to the Son of God";[1619] and the Evangelist says: "of His fullness we have all received."[1620]

Reply to third objection. "The exemplate need not be conformed to the exemplar in all respects; it is sufficient that it imitate it in some." Our predestination, as we shall at once see, is because of Christ's merits, whereas Christ did not merit His predestination.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ's Predestination Is The Cause Of Ours

State of the question. The meaning is whether Christ's predestination is not merely exemplar, but also the final and efficient moral cause of ours, inasmuch as Christ merited the effects of our predestination.

St. Thomas answers the first part of this question as in the preceding article by stating that, on the part of God who predestines, Christ's predestination is not the cause of ours, because by one and the same eternal act God predestined both Christ and us.

On the part of the things willed, however, Christ's predestination is the final and efficient moral cause of ours.

a) It is the final cause, indeed, because St. Paul says: "All are yours, and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's."[1621] And again: "He predestinated us to be made conformable to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren."[1622]

b) It is also the efficient moral cause, inasmuch as Christ condignly merited all the effects of our predestination, namely, calling, justification, glorification.

St. Paul says: "God hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ...,[1623] who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself... unto the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins, according to the richness of His grace, which hath super-abounded in us....[God willed] to restore all things in Christ... in whom we also are called by lot, being predestinated according to His purpose."[1624] Hence in the argumentative part of this article, St. Thomas says: "For God, by predestinating from eternity, so decreed our salvation that it should be achieved through Jesus Christ. For eternal predestination covers not only that which is to be accomplished in time, but also the mode and order in which it is to be accomplished in time."[1625]

Confirmation. Christ's merits were foreseen and predestined by God before He gave any sign that men were to be predestined.

It is not only a question here of the predestination of some undetermined number of persons but of a particular number of persons individually in preference to others.

Christ indeed said: "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you."[1626] St. Augustine[1627] and St. Thomas[1628] interpret this text as referring not only to the grace of the apostolate, but also to glory, to salvation, or to the eternal kingdom. Just before the above-quoted text, Jesus said, and this applies to all the just: "I will not now call you servants..., but friends."[1629] And to whatsoever Christian the Apostle says: "What hast thou that thou hast not received?"[1630] and not only from God but from the merits of Christ, because "of His fullness we have all received."[1631] Hence Christ merited all the effects of our predestination taken together.

Doubt. How then did Christ merit the efficacious graces that de facto are not granted, such as the grace of a happy death for Judas?

We already have answered this question in discussing Christ's merits.[1632] He merited them not as conferred or to be conferred, but as offered to man in the sufficient grace; for the efficacious grace is offered to us in the sufficient as the fruit in the flower, but if one resists the sufficient grace, that person deserves to be deprived of the efficacious grace.

Hence Christ merited differently the grace of a happy death both for Peter and for Judas. The most holy soul of Christ was moved by God predestining to merit for Peter the grace of a happy death to be conferred and for Judas to be offered in the sufficient grace.

The mystery of predestination always remains a secret.

Objection. What is absolutely gratuitous does not depend on foreseen merits. But our predestination is purely gratuitous. Therefore it does not depend on any merits.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that it does not depend on our merits, I concede; on Christ's merits, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: our predestination is said to be gratuitous as regards ourselves, but not as regards Christ.

Likewise the Blessed Virgin Mary merited de congruo all the effects of our predestination.

Hence God chose the elect from all eternity in view of Christ's merits, just as He willed from all eternity to preserve the Blessed Virgin Mary from original sin on account of Christ's future merits, as declared by Pius IX.[1633]

But I insist. It seems that Christ's merits are the means whereby we are predestined; in fact, whereby we are saved, which is first intended by God. Therefore the solution is false.

Reply. I deny the antecedent, for the means is subordinate to the end; whereas Christ's predestination and His merits are of a higher order than our salvation. Hence it is rather our salvation that is the means, ordained by God for the glory of Christ, who is first predestined. St. Paul says: "For all are yours. And you are Christ's; and Christ is God's."[1634] Therefore Christ is the first of all the predestined and was by God, who predestines, first willed in the genus of final cause; whereas the permission of Adam's sin to be repaired preceded in the genus of material cause to be perfected, as stated in our treatise on the motive of the Incarnation.


CHAPTER XXVII: QUESTION 25: THE ADORATION OF CHRIST

We have considered Christ in His relation to the Father, and now we must consider His relation to us. There are two questions: (1) the adoration of Christ; (2) His mediation inasmuch as He is our mediator.

Concerning the adoration of Christ there are six articles.

1) Whether Christ's humanity and Godhead are to be adored with one and the same adoration.

2) Whether His flesh is to be adored with the adoration of latria.

3) Whether the adoration of latria is to be given to the images of Christ.

4) Whether the cross of Christ is to be adored with the adoration of latria.

5) Whether His mother is to be adored.

6) Concerning the adoration of the relics of saints.[1635]

Prefatory Remarks

St. Thomas has three articles on adoration in his treatise on religion.[1636] In the first he shows that adoration is an act of latria, or religion. It is directed to reverence Him who is adored, and it belongs properly to the virtue of religion, or latria, to show reverence to God, on account of His supreme excellence as Creator and Lord of all creatures. Hence to the devil, who tempted Christ in the desert, saying: "All these I will give Thee if, falling down, Thou wilt adore me,"[1637] Jesus answered: "Begone, Satan, for it is written: 'the Lord thy God thou shalt adore, and Him only thou shalt serve.",[1638] Adoration is an act of honor, but not every act of honor is adoration; for equals, even inferiors, are honored, but only the superior is adored. Adoration in the broad sense is not an act of latria, but of dulia. Thus the Scripture records that Nathan adored David,[1639] bowing down to the ground, and that Abraham adored the angels, bowing down before them to show his veneration.[1640] But the angels and the apostles refused to accept the adoration of latria. It would be idolatry as in paganism.

2) St. Thomas remarks that adoration is first an interior act, which is the cause of a bodily act that expresses our submission, such as genuflection, prostration, inclination.[1641] But the principal act is the interior act of the mind, whereby, acknowledging God's excellence, by a profound interior inclination before Him, He is acknowledged as the most excellent Creator and Lord. Wherefore Jesus said: "The true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth."[1642] St. Thomas says: "We prostrate ourselves, professing that we are nothing of ourselves."[1643]

3) It is in accordance with what is fitting that adoration requires a definite place, namely, a temple, which is the house of God, as being a place that is set apart, so to speak, from worldly affairs.

First Article: Whether Christ's Humanity And Godhead Are To Be Adored With The Same Adoration

State of the question. It seems not: (1) because Christ's human nature is not, like the divine nature, common to the three divine persons that must be adored; (2) there is not the same excellence in the acts of Christ's human nature as in those of the divine nature; (3) if the soul of Christ were not united to the Word, then it would have to be venerated with the cultus of dulia, and it lost none of its dignity through the hypostatic union.

Reply. Nevertheless the answer is in the affirmative, and it is of faith. St. Thomas in the counterargument of this article quotes the Second Council of Constantinople.

On several occasions in the councils this truth has been declared, namely, that Christ's human nature is to be adored,[1644] and indeed directly inasmuch as it is united with the divine nature[1645] with only one kind of adoration,[1646] and it is also to be loved by the perfect as defined against Michael de Molinos.[1647] This cultus of latria also befits especially the Eucharistic Christ,[1648] and the most sacred Heart of Jesus.[1649]

The definition against the Nestorians must be remembered, in which the Church declared: "Christ must be adored by one adoration, by which we must adore God the Word incarnate together with His own flesh, which was the tradition in the Church of God from the beginning."[1650]

Theological proof. Strictly speaking, honor is given to the person, and to the hands or feet only inasmuch as they belong to the person. But there is only one person in Christ to whom the two natures belong. Therefore by one and the same adoration the human and divine natures of Christ are to be adored.

Confirmation. A person of distinction is honored because of the qualities indeed of the soul, namely, wisdom and virtues, yet not only the soul is honored, but the whole composite, the body also. Likewise Christ is to be adored on account of His divine personality, but the whole person is to be adored, which includes His human nature.

We grant, however, to those who object, that there are two reasons for the adoration of Christ; for His divine nature of itself alone is to be adored, and His human nature in that it is hypostatically united to the Word. Yet it remains true that there is one honor of adoration on the part of the person who is adored.

Second Article: Whether Christ's Humanity Should Be Adored With The Adoration Of Latria

State of the question. It seems not, because Christ's humanity is a creature. And Christ as man is less than the Father.

Reply. Authoritative proof. St. Thomas in the counterargument quotes the authority of St. John Damascene and of St. Augustine.

Theological proof. The honor of adoration properly belongs to the person. But the person to whom Christ's humanity belongs is divine, and the honor of latria is due to this person. Hence this adoration is not given to Christ's humanity because of itself, but because of the divinity to which it is united.

Corollary. We say that Christ's humanity must be adored, not by a relative adoration, as the image of Christ must be adored, but by adoration in the strict and absolute sense; because the person is adored whose humanity is a nature. However, first and primarily the person of the Word incarnate is adored, which is the terminus of the adoration.

Devotion To The Sacred Heart Of Jesus

The nature of this devotion is made manifest from its object and end. It is the physical heart of Christ, as united hypostatically to the divine person,[1651] and inasmuch as it is the symbol of Christ's love for us, which constitutes the object of this cult of adoration, Christ's love is the love that comes from His most holy soul and also from the uncreated Word. The motive of this devotion is the infinite dignity of the Word to whom the heart of Christ is hypostatically united, and it is simultaneously the manifestation of both His uncreated and created love for us.

The terminus of this devotion is the very person of Christ inasmuch as it is by the heart that He manifests His love for us.

The end of this devotion is that our hearts may be inflamed with love for Christ, and as a consequence the reparation of injuries inflicted upon Him.

Our love for Christ must be both affective and effective, and it must manifest itself by imitating those virtues of which the most sacred heart of Jesus is the symbol, namely, charity, humility, and meekness, for He said: "Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart."[1652]

This devotion, repeatedly approved by the Church, whatever the Jansenists, unbelievers, and rationalists may have said, is most certainly lawful and holy. Discarding the physiological question, whether the material heart is the organ of love or not, it is certainly the organ that manifests emotional love, and hence it is the symbol of love. Therefore the heart of Christ is the symbol of the love whereby Christ "loved us and delivered Himself up for us."[1653] All the graces we receive come from this love.

Thus there is a special reason for the adoration of this part of Christ's body. Finally, this devotion arose in a most opportune time, that of Jansenism, for the practical refutation of this heresy, which denied that Christ died for all men, and which caused many of the faithful to abstain from frequent Communion.

Devotion to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus is likewise a true, holy, and opportune cult, for it refers to the Heart of Jesus inasmuch as this Heart moved Jesus to give us the Eucharist as the daily sacrifice and the most perfect of all the sacraments. AS Leo XIII said: "This devotion reminds us of that act of supreme love by which our Redeemer, lavishing upon us all the riches of His Heart, so that on leaving this world, He might remain with us until the end of time, instituted the adorable sacrament of the Eucharist."[1654] We owe a debt of deep gratitude for the institution of this devotion.

Third Article: Whether The Image Of Christ Should Be Adored With The Adoration Of Latria

Reply. Relative but not absolute adoration of latria must be given to the image of Christ.

Authoritative proof. St. John Damascene quotes St. Basil as saying: "The honor given to an image reaches to the prototype."[1655] There are several declarations of the Church concerning the relative cult of images. The Second Council of Nicaea says: "The honor paid to an image is transferred to the original, and whoever adores the image, adores the subsistence (or person) depicted in the image."[1656]

Theological proof. There is a twofold movement of the mind toward an image; the first is toward the image itself as a certain thing; the second is toward the image so far as it is the image of something else. Moreover, as St. Thomas says in the body of this article: "the movement that is toward an image as an image, is one and the same as that which is toward the thing that is represented."

Hence no reverence is shown to the image of Christ inasmuch as it is a certain thing of gold or silver; but inasmuch as it is an image of Christ, the same reverence is shown to it as to Christ Himself, but as referring to Christ.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ's Cross Should Be Worshiped With The Adoration Of Latria

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative, in accordance with the following chant of the Church: "Hail, O Cross, our only hope, during this Passiontide: give to the just increase of grace, grant to each contrite sinner pardon."[1657]

St. Thomas gives two conclusions.

First conclusion. The true cross of Christ on which Christ was crucified is to be adored with the cult of latria both inasmuch as it represents to us the figure of Christ extended thereon, and because of its contact with the members of Christ, and of its being saturated with His blood.

Second conclusion. The effigy of Christ's cross in any other material is to be adored with the adoration of relative latria, as being the image of Christ.

Reply to first objection. Thus in the cross is considered not Christ's shame, but its divine power whereby it triumphed over its enemies.

Reply to second objection. Thus the true nails of the passion, and the true crown of thorns are adored, inasmuch as they came in contact with the members of Christ, and were likewise saturated with His blood.

Fifth Article: Whether The Mother Of God Should Be Adored With The Adoration Of Latria

Reply. The answer is in the negative; but the cult of hyperdulia must be given to her. The Collyridians were condemned because they said that the Blessed Virgin Mary is to be adored with the cult of latria.[1658] The reason is that the Mother of God is a mere creature and the adoration of latria is to be given to God alone, and to no creature.

The cult of dulia or veneration must be given to the rational creature, however, on account of its excellence. Thus, even in the civil order, the generals of the army, kings, and great philosophers are venerated; and in the order of grace, the cult of supernatural dulia is given to the saints. The cult of hyperdulia must be given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which more probably differs specifically from the cult of dulia, because the eminent dignity of divine motherhood belongs, by reason of its terminus, to the hypostatic order, which specifically transcends the order of grace and glory.[1659] Billuart inclines to this view in his commentary on this article.

Thus, for example, munificence is a virtue that is specifically distinct from liberality, and St. Thomas says that virginity is also a specifically distinct virtue from even the perfect chastity of a widow.[1660]

Objection. If the images of Christ and the cross are to be adored, each with the adoration of latria, then this adoration applies likewise to the Blessed Virgin Mary, because the Mother is related to the Son.

Reply. There is no comparison in that the images of Christ and the cross are not in themselves objects of veneration, but refer solely to Christ. On the contrary, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints are rational creatures, having an excellence of their own, and in themselves are objects of veneration. "Consequently, if the adoration of latria were shown to the rational creatures in which this image is, there might be an occasion of error,"[1661] namely, because not a few might conclude that these persons are to be adored in themselves with the adoration not of relative, but of absolute latria. In other words, such adoration might afford anyone the occasion of judging that it should be attributed to this person because of his or her own excellence.

Doubt. Is the cult of hyperdulia for its own sake greater and nobler than the adoration of relative latria?

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative with Billuart and several other theologians, because, although latria is a species of cult more perfect than hyperdulia, nevertheless it can be that the act of hyperdulia is worthier than the act of latria in some individual; just as, although justice is a virtue specifically more perfect than temperance, nevertheless it is possible that the noblest act of temperance, for example, of virginity, is more perfect in some individual than the least act of justice, such as the payment of a debt in some business transaction.

This terminates the question of Christ's adoration.

Sixth Article: Whether Any Kind Of Worship Is Due To The Relics Of The Saints

In this article St. Thomas shows that the relics of the saints must be venerated with the cult of dulia, because the saints excelled in the practice of all the virtues.

He says: "The bodies of the saints were temples and organs of the Holy Ghost dwelling and operating in them, and are destined to be likened to the body of Christ by the glory of the resurrection. Hence God Himself fittingly honors such relics, by working miracles in their presence."[1662]

This argument is valid in refuting the error of Protestants who contend that the saints must not be venerated.


CHAPTER XXVIII: QUESTION 26: CHRIST THE MEDIATOR

First Article: Whether It Is Proper To Christ To Be The Mediator Of God And Man

State of the question. It seems not to be proper to Christ, because this is also fitting to prophets, priests, and angels.

Reply. The answer is that Christ alone is the perfect mediator between God and men; but there are other mediators in a qualified sense, or secondary and subordinate mediators, inasmuch as dispositively or ministerially they cooperate to unite men with God.

There are two parts to this conclusion.

Authoritative proof of first part. St. Paul says: "There is one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a redemption for all."[1663] He also declares that Jesus is called the mediator of the New Testament, because He reconciled us to God by the shedding of His blood that speaks more eloquently than the blood of Abel.[1664]

Theological proof of first part. It belongs properly to the office of a mediator to unite those between whom he mediates. But to unite men perfectively to God belongs to Christ, who reconciled men to God, inasmuch as He condignly satisfied for them, and condignly merited for them the graces necessary for salvation and eternal life. St. Paul says: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself,"[1665] and again: "Christ gave Himself a redemption for all."[1666]

Explanation of second part. There are other subordinate mediators inasmuch as they cooperate in uniting men to God, either dispositively, such as the prophets and priests of the Old Testament, or ministerially, such as the priests of the New Testament, who are strictly speaking Christ's ministers in the bestowal of grace.

Even the prophets and priests of the Old Testament ministerially cooperated in uniting men to God inasmuch as they foretold and prefigured the true and perfect mediator.[1667]

In this sense the Blessed Virgin is called the universal Mediatrix, subordinated to Christ, inasmuch as she merited strictly de congruo with Him what He merited de condigno for us, inasmuch as she also satisfied with Him de congruo. Now, too, she is also the Mediatrix inasmuch as she intercedes for us along with Christ "always living to make intercession for us,"[1668] and finally inasmuch as she is the distributor of all our graces.[1669]

Reply to second objection. The good angels are also mediators ministerially and dispositively, inasmuch as they are Christ's ministers in the kingdom of God.

Reply to third objection. The Holy Ghost is not a mediator although it is said of Him that "He asks for us with unspeakable groanings,"[1670] because He makes us ask by special inspiration.

Second Article: Whether Christ As Man Is The Mediator Of God And Men

State of the question. It seems that He is mediator inasmuch as He is both God and man. Moreover, He is mediator inasmuch as He reconciled us to God by taking away sin, but this He did as God.

Reply. Nevertheless Christ as man is mediator.

Authoritative proof. St. Augustine expressly says: "Christ, as man, is mediator."[1671] So, likewise, we said that Christ, as man, is a priest, for as priest He prayed, merited, and satisfied for us.[1672] But these acts belong to Christ, as man, for they imply the subordination of His human will to the divine will.

Theological proof. There are two things to be considered in a mediator, namely, that such a person acts as a man, and unites others. But neither of these applies to Christ as God, but only as man. Therefore it applies to Christ as man to be mediator.

The major is self-evident.

Proof of minor.

a) It is the nature of a mean to be distant from each extreme. But Christ as God does not differ from the Father and the Holy Ghost either in nature or power of dominion. Hence He is not distant from them.

On the contrary, Christ as man is distant from God in nature and from men in dignity, grace, and glory, especially by the grace of union.

b) The mediator, however, unites God and men, by communicating the precepts and gifts of God to men, and by satisfying and appealing to God for men. But this Christ does, not indeed as God, but as man, because to satisfy and appeal presupposes subordination of the created will to the divine will. Hence Christ as man is mediator.

Reply to third objection. "Although it belongs to Christ as God to take away sin authoritatively, yet it belongs to Him as man to satisfy for the sin of the human race, and in this sense He is called the mediator of God and men."

Doubt. Is Christ as man mediator because of the fullness of habitual grace, inasmuch as this presupposes the grace of union, or is He more so formally because of the grace of union from which results the fullness of habitual grace?

The question is almost the same as the one about what formally constitutes Christ's priesthood. It is a disputed question even among Thomists. We have already seen that the Salmanticenses maintain that what formally constitutes Christ's priesthood is the grace of headship inasmuch as it connotes the grace of union.[1673]

Others, such as Gonet, and in more recent times Father Hugon and many modern theologians, say that Christ is formally constituted priest and universal mediator by the grace of union, from which the fullness of habitual grace results. For He is priest and mediator as anointed by God,[1674] and He is anointed by God first by the grace of union. Moreover, as priest and mediator He must offer redemptive sacrifice or adequate satisfaction that is of infinite value. But the infinite value of Christ's merits and satisfaction depend not only pre-supposedly but also formally on the grace of union, or on Christ's divine personality.

This second opinion, which in our days is gradually gaining favor, seems to be the more correct one. We may quote in favor of this opinion what Pius XI teaches in his encyclical on Christ the king in which he states that Christ as man is the universal king of all creatures even of angels, inasmuch as by the grace of union His human nature is personally or hypostatically united to the Word. He says: "His kingship rests on that wondrous union which they call hypostatic. Hence it follows, not only that God is to be adored in Christ by angels and men, but also that angels and men are obedient and subject to His imperial sway as man, namely, that it is not only because of the hypostatic union that Christ has power over all creatures.... Moreover, Christ by the right of having redeemed us can command us."[1675]

St. Thomas spoke in the same way about Jesus, in that He is the judge of the living and the dead. Jesus is judge even as man. "Judiciary power, " says St. Thomas, "belongs to the man Christ on account of both His divine personality, and the dignity of His headship, and the fullness of His habitual grace."[1676]

This judiciary power belongs to Christ with respect to all human affairs because "Christ's soul, which is filled with the truth of the Word of God, passes judgment upon all things."[1677]

Christ's judiciary power, even as man, extends to the angels; "first of all from the closeness of His assumed nature to God."[1678] Therefore it likewise seems that Christ as man is the universal mediator: (1) because of the grace of union; (2) because of the grace of headship. Thus He can have theandric acts of infinite value in meriting and satisfying for us, that is, in reconciling us to God, which is properly the office of the universal mediator.

This terminates the first part of this treatise on the Incarnation, namely, on the union of the Word incarnate, on the consequences of the union, as regards Christ in Himself, as also in His relation to the Father and to us. We now pass on to consider what Christ did and suffered for us.


CHAPTER XXIX: PREFATORY REMARKS

The second part of this treatise on the Incarnation by St. Thomas concerns "what Christ did and suffered."[1679] It is explained from question twenty-seven to question fifty-nine, but it is too long a treatise for each question and its articles to be explained. We shall have to discuss what is more important. Thus we shall discuss the mystery of Redemption, and afterward there will be a compendium on Mariology.[1680]

The student must read carefully what St. Thomas wrote about Christ's conception, about the mother who conceived, the mode of conception, the perfection of the offspring concerned, the birth of Christ, His manifestation, circumcision, and baptism, as also His manner of conversing with others, His temptations in the desert, His doctrine and miracles.[1681] Those questions must especially be read in which it is shown that the three persons of the Trinity cooperated in the conception of Christ's body, though it is attributed by appropriation to the Holy Ghost.[1682] But nowise must Christ be called the Son of the Holy Ghost, or even of the entire Trinity. At the first moment of conception, Christ's body was animated by a rational soul and was assumed by the Word. Likewise at the first moment of conception Christ was sanctified by grace, had the use of free will, and merited; in fact, from the first moment He was a perfect comprehensor. Birth is properly attributed to the person, as to the subject, and not to the nature, and so the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God. In Christ there are two births, one is eternal, the other is temporal, but there are not two real sonships. In Christ there is only one real sonship, namely, His eternal sonship from the Father, the other is a logical and temporal relation as regards the Mother, for every relation that is predicated of God in time, is only a logical relation. However, there is a real relation of the Mother to Him, who is really the Son of Mary.[1683]

State of the question on Redemption. We already discussed in the first part of this treatise the necessity of Redemption,[1684] and we said that redemption by a divine person who became incarnate is hypothetically necessary, after original sin, posited that God freely willed to exact adequate reparation whereas He could have freely condoned the offense or even accepted inadequate reparation.

We must now consider the nature of Redemption, in what it consists, how it was accomplished by Christ's passion, and the ways by which our Lord's passion caused our salvation.

The adequate concept of redemption. As Father E. Hugon observes: "Sometimes redemption is taken in the strict sense for liberation from the slavery of sin and the devil; but sometimes it refers to the entire supernatural economy whereby Christ, our Head, taking our place, offers to God adequate reparation for the offense and at the same time a perfect sacrifice; He liberates us from the captivity of sin and He renews in us the supernatural blessings, lost by the Fall, giving them back to us. Redemption essentially implies... the payment of the price required for the adequate reparation of the offense, which is called satisfaction. Wherefore satisfaction is the primary and fundamental concept in the dogma of redemption. But Christ acts in our name, and hence His satisfaction is called vicarious, inasmuch as He not only suffers for our sins, but takes our place. In other respects this satisfaction is made in a certain laborious manner, by means of a true immolation, which is most pleasing to God, and for this reason it is also a sacrifice. Moreover, there is reparation for the offense, and God is satisfied, in consequence of this, and placated by the sacrifice offered to Him, so that we are made free, and supernatural blessings are restored to us or we are reinstated in grace. Therefore the following divers notions concur in the adequate analysis of redemption, namely, satisfaction which presupposes merit and sacrifice, that may be considered the constituent elements; then liberation and restoration, which may be called the consequences or effects."[1685]

That this was actually the concept of redemption held by St. Thomas is evident from what he wrote,[1686] when discussing the various aspects of this mystery.

But some in reading this forty-eighth question understand satisfaction in a quasi-univocal sense, as being a juridical payment of debt, which among men can be without any love of charity toward the other, and hence they say that this depreciates the sublimity of this mystery of redemption, which is essentially a mystery of love.

But if we answer by saying that in the order of grace, and especially in the hypostatic order, the payment of the debt must be understood not univocally but analogically in the metaphorical sense, then they understand by this, analogically in the metaphorical sense, as when we say by figure of speech that God is angry. Thus the payment of the debt is no longer retained in the strict sense of the term.

On the contrary, St. Thomas understands satisfaction in the analogical though strict sense of the term, and not merely in the metaphorical sense, as when being, life, liberty, love, mercy, even vindictive justice but not anger, are attributed to God analogically and in the strict sense. Among men there may indeed be a legal payment of a debt that is true satisfaction, without the love of charity toward the other. But if we speak of the satisfaction offered by Christ for us, then we speak analogically, but still in the strict sense of satisfaction by the payment of the price offered because of His supreme love of charity toward God and toward us even because of His theandric love that is of infinite value.

Wherefore St. Thomas thus defines satisfaction: "He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally or even more than he detested the offense."[1687] But Christ offered for us His most precious blood by a theandric act of love, which God loves more than He hates all sins and crimes taken together. We shall see that the essence of redemption, inasmuch as it is properly a mystery of love, consists in this theandric love, which is both meritorious and satisfactory. Other aspects of this mystery are subordinated to this supreme love, just as the virtues of religion, penance, justice, obedience, and fortitude are subordinated to the virtue of charity.[1688] It is, indeed, true to say with St. Paul: "You are bought with a great price,"[1689] but this price is the infinite value of the love of Christ suffering for us.

Hence St. Thomas,[1690] starting from this theandric love, speaks of merit, which belongs to charity, namely, of Christ's merit as our head, before he discusses satisfaction, which presupposes merit.[1691]

Since redemption is the work of the Word incarnate, in its explanation we must proceed in the descending order from the Word incarnate to the remission of sin, rather than in the ascending order from sin to our liberation and justification. Here we must observe what St. Thomas says in his treatise on justification, where he writes: "Because the infusion of grace and the remission of sin regard God who justifies, hence in the order of nature the infusion of grace is prior to the freeing from sin. But if we look at what is on the part of the man justified, it is the other way about, since in the order of nature the being freed from sin is prior to the obtaining of justifying grace."[1692]

What predominates in the mystery of redemption as in the conversion of St. Mary Magdalen or of St. Paul, is the Redeemer's love. Hence the conception of this mystery must be rather spiritual than juridical, even when it is strictly a question of satisfaction. Similarly in the general concept of merit with reference to God, it must be noted that the notion of merit is analogical, that is, it is called analogical in divine things in comparison with merit in human things. Therefore we must not stress too much the right to a reward, but we must insist more on either the condignness or the congruity and fittingness as regards the divine rewards, inasmuch as merit proceeds from infused charity, and this results from God's uncreated charity. Thus we preserve intact the sublimity of divine things and especially of this mystery.

Errors. In this matter, as frequently happens, there were errors by defect as well as by excess.

In the first centuries, the Subordinationists, the Arians, the Nestorians, from the very fact that they denied the divinity of Christ, also rejected the infinite value of redemption. The Docetae denied the reality of the Passion. The Pelagians, who do not admit the reality of original sin, consequently perverted the concept of redemption.

On the contrary, the Protestants of earlier times said that Christ, taking upon Himself our sins, was hateful to God the Father, cursed by Him and, as a real sinner, truly suffered the torments of the damned.

Finally, in opposition to the above heretics, in the sixteenth century, the Socinians, just as before them Abelard had said, contended that Christ redeemed us only in the broad sense of the term and metaphorically, namely, by preaching and example, not at all by paying the penalty that is due to our sins; but He submitted to death so as to give us an example of fortitude. If that were so, then Christ would neither have satisfied for our sins nor merited for us grace and glory. This concept of redemption scarcely differs from rationalism, which denies the order of grace and glory, and therefore the hypostatic order. So say the liberal Protestants[1693] and the Modernists,[1694] who admitted only a moral redemption, declaring that the doctrine of Christ's sacrificial death is not Evangelical, but originated with St. Paul.[1695]

Doctrine of the Church. The Church never ex professo solemnly defined what is the revealed teaching on redemption. The schema of its definition was prepared in the Vatican Council, as we shall at once declare. It was equivalently contained beforehand: (1) in the Nicene Creed, which says: "Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven.... And became man.... He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate";[1696] (2) in the Council of Ephesus, which states that Christ "offered... Himself an oblation for us";[1697] (3) in the Council of Toledo, which declares that Christ "alone was made sin for us, that is, sacrifice for our sins';[1698] (4) also in the Fourth Lateran Council;[1699] (5) and in the Council of Florence;[1700] (6) in the Council of Trent, where we read: "Who [Christ], when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity by which He loved us merited justification for us by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father."[1701]

Moreover, the Church condemned Abelard as a heretic, because he denied that "Christ assumed flesh so that He might free us from the devil's yoke."[1702] The Socinians, too, were condemned as heretics, because they denied that "Christ endured a most bitter death on the cross so that He might redeem us from sin and eternal death and reconcile us with the Father by restoring to us the right to eternal life."[1703] Finally, Pius X rejected this proposition of the Modernists, that "the doctrine of Christ's sacrificial death is not Evangelical, but merely the teaching of St. Paul."[1704]

The Vatican Council intended to define this question and had already formulated this canon: "If anyone does not confess that God the Word suffering and dying in the flesh, could have satisfied for our sins or truly and properly did satisfy for them, let him be anathema."

In fact, from the various documents on this subject, Denzinger deduces the following proposition: "Christ, the Redeemer, satisfied for the sins of the whole world, and this satisfaction is of infinite value and superabundant."[1705]

The various aspects of redemption. Were there different theories among Catholics concerning the mystery of redemption? In recent times certain persons distinguish between: (1) the theory of expiation, or of substitution, which speaks especially of the guilt of undergoing punishment, and they bring forward many texts from the Old Testament; its over emphasis leads to the theory of the earlier Protestants concerning penal compensation; (2) the theory of satisfaction, which is more sublime and richer, especially as explained by St. Thomas; (3) the theory of reparation, which seeks to perfect the preceding theory, insisting more on this, that it is "not the death, but the will of the person dying that placated [the Father], " as St. Bernard says;[1706] (4) finally, others stress more the Father's love for us ("God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son")[1707] and Christ's love "even unto death."[1708]

Truly, these four theories are more the different aspects of the mystery of redemption, and we shall see that St. Thomas admitted these different aspects, subordinating the first three to the last, in that the mystery of redemption is especially a mystery of love. Many times he says that Christ suffered for us;[1709] he speaks of satisfaction,[1710] of reparation,[1711] but he always affirms that the foundation of their validity is in Christ's theandric love, which is the source of all His merits. St. Thomas says: "But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race."[1712]

Finally, at the beginning of this question on redemption, we must recall what St. Thomas had already taught when he said: "Mercy and truth are necessarily found in all God's works.... Now the work of divine justice always presupposes the work of mercy, and is founded thereon.... We must come to something that depends only on the goodness of the divine will.... So in every work of God, viewed at its primary source, there appears mercy. In all that follows, the power of mercy remains and works indeed with even greater force."[1713] Thus God purely of His goodness created us, elevated us to the order of grace which is the seed of glory, and gave us the Redeemer.

It is from the uncreated love of divine goodness that mercy proceeds, inasmuch as good is self-diffusive, and then comes justice by reason of which the supreme Good has a right to be loved above all things. But first of all, the divine good is self-diffusive in creation, in raising us to the supernatural order, and finally in God's free decree to restore this order to us by means of the Word incarnate.

So as to proceed methodically in this second part, we shall see what Scripture and tradition have to say on this subject, and we shall also consult the teaching of St. Thomas as expounded in questions 46 to 48.


CHAPTER XXX: TESTIMONY OF SACRED SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION

First Article: Testimony Of Christ And The Apostles

This testimony concerns the redemption by way of merit, satisfaction, and sacrifice, if not as to the actual meaning of these words, at least as to what is signified by them.

It must be observed that Christ only gradually manifested His divine sonship so far as the people were able to assimilate this doctrine, so that He announced His sorrowful passion to His apostles only after Peter's confession of faith on their way to Caesarea Philippi, when he said: "Thou are Christ, the Son of the living God."[1714] It was more difficult, however, for the people to accept this revelation of Christ's passion and impending death on the cross, especially for those who still awaited the coming of the Messias as a temporal king, who would restore the kingdom to Israel, as the apostles said even on the day of the Ascension.[1715]

Synoptic Gospels. Hence Jesus at the beginning of His preaching manifests Himself as the Savior, not asserting as yet by what manner of sacrifice and satisfaction He had to save men. So He began by saying: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, wherefore He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor... to heal the contrite of heart."[1716] "I am not come to call the just, but sinners."[1717] When, after Peter's confession, "Thou are Christ, the Son of the living God,"[1718] Jesus announces His passion for the first time, "Peter, taking Him, began to rebuke Him saying: Lord be it far from Thee, this shall not be unto Thee. Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind Me Satan, thou art a scandal unto Me because thou savorest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men."[1719] Peter unknowingly spoke against the mystery of redemption that had to be accomplished according to God's most sublime decrees. From this moment Jesus speaks more clearly of His sacrifice that must be offered for the salvation of men. He says: "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."[1720] "The Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a redemption for many."[1721] This text of the Synoptics is of great importance in establishing against the Modernists and liberal Protestants that the doctrine of the sacrificial death of Christ is not merely of Pauline origin, but is also Evangelical.

Jesus likewise on several occasions announces His passion to His disciples, saying: "The Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death... and they shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and the third day He shall rise again.... Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink?"[1722] But the apostles did not yet understand this most sublime mystery.

Before His passion, in instituting the Holy Eucharist, Jesus said more clearly: "This is My body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of Me.... This is the chalice, the new testament in My blood, which shall be shed for you."[1723] Thus He explicitly enunciates the mystery of redemption both as sacrifice and as satisfaction, or as a propitiatory sacrifice.

Gospel of St. John. Here again this same truth is several times enunciated so that it becomes increasingly apparent that the value of Christ's satisfaction or of His propitiatory sacrifice is the result of His exceeding love for God and for souls that are to be saved. Penal satisfaction is indeed expressed, but the price to be paid is to be attributed more to Christ's love. This love is especially proclaimed in the parable of the Good Shepherd, where He says: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth His life for his sheep.... Therefore doth the Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from Me; but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. This commandment I have received of My Father."[1724] Thus Christ enunciates the sacrifice of satisfaction to be offered because of His exceeding love for God and souls.

Somewhat later, Jesus says: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall not perish forever and no man shall pluck them out of My hand."[1725] This is the fruit of sacrifice; therefore it is not only a moral example of self-denial, such as the example given by Socrates.

Afterward His sorrowful satisfaction is expressed in these words: "Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.... Now is My soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour."[1726] He means, deliver Me, if it be possible, as He had said in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then Jesus continues to say: "But for this cause I came into this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.... Now is the judgment of the world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from this world, will draw all things to Myself." Now this He said signifying what death He should die.[1727] Truly this concerns the sorrowful mystery of redemption. Christ came to offer Himself in sacrifice on the cross; of this hour, predetermined by the Father, Jesus several times says: "The hour is come."[1728]

Likewise, before the passion, He said: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."[1729] Therefore clearly and publicly Christ taught the dogma of redemption,[1730] and it is absolutely false to say with the Modernists that "the doctrine of Christ's sacrificial death is not evangelical, but only of Pauline origin."[1731]

Acts of the Apostles. St. Peter likewise says to the Jews: "Jesus of Nazareth... by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up."[1732] And again he says: "But the Author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses."[1733] Also: "But those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled."[1734] Finally, he says of Jesus: "This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved."[1735] Thus Christ's sacrifice is evident, as foretold by the prophets, in accordance with God's eternal decree, and it is simultaneously the fount of salvation.

St. Paul. He explained, however, the evangelical teaching concerning the value of Christ's death, especially as it referred to the removal of original sin. On this subject he says: "For all have sinned and do need the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation through faith in His blood."[1736] He afterward explains these texts, saying: "For as by the disobedience of one man [Adam] many were made sinners: so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just,"[1737] which means, inasmuch as "Christ became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross."[1738] The time eternally predetermined for this propitiatory sacrifice is also proclaimed in these words: "God spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."[1739]

Finally, He says: "Christ hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness."[1740] This doctrine is developed throughout the Epistle to the Hebrews, which strictly concerns the offering of propitiatory sacrifice for the redemption of man. St. John also says: "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."[1741]

Moreover, this revealed doctrine on the sacrifice of the cross is confirmed from what is said in the New Testament about the sacrifice of the Mass, whereby the fruits of the Passion are applied to us, according to our Lord's words at the time of its institution, who said: "Do this for a commemoration of Me."[1742]

Second Article: Testimony Of Tradition

This doctrine is often explained by both the Latin and the Greek Fathers.[1743] Christ accomplished our redemption, they say, by way of a true sacrifice, which He offered to God on the cross, as priest and victim, and by a true vicarious atonement He paid the debt owing to God, but not to the devil. This satisfaction is superabundant and universal. In the above-mentioned work, precisely as regards vicarious satisfaction in the strict sense, we find the testimonies of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Justin, Origen, St. Cyprian, Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Athanasius, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Prosper, and St. Gregory the Great.[1744]

The prominent texts are the following.

St. Clement of Rome says: "Christ gave His blood for us."[1745] He also says: "Because of His love for us, our Lord Jesus Christ, by God's will, gave His blood for us, His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls."[1746]

St. Ignatius of Antioch says: "Christ died for us, that through faith in His death, we might escape death."[1747] In another epistle he says: "The Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins."[1748]

St. Polycarp says: "Jesus Christ, "who bore our sins in His own body on the tree, '[1749] but for our sake that we might live in Him, He endured all things."[1750]

St. Justin says: "The Father willed that His Christ take upon Himself the maledictions of the whole human race, and the Father also willed Him to suffer these things, namely, crucifixion and death, so that by His bruises the human race might be healed."[1751]

St. Cyprian says: "He alone can pardon sins committed against Him, who took upon Himself our sins, who suffered for us, whom God delivered up for our sins."[1752]

St. Athanasius says: Christ "in the body that He took to Himself, or in offering it as sacrifice and immaculate victim for death, immediately averted death from all alike, by offering it for others."[1753]

St. Hilary says: "Therefore He offered Himself in sacrifice to death for those under the curse of the law, that it might be removed, willingly offering Himself as victim to God the Father, so that, by His becoming a voluntary victim, the curse... might be taken away."[1754]

St. Basil says: "It was necessary for the Lord to experience death for all, and so justify all in His blood by having become a propitiation for the human race."[1755]

St. Gregory of Nazianzus says: "By Christ's suffering on the cross, ... we have been renewed, ... by the celestial Adam we are again saved."[1756]

St. John Chrysostom says: "Although we were subject to the sentence of condemnation, Christ freed us."[1757]

St. Ambrose says: "The Lord Jesus offered His death for the death of all men; He shed His blood for the blood of the whole human race."[1758]

St. Jerome says: Christ "was wounded for our iniquities... so that, having become a curse for us, He might free us from the curse."[1759]

St. Augustine says: "Christ, though innocent, took upon Himself our punishment, so that thereby He might atone for our guilt and also put an end to our punishment."[1760] In another work, he says: "By His death, indeed, by the one true sacrifice offered for us, whatsoever sins... He purged, abolished, extinguished."[1761]

Therefore it can be said concerning the reality and effects of redemption, that the Fathers are unanimous in attributing this redemption not only to Christ's example, but also to His merits, satisfaction, and sacrifice on the cross. They do not either disagree among themselves as witnesses of tradition, although in their explanations some, such as the Greek Fathers, insist on the sanctifying power of the Incarnation, whereas others, especially the Latin Fathers, stress the passion and death of Christ. Sometimes Origen declares that the price of our redemption was paid to the devil.[1762] But elsewhere he professes the true doctrine.[1763] The same is to be said of St. Gregory of Nyssa. This theory of payment to the devil was already refuted at the end of the third century and condemned as blasphemous. The common teaching is that sin is strictly committed only against God; hence the price of liberation from sin must be paid to God alone. Nevertheless it remains true that by redemption man is freed from the slavery of the devil.[1764]

From the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, the theological thesis on the redemption gradually took shape under the doctrinal direction of St. Anselm and St. Thomas. According to St. Anselm,[1765] our redemption was accomplished through the satisfaction whereby Christ freely paid our debts by repairing the wrong done to God, and through His merits whereby He restored the good things we lost. This doctrine manifestly has its foundation in Sacred Scripture, and therefore was generally admitted. But St. Anselm exaggerated the necessity of adequate redemption after sin, not sufficiently acknowledging that God could have freely condoned the offense, or even have accepted imperfect satisfaction.

This exaggerated view was gradually corrected by Hugo of St. Victor, Peter Lombard, Alexander of Hales, and St. Bonaventure, who prepared the way for St. Thomas to elaborate the complete and sound synthesis that was afterward commonly accepted. It is this synthesis that must now be explained.


CHAPTER XXXI: QUESTION 46: CHRIST'S PASSION

The synthesis of St. Thomas contains especially the following three doctrinal points.

1) Redemption by the Word incarnate, posited the sin of our first parents, was not necessary, but fitting. For God could have either condoned the offense or accepted inadequate reparation; but the Incarnation as also the passion of God's son were fitting, and in all this we have the greatest manifestation of God's love for us.[1766]

2) The Word incarnate, as the moral head of the whole human race, redeemed us or caused our salvation in five ways: (1) by meriting it for us; (2) by satisfying for us; (3) by offering Himself in sacrifice; (4) by liberating us; (5) by being the efficient cause. In these ways Christ's love prevails, which is the principle of merit, satisfaction, and sacrifice.

3) Christ's redemption is of infinite value, in virtue of the hypostatic union, inasmuch as it is a theandric act of love for His Father and for all men. This makes it apparent that this mystery is especially a mystery of love.

In the explanation of this thesis, St. Thomas discusses: (1) the Passion itself; (2) its efficient cause, on the part of Christ, the Father, and those that killed Christ; (3) how Christ's passion was effective, that is, how it caused our salvation; (4) the effects of the Passion.

This forty-sixth question, which concerns Christ's passion, treats especially of its fitness and its extreme sufferings. The predominating elements of the Passion must be noted.

The Fittingness Of The Passion

First Article: Whether It Was Necessary For Christ To Suffer For The Deliverance Of The Human Race

Reply. Christ's passion was not absolutely necessary, nor did He suffer because He was compelled to suffer; but, presupposing the end to be attained, it was necessary for Christ to suffer: (1) because we were freed by His passion;[1767] (2) because Christ, by the humiliation of His passion, merited the glory of His exaltation;[1768] (3) because God's decree, concerning Christ's passion, as foretold in the Scripture, had to be fulfilled.

Reply to third objection. "And this came of more copious mercy than if He had forgiven sins without satisfaction, " because God gave us the Redeemer.

Second Article: Whether There Was Any Other Possible Way Of Human Deliverance Besides The Passion Of Christ

Reply. Speaking simply and absolutely, it was possible for God to deliver mankind otherwise than by Christ's passion, even without any satisfaction; for this would not have been contrary to justice, because God, who is infinitely above a simple judge, since He has no superior, decreed that His Son must die and can also forgive the offense committed against Him, without requiring satisfaction; and then He acts mercifully and not unjustly. But, supposing God's foreknowledge and preordination concerning Christ's passion, then man's liberation from sin was not otherwise possible. The first part in the argument of this article and the reply to the third objection correct St. Anselm's extreme view.

Third Article: Whether There Was Any More Suitable Way Of Delivering The Human Race Than By Christ's Passion

Reply. The answer is that there was no other way more suitable; (1) because by Christ's passion man knows how much God loves him and is thereby incited to love Him in return;[1769] (2) because thereby Christ gave us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues;[1770] (3) because Christ by His passion not only delivered man from sin, but also merited grace and glory for him; (4) because thereby man is all the more bound to refrain from sin;[1771] (5) because in this way, it was in Christ that as man by dying, He conquered the devil and vanquished death.[1772]

Fourth Article: Whether Christ Ought To Have Suffered On The Cross

Reply. The answer is that it was the most fitting for Christ to have suffered on the cross; (1) because Christ gave us an example of virtue, so that no kind of death ought to be feared by an upright man; (2) "so that whence death came [from the tree], thence life might arise, and that He who overcame by the tree, might also by the tree be overcome";[1773] (3) and (4) that dying on a high rood, He might purify the air and prepare our ascent into heaven; (5) the fact that Christ died with outstretched hands signifies the universality of redemption; (6) because, as St. Augustine says, "The tree on which were fixed the members of Him dying was even the chair of the Master teaching";[1774] (7) because there were very many figures in the Old Testament of this death on the cross.

First objection. In this kind of death the fire pertaining to holocausts is wanting. St. Thomas replies by saying that, "instead of material fire, there was the spiritual fire of charity in Christ's holocaust."[1775]

Second objection. Death on the cross is most ignominious. St. Thomas replies to this by quoting St. Paul: "He endured the cross, despising the shame,"[1776] so that by His humility, He made reparation for our sins of pride.

Third objection. Death on the cross is a death of malediction. St. Thomas again quotes the following text from St. Paul: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,"[1777] that is, He took upon Himself the penalty of sin.

All these remarks clearly manifest the fittingness of the Passion, and they better illustrate both God the Father's love and Christ's love for us. As the Evangelist says: "For God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son."[1778] As St. Paul says: "He that spared not even His own Son but delivered Him up for us all."[1779] Therefore our redemption is predominantly a mystery of love.

The Extreme Sufferings Of The Passion

Fifth Article: Whether Christ Endured All Sufferings

Reply. Christ did not endure all sufferings specifically, because many of them are mutually exclusive, such as burning and drowning. It did not become Him to suffer interior bodily sicknesses, for, as St. John Chrysostom says: "It did not befit Him who healed the infirmities of others to have His own body afflicted with the same."[1780]

But Christ endured every human suffering, because: (1) He suffered something from Jews and Gentiles, from the chief priests and their servants, from the mob, even from friends and acquaintances; (2) He suffered from His friends who abandoned Him, in His reputation, His honor, in His soul from sadness and weariness, in His body from wounds and scourgings; (3) He suffered in all His bodily members, from head to foot, and in all His senses.

Reply to second objection. "As Christ was uplifted above others in gifts of graces, so He was lowered beneath others by the ignominy of His sufferings."

Reply to third objection. "The very least one of Christ's sufferings was sufficient of itself to redeem the human race from all sins." However, because of His great love for us, He willed to offer Himself as a most perfect holocaust for us, and generically endure all sufferings.

Sixth Article: Whether The Pain Of Christ's Passion Was Greater Than All Other Pains

Reply. Christ experienced both sensible pain and interior pain, both of which were the greatest of pains in this present life. There are four reasons for this: (1) from the causes of this pain, because the death of the crucified is most bitter, and because He felt interior pain for all the sins of the human race, which He ascribed, so to speak, to Himself; (2) because of the susceptibility of His body that was endowed with a most perfect constitution, and because the interior faculties of His soul most efficaciously apprehended all the causes of sadness; (3) because Christ from His great love for us, in offering Himself as a perfect holocaust, refused to mitigate His pains and sadness by the overflow of contemplative joy through the higher part of His soul; (4) because "He embraced the amount of pain proportionate to the magnitude of the fruit which resulted therefrom, " namely, that He might most perfectly accomplish His mission as the Redeemer of men.

Reply to second objection. Christ, that He might atone for the sins of all mankind, accepted indeed the greatest of sadness in absolute quantity, yet not exceeding the rule of reason.

Reply to fourth objection. "Christ grieved over the sins of all men, and this grief in Christ surpassed all grief of every contrite heart both because it flowed from a greater wisdom and charity, by which the pang of contrition is intensified, and because He grieved simultaneously for all sins, as the prophet says: "Surely He hath carried our sorrows. ' "[1781]

Reply to sixth objection. In answer to the objection that the least of Christ's pains would have sufficed for man's salvation, St. Thomas says: "Christ willed to deliver the human race from sins not merely by His power, but also according to justice. And therefore He did not simply weigh what great virtue His suffering would have from union with the Godhead, but also how much, according to His human nature, His pain would avail for so great a satisfaction."

Seventh Article: Whether Christ Suffered In His Whole Soul

It seems that Christ did not, because He did not suffer in the summit of His soul, in the higher faculties, namely, of reason and will.

Reply. In answer to this, St. Thomas says in the body of this article: "So, then, we say that if the soul be considered with respect to its essence, it is evident that Christ's whole soul suffered. For the soul's whole essence is allied with the body, so that it is entire in the whole body and in its every part. Consequently, when the body suffered and was disposed to separate from the soul, the entire soul suffered. But if we consider the whole soul, according to its faculties, speaking thus of the proper passions of the faculties, He suffered indeed as to all His lower powers... whose operations are but temporal. But Christ's higher reason, since it considers only the eternal and not the temporal, did not suffer thereby on the part of its object, which is God, who was the cause not of grief, but rather of delight and joy, to the soul of Christ, " for He continued in possession of the beatific vision and its resultant joy in the summit of His soul.

To understand the reply to the second objection, consult the eighth article and the footnote to the third objection of this article.

Reply to third objection. "Grief in the sensitive part of Christ's soul did not extend to reason so as to deflect it from the rectitude of its act."[1782]

Eighth Article: Whether Christ's Entire Soul Enjoyed Blessed Fruition During The Passion

It seems that Christ's entire soul did not, because simultaneous sadness and joy are impossibilities; in fact, vehement sadness checks every delight, and the converse is true.

Reply. Nevertheless, as St. John Damascene says in the counter-argument of this article: "Christ's Godhead permitted His flesh to do and to suffer what was proper to it. In like fashion... His passion did not impede fruition [of mind]." St. Thomas explains this in the body of the article as follows: "If it be understood according to its essence, then His whole soul did enjoy fruition, inasmuch as it is the subject of the higher part of the soul to which it belongs to enjoy the Godhead.... But if we take the whole soul as comprising all its faculties, thus His entire soul did not enjoy fruition... because, since Christ was still upon earth, there was no overflowing of glory from the higher part into the lower, nor from the soul into the body. But since, on the contrary, the soul's higher part was not hindered in its proper acts by the lower, it follows that the higher part of His soul enjoyed fruition perfectly while Christ was suffering."

Reply to first objection. It is indeed impossible to be sad and glad simultaneously about the same object; but in Christ sadness and fruition were not about the same object. Thus, though Christ was in a way crushed by grief, He rejoices in His sorrow.[1783]

In the next three articles of this forty-sixth question, St. Thomas considers the fitness of the Passion as regards time, the place between two thieves, of whom the one on the right was converted, but the one on the left died impenitent, just as on the Judgment Day a distinction will be made among all human beings, inasmuch as the elect will be on Christ's right hand, and the reprobates on His left. In the last article of this question it is shown that Christ's passion is not to be attributed to His divine nature, which is incapable of suffering, but it is to be attributed to the person of the Word incarnate, because of His human nature.


CHAPTER XXXII: QUESTION 47: THE EFFICIENT CAUSE OF CHRIST'S PASSION

The efficient cause of Christ's passion must now be considered. (1) Was Christ an efficient cause? (2) Was the Father? (3) Were those who killed Him?

First Article: Whether Christ Was Slain By Another Or By Himself

It seems that Christ was not slain by another, for He said: "No man taketh My life from Me."[1784] But, on the other hand, He declared of Himself: "And after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death."[1785]

Reply. There are two parts to this answer.

1) Christ was not the direct cause of His death, for He did not kill Himself, but His persecutors killed Him, as He Himself declared: "they will put Him to death."[1786]

2) But Christ was the indirect cause of His passion and death, because He did not prevent it when He could have done so.[1787] "This He was able to do: (1) by holding His enemies in check so that they would not have been eager to slay Him, or would have been powerless to do so; (2) because His spirit had the power of preserving His fleshly nature from the infliction of any injury.... Thus He is said to have laid down His life, or to have died voluntarily."[1788]

Similarly Christ could say: No man taketh away life from Me, that is, against My will, and this He manifested for "He preserved the strength of His bodily nature so that at the last moment He was able to cry out with a loud voice, and hence His death should be computed among His other miracles."[1789]

Second Article: Whether Christ Died Out Of Obedience

Reply. It is affirmed that out of obedience Christ gave Himself up to suffer.[1790] Hence the Apostle says: "He became obedient unto death."[1791] But this was most fitting: (1) because it was in keeping with divine justice that, "as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just";[1792] (2) So that Christ's passion and death should be the result of obedience; (3) so that Christ should be victorious over death and the disobedience of the devil, as the Scripture says: "An obedient man shall speak of victory."[1793]

Reply to first objection. Christ received a command from the Father to suffer. And so by dying He fulfilled all the precepts of the Old Law. He fulfilled all the moral precepts, for these are the result of His supreme charity and obedience; by the supreme sacrifice of Himself, all the ceremonial precepts; all the judicial precepts, by satisfying completely for so great a punishment. Thus Christ fulfilled all justice, and was obedient out of love for His Father, who commanded Him. In this we clearly see His supreme love both for God the Father,[1794] and for His neighbor, as St. Paul says: "He loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."[1795]

Third Article: Whether God The Father Delivered Up Christ To The Passion

The doctrine of this article, which is examined by St. Thomas, must be carefully considered. The holy Doctor begins by presenting three difficulties: (1) It seems wicked and cruel to hand over an innocent man to suffering and death. This objection is again brought up in these days by the liberal Protestants. (2) Christ delivered Himself to death;[1796] therefore it was not God the Father who did it. (3) Judas is accounted guilty for having delivered up Christ to the Jews. Therefore it seems that God the Father did not deliver up Christ to His passion.

Reply. Nevertheless the reply is in the affirmative, the Apostle saying: "He that spared not even His own Son but delivered Him up for us all."[1797] The following explanation is given.

Christ suffered voluntarily and out of obedience to the Father. Hence in three respects, God the Father delivered up Christ to the Passion: (1) because God eternally preordained Christ's passion for the liberation of the human race from sin;[1798] (2) inasmuch as God inspired Him with the will to suffer;[1799] (3) by not protecting Him from the Passion, but abandoning Him to His persecutors; hence Christ on the cross said: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?",[1800] because, as St. Augustine says,[1801] He had abandoned His Son to the power of His persecutors.

The earlier Protestants adulterated this doctrine when they said that the Father delivered up Christ by inspiring the Jews to put Him to death and urging them to it.

What is said in the article has its foundation in what St. Thomas teaches about the efficacy of the decrees of God's will.[1802] This divine will does not make our acts necessary, because God wills them to be accomplished freely, and He does not destroy but actualizes human freedom. Thus Christ freely and meritoriously suffered.

Reply to first objection. It would be cruel to hand over an innocent man to suffering and death against his will. "Yet God the Father did not so deliver up Christ, but inspired Him with the will to suffer for us. God's severity is thereby shown, for He would not remit sin without penalty... and His goodness in that... He gave us a satisfier." Wherefore the Apostle says: "God spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."[1803]

Reply to second objection. "Christ as man gave Himself up by a will inspired of the Father." So also it is with victim souls, and for this reason it is imprudent to vow to become a victim soul except under special inspiration, or presupposing this as a condition.

Reply to third objection. "The Father delivered up Christ, and Christ surrendered Himself, from charity; but Judas betrayed Christ from greed, the Jews from envy, and Pilate from worldly fear." All these things make it increasingly clear for St. Thomas as for all posterity that the mystery of redemption is especially a mystery of love.

Fourth Article: Whether It Was Fitting For Christ To Suffer At The Hands Of The Gentiles

In the last three articles of this forty-seventh question, St. Thomas inquires how Christ's persecutors were the cause of His passion, and first whether it was fitting for Him to suffer from the Gentiles.

Christ declared of Himself: "The Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, and the third day He shall rise again."[1804] But it was fitting that in this way the effects of Christ's passion should be prefigured in what He suffered. The effect of Christ's passion was that many Jews were baptized[1805] and by the preaching of these Jews, the effects of Christ's passion were transmitted to Gentiles. Therefore it was fitting that Christ begin His suffering from the Jews and afterward, the Jews betraying Him, that His passion be accomplished by means of the Gentiles. In other words, the wicked Jews betrayed Him to the Gentiles to be scourged, and afterward the good and converted Jews, by their preaching, transmitted the effects of the Passion to the Gentiles.

Reply to first objection. Christ upon the cross prayed for His persecutors. Therefore Christ willed to suffer from both, so that the fruits of His petition might benefit both Jews and Gentiles.

Reply to second objection. Christ's passion on His part was the offering of a sacrifice out of supreme love for the human race; but on the part of His persecutors it was a most grievous sin.

Reply to third objection. "The Jews, who were subjects of the Romans, did not have the power to sentence anyone to death." What is meant here is the "power of the sword."[1806]

Fifth Article: Whether Christ's Persecutors Knew Who He Was

In this article St. Thomas has in mind to reconcile the various texts of Sacred Scripture. On the one hand, Christ said: "Now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father,"[1807] and in the parable of the wicked husbandmen, these said: "This is the heir, come let us kill him."[1808] St. Matthew makes the additional comment farther on: "And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables they knew that He spoke of them."[1809] On the other hand, Christ said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."[1810] St. Paul, too, remarks: "If they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory,"[1811] and St. Peter, likewise, says to the Jews: "I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers."[1812]

St. Thomas solves the difficulty by distinguishing between the elders and the common people, and also for the elders by distinguishing between Christ's Messiahship and His Godhead. He says: "According to St. Augustine[1813] the elders, who were called rulers, knew, as did also the devils, that He was the Christ promised in the Law: for they saw all the signs in Him, which the prophets said would come to pass; but they did not know the mystery of His Godhead. Consequently the Apostle says that, if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. It must, however, be understood that their ignorance did not excuse them from crime, because it was, as it were, affected ignorance. For they saw manifest signs of His Godhead, yet they perverted them out of hatred and envy of Christ, and they would not believe His words, whereby He avowed that He was the Son of God"[1814]

St. Thomas, however, goes on to remark: "But those of lesser degree, namely, the common folk, who had not grasped the mysteries of the Scriptures, did not fully comprehend that He was the Christ or the Son of God. For although some of them believed in Him, the multitude did not; and if they were inclined to believe sometimes that He was the Christ, on account of the manifold signs and force of His teaching,[1815] nevertheless they were deceived afterward by their rulers so that they did not believe Him to be the Son of God or the Christ."[1816] This article seems to be the expression of most sublime wisdom and penetration.

The replies to the first, second, and third objections confirm what is said in the body of this article.

Reply to the third objection. It says: "Affected ignorance does not excuse from guilt, but seems rather to aggravate it; for it shows that a man is so strongly attached to sin that he wishes to incur ignorance lest he avoid sinning. The Jews therefore sinned not only as crucifiers of the man Christ, but also as crucifiers of God."

Sixth Article: Whether The Sin Of Those Who Crucified Christ Was Most Grievous

Here, too, the question is how to reconcile these words of Christ, namely, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,"[1817] with the following text: "Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers."[1818]

There are three conclusions. (1) "The rulers of the Jews knew that He was the Christ, and if there was any ignorance in them, it was affected ignorance, which could not excuse them. Therefore their sin was most grievous, on account of the kind of sin, as well as from the malice of their will. (2) The Jews also of the common class sinned most grievously as to the kind of their sin; yet in one respect their crime was lessened by reason of their ignorance. (3) But the sin of the Gentiles, by whose hands He was crucified, was much more excusable, since they had no knowledge of the Law."

Reply to first objection. "The excuse made by our Lord: ‘they know not what they do,'[1819] is not to be referred to the rulers among the Jews, but to the common people."

Concerning the reply to the second objection, Cajetan says: "It is a matter of dispute here whether Judas sinned more grievously or the rulers of the Jews, ... and we must say that Judas sinned more grievously. For he was raised above them, inasmuch as he was an apostle. And he not only had seen Christ's miracles, but had also worked miracles in Christ's name, having received this power from Christ, just as the other apostles had.[1820] And he confessed Jesus to be the Christ,[1821] approving of Peter's answer who, in the name of all the disciples, said: "Thou art Christ';[1822] and, in short, above the malice that he shared in common with the rulers, his ingratitude was the greatest, and he added to this kind of sin the baseness of betrayal."[1823]

Thus we have sufficiently examined the causes of Christ's passion.


CHAPTER XXXIII: QUESTION 48: THE EFFICIENCY OF CHRIST'S PASSION

This question of St. Thomas must be carefully considered, and all its articles must be explained, because it is of great importance. He answers that Christ's passion caused our salvation by way of merit, satisfaction, sacrifice, redemption or liberation, and that it was the efficient cause.

Division and orderly arrangement of this question. Certain recent historians seem to think that St. Thomas placed in quasi-juxtaposition the notions of merit, satisfaction, sacrifice, and redemption, not subordinating them. They also find that this question is too complex, as if the holy Doctor did not know how to preserve the unity of the mystery by showing how it predominantly illustrates Christ's love for the Father and for us.

Truly it would be contrary to St. Thomas, method of procedure, not to subordinate these various notions, for it is the mark of the wise man to do so. If, on the contrary, this question is carefully examined, its wonderful order becomes quite clear.

1) The holy Doctor finds these different notions in Sacred Scripture and tradition, and he had therefore to explain them all as to their theological significance in due order.

2) These notions are of themselves subordinated as in the present enumeration beginning from the more universal and ascending to the less universal, and they all presuppose Christ's charity, which holds the first place. For Christ's act of charity is primarily meritorious, but it is strictly satisfactory only if it is laborious and difficult; for every satisfactory act is meritorious, but not vice versa. Then an act that is both meritorious and satisfactory is not always in the strict sense a sacrifice, whereas, on the contrary, a perfect sacrifice, such as a holocaust, is both meritorious and satisfactory. Moreover, in the enumeration, redemption is taken in the restricted sense of liberation from the slavery of sin and the devil, but not in the complete sense, whereby Christ is said to be the cause or the author of our salvation. Wherefore several authors explain this question of St. Thomas, as we shall, by considering the different ways of redemption in the adequate sense, that is, by way of merit, satisfaction, sacrifice, liberation, and effectiveness. But in this enumeration, as E. Hugon observes, merit, satisfaction, and sacrifice belong to redemption as constitutive elements, but our liberation and the efficiency of our salvation in the application of the merits and satisfaction of the Passion, belong to it as consecutive elements or effects. Thus the orderly arrangement of these articles and the beautiful structure of this question become increasingly apparent. But the liberation and restoration of the human race is called objective redemption, and to this Jesus has condign right, the Blessed Virgin Mary, however, a congruent title. The application of this liberation and restoration to this particular person, such as to Peter or Paul, is called subjective redemption.

3) Finally, Christ the Savior in redeeming us practiced different subordinated virtues. First of all, He practiced charity, to which merit strictly belongs, for the other virtues are meritorious only as they are commanded by charity. Secondly, He practiced justice, of which satisfaction is a part. Thirdly, He practiced religion, to which sacrifice belongs. But these three elements, as stated, constitute the work of redemption from which our liberation and restoration follow, by the effective application of the merits and satisfaction of the Passion. Thus St. Thomas succeeded very well in the orderly arrangement of this question. It is no wonder that this question is rather complex, because the higher and more universal is the cause, the more it includes several modes of causality; but in this complexity shines forth the splendor of its unity, inasmuch as all these elements manifest Christ's love for the Father and for us.

This orderly arrangement is seen to be all the more profound when we take note of the fact that Christ, the head of the human race, as generally admitted, could have redeemed us by whatever meritorious act without painful satisfaction and sacrifice in the strict sense.

First Article: On Redemption By Way Of Merit

State of the question. At the beginning of this first article St. Thomas presents three difficulties. It seems that Christ's passion was not the meritorious cause of our salvation: (1) because suffering, as such, is not meritorious; (2) He did not even merit our salvation as an interior offering of Himself, because Christ from the beginning of His conception, merited for us in fact by merit that is of infinite value. Therefore it would be superfluous for Him to merit again what He had already merited; (3) because charity is the foundation of merit, and this charity did not increase in Christ by His passion. Therefore He did not merit our salvation more by His passion than He had merited it before.

Reply. Nevertheless the answer is that Christ by His passion merited salvation for all His members.

This conclusion is of faith, for the Council of Trent says: "Our Lord Jesus Christ,[1824] when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity whereby He loved us,[1825] merited justification for us by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross."[1826] The Council also says: "If anyone shall say that men are justified without Christ's justice, whereby He merited for us; let him be anathema."[1827]

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just."[1828] In other words, just as by Adam's demerit we lost grace, so by the merit of Christ's grace we receive grace. Again he says: "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."[1829] In another epistle, he says: "God hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ... unto the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins according to the richness of His grace."[1830] Jesus Himself said: "The Son of man must be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting."[1831] By His passion He merited exaltation for Himself,[1832] and for us sanctification, for Jesus said: "And for them do I sanctify [or sacrifice] Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth."[1833]

Theological proof. St. Thomas gives the fundamental argument as follows: Grace was given to Christ, not only as an individual, but inasmuch as He is the head of the Church, and therefore Christ's works are referred to Himself and to His members, just as the works of another man in a state of grace are referred to himself. But it is evident that whoever suffers for justice' sake, provided he is in the state of grace, merits his salvation thereby. Consequently Christ by His passion merited not only His exaltation but also salvation for all His members.

We are concerned here with condign merit, whereby Christ the head, by His theandric supernatural love that is of infinite value, merited for us in justice, the supernatural goods lost by sin, namely, grace and eternal life, as explained above.[1834] All the conditions required for merit are eminently verified in this great act of charity, namely, grace and eternal life; for Christ was still a wayfarer, and God by appointing Him mediator and Head, had ordained His works for the salvation of His members.

Reply to first objection. Christ's suffering was meritorious not inasmuch as it was suffering, but inasmuch as Christ bore it willingly.

Reply to second objection. "From the beginning of His conception Christ merited our eternal salvation; but on our side there were some obstacles, whereby we were hindered from securing the effect of His preceding merits." Thus the souls of the just were awaiting Him in limbo,[1835] for by His descent into limbo He delivered the holy fathers detained there. As St. Thomas says: "The holy fathers while yet living were delivered from original as well as actual sin through faith in Christ; also from the penalty of actual sins; but not from the penalty of original sin, whereby they were excluded from glory since the price of man's redemption was not yet paid."[1836] Farther on, St. Thomas remarks: "Original sin spread in this way, that at first the person infected the nature, and afterward the nature infected the person. Whereas Christ in reverse order at first repairs what regards the person and afterward will simultaneously repair what pertains to the nature in all men.... But the penalties of the present life, such as death, hunger, and thirst, will not be taken away until the ultimate restoration of nature through the glorious resurrection."[1837]

Reply to third objection. "Christ's passion has a special effect, which His preceding merits did not possess, not on account of greater charity, but because of the nature of the work, which was suitable for such an effect."[1838] This means that the other preceding merits of Christ had indeed already a personal and infinite value, but the merits of the Passion had a greater objective value on account of the dignity of the object itself most arduous, namely, the sacrifice on the cross or the supreme holocaust. Right from the beginning, Christ offered up to His Father all His future merits, even those of the Passion, for St. Paul says: "When He cometh into the world, He saith, ... "Behold I come.,"[1839] Christ's oblation and merit continued throughout His life until He completed the work of redemption, by saying: "It is consummated."[1840]

What Christ Merited For Us By His Passion

He merited for us all we had lost in Adam.[1841] Thus the Evangelist says: "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace,"[1842] from the first grace to the last grace.

Hence He merited for us sanctifying grace, the infused virtues, and the seven gifts, likewise all actual graces whereby we are prepared for justification, by means of which we perform meritorious acts and persevere. He likewise merited for us eternal life, or salvation, and also final resurrection or the preternatural gifts that we lost through Adam, namely, immunity from death, pain, concupiscence, and error.

But Christ's passion is a universal cause that produces its effect only if the fruits of Christ's merits are applied to us through the instrumentality of the sacraments or without them, and frequently men, because of concupiscence or pride, place obstacles in the way of their application. Wherefore we said above[1843] in treating of Christ's merit, that the efficacious graces which de facto are not granted, such as the grace of a good death for Judas, these Christ merited as offered to men in the sufficient grace, but not as here and now bestowed or to be conferred. For God offers us the efficacious grace in the sufficient grace, as the fruit is contained in the flower, but if a person resists the sufficient grace, then the efficacious grace is not conferred. For we must cooperate in our salvation, wherefore St. Paul says: "And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; yet so if we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified with Him."[1844] But Christ merited for the elect by His passion all the effects of their predestination, namely, their calling, justification, perseverance, and glorification.[1845]

Second Article: Whether Christ's Passion Brought About Our Salvation By Way Of Atonement

State of the question. St. Thomas asks in this second article whether Christ's passion caused our salvation by way of satisfaction. In his accustomed way, he most wisely set forth the state of the question in the three difficulties he presented. But because this question is again raised by the Socinians, the liberal Protestants, and the Modernists, we must inquire: (1) what the liberal Protestants and Modernists denied about this mystery of redemption and what was their conception of it; (2) what Sacred Scripture and tradition have to say about it; (3) whether Christ truly and strictly, or only improperly, satisfied for us; (4) whether Christ's operations were intrinsically of infinite value as regards both merit and satisfaction; (5) whether Christ's satisfaction was not only intrinsically condign, but also superabundant, and to what kind of justice it belongs?

The Stand Taken By The Earlier Protestants And The Opposite Opinion Of The Liberal Protestants

The general observation is that, as regards the dogma of redemption, the earlier Protestants erred by excess, whereas the Socinians and liberal Protestants deviated from the truth by defect, because of their excessive reaction against the Reformers. For in Luther's opinion and still more in Calvin's, Christ took upon Himself our sins as to become hateful to God and was cursed by Him, and on the cross, or in His descent into hell, He suffered the torments of the damned, so that He went so far as to be guilty of the sin of despair in saying: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[1846] whereas, on the contrary, these words are a quotation from one of the psalms of the Old Testament, the concluding words of which express great confidence in God.[1847] The Reformers concluded from this teaching of theirs, that there is nothing left for us to do or suffer, for we are saved by faith alone in Christ's merits.

Going to the other extreme, however, the Socinians and liberal Protestants fell into the opposite defect, and said that Christ redeemed us only in a moral sense, in that He saves only by His doctrine and example, in the same way as the prophets and martyrs did, although in a higher degree.

Thus the Socinians said that Christ satisfied for us only in the broad sense and metaphorically, by His heroic preaching and example, dying like the martyrs, that is, by affixing the seal to His preaching by the shedding of His blood. Thus His death moves us morally to perform penitential acts whereby our sins are forgiven; but, as they say, Christ did not, strictly speaking, die for us, that is, in our place, by paying the penalty incurred by our sins. Consequently they deny vicarious satisfaction in the strict sense.

No wonder the Socinians ended in this heresy; for they denied Christ's divinity. The denial of the mystery of the Incarnation results in the denial of the mystery of redemption. Pope Paul IV condemned them, for they: "asserted that there are not three persons in the omnipotent God..., that our Lord Jesus Christ is not truly God... and did not undergo a most bitter death on the cross that He might redeem us from sins and eternal death and reconcile us with the Father for eternal life."[1848]

This Socinian error stems from another, namely, that, although they acknowledge that God punishes obstinate sinners, yet they want Him freely to forgive those that fall again, without demanding any satisfaction from them, otherwise, so they say, this would not be a manifestation of His mercy.

Liberal Protestants in our times and Modernists assent to this concept of redemption, as is evident from the Modernist propositions condemned by Pius X, one of which reads: "The doctrine of the sacrificial death of Christ is not evangelical, but originated with St. Paul."[1849]

Scriptural proof. Sacred Scripture testifies that Christ redeemed us by paying the price, namely, by shedding His blood. But this means to satisfy in the strict sense and not merely metaphorically, namely, by preaching, giving us advice and example, as the apostles did. In the strict sense He died for us by paying the penalty that is due for our sins. This is already evident from the above-quoted scriptural texts[1850] concerning the mystery of redemption considered in a general way. To these must be added the following texts: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world."[1851] "Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a redemption for many."[1852] "This is My blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins."[1853] "For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body."[1854] "You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men."[1855] "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver..., but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled."[1856] "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."[1857] In a word, as St. Paul says: "Christ died for our sins."[1858]

Proof from tradition. We have already given the testimony of the Fathers, and the following patristic texts deserve special mention. Thus St. John Chrysostom says: "Christ died indeed for all that He might keep His promise to all in what concerns Him... for He took away the sins of men and offered them to the Father... that He might forgive them."[1859] St. Augustine says: "In the remission of our sins the innocent blood of Christ was shed.... In this redemption, Christ's blood is given for us as the price.... Christ undertook, though innocent, our punishment, that thereby He might free us from guilt and also put an end to our punishment."[1860]

Definitions of the Church. The councils have frequently declared that Christ died so that the nature lost by Adam might be repaired by Him;[1861] that He satisfied for the sins of the whole world;[1862] that the satisfaction is infinite[1863] and superabundant.[1864] Christ, by His death on the cross, redeemed us from sins and reconciled us with the Father,[1865] and this He did because of His love for the human race, and not through fate.[1866] Hence He is the Redeemer, the Savior, the Mediator between God and men.[1867]

Theological Proof That Christ Truly And Strictly Satisfied For Us

The Socinians maintain that the above-mentioned texts from Sacred Scripture must be understood of satisfaction and redemption improperly so called, as we read in various passages of the Old Testament that God is said to have redeemed His people,[1868] or when Moses is said to have been sent as redeemer,[1869] although in these cases there was no real redemption.

Therefore the texts from Sacred Scripture must be examined by the light of revealed principles as enunciated in Scripture. In this way the subordination of revealed truths will be made manifest. It is thus that sacred theology proves from revealed principles conclusions otherwise revealed, and gives us a certain and indeed most fruitful understanding of these truths.[1870]

It is presupposed that a meritorious action becomes strictly satisfactory when it is of an afflictive nature and is offered in reparation for the offense. Wherefore St. Thomas proposes the argument in the following manner, saying: "He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race. First of all, because of the exceeding charity (theandric) from which He suffered; secondly, on account of the dignity of His life, which He laid down in atonement, for it was the life of one who was God and man; thirdly, on account of the extent of the Passion, and the greatness of the grief endured, as stated above.[1871] And therefore Christ's passion was not only a sufficient but a superabundant atonement for the sins of the human race."[1872]

St. Thomas here soars above the purely juridical consideration of the offense to most sublime spiritual things, namely, to the infinite value of the theandric act of charity in Christ the Redeemer. What he affirms with such prudent judgment most beautifully expresses the very essence of the mystery of redemption, namely, the infinite value of Christ's theandric act of love in meriting and satisfying. This satisfaction must be meritorious, and we shall immediately remark in the next article that it is also a most sublime sacrifice. This sacrifice pleases God more than all the sins and crimes of men and devils included displease Him, because Christ's love in the order of good transcends the enormity of malice in the sins and the magnitude of the offense.

If the objection is raised, however, that nobody can be contrite and confess for another, and therefore neither satisfy for another, St. Thomas replies in his answer to the first objection: "The head and the members are as one mystic person; and therefore Christ's satisfaction belongs to all the faithful as being His members. Also, so far as any two men are one in charity, the one can atone for the other, as will be shown later. But the same reason does not hold good of contrition and confession, because atonement consists of an outward action, for which helps may be used, among which friends are to be computed."[1873] Contrition requires that the sinner's bad disposition be removed by his own act, and nobody can receive a sacrament for another.

Satisfaction is not indeed merely an external act, but it must be measured externally, that is, the satisfaction must be equal to the reparation of the offense, whereas contrition must directly remove the sinner's bad interior disposition.[1874]

Hence Christ, as head of the human race, could both merit and satisfy de condigno for us, whereas the Blessed Virgin Mary, who had neither the grace of union nor the grace of headship, merited de congruo for us what Christ merited de condigno, and she likewise satisfied de congruo, as explained in Mariology. Satisfaction corresponds to merit and is proportionate to it.

Reply to second objection. St. Thomas observes: "Christ's love was greater than His slayer's malice, and therefore the value of His passion in atoning surpassed the murderous guilt of those who crucified Him; so much so that Christ's suffering was sufficient and superabundant atonement for His murderer's crime." This means that God the Father loved more Christ's act of love in suffering for us than the malice and offense of deicide displeased Him.

Reply to third objection. "The dignity of Christ's flesh is not to be estimated solely from the nature of the flesh, but also from the person assuming it, namely, inasmuch as it was God's flesh, the result of which was that it was of infinite worth." It is likewise with Christ's act of charity in offering Himself, for it was a theandric act. This constitutes essentially the mystery of the redemption. Thus Christ strictly satisfied for us.[1875]

Solution Of Objections

First objection. To make atonement belongs to the one who commits the sin. But Christ did not sin. Therefore it was not for Him to make satisfaction.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that it belongs to the one who commits the sin to atone for it, when the sinner or the representative are as one mystic person, this I concede; when the head of the human race is excluded, then I deny the major. But Christ is the head of the human race.

Second objection. There is no atonement by committing a greater offense. But in Christ's passion the greatest of all offenses was perpetrated. Therefore no atonement was made by committing a greater offense.

Reply. St. Thomas answers the second objection to this article by saying that "Christ's love was greater in His passion than the murderous guilt of those who crucified Him; so much so that Christ's suffering was sufficient and abundant atonement for His murderers' crime."

Third objection. Atonement implies equality with the trespass. But there is no equality in this case, because Christ did not suffer in His Godhead that was offended by sin, but in His flesh. Therefore Christ by suffering in the flesh did not establish equality of atonement.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that atonement implies material equality, this I deny; that it implies formal equality, that is, in accordance with the value of the price paid, this I concede. I distinguish the minor: that Christ suffered merely materially in the flesh, this I deny; in the flesh that was assumed by the Word, and offered to God by a theandric act of charity, this I concede; and I deny the consequent and consequence.

Fourth objection. If Christ died in our place, then why do we die and endure the other penalties of sin?

Reply. It is because the principal reason why Christ died is to free us from eternal death, but not immediately from temporal death and the other penalties of this life but afterward "in the ultimate restoration of nature through the glorious resurrection...; for Christ first repairs what regards the person, and afterward will repair what pertains to the nature in all men."[1876]

Fifth objection. For perfect atonement Christ ought to have submitted to the punishment of sin, namely, eternal death.

Reply. If the atonement concerned merely penal and material compensation, then I concede the antecedent; but I deny it if it is a question of formal atonement whose principal value is estimated from the love of the person who offers, because of His theandric act of charity. Moreover, Christ's voluntary and temporal death was of infinite value in that by it He offered to God the life of the Word incarnate.

Sixth objection. God is infinitely merciful. But to exact so great an atonement is repugnant to infinite mercy. Therefore God did not exact so great an atonement.

Reply. That God's infinite mercy excludes His infinite justice, this I deny; that it implies infinite justice conjoined with it, this I concede. Similarly I distinguish the minor.

God could have indeed pardoned the offense out of His pure mercy, but He willed to unite it with His justice, and so He mercifully gave us the Savior, who was able to offer adequate satisfaction to divine justice. "For God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son."[1877] "Mercy and truth have met each other; justice and peace have kissed."[1878] Hence in this mystery there is nowise a diminution of mercy, but its manifestation in the highest degree.

Seventh objection. God freely remits the sins of those who fall again into sin. Therefore He does not exact atonement from them.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: that God freely remits them as regards sinners, this I concede; as regards Christ the Redeemer, this I deny.

Eighth objection. God exhorts us to be benign, merciful, so that we do not become revengeful. Therefore in this way God pardons our offenses.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: if it is solely a question of our own subordinated right, then I concede the antecedent; if it also concerns higher rights, for example, the common good of one's country, then I deny it. Just as the judge must, for the common good of one's country, exact satisfaction from anyone who has done harm to or betrayed it, so the supreme Judge must proclaim the right of the supreme Good to be loved above all things. Moreover, the divine Judge, who is also merciful, gave us the Savior. So sometimes the general of an army for the safety of one's native land sends his most beloved son to death by placing him in command of a heroic legion, and his son freely accepts this glorious mission for the safety of the fatherland; in fact, he thanks his father for putting such a trust in him, and both are united in the same heroic love of their native land. Thus God the Father and Christ the Savior are united in the same love of the supreme goodness and the diffusion thereof for the salvation of souls. Thus Christ became the glorious conqueror over sin, the devil, and death.

Hence St. Thomas very well says: "God loves Christ not only more than He loves the whole human race, but more than He loves the entire created universe; because He willed for Him the greater good in giving Him a name that is above all names, so far as He was true God. Nor did anything of His excellence diminish when God delivered Him up to death for the salvation of the human race; He rather became thereby a glorious conqueror: the government was placed upon His shoulder, according to Isaias 9:6."[1879]

Ninth objection. The remission of sins was not gratuitous if Christ completely paid the debt. But the remission of sins is gratuitous. Therefore Christ did not completely pay the debt.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that it was not gratuitous as regards Christ, this I concede; that it was not for us, this I deny.

Tenth objection. It is inhuman for the innocent and just to be punished for the guilty one. But it would have been so in this case.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: that it is inhuman, if the innocent person is not a voluntary victim, this I concede: otherwise, I deny it. Here the voluntary victim, however, has the supreme love of God and His neighbor at heart, and His vocation is the most sublime of all vocations.[1880]

Eleventh objection. Then our satisfactions would be superfluous, which is unbefitting. Therefore Christ did not fully pay the debt.

Reply. That they are superfluous in the sense that they would again be meritorious for reconciling the human race with God, this I concede; for the application of this reconciliation, this I deny.

Thus St. Paul says: "I fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for His body which is the Church."[1881] This means that I fill up not what is wanting in the price paid for redemption but as to its application; for this application is effected only by good works, for St. Paul says: "We are joint-heirs with Christ, yet so if we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him."[1882] Just as the first cause does not nullify the effect of the secondary cause, but endows it with the dignity of causality, so Christ's satisfaction does not nullify our satisfactions, but enkindles them and attributes validity to them. Thus Christ enkindles victim souls and assigns to them a share of His victory over sin and the devil.[1883]

Thus we conclude that Christ truly and in the proper sense redeemed us, by satisfaction strictly so called and a propitiatory sacrifice, both of which were the result of His supreme love for God His Father and for souls that must be saved. Thus God's love and mercy in a certain way transcend His justice, as already explained,[1884] because redemption is principally a work of love and mercy of both God the Father and Christ toward men to be redeemed.

Conclusion. The solution of these objections sets the mind at rest as far as discursive reasoning is concerned, but we must rise above discursive reasoning to the act of faith and also the simple intuition of contemplation, which proceeds from lively faith illumined by the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Thus we attain to "a certain and most fruitful understanding"[1885] Of this mystery, as the Vatican Council declares. We must firmly believe that Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer in the strict sense of these words, with no attenuation of their meaning. In fact, the divine reality of this mystery far surpasses our conception of it, which means that Christ is ever so much more profoundly and sublimely the Redeemer than we think Him to be, when we attribute satisfaction in the true and strict sense to Him. In this, not only is theology free from all exaggeration, but it also cannot sufficiently express the surpassing reality of this mystery. There is more in God and in Christ than in the whole of our theology.

The Infinite Value Of Christ's Satisfaction

Were Christ's operations intrinsically of absolutely infinite value both for meriting and satisfaction?

State of the question. Certain theologians such as Durandus, Scotus, G. Biel, Lychetus, and others teach that Christ's satisfaction is only extrinsically condign, superabundant, and of infinite value, namely, because of God's gracious acceptance.[1886] Yet these theologians acknowledge that Christ's works had, because of the divine person of the Word, the greatest of value, that was not capable of being equaled by a mere creature, and for this reason it was fitting that they should be accepted by God for infinite value.

On the contrary, almost all other theologians hold that Christ's works were intrinsically, because of the divine suppositum, of absolutely infinite value for both meriting and satisfying. So say William of Paris, Alexander of Hales, St. Thomas, and all Thomists, St. Bonaventure, and many others.[1887]

It must be observed that these same principles apply equally to both merit and satisfaction, for it is the meritorious act that becomes satisfactory, when it is of an afflictive nature, and when this affliction is accepted by God and offered to Him in reparation for the offense.

However, before we prove this more common opinion, it must be noted that there is a difference between merit and satisfaction. Merit concerns the reward to be obtained by the rewarded and it therefore concerns either the good of the person meriting or of another, for whom the person merits. But satisfaction refers to the reparation that must be made for the injustice done to another's right. But merit and satisfaction both enter into Christ's works.

Moreover, it must be observed that there is a real and intrinsic relation of Christ's theandric operations both to the object by which they are specified and to the principle by which they are elicited. In Christ the principle that elicits these acts is the divine suppositum or the divine person of the Word, and the principle whereby these acts are elicited is the human nature, that operates by means of the faculties and habits or the virtues and gifts.

These operative principles, by which the suppositum operates, are physically finite, and so in Christ's works as man there is no such thing as physical infinity. But as regards their moral value, this can be estimated either from the more or less exalted nature of the object, and thus Christ's dolorous passion is objectively more meritorious than His other operations, or they can be estimated from the subject eliciting these acts, that is intrinsically and morally infinite, namely, because of the suppositum, although these operations of Christ come in contact with their object in a finite way. Thus there is a distinction between the personal value of all Christ's acts of charity, and their more or less exalted objective value.[1888]

First authoritative proof. Pope Clement VI in explaining the words of St. Paul[1889] and St. Peter[1890] regarding the oblation of Christ, says: "The innocent Christ, who was immolated on the altar of the cross, shed not a little drop of blood, though this would have sufficed for the redemption of the entire human race, because of the union with the Word, but streams of it, like unto a river, so that "from the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness in Him.,[1891] Thus it is an infinite treasure for men, whereby those who use it may share in God's friendship. There is not the least fear that this treasure will suffer any loss by its use, both on account of Christ's infinite merits, as already stated, and for this reason, that the more many are drawn by the application of these merits to holiness of life, all the more there is an increase in the accumulation of their individual merits."[1892]

Clement VI says that Christ's merits are of infinite value, not because of their extrinsic acceptation by God, but "on account of the union of Christ's human nature with the Word."[1893] The Supreme Pontiff speaks as St. Thomas does, whom we shall immediately quote. It is evident that the hypostatic union with the Word is not something of extrinsic denomination, as, for example, a bank note is, whose value is by some law decreed to represent a determinate sum of money. This constitutes the outstanding difference between paper money and gold or silver.

Second authoritative proof. St. Thomas says: "Sin committed against God has a kind of infinity from the infinity of the divine majesty, because the greater the person we offend, the more grievous the offense. Hence for condign satisfaction it was necessary that the act of the one satisfying should have an infinite efficiency, as being of God and man."[1894] Again, he says: "Christ willed to deliver the human race from sins not merely by His power, but also according to justice. And therefore He did not simply weigh what great virtue His suffering would have from union with the Godhead, but also how much, according to His human nature, His pain would avail for so great a satisfaction."[1895] Such is the reply given by St. Thomas to his corresponding objection, which is as follows: "The slightest pain would have sufficed to secure man's salvation, because from His divine person it would have had infinite virtue. Therefore it would have been superfluous to choose the greatest of all pains."[1896] In this article he says: "The dignity of Christ's flesh (and likewise of His human nature) is not to be estimated solely from the nature of flesh, inasmuch as it was God's flesh, the result of which was that it was of infinite worth."[1897] If this is said of Christ's flesh, a fortiori this applies to charity. St. Thomas speaks in like manner in several other passages.

Theological proof. Both the meritorious and the satisfactory value of actions is derived not only from the object or from the principle whereby they are elicited, but also, and especially, from the dignity of the person who operates, and the greater the dignity of the person who operates, the more this increases the value of the operation. But Christ's person is infinitely worthy.

Therefore although Christ's operations, from the principle and the finite mode whereby they attain their object, are of infinite value, yet because the infinite dignity of the person from whom they proceed, they have both meritorious and satisfactory values that are infinite; or the possibility of estimating their value is morally infinite.

The minor is certain, since Christ's person is the person of the Word.

First proof of major. Actions generally belong to the supposita, and moral immanent actions come from the person, as from the principle that formally and freely elicits them.

Second proof. In a special manner satisfactory and meritorious actions formally include the offerer, who by these actions submits and offers himself to the one to whom he avows his obedience. Thus in the notion of meriting and satisfying, the relation is not between merit and the person meriting, between satisfaction and the person satisfying; but the person is related to these actions by way of a moral form; for these actions are intrinsically related to the person who elicits them and who freely offers himself, the more what is offered to God belongs more intimately to the person, the more precious it is, for example, the immolation of the body or personal pain.

Wherefore we generally estimate of greater value a gift offered to us by a person of great merit than an equally valuable gift offered to us by a person of lower dignity. Thus it is said of God: "The Lord had respect to Abel and to his offerings,"[1898] in that He considered more the person offering than the gift offered. Therefore, a fortiori, God looks upon the person of His Son offering Himself on the cross. More briefly, Christ's operations are intrinsically and morally of infinite value because they are theandric.

Confirmation. The common saying is: the greater the dignity of the person offended, the greater the offense, in that the greater the dignity of the person who honors and satisfies, the greater the dignity of the conferring honor and satisfactory work.

Another proof. There is a moral value in Christ's works of meriting always greater graces and of satisfying for an ever greater number of sinners. From this we clearly see that they are of infinite value.

Solution Of The Objections

First objection. Every created work is intrinsically finite. But every meritorious work of Christ is human and hence created. Therefore every meritorious work of Christ is intrinsically finite.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that every created work is intrinsically and physically finite, this I concede; that it is so morally, this I deny; if the principle that elicits the act is of infinite dignity. I concede the minor. I distinguish the conclusion in the same way as I do the major. Christ's meritorious acts bear an intrinsic relation to the divine person of the Word.

But I insist. Even the oblation that the Blessed Virgin Mary made of Christ in the temple was intrinsically related to the person of the Word incarnate who was offered. And yet this action of the Blessed Virgin Mary was neither intrinsically of infinite value, nor sufficient for the redemption of the human race.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent; that this oblation indicated an intrinsic order to the infinite person of Christ merely objectively considered, this I concede; that it indicates relation to Christ as to the principle, and subject which attributes a personal and infinite value to the action, this I deny. More briefly, this oblation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was objectively of infinite value, because she offered an infinitely worthy object, namely, the Word incarnate; but the oblation was not personally of infinite value.

Thus, in some manner, the act of charity whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary loved God was indeed infinite objectively considered, but subjectively or personally, it was of finite value, just as the act of charity is of any pure creature whatever; although the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary were in their order of inestimable value because of the fullness of her charity.

Another objection. There is nothing greater than infinity. But the act of Christ's divine will is greater than the act of His human will. Therefore this second act is not of infinite value.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that there is nothing greater than absolute infinity in the order of being, namely, than God who is infinite, this I concede; nothing greater than infinity of a certain kind, for example, the moral value of acts, this I deny. I concede the minor because the act of Christ's divine will is infinite, not only morally, but also physically. I distinguish the conclusion: that Christ's meritorious act is not absolutely infinite even physically, this I concede; that it is not morally of infinite value, this I deny.

Still I insist. But in this order of moral value it is false to say that all Christ's merits are of infinite value, for His act of charity in offering Himself on the cross was of greater value than any other of His meritorious acts, for example, those of preaching to the people or conversing with His disciples.

Reply. I distinguish the proof: that this act of Christ in offering Himself on the cross was of greater value than the others, objectively, this I concede; personally, I deny. This personal value was of equal worth in all His meritorious acts, but their objective value depends on the dignity of the object.[1899]

Again I insist. Two acts of charity of equal intensity are equal in value although one of them is elicited by a holier person. Therefore acts do not derive their greater validity from the dignity of the person.

Reply. Let the antecedent pass without comment; but the argument does not equally apply to Christ, for the greater holiness of some individual, such as Paul, does not impart a greater value to all his acts, even those that are less fervent. On the contrary, the divine person of the Word always exerted a moral influence on all His meritorious and satisfactory acts, and there never was any diminution of fervor in Christ's acts of charity.

Other Objections

First difficulty. If this thesis were true, then Christ would have acquired just as much merit by shedding one tear as by His crucifixion.

Reply. I distinguish: that Christ would have gained just as much merit personally, this I concede; objectively, this I deny. There was equality of personal value in all Christ's works, but there was inequality as regards their objective value, because this depends on the more or less sublime nature of the object, the greater or less difficulty involved in attaining to it, and the accompanying circumstances. But Christ directed not only the personal value but also the objective value of His works, so that they might be meritorious and satisfactory.

Second difficulty. If Christ's first act on coming into this world would have been of infinite value, then His other works would have been useless.

Reply. It has already been said that Christ did not offer this first act separately, but in conjunction with all future acts until His death, as constituting the whole price of our redemption; and His oblation was a continuous act, which was not elicited just once and then not continued. So it ought to be with Christians, and especially religious.

Third difficulty. Then our satisfaction would be superfluous.

Reply. As was said in replying to the second difficulty: they are superfluous in reconciling the human race with God, this I concede; that they are so in the application of this reconciliation, this I deny. In fact, it pertains to the abundance of Christ's satisfaction not only that He Himself satisfy, but that also He cause others to satisfy, just as it belongs to the perfection of the first cause to give the dignity of causality to others.

Fourth difficulty. Christ, however, in this way would have been entitled to a greater reward of merit than God could have given Him, for an infinite reward is a contradiction in terms.

Reply. Merit of infinite value does not demand an actually infinite reward, just as divine omnipotence is made manifest not because it produces something that is actually infinite, for this is an impossibility; but because of all things made by God, He can always make a better thing than He has made. Thus Christ merited the salvation of human beings without any limit to their number and although this would prolong the end of the world beyond the truly appointed time, human beings would always find in Christ's merits a sufficient source of salvation. Moreover, Christ merited something infinite in this sense, that He merited the Eucharist which is a sacrifice of infinite value, whereby the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated until the end of time and whereby the merits of the Passion are continually applied to our souls. Likewise He merited the beatific vision for the elect and their love of God, which they cannot lose, and these are infinite on the part of the object seen and loved.

Finally, the infinite value of Christ's satisfaction is made manifested in the adequate reparation made for the offense against God, for this reparation demands an act that is morally infinite in value, not only potentially but actually.

Hence this thesis is certain chiefly on account of the proof given above.

First doubt. Was Christ's satisfaction not only intrinsically condign, but also intrinsically superabundant?

Reply. It is of faith that Christ satisfied for us condignly, for St. Paul says: "Christ Jesus who gave Himself a redemption for all";[1900] and the Council of Trent declares: "Our Lord... made satisfaction to God the Father for us."[1901] It concerns condign satisfaction, or the voluntary and equal payment of the debt, namely, of the sins that offended God.

But from what has been said, it also follows that Christ's satisfaction was intrinsically superabundant. And this is the more common opinion.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "Where sin abounded, grace did more abound,"[1902] and this was especially so in the Savior.

The Fathers, too, in the explanation of this text affirm the superabundance of Christ's merits. Thus St. John Chrysostom says: "For Christ paid for more than we owed."[1903]

Theological proof. The principal one is that given by St. Thomas, which is as follows: "He properly atones for an offense, who offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race. First of all, because of the exceeding charity (theandric) from which He suffered; secondly, on account of the dignity of His life which He laid down in atonement, for it was the life of one who was God and man; thirdly, on account of the extent of the Passion, and on account of the greatness of the grief endured."[1904]

Several theologians give an additional reason, namely, that the satisfaction was superabundant because by sin God, who is offended, is made morally subject indeed to a creature; but by His passion and crucifixion the Word incarnate because of His exceeding love subjects Himself even physically and really to penalties and sufferings. This reason is cogent if we consider that Christ's acts of charity and humility in suffering on the cross were theandric acts of intrinsically infinite value. Hence the reply to the present doubt is a corollary to the preceding thesis.

As regards the extent of this satisfaction, it is universal, inasmuch as it is sufficient for the salvation of all men without exception.

Sacred Scripture declares it to be so in the following text: "He [Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."[1905]

Second doubt. Was Christ's satisfaction for men according to strict justice and as absolute right demands.

State of the question. Satisfaction is said to be according to strict justice when it is perfect according to the nature of justice,[1906] that is, it must be made: (1) to another; (2) from the debtor's own means to which the creditor is not entitled on some other grounds; (3) the creditor must be under obligation to accept the satisfaction. The difficulty is that Christ Himself as God was offended, and that He could not, so it seems, satisfy to Himself; for justice concerns another.

The question so presented is disputed. Vasquez, Molina, Lugo, Billot and others deny that Christ's satisfaction was according to strict justice.[1907]

It is generally admitted by the Thomists, especially by Capreolus, Cajetan, Salmanticenses, Billuart, and others, who quote various texts of St. Thomas. St. Bonaventure also forms the affirmative opinion.[1908] Suarez[1909] and, among more recent theologians, Franzelin, Pesch, Paquet, Janssens, and others take the affirmative view.

Proof of thesis. Strict satisfaction must be that which is made: (1) to another; (2) from the debtor's own means to which the creditor is not entitled on some other grounds; (3) the creditor must be under obligation to accept the satisfaction. But such was the nature of Christ's satisfaction. Therefore it was according to strict justice.

Proof of minor.

1) It was made to another, inasmuch as the divine person, who exists in both the divine nature and the human nature, satisfied to Himself, who exists in the divine nature. It is not necessary that satisfaction be made to another suppositum, for it suffices that it be made to another by reason of the nature, because the distinction between the natures is the foundation for the distinction between rights and correlative duties. Thus Christ merited not as God, but as man. If Aristotle says: "Justice concerns another,"[1910] namely, another person, the reason is that he is speaking about human things.[1911]

2) This satisfaction must be made out of one's own means, namely, from what belongs to the divine person in the human nature, and to which the creditor is not entitled, because God the creditor was not strictly entitled to Christ's meritorious and satisfactory works inasmuch as He was man, but they belonged properly to Christ as man, inasmuch as He was free; and they belonged only in a general way to God. But general ownership does not do away with particular ownership, just as the universal cause does not do away with the particular cause, just as a citizen pays to the state something that belongs to him as his own, although the state has the title of general domain over it.

3) God is not absolutely bound to accept this satisfaction, but only hypothetically, on the supposition that God constituted Christ our surety and Redeemer, whom He inspired to make this satisfaction to Him.

Confirmation. Strict satisfaction is that which is equal to the offense; but Christ's satisfaction was superabundant, for as St. Thomas says: "He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of theandric love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race."[1912] Therefore this satisfaction was more than equivalent, more than according to strict justice, but truly and properly superabundant. We must always have recourse to this celebrated text of St. Thomas, which more clearly solves these doubts than anything that has been written on this subject after his time.

Third doubt. Was Christ's satisfaction an act of commutative justice?

State of the question. Justice is a virtue that attributes to each one his own. It is divided into general and particular. General justice, which is also called legal, immediately concerns the common good, just as equity or epikeia does. Particular justice is divided into distributive, whereby the superior gives to the subjects what is due to them in proportion to their merits or their needs, and commutative, whereby one person gives to another not in proportion to the needs of the other, but pays according to equity the debt and the price owing to the other. To the question as thus presented, the more common answer is in the affirmative.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "You are bought with a great price."[1913] Therefore it was the payment of the price that is strictly required for redemption, as above stated.

Theological proof. Two things are required and suffice for an act of commutative justice, namely, a strict obligation to pay the debt and absolute equality between the price and the debt. But it was so with Christ's satisfaction, which was not only equal, but superabundant, and Christ was bound to make this satisfaction because He was constituted as surety and Redeemer of men. Therefore this satisfaction perfectly complies with all that is required for commutative justice.

It must be noted, however, that, although Christ's satisfaction is especially and formally an act of commutative justice, it was commanded by charity toward God and men, and by the virtue of religion, so that it was a latreutic act. In fact, it reflects many other virtues, such as magnanimity and magnificence inasmuch as it was superabundant, mercy toward sinners, humility, meekness, and other virtues.

It must also be observed that Christ's commutative justice differs specifically from ours, because of its formal object. For its formal object is not a debt to man adjustable by a human method of reasoning in accordance with equality, but it is a debt owing to God adjustable in accordance with equality that transcends every human rule and measure. Wherefore we say that this satisfaction perfectly complies with all that is required for commutative justice.

The question here would be the universality of Christ's satisfaction, inasmuch as Christ died for all men without exception. But this subject is now frequently discussed in the treatise on the One God, in connection with the question of God's universal will to save, and we therefore refer the student to that treatise. However, we shall take up the principal points farther on.[1914]

Reply. The answer is evidently in the affirmative, inasmuch as the value of redemption as to its sufficiency is infinite and thus it includes all men without exception, inasmuch as it is God's will to save all.

An example of the sublime genius of St. Thomas in comparison with all his commentators is apparent from the fact that he solves all these doubts about satisfaction in accordance with strict and even commutative justice, and this most briefly and clearly by means of this exalted principle, when he says: "He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally [namely, satisfaction according to strict commutative justice] or even more [namely, superabundant satisfaction] than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of theandric love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race."[1915] In fact, what Christ offered was more pleasing to God than He detested the offense of the devils, although Christ did not redeem them, because they are incapable of redemption. The mystery of redemption consists essentially in this statement of St. Thomas.

Third Article: On Redemption By Way Of Sacrifice

State of the question. In this third article St. Thomas asks whether Christ's passion operated by way of sacrifice. He begins by presenting three difficulties. It seems that it did not: (1) because the truth must correspond with the figure; but in the sacrifices of the Old Law, which were figures of Christ, human flesh was never offered; nay, such sacrifices were considered impious; (2) sacrifice is a sacred sign; but Christ's passion is not a sign, but the thing signified by other signs; (3) those who killed Christ did not perform any sacred act or offer sacrifice, but rather did a great wrong.

Several heretics de facto denied that Christ's passion was a true sacrifice. (1) Pelagius, Abelard, and Hermes considered it to be evidence of great love and the most sublime example of heroism, such as martyrdom. (2) The Socinians said that Christ was a priest only on Ascension Day and then He offered sacrifice only in heaven, interceding with the Father for us. (3) The liberal Protestants and Modernists deny Christ's priesthood, and they see in His death only a most noble example of fortitude of soul, as in martyrdom.[1916] But martyrdom is not in itself strictly speaking a sacrifice, for it is not an elicited act of latria, but of fortitude, and not all martyrs are priests.

Catholic doctrine. It is of faith that Christ is a priest and that He offered Himself on the altar of the cross, a sacrifice in the true and strict sense. The Council of Ephesus teaches that Christ is "our High Priest and Apostle, who offered Himself for us as an odor of sweetness to God."[1917] Likewise the Council of Trent declares that Christ "offered Himself once on the altar of the cross to God the Father by means of His death, there to operate for them [men] an eternal redemption."[1918]

Scriptural proof. It is explicitly revealed that Christ offered a true sacrifice on the cross. Already in the Old Testament the prophet says of the innocent and just servant of Jahve: "Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows.... He was wounded for our iniquities; He was bruised for our sins."[1919] He was therefore a victim for us; but He was also a priest offering Himself for us to reconcile us with God, for it is said: "If He shall lay down His life for sin, He shall see a long-lived seed, and the will of the Lord shall be prosperous in His hand... and He shall see and be filled."[1920]

In the New Testament we read: "Christ hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness."[1921] "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed."[1922] "Him, who knew no sin yet He hath made sin for us [victim for sin], that we might be made the justice of God in Him."[1923] "Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood,"[1924] which means a propitiatory victim. Again the Apostle says: "Being now justified by His blood."[1925] And also: "Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to Himself a people acceptable."[1926]

St. Paul treats especially of Christ's priesthood in the following texts: "Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God."[1927] "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men... that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins."[1928] "But Christ... neither by the blood of goats, nor of calves, but by His own blood, entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats... sanctifies such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered Himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"[1929] "Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many."[1930] "For by one oblation He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified."[1931]

Testimony of tradition. Both the Greek and Latin Fathers have commented on the above-mentioned texts from Scripture, such as St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius, Origen, St. Cyprian, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine.[1932] Two famous testimonies of St. Augustine are quoted by St. Thomas in the present article.

Theological proof. St. Thomas shows that Christ's voluntary death was truly a sacrifice and the most perfect of all sacrifices. He proves this by saying: "A sacrifice properly so called is something done for that honor which is properly due to God, in order to appease Him. But Christ offered Himself up for us in the Passion,[1933] and this voluntary enduring of the Passion was most acceptable to God, as coming from charity. Therefore it is manifest that Christ's passion was a true sacrifice."[1934]

In this proof we find verified the definition of sacrifice as already explained by St. Thomas,[1935] in that it is, strictly speaking, the offering of a sensible thing by a priest made to God by means of a real, or in some way, change of the thing offered in testimony of God's supreme dominion, and our subjection to Him.

Thus Christ truly offered Himself to death by not repelling His killers, and after He was struck, by not preventing death, which He could have done.[1936]

Therefore His voluntary death differs from simple martyrdom, as Father Voste observes, who says: "The martyrs differ from Christ because, as a general rule, they were neither priests nor, strictly speaking, sacrificed themselves, for they were not free either to die or not to die, nor underwent death by some sacred rite, and their death was not an elicited act of religion, but an act of fortitude whereby they chose in preference to lose their life rather than deny the faith."[1937]

In fact St. Thomas, referring to St. Augustine,[1938] shows that the sacrifice of the cross, which was prefigured by the sacrifices of the Old Testament, was the most perfect of all sacrifices. For a sacrifice is more perfect, the more the priest is united with God to whom he offers it, with the victim which he offers, with the people for whom he offers it. But Christ, who is priest as man, cannot be more united with God, for He is God; nor with the victim, for He offers Himself; nor with men, who are His members. For St. Augustine says: "That the same one true Mediator reconciling us with God through the peace-sacrifice might continue to be one with Him to whom He offered it, might be one with them for whom He offered it, and might Himself be the offerer and what He offered."[1939]

The sacrifice of the cross is offered on account of four ends, namely, adoration, petition for graces to be obtained, reparation for offenses, and thanksgiving. So it is also with the Sacrifice of the Mass, whereby the fruits of the sacrifice of the cross are applied to us.

Reply to first objection. St. Thomas shows beautifully how the sacrifice of the cross surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Testament which prefigured it, and he quotes St. Augustine's wonderful text.

Reply to second objection. The sacrifice of the cross, typified by the ancient sacrifices of the Old Testament, signifies Christ's immense love for us, and also the necessity for us to mortify the flesh and refrain from sin.[1940]

Reply to third objection. Christ's passion on the part of His killers was a crime and a deicide; on Christ's part suffering willingly out of love, it was the most perfect of all sacrifices. Hence the very slaying of Christ does not have to be renewed sacramentally in the Sacrifice of the Mass, but in the Mass "the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross."[1941]

Particular opinion. In recent times Father Maurice de la Taille[1942] conceived the notion that the Last Supper and the voluntary death of Christ on the cross are two component parts of the same sacrifice. At the Last Supper, Christ as priest offered Himself to be immolated on the cross, and on the cross, however, He was actually immolated and forever retains His state as victim.

However, if it were so, then Christ's voluntary death on the cross would not be a sacrifice in the strict sense, but only a part of the sacrifice. But this seems to be contrary to the traditional teaching, which, even irrespective of the Last Supper, considers the passion and death of our Lord as a most perfect sacrifice, and as such is explained by St. Thomas in the present article and elsewhere without any reference to the Last Supper.[1943]

Truly Christ's oblation not only continues throughout the Passion, but is expressed sensibly by these words of Christ: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit. And saying this, He gave up the Ghost."[1944] These are, so to speak, the words consecrating the sacrifice on the cross. This sacrifice is eminently a ritual, since as it is the thing signified in all ritualistic sacrifices, and inasmuch as it is the perfect fulfillment according to God's eternal preordination of the entire cultus of the Old Testament, a fulfillment that will ever afterward be commemorated by the Sacrifice of the Mass until the end of the world.

Hence this new theory does not seem to be in harmony with what the Council of Trent says about the Last Supper and the cross not being two complementary parts of one and the same sacrifice, but two sacrifices. The Council says: "Our Lord, though He was about to offer Himself on the altar of the cross unto God the Father... by means of His death..., in the Last Supper, on the night in which He was betrayed, that He might leave to His own beloved spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be represented..., He offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine."[1945] This text distinguishes between "offered" and "about to offer, " and the sacrifice of the Last Supper is called "unbloody, " whereas the sacrifice of the cross is called "bloody."

Hence the traditional teaching must be retained whereby, even irrespective of the Last Supper, Christ's voluntary death on the cross was not only a part of the sacrifice, but a true and even most perfect sacrifice, and solely of itself fully sufficed. The Resurrection and Ascension strictly speaking add nothing to the redemptive value of the cross, but are a visible manifestation that the sacrifice on Calvary was ratified and accepted by the Father for our redemption.

Fourth Article: Redemption By Way Of Liberation

In this fourth article St. Thomas asks whether Christ's passion brought about our salvation by way of redemption. In this article redemption is not taken in the general sense of the term as when Christ is said to be "cause of our salvation, " but in a restricted sense as meaning, "liberation from the bondage of sin, from the debt of punishment and the bondage of the devil." Thus a distinction is made between this mode of redemption and the others previously considered. It is not now a question of what constitutes the mode of redemptive work, but of its effect, as also is the case in the sixth article.

St. Thomas begins by presenting three difficulties: (1) Men never ceased to belong to God; therefore they are not redeemed; (2) nor are they to be redeemed from the bondage of the devil, because the devil has no right over them; (3) because Christ did not pay the price of redemption to the devil.

Reply. Nevertheless the answer is that Christ's passion liberated us from the bondage of sin, the devil, and the debt of punishment.

Scriptural proof. It is of faith, for at the time of the Annunciation, the angel of the Lord said to Joseph: "Thou shalt call His name Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins."[1946] The Precursor says of Him: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world."[1947] Jesus says of Himself: "The Son of man is come... to give His life a redemption for many."[1948] Before His passion He says: "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself."[1949]

St. Paul says: "Giving thanks to God... who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins."[1950] Farther on he says: "And you, when you were dead in your sins... He hath quickened together with Him [Christ], forgiving you all offenses, blotting out the handwriting of the decree which was contrary to us. And He hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross; and despoiling the principalities and powers, He hath exposed them confidently in open show, triumphing over them in Himself."[1951]

And again he says: "That through death He might destroy him who had taken the empire of death, that is to say, the devil."[1952]

In other words, Christ by His passion regained the victory over the devil and sin, and already virtually over death, which is "the wages of sin,"[1953] as is afterward made manifest by His resurrection, which is the forerunner of ours.

Testimony from tradition. Our liberation is likewise made clear from this source. Rouet de Journel[1954] has collected many passages from the Latin and Greek Fathers, who explicitly taught that Christ redeemed us from sin and the bondage of the devil, by paying the price of our redemption, not to the devil but to God.

Theological proof. St. Thomas proves this truth from other revealed texts as follows:

Man was held captive on account of sin in two ways: First of all, by the bondage of sin, because "whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin,"[1955] and "by whom a man is overcome of the same also He is the slave."[1956] Since, then, the devil had overcome man by inducing him to sin, man was subject to the devil's bondage. Secondly, as to the debt of punishment, to the payment of which man was held fast by God's justice.

"Since, then, Christ's passion was a sufficient and a superabundant atonement for the sin and the debt of the human race, it was as a price at the cost of which we were freed from both obligations."[1957] This is the effect of the satisfaction; it is not a constitutive element, but a consequence of this satisfaction.

More briefly: Sin brings about a twofold bondage, namely, of sin and debt of punishment. But Christ's passion was a superabundant satisfaction both for sin and the debt of punishment. Therefore it liberated us from both kinds of bondage. The Council of Trent retains this proof.[1958]

Reply to first objection. Men never ceased to belong to God, in that they were always under His power; but by sin they ceased to belong to God as regards union with Him by charity. And men liberated from sin by Christ suffering for them are said to have been redeemed by His passion.

Reply to second objection. "Man by sin had offended God and, by consenting to the devil, had become his subject. And therefore justice required man's redemption with regard to God, but not with regard to the devil."

Reply to third objection. "The price of our redemption had to be paid not to the devil, but to God"; but the price being paid to God, by the reparation of the offense, men were liberated from the bondage of sin, and consequently from the bondage of the devil. Thus we have a most excellent correction of certain exaggerations of Origen and St. Gregory of Nyssa, who seem to affirm that the devil has certain rights over us. The devil has no right over us, and these same Fathers elsewhere give the true teaching. Christ paid the price of our redemption by repairing the offense committed against God. Therefore He paid this price, not to the devil, but to God; and it follows from this that men are freed from the devil's bondage.[1959]

Fifth Article: Whether It Is Proper To Christ To Be The Redeemer

State of the question. It seems that also God the Father redeemed us, because He gave His Son in redemption for our sins. Moreover the sufferings of other saints were also conducive to our salvation for the Apostle says: "I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh for His body, which is the Church."[1960] Therefore it seems that not only Christ ought to be called the Redeemer.

Reply. Nevertheless the answer is that to be the Redeemer immediately belongs properly to Christ, inasmuch as He is man, although the redemption may be ascribed to the whole Trinity as its first cause.

This article concerns the redemption of the whole human race, which, as stated in the preceding article, is the effect of Christ's passion.

Scriptural proof. St. Luke records that St. Peter says: "There is not salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved."[1961]

The Apostle declares that Christ is the Savior of all men, without exception, saying: "For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."[1962] He also says: "For it became Him... who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the author of their salvation, by His passion."[1963]

Hence, too, the Blessed Virgin Mary was redeemed by Her Son, by the merits of her Son suffering, but by a preservative and most perfect redemption. Thus Christ merited de condigno for His mother also the first and last graces, but not the divine maternity, because thus He would have merited the Incarnation and Himself.

Theological proof. It is as follows: For someone to redeem, two things are required, namely, the act of paying and the price paid, which is his own. But the price of our redemption is Christ's blood, or His bodily life, which is what Christ paid. Hence each of these belongs immediately to Christ as man; but to the whole Trinity, as to the first cause, to whom Christ's life belonged, and from whom He received the inspiration to suffer for us.

Reply to first objection. Thus the redemption belongs immediately to the man Christ, but principally to God.[1964]

Reply to third objection. As Cajetan observes, a doubt arises concerning this reply, because the holy Doctor says elsewhere[1965] that the treasury of the Church, from which indulgences derive their efficacy, contains the sufferings of the saints. Pope Clement VI expressly says the same.[1966] But it is an evident fact that the sufferings applied to us through indulgences by way of satisfaction and by this way of redemption, are of benefit to the Church.[1967]

Cajetan justly replies to this difficulty, by saying: "The author has in mind, however, the sufferings of the saints absolutely considered. Thus between Christ's sufferings and those of the saints there are many points of difference. The first is in the word 'sufferings. ' For Christ's sufferings absolutely redeem the Church; whereas the sufferings of the saints do not do so absolutely, but satisfy for us only by way of superfluity, as stated by St. Thomas, here and as contained in the bull of Clement VI. The second difference is in the word "redemption'; for Christ's passion redeems us absolutely, because it liberates us from guilt and punishment; but the sufferings of the saints redeem us only in a relative sense, namely, from a certain punishment, the temporal punishment that is due to actual sin. The third is in the word 'beneficial. ' It is because Christ's passion is of benefit to the Church by way of redemption, even if there is no key of the Church that unlocks the door for us; but the sufferings of the saints are satisfactory on my behalf only if by means of the authoritative power of the keys they be applied to me.

"Therefore so many conditions are required so as to verify the fact that the sufferings of the saints benefit the Church by way of redemption, and for this reason the affirmative answer is only relatively true; we could simply and unconditionally deny the assertion without any prejudice to the truth, and say that the sufferings of the saints do not benefit the Church by way of redemption. And along with the truth of this negative conclusion it is already evident that the same must be said of the doctrine concerning the efficacy of indulgences from the merits of the saints."[1968] Such is Cajetan's conclusion. More briefly, it is only Christ who frees us from guilt and eternal punishment, the merits of the saints free us from temporal punishment, and this only on the previous understanding that "our redemption was accomplished by Christ alone... inasmuch as He is the Head of the Church, and the Author of human salvation, as the Scripture says, and the saints can merit the first grace for another only congruously."[1969]

Moreover, St. Thomas makes known more explicitly his mind on this subject concerning the words of the Apostle: "I fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ."[1970] He says: "These words, taken literally, could be interpreted in a wrong sense, as meaning that Christ's passion was not sufficient for our redemption, but that the sufferings of the saints were added as complementary. But this view is heretical, because Christ's blood is sufficient for the redemption even of many worlds.... These words, however, must be understood as meaning that Christ and the Church constitute one mystical person, whose head is Christ, and all the just are the body; any just person is, so to speak, a member of this head.... However, God ordained and predestined how much merit there must be in the whole Church both in the head and in the members, just as He predestined the number of the elect. Among these merits the sufferings of the holy martyrs are especially included. The merits of Christ, the Head, are infinite; but each saint contributes proportionately his or her share of merits.... Thus also all the saints suffer for the Church, which is fortified by their example."[1971]

Hence Christ alone is the Redeemer. Nevertheless the Blessed Virgin Mary, as explained in Mariology, can truly be called the co-Redemptress, though subordinate to Christ. As Pius X said: "The Blessed Virgin Mary was admitted with Christ and by Christ to cooperate in the salvation of the human race, congruously as they say, to merit for us, what Christ condignly merited."[1972] Likewise, along with Him, she satisfied congruously, for Benedict XV says: "As she suffered with her Son in His passion and, so to speak, shared in His death, so she abdicated her maternal rights over her Son for the salvation of men and, as far as it was in her power, sacrificed her Son for the appeasement of divine justice, so that it can properly be said, that along with Christ she redeemed the human race."[1973]

In this sense the Blessed Virgin Mary cooperated in the acquisition of graces that flow from the sacrifice on the cross. The other saints, however, do not cooperate in the acquisition, but in the application of the fruits of the Passion.[1974] Finally, since the merits of Christ are infinite and those of the saints are finite, it can be said that the sufferings of the saints add something that is not intensively, but only extensively finite, as when we say that God and the creature do not make more of being than God alone, for after creation there are more beings, but only extensively more of being. Therefore only Christ is absolutely the Redeemer of the human race.

Sixth Article: Redemption By Way Of Efficiency

State of the question. St. Thomas inquires in this article whether Christ's passion brought about our salvation by way of efficiency. The query is not concerned with what constitutes the work of redemption, but with what follows from it as a part of the effect to be produced. It does not pertain to the faith as the preceding queries do, but belongs properly to theology.

It concerns not only moral causality, as being the causality of merit awaiting the effect from another, but also efficient and physical causality, which produces the effect. We have already seen[1975] that Christ's soul, inasmuch as it is the instrument united with the Word, had and has instrumental power to produce supernatural effects.[1976]

Yet there remains a special difficulty for Christ's passion, which could not be the case with any man; for no corporeal agent acts except by actual contact. Moreover, Christ's passion is no more, and therefore it cannot operate efficiently; for that which no longer exists, no longer operates physically.

Reply. Yet the answer is that Christ's passion efficiently causes our salvation, not indeed as principal cause, but as instrumental cause.

Theological proof. Christ's humanity is the instrument of His Godhead, with which it is united. Therefore, as a consequence of this, all Christ's actions and sufferings operate instrumentally in virtue of His Godhead for the salvation of men.

Reply to first objection. It explains the words of the Apostle: "The weakness of God is stronger than men."[1977]

Reply to second objection. "Christ's passion although corporeal, has yet a spiritual effect from the Godhead united, and therefore it secures its efficacy by spiritual contact." Corporeal contact is not required, but virtual or dynamic contact suffices. We find this to be true of several instruments used by man, as in the use of a trumpet to transmit a sound in a certain direction; for this instrument does not actually touch the ears of the hearers. A fortiori, God makes use of similar instruments to produce spiritual effects.

The objection that Christ's passion no longer is in action, and therefore cannot operate efficiently, is of no value; for it is a question of Christ's humanity, as formerly subject to suffering and now persists in His glorified wounds. Such is the explanation given by the holy doctor.[1978]

Reply to third objection. It is a recapitulation of this subject about Christ's sufferings, for it says: "Christ's passion, according as it is compared with His Godhead, operates in an efficient manner, but so far as it is compared with the will of Christ's soul it acts in a meritorious manner, considered as being within Christ's very flesh, it acts by way of satisfaction, inasmuch as we are liberated by it from the debt of punishment; while inasmuch as we are freed from the servitude of guilt, it acts by way of redemption; but so far as we are reconciled with God it acts by way of sacrifice."


CHAPTER XXXIV: QUESTION 49: THE EFFECTS OF CHRIST'S PASSION AND THE UNIVERSALITY OF REDEMPTION

In this question St. Thomas shows the six effects of Christ's passion, I which are His merits and satisfaction. Since these six articles present no difficulty, it suffices to give a brief recapitulation of the doctrine contained in them, so that we may pass on to discuss the universality of redemption. All the conclusions of this question must be understood as meaning that Christ's passion is the universal and sufficient cause for the production of these effects; however, that His passion actually produces these effects, it must be applied to us by means of the sacraments and good works.

As regards the definitions of the Church, it has been especially defined in the Second Council of Orange,[1979] and in the Council of Trent, that Christ so redeemed us that "the nature lost by Adam was repaired by Him."[1980] Christ by His death on the cross redeemed us from sins and reconciled us with the Father.[1981] He satisfied for the sins of the whole world.[1982] Thus He suffered for all,[1983] even for the damned.[1984]

First Article: Whether We Were Delivered From Sin Through Christ's Passion

By Christ's passion we have been delivered from sin, in that Christ inasmuch as He is our head, by His passion which He endured for us out of love and obedience, as by the price of His passion, redeemed us as His members from sins. He redeemed us in the same way as if a man by the good industry of his hands were to redeem himself from a sin committed with his feet. We are here concerned with the sufficiency of the Passion as regards all past, present, and future sins,[1985] but the fruits of the Passion must be applied to us by means of the sacraments, or at least by implicit living faith in Christ.

Second Article: Whether We Were Delivered From The Devil's Power Through Christ's Passion

Conclusion. By Christ's passion we are freed from the devil's power, under whose slavery we had fallen through sin.

Reply to second and third objections. "God so permitting it, the devil can still tempt men's souls and harass their bodies; yet there is still a remedy provided for man through Christ's passion.... namely, a remedy for defending themselves against the wicked snares of the demons, even in Antichrist's time. But if any man neglect to make use of this remedy, it detracts nothing from the efficacy of Christ's passion."

Third Article: Whether Men Were Freed From The Punishment Of Sin Through Christ's Passion

Conclusion. Sin having been taken away, we are freed from eternal punishment that is due to it.

Reply to second objection. "Hence no punishment of satisfaction is imposed upon men at their baptism, since they are fully delivered by Christ's satisfaction."

Fourth Article: Whether We Were Reconciled To God Through Christ's Passion

Conclusion. By Christ's passion we are reconciled to God, in that the cause of enmity against God, which was sin, has been taken away.

Reply to second objection. The general sense of this reply is that God is said to be placated by a change that is effected not in Him, but in us.

Fifth Article: Whether Christ Opened The Gate Of Heaven To Us By His Passion

Conclusion. Christ opened the gate of heaven to us by His passion, in that He removed the obstacle to its entrance, which is sin.

Reply to first objection. Before Christ's passion no one could enter the kingdom of heaven, because living faith, which sufficed in the Old Testament for the cleansing of the individual, did not suffice for removing the barrier arising from the guilt of the whole human race because of original sin.

Reply to second objection. Elias and Enoch are believed to be living in the earthly paradise until the coming of Antichrist.

Sixth Article: Whether By His Passion Christ Merited To Be Exalted

Conclusion. Christ by His passion merited to be exalted[1986] as regards His glorious resurrection, His ascension, His sitting at the right hand of the Father, and His judiciary power.

The Universality Of Redemption

From what has been said, it follows that Christ's redemption is universal, inasmuch as, concerning its sufficiency, it included: (1) all men; (2) all sins; and (3) all good things lost by sin.

1) Redemption included all men, or Christ died for all men. This doctrine on redemption and God's universal will to save are about equivalent in meaning. Luther, Calvin, and the Jansenists, in denying that God wills to save all men, consequently denied that Christ, who came into the world to do His Father's will, died for all men, and so they said that Christ died only for the predestined.

This proposition of Jansenius was condemned, namely: "It is a Semi-Pelagian heresy to say that Christ died or shed His blood for all men without exception."[1987] This proposition, understood in this sense, that Christ died for the salvation only of the predestined, was condemned as heretical.

Moreover, that redemption includes all the faithful seems also to be de fide, for the Church declares of Christ: "Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was also crucified for us."[1988] All the faithful are bound to recite this symbol of the faith.

Finally, Alexander VIII condemned the following proposition of the Jansenists: "Christ gave Himself for us as an oblation to God, not for the elect only, but for all the faithful, and for the faithful alone."[1989]

The Council of Trent says: "But, though He died for all,[1990] yet all do not receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated."[1991] Hence theologians generally maintain that it is certain, proximate to the faith, that Christ also died at least for all adult infidels. It is even commonly held against Vasquez that Christ died for all men without exception, even for infants who die without being baptized, inasmuch as Christ merited for them the grace of baptism; yet this was made dependent on secondary causes that sometimes prevent the conferring of baptism. There is no passage in Scripture that excludes infants from the benefit of redemption, but it asserts in a general way that Christ died for all.

Scriptural proof. There are no limitations. Thus St. Paul says: "Therefore as by the offense of one man, unto all men to condemnation, so also by the justice of one, unto all men to justification of life."[1992] "Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again."[1993] "God will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a redemption for all."[1994] "We see Jesus... crowned with glory and honor that through the grace of God He might taste death for all."[1995] In one of the epistles we read that "Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."[1996]

Patristic testimony. The Fathers unanimously assert and explain this doctrine on redemption as shown from the texts quoted by Rouet de Journel.[1997] St. Augustine, too, says of infants: "Are not infants also men, so as not to belong to those of whom it is said that God wills all to be saved?"[1998] He also says: "God does not command what is impossible, but in commanding advises you to do what you can, and to ask for what you cannot do."[1999] It is impossible, however, for adults to observe God's commands without Christ's grace. Therefore the Council of Quierzy declared against the predestinarians: "Just as there neither is, was, nor will be any man whose nature was not assumed by Christ Jesus our Lord, so there neither is, was, nor will be a man for whom Christ did not suffer, although not all are redeemed by the mystery of His passion..., because the goblet of Christ's blood for the salvation of men, which was prepared... has indeed in itself the power to benefit all; but no one is healed except those who drink from this goblet."[2000] Hence Christ's redemption is universal as regards men, because all are included.

2) Christ's redemption includes all sins. In other words, Christ truly satisfied for all sins, both original sin and the actual sins of all human beings. The Council of Trent says: "Him [Christ] God hath proposed as a propitiator, through faith in His blood, for our sins,[2001] and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world."[2002]

This second point, namely, that redemption includes all sins, is de fide, for the sins of the faithful, certain for the sins of infidels, commonly admitted doctrine for original sin of infants, as proportionately stated for the first point. Otherwise Christ would not have died absolutely for all men.

Moreover, since Christ's satisfaction is superabundant and of infinite value, it follows that He freed us not only from guilt, but also from eternal and temporal punishment. But we are de facto freed from punishment only if Christ's satisfactions are applied to us both by the sacraments, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and by living faith, "which operates by charity."[2003]

Christ's satisfaction is not applied to adults without their cooperation, for our Lord says: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."[2004] The Prince of the Apostles also teaches that Christ left us "an example that we should follow His steps."[2005] Christ the Savior moves us to act and gives us grace, not that our will remain inactive, but that we act by means of the virtues to keep His precepts.

3) Christ's redemption also includes all good things lost by sin, so that we may be restored to our former state, a work begun in this life and completed in the next.

For, as St. Thomas says,[2006] by Christ's passion we are freed from sin, punishment, the power of the devil, reconciled to God, and by it the gate of heaven is opened to us. Thus Christ sufficiently merited for all men habitual grace, actual graces that prepare for or follow justification, and also eternal life. He also merited for us natural good things, inasmuch as these are conducive to salvation. He did not indeed merit that the preternatural gifts of immunity from death, suffering, concupiscence, and error should be restored to us in this life. As St. Thomas explains: "A Christian receives grace in baptism as to his soul; but he retains a passible body, so that he may suffer for Christ therein, ... and this is suitable for our spiritual training, namely, in order that, by fighting against concupiscence and other defects to which he is subject, man may receive the crown of victory."[2007] Yet Christ merited that these defects should not gain the mastery over us in this life,[2008] and that they be completely eliminated in the next.

Thus Christ's passion is the sufficient cause of salvation for all, and it is efficacious for those to whom it is applied either by the sacraments, or by living faith, and to those who do not resist sufficient grace. But those who resist it deserve to be deprived of efficacious grace.[2009] Thus Christ merited all the effects of predestination for the elect, namely, calling, justification, glorification, and also all the efficacious graces that de facto are and will be conferred. As regards the efficacious graces, however, which will not be conferred because of the resistance to sufficient grace, He merited these as offered in the sufficient grace, but not as conferred or to be conferred. God offers the efficacious grace to us in the sufficient grace, as the fruit is contained in the flower; but when the sufficient grace is resisted, then the efficacious grace is not conferred.[2010]

Therefore Christ's redemption is universal including all men, all sins, and all natural good things that were lost by sin. This is a corollary resulting from the superabundant and infinite value of Christ's atonement.


CHAPTER XXXV: THE SUBLIME MYSTERY OF REDEMPTION INASMUCH AS IT IS A MYSTERY OF LOVE

By way of combining synthetically what St. Thomas has said,[2011] that we may see more clearly the sublimity of the mystery of redemption inasmuch as it is a mystery of love, two questions remain to be considered: (1) Why Christ suffered so much for us, when the least of His theandric acts of love already superabundantly satisfied for the redemption of all men. (2) How shall we reconcile in Christ crucified the union of supreme suffering with perfect peace and happiness resulting from the beatific vision?

First Article: Why Christ Suffered So Much When The Least Of His Acts Of Love Superabundantly Sufficed For The Salvation Of All Men

State of the question. When we meditate on Christ's passion, this question often arises: why Christ endured so many humiliations, so many physical and moral sufferings for our salvation, if even by the least act of theandric love He could have merited eternal life for all of us, if the least suffering, joined with theandric love and accepted by God, could have superabundantly redeemed and satisfied for the sins of a thousand worlds, as is commonly taught even in catechisms. It is certain, as was shown above, that the least of Christ's theandric acts of love has an infinite personal value for meriting and satisfying, because it pleases God the Father more than all crimes displease Him. St. Thomas says: "The very least one of Christ's sufferings was sufficient of itself to redeem the human race from all sins."[2012] St. Thomas also says:

"O loving Pelican ! O Jesu Lord !
Unclean I am, but cleanse me in Thy blood !
Of which a single drop for sinners spilt,
Can purge the entire world from all its guilt."[2013]

Clement VI likewise says: "The innocent Christ who was immolated on the altar of the cross shed not merely a little drop of blood, though this would have sufficed for the redemption of the entire human race, because of the union with the Word, but streams of it, like unto a river."[2014] Wherefore, then, such great humiliations? Christ was forcibly stripped of His garments, scourged, struck in the face, spit upon by the soldiers, crowned with thorns, a reed in derision was placed in His hand; His entire body was made a victim of suffering, and even in His heart He suffered, being abandoned by His own nation, even by His disciples, and He was opposed by the priests of the synagogue, who preferred Barabbas to Him; He was a victim even in His soul, saying in the Garden of Gethsemane: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death,"[2015] and on the cross He cried aloud those words of the Messianic psalm: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[2016]

Why all these physical and moral sufferings, when the pain endured from theandric love and accepted by God sufficed superabundantly for the redemption of all men?

St. Thomas answers this question by giving three reasons subordinated to one another in an ascending order for this supreme grief, and founded on revelation. They are: (1) on our part;[2017] (2) on the part of Christ crucified;[2018] (3) on the part of the Father, who did not spare His Son, but delivered Him up to suffer for us.[2019]

All these reasons are expressed, more or less explicitly, in the Messianic prophecies, which Christ explained to the two disciples going to the town of Emmaus, to whom He finally said: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?"[2020]

These three principal reasons must be separately explained; each consists of several subdivisions.

1) As regards ourselves, it was fitting for Christ to suffer in so many ways and to the utmost, so that He might give us the supreme example of love.

"The proof of love, " as St. Gregory says, "is shown in act,"[2021] and especially in painful sacrifice. Hence Christ Himself said: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."[2022] But Christ also gave His life for His enemies, and for His executioners for whom He prayed.

St. Thomas says the same in the following words: "Man knows thereby how much God loves him, and is thereby stirred to love Him in return, and herein lies the perfection of human salvation. Hence the Apostle says: God commendeth His charity toward us, for whereas yet we were sinners... Christ died for us."[2023]

On our part, there are other subordinated reasons why Christ suffered for us, reasons which are mentioned here, namely: Because thereby Christ set us an example not only of supreme charity, but also of such subordinated virtues as obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues displayed in the Passion, which are requisite for man's salvation. Hence it is written: "Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow His steps."[2024] In fact, Christ in His passion gave us an example of practicing virtues that are at such extremes from one another that they appear to be contraries, and yet they are intimately and perfectly united in most perfect sanctity, such as supreme fortitude and absolute meekness. St. Thomas, declaring that Christ willed to suffer for us, quotes St. Augustine, who says: "No kind of death should trouble an upright man... because among all kinds of death, none was more execrable, more fear-inspiring than this."[2025]

Consequently, as intimated,[2026] Christ's passion vividly manifests the gravity of sin, inasmuch as reparation is made for the sin of pride by great humiliations, sins of impurity by such intense sufferings, sins arising from concupiscence of the eyes by such want and deprivation, sins of disobedience by obedience even unto death on the cross.

Likewise Christ's passion most sublimely makes clear to us the value of both the supernatural life of grace and eternal life, which is obtained for us by so much self-denial, in despising all the joys and honors of this life; so that He appears to be completely conquered, stripped of all temporal goods, whereas He truly is the Savior of all these things. This constitutes the chiaroscuro of our Lord's passion considered as it concerns us.[2027] These reasons that refer to us are capable of different modes of development, according as they apply in various ways to us.

Finally, under this aspect it must be said with St. Thomas: "As man was overcome and deceived by the devil, so also it should be by a man becoming humble and perfectly obedient that the devil should be overthrown; and as man deserved death, so a man by dying should vanquish death. Hence it is written: "Thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ. ' "[2028] Sinful men need this greatest proof of love for their conversion.

2) As regards Christ the Savior, it befitted Him to suffer in many ways and in the highest degree, so that He might most perfectly accomplish His glorious mission as Savior of the whole human race.[2029]

Christ truly fulfilled His mission by heroic obedience even to death on the cross, which was also a most perfect holocaust that was offered from supreme love. St. Thomas says: "Instead of material fire, there was the spiritual fire of charity in Christ's holocaust."[2030]

Thus the words of St. Paul are verified: "For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just."[2031]

Moreover, Christ as priest could not offer any victim worthier than His own self. Hence it is said: "He hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness,"[2032] and it is a most perfect holocaust in which the whole victim is consumed in God's honor and for the reparation of sin. As we said above,[2033] the more perfect the sacrifice is, the more the priest who offers it is united with God to whom he offers it, the more he is united with the people for whom he offers it, and finally with the victim, which is an external expression of adoration and of interior reparation. Hence Christ was most fittingly both priest and hostage, and hostage or victim not only in the body, by enduring physical pain, but also in the heart and soul by submitting to the most intense of moral suffering. Thus among the three apostolates of doctrine and prayer and suffering or sacrifice, the last is the more fruitful; Christ saved more by His death on the cross than by His preaching on the Mount of the Beatitudes, and He preached nowhere better and more sublimely than on the cross.

Thus it was fitting that the most perfect Redeemer should accomplish His mission in a most perfect manner, by a heroic sacrifice of supreme love, offered out of supreme love for God's glory and the salvation of souls. Hence in this way Christ not only merited, but He merited in the highest degree the exaltation of His name, and what He was already entitled to because of His divine sonship, this He acquired because He had supremely merited it. But if anything can be the object of merit, it is better to have it from merit than without merit.[2034]

Moreover, as will be said in the following question, while Christ was still both wayfarer and comprehensor, He could not have fullness of grace, and love for God and souls without experiencing the greatest of grief for mortal sin, since it is an offense against God and the death of souls that leads to eternal misery. On this point St. Thomas says: "This grief in Christ surpassed all grief of every contrite heart, both because it flowed from a greater wisdom and charity, and because He grieved at the same time for all sins, as the prophet says, Surely He hath carried our sorrows."[2035]

Finally, it must be observed that very great holiness arouses men of bad disposition neither to admiration nor indifference, but to hatred which results in fierce persecution. The Evangelist says: "Men loved darkness rather than the light."[2036] Hence Christ said of the Pharisees: "Now they have hated both Me and My Father."[2037] The old man Simeon had said of Jesus in His early childhood: "Behold this child is set for a sign which shall be contradicted... that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed."[2038]

3) As regards God the Father, it was fitting that the Father should deliver up His Son to the greatest of suffering, so that Christ by this sorrowful way might attain to the greatest of all glory, namely, victory over sin, the devil, and death. It is in this way that in the case of certain great servants of God, such as St. Paul of the Cross, their life is made illustrious.[2039] The holy Doctor, St. Thomas, presents the following objection on this subject: "It seems that God does not always love more the better things. For it is manifest that Christ is better than the whole human race, being God and man. But God loved the human race more than He loved Christ; for it is said: "He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. ' Therefore He does not always love more the better things."[2040]

St. Thomas replies by saying: "God loves Christ not only more than He loves the whole human race, but more than He loves the entire created universe; because He willed for Him the greater good in giving Him a name that is above all names, so far as He was true God. Nor did anything of His excellence diminish when God delivered Him up to death for the salvation of the human race; rather did He become thereby a glorious conqueror. The government was placed upon His shoulder, as the prophet says."[2041] In other words, Christ became conqueror of sin and the devil by offering Himself in sacrifice on the cross, and the conqueror of death by His resurrection inasmuch as "the wages of sin is death,"[2042] and it is destroyed after sin is destroyed.

Thus sometimes in human affairs, the general of the army in time of war must sacrifice several of his soldiers for the safety of his country; then he often chooses the better soldiers. The example is quoted of the magnanimous general who chose his son to lead the soldiers who were to die fighting for the safety of their country. In such a case, the son thus chosen fulfils perfectly his military calling, thanks his father for this glorious mission, and in this we see clearly the heroic love of the father for his son, and of the son for his father and the safety of the fatherland. This is a remote comparison with the sacrifice on the cross; for God the Father truly "delivered up His Son for us"[2043] and gave Him a strict command to die for us on the cross.

St. Thomas beautifully explains this in commenting on these words of our Lord: "I lay down My life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to lay it down of Myself and I have power to take it up again. This commandment I have received of My Father."[2044] He considers that this text concerns a command in the strict sense, and says: "The fulfillment of a command is a proof of love for the person who commands."[2045] St. Thomas in another article shows[2046] that, although this command is dour, yet it results from the supreme love of the Father for the Son.

At the beginning of the above-mentioned article, St. Thomas puts this objection to himself: "It is a wicked and cruel act to hand over an innocent man to torment and death; but the Apostle says: He spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."[2047]

We quoted the following reply of the holy Doctor: "In three respects God the Father did deliver up Christ to the Passion. In the first way, because by His eternal will He preordained Christ's passion for the deliverance of the human race,[2048] according to the words of the prophet: "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all, '[2049] and again: "The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity."[2050] Secondly, inasmuch as, by the infusion of charity, He inspired Him with the will to suffer for us. Hence we read in the same passage: "He was offered because it was His own will."[2051] Thirdly, by not shielding Him from the Passion, but abandoning Him to His persecutors. Hence we read that Christ, while hanging upon the cross cried out: 'My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?,[2052] because to wit, He left Him to the power of His persecutors, as Augustine says."[2053]

There was not any cruelty in this on the part of the Father, because "God the Father did not deliver up Christ against His will, but inspired Him with the will to suffer for us. God's severity is thereby shown, for He would not remit sin without penalty... and His goodness shines forth, since by no penalty endured could man pay Him enough satisfaction."[2054]

Reply to third objection. "The Father delivered up Christ, and Christ surrendered Himself from charity, and consequently we give praise to both. But Judas betrayed Christ from greed, the Jews from envy, and Pilate from worldly fear, for he stood in fear of Caesar. And these accordingly are held guilty." Thus on the part of God the Father inspiring and commanding and on the part of Christ offering Himself, His death was a sacrifice, whereas for the Jews it was a sacrifice and a crime.

But the divine decree concerning the command Christ received to die for us, can be illustrated by divers subordinated motives with respect to the glory which God the Father willed eternally for His Son.

1) The greatest degree of glory is acquired in accepting with great love the more profound humiliations. Thus Christ Himself said: "Everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."[2055] The parable of the Pharisee and the publican is likewise an example.[2056] This truth is often mentioned in the Old Testament, and it is clearly illustrated in the lives of Job, the prophet Joseph, who was sold by his brothers but was afterward exalted, as also in the life of Isaac, who was a figure of Christ, inasmuch as he was bound on the altar by his father to be sacrificed, and afterward he was blessed with an innumerable progeny. This law of the supernatural order finds its supreme verification in Christ. Because of His divine sonship, indeed, by reason of His birth and heredity, He already had the right to the greatest glory, namely, to sit at the right hand of the Father; but it was also most fitting that He should obtain this greatest of glory on grounds of supreme merit.

Thus also we find verified these words which the prophet said of our Lord: "Behold My Servant, My elect; My soul delighteth in Him... The bruised reed He shall not break, and smoking flax He shall not quench; He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.... I, the Lord, this is My name. I will not give My glory to another."[2057] But God wills from all eternity to give this supreme glory to the incarnate Word, that He sit at the right hand of His Father forever, as supreme Judge of all, as King of kings, Lord of lords; but this highest glory is deservedly obtained by the more profound humiliations of the Passion accepted with great love. This explains clearly our Lord's words to the disciples on their way to Emmaus: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?"[2058]

2) The greatest victory over sin whereby charity is lost, was deservedly obtained by that supreme act of charity, whereby Christ heroically gave His life for us. Thus we have in this the most eminent verification of these classic words of St. Augustine: "And so the two loves made two cities; the love of self that resulted in contempt of God constituting the worldly city, and the love of God that resulted in contempt of self, constituting the heavenly city."[2059] This contempt of self resulted in the perfect sacrifice of the present life, and of all humiliations; it ended in the ignominy or opprobrium of dying on the cross between two thieves.

3) The greatest victory over the demon of pride and disobedience was deservedly obtained also by humble "obedience unto death, even to the death on the cross."[2060] Hence God the Father, eternally willing for His incarnate Son this most exalted victory, decreed that He become obedient even to the death on the cross. This follows from the supreme love of the Father for His Son and for us in His Son. St. Thomas quotes St. Augustine as saying: "It was fitting means of overthrowing the pride of the devil... that Christ should liberate us by the lowliness of the Passion."[2061]

4) The greatest victory over death, which is the "wages of sin,"[2062] justly so is obtained by the resurrection. But this glorious resurrection presupposes death, and death that is accepted through love for the victory over sin, which is the cause of death.[2063]

St. Thomas quotes St. Chrysostom as saying: "How could Christ's victory over death be apparent unless He endured it in the sight of all men, and so proved that death was extinguished by the incorruption of His body?"[2064] St. Thomas likewise says: "Christ's obedience unto death befitted His victory, whereby He triumphed over death and its author."[2065] Thus we chant in the liturgy: "O great work of mercy ! Death then died when Life died on the tree. Alleluia."[2066]

Because of these subordinated motives, God the Father willing this glory and threefold victory of Christ over sin, the devil, and death, decreed to deliver Him up to sufferings, and the greatest humiliations of the Passion.

St. Paul enunciates all these victories in the following sublime combination: "Christ humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names. That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."[2067]

All these victories appear the more sublime when we consider that the gratuitous predestination of Christ was eternal as regards: (1) His divine natural sonship; (2) His supreme degree of glory; (3) His fullness of habitual grace and charity, whereby Christ was to merit the glory previously intended by God.[2068]

These are the reasons for the supreme humiliation and sufferings of Christ, whose least act of love fully and superabundantly sufficed for the redemption of the whole human race.

These reasons must be sought partly in ourselves, partly in Christ, and partly in God the Father, for men needed this supreme manifestation of love; Christ had to accomplish His mission in the most perfect manner; and God the Father, in this way, willed to give His Son supreme victory.

Which of these is the more exalted? The more exalted reason is that of God the Father who predestines, as St. Paul says: "For all are yours; and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's."[2069] Hence the ultimate end of both the Incarnation and the Passion is the manifestation of God's goodness, especially by way of mercy. Thus in the liturgy we say: "O God, who dost manifest Thine almighty power above all in showing pardon and pity,"[2070] for thus God not only makes something from nothing, as in creation, but from evil, even from the profound and universal evil of the fallen human race, He brings out the greatest good. Hence the Apostle says: "Where sin abounded, grace did more abound"[2071] for us, and it was at the same time a definite manifestation of Christ's victory over sin, the devil, and death, as also of God's goodness and mercy.

These are the reasons for the humiliations and most intense sufferings of Christ our Redeemer, who appears far more glorious as the Redeemer of the fallen human race and subjected to the various miseries of life than if He had come, in virtue of another decree of Providence, as the Head, the King, and the Teacher of the human race in the state of innocence.

Then Christ would not have come in passible flesh and as a victim; He would not have had the sufferings and humiliations of the Passion, and He would not have merited His future and supreme glory for all eternity in heaven. Hence the complete answer to this question is found in these words of St. Paul: "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names,"[2072] since God exalted Him to the highest of glory in that He sits at the right hand of the Father, as God equal to the Father, and as man glorifying the Father.

But the victory of the cross over the devil and sin far surpasses the victory over death on the Resurrection day. The Resurrection, indeed, is a resplendent miracle, but it is only the result of Christ's victory over sin, in that the "wages of sin is death."[2073]

This glory of the cross is wondrously expressed in the following lines of the sacred liturgy:

Resplendent is the mystery of the Cross,
On which Life itself died,
And by death our life restored.
Most royally empurpled o'er,
How beauteously thy stem doth shine,
How glorious was its lot to touch
Those limbs so holy and divine.
Hail Cross, thou only hope of man,
Now in this joyous paschal time
Justice in godly souls increase
And free the guilty from their crime.[2074]
Likewise in the following sequence:
Let me, to my latest breath
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of Thine.
Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swooned
In His very blood away.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defense
Be Thy Cross my victory.[2075]

Second Article: On The Union In Christ The Savior Of The Greatest Suffering And The Beatific Vision

After the discussion of the problem concerning the motive for the humiliations and very great sufferings of Christ the Redeemer, another very secret aspect of the Passion must be considered, namely, how Christ endured the greatest sufferings, even in the moral order, and at the same time retained the joy of supreme happiness in the beatific vision.

This problem is examined by St. Thomas in four articles,[2076] wherein he asks: Whether Christ endured all sufferings; whether the pain of His passion was the greatest; whether He suffered in His whole soul; whether His entire soul enjoyed blessed fruition during the Passion. We have already discussed these articles, but now the doctrine contained in them must be considered more profoundly, and from a more exalted point of view.

Preliminary Remarks

What makes this whole question so famous is the fact that Christ as man received from the first moment of His conception fullness of grace and charity together with the beatific vision, and hence He always had an ardent desire of most perfectly accomplishing His mission as Redeemer, by offering Himself as a supreme holocaust.

Hence we shall see: (1) that He often expressed this desire during His life; (2) that He endured all kinds of sufferings and the greatest of pain;[2077] (3) that He always had, however, the greatest of peace and happiness;[2078] (4) that the greatest of sadness and the greatest of happiness were compatibly united in Him. Concerning this last inquiry, there are three theories which, as we shall declare, are insufficient. They are: (1) that Christ suffered only in the sensitive part of His soul, which is a grave error; (2) that Christ during His passion refused the joy of the beatific vision; (3) that the greatest of happiness and the greatest of sadness are strictly contraries, and yet they are miraculously united. We shall declare that they are not strictly contraries, but their union is, nevertheless, both a miracle and a mystery, and because of this mystery it followed that Christ was both a wayfarer and a comprehensor.

This whole question must be clarified by the aid of the principle that Christ from the beginning of His human life had absolute fullness of grace from which there resulted on the one hand the light of glory, the beatific vision, and supreme joy, and on the other hand supreme charity, the greatest of zeal for God's glory and the salvation of souls, together with a most ardent desire of most perfectly accomplishing His redemptive mission by the supreme sacrifice of His life through the most perfect immolation of Himself. Hence these two effects that differ in the highest degree, namely, the greatest of joy and the greatest of suffering, originate from the same source, that is, the fullness of grace, and thus they must be intimately reconciled. In fact, we shall see that Christ's most intense suffering was concerned with sin and was in accordance with the intensity of His charity or love for God who is offended, and for souls of sinners; for it was Christ's love for souls that made Him utterly sad at the sin and loss of many souls. St. Thomas says that Christ grieved exceedingly at the sin of the Jews killing Him (cf. IIIa, q. 15, a. 6; q. 46, a. 6). In this most exalted principle, we already clearly see the intimate reconciliation of those things that differ in the highest degree, and that are naturally incompatible.

1) The plenitude of Christ's charity is the cause of His ardent desire for the sacrifice of the cross.

It is a generally accepted principle in theology that, when God immediately entrusts anyone with a very special mission of a divine nature, He demands proportionate sanctity in His legate. For God's works are perfect, especially His own immediate and exclusive operations; in these works there cannot be any deordination or lack of proportion. This principle, especially as it applies to Christ, is a revealed truth, for the Apostle says: "In the dispensation of the fullness of times [God] proposed to re-establish all things in Christ."[2079] The importance of this most certain principle is still more clearly seen if by contrast we examine carefully what more often happens in the regulation of human affairs. Frequently incapable and imprudent persons are placed in very high positions to the detriment of those over whom they must rule. But nothing like this happens to those who, immediately chosen and prepared by God for this special ministry of the supernatural order, are called by Him. To these God gives proportionate grace, so that they may perfectly fulfill their mission, as is clearly seen in the lives of those saints who were founders of religious orders, and in the lives of the apostles. But we find this truth most of all verified in Christ the Savior.

For, as stated above,[2080] Christ had received both in intensity and in extent absolute plenitude of habitual grace and charity, and therefore in accordance with this fullness of charity He ardently desired from the beginning of His earthly life most perfectly to accomplish His mission by the sacrifice on the cross, willed by God for our salvation.

If Daniel the prophet was a "man of desires,"[2081] if to all Christians our Lord said, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill,"[2082] then certainly Christ Himself had on earth an ardent desire of accomplishing His redemptive mission, no matter what obstacles and persecution He had to encounter, so that even these persecutions might serve the purpose of His mission, which is to be both priest and victim.

Christ's mission is already clearly proclaimed by St. John the Baptist, who says: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world."[2083]

But this ardent desire of most perfectly completing this sacrifice of Himself on the cross, is expressed by Christ Himself in various ways.

Thus St. Paul, who in one of his epistles speaks of Christ the great high priest and victim, points out the inadequacy of the sacrifices of the Old Law, and says: "For it is impossible that with the blood of oxen and goats sin should be taken away. Wherefore when He cometh into the world He saith: Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not, but a body Thou hast fitted to Me. Holocausts for sin did not please Thee. Then I said: Behold I come. In the head of the book it is written of Me that I should do Thy will, O God.... Then I said: Behold I come to do Thy will, O God."[2084] St. Paul at once adds: "In the which will, we are sanctified by the oblation of the body of Jesus Christ once."[2085] He says "once, " because Christ's bloody sacrifice was accomplished once on the cross, and because the interior oblation of Himself thus made from the beginning continued without interruption, and this offering did not have to be renewed because it was never interrupted. If a perfect religious, after taking vows for life, lives always, so to speak, in a state of actual oblation, a fortiori this is so with Christ Himself.

Truly this oblation never ceased in Christ's soul, and He expressed it in equivalent words in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying: "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt."[2086]

But Christ, between the beginning and the end of His life on earth, clearly expressed this desire of suffering for us; for the Evangelist records Him as saying: "I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled? And I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished."[2087] It concerns the baptism of blood, which is the most perfect of all, as St. Thomas shows,[2088] for it is at the same time a sacrifice.

Likewise the desire of the Passion or of the cross is most beautifully expressed in the parable of the good shepherd: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling... seeth the wolf coming... and flieth.... I am the good shepherd... and I lay down My life for My sheep.... No man taketh it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.... This commandment I have received of My Father."[2089] Therefore this interior oblation continues without interruption in Christ's will.

Similarly, after Jesus had foretold His sorrowful passion to His apostles, Peter "began to rebuke Him, saying: "Lord, be it far from Thee, this shall not be unto Thee. ' Who turning, said to Peter: "Go behind Me, Satan, thou are a scandal unto Me, because thou savorest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men. ' "[2090] Unknowingly Peter spoke against the whole economy of salvation, against the infallible disposition of Providence concerning the sacrifice of the cross for the salvation of the human race. Christ again affirms His mission and perfectly wills its accomplishment, notwithstanding the extreme pain of the crucifixion.

In like manner He speaks of taking up the cross in these words: "He that findeth his life [that is, in loving too much the joys of this world] will lose it; and he that shall lose his life [or sacrifice his life for God] shall find it."[2091] To the sons of Zebedee, "Jesus answering said: "You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? or be baptized with the baptism wherewith I am baptized?" They say to Him: "We can." Jesus saith to them: "You shall indeed drink of the chalice."[2092]

Again, after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Christ speaks of His glorification by means of the cross, when He says: "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." A voice therefore came from heaven. "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." ... Jesus said to the multitude: "This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of the world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself."[2093] This is a beautiful expression of Christ's ardent desire for the passion. The Evangelist at once adds: "Now this He said signifying what death He should die."[2094]

Finally, this ardent desire for the sacrifice of the cross is most clearly expressed on the day before He suffered, when Christ instituted the Sacrifice of the Mass, which is substantially the same as the sacrifice of the cross. As the Evangelist narrates, He said to the apostles: "With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer."[2095] In other words, I have desired most earnestly to eat this pasch with you, that is, as Eusebius observes, the pasch of the New Testament, which is the Eucharist in which Christ is as a victim; hence He at once afterward said: "I say to you, that from this time I will not eat it, till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." "And taking bread, He gave thanks and broke, and gave to them saying: "This is My body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of Me. ' In like manner the chalice also, after He had supped, saying: "This is the chalice, the new testament in My blood, which shall be shed for you."[2096]

Immediately after the supper, on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus expresses this same desire, saying: "For the prince of this world cometh and in Me He hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I."[2097]

He also says: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."[2098] "Sanctify them [the apostles] in truth.... And for them I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth." In other words, I sacrifice Myself.[2099]

From these different texts it is evident that Christ continually desired the perfect fulfillment of His mission by the sacrifice of the cross. These various passages are also clarified from the teaching on the plenitude of grace and charity in the Savior, as stated above.[2100] This fullness of grace disposed Christ so that He most perfectly desired and efficaciously willed to accomplish His mission of Redeemer and victim by offering Himself as a perfect holocaust, suffering for us all the physical and moral pains of the Passion and crucifixion.[2101] This explains why He willed to suffer sadness unto death for us,[2102] and why "He began to fear and to be heavy,"[2103] in that He willed to suffer this extreme anxiety, so that His sacrifice might be a perfect holocaust, in which the victim is completely destroyed and consumed in God's honor for the remission of sins.[2104]

2) Did Christ endure all kinds of suffering, and even the greatest?

St. Thomas in examining this question shows that "it was not necessary for Christ to endure every kind of suffering, since many are mutually exclusive, as burning, and drowning,"[2105] and it did not become Him to suffer bodily sicknesses.[2106] But He endured all kinds of sufferings, in that: (1) on the part of men, He suffered from all classes, namely, from the Gentiles, the Jews, the rulers, the people, His apostles, as is evident from Judas who betrayed Him, and Peter who denied Him; (2) on the part of those things whereby man can suffer, He suffered from His friends deserting Him, from hunger, by contempts and blasphemies against His honor, in His body, in His soul through extreme sadness and weariness; (3) then He suffered in all parts of His body, from the feet nailed to the cross to the head crowned with thorns.

But was the pain of Christ's passion greater than all other pains?

St. Thomas replies that the pain of Christ's passion was the greatest of all pains in the present life, and this for four reasons: (1) from the quasi-efficient causes of this pain; (2) from the susceptibility of the sufferer; (3) because of the lack of any mitigation of the pain taken in the formal sense; (4) from the end in view, because the pain willed by Christ was to be proportionate for the liberation of the human race, in that the sacrifice of Himself must be a most perfect holocaust.

St. Thomas develops this subject here,[2107] and thus explains the words of the prophet: "Attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow."[2108]

1) The cause indeed of the sensible pain was most bitter, in that the crucifixion affected His whole body, especially the most sensible parts, which are the hands and the feet. Also the cause of the interior pain could not be a greater evil, for it was first the sins of the human race, for which Christ satisfied by suffering, which he ascribes to Himself, and secondly, His being abandoned by His people and His disciples.

2) There could not have been greater sensibility in the sufferer, both as to soul and body, for "Christ's body was endowed with a most perfect constitution, since it was fashioned miraculously, and His sensitiveness of touch was most acute, which is the reason for our feeling pain. His soul, likewise, from its interior powers, apprehended most vehemently all the causes of sadness."[2109]

3) Christ's suffering was not mitigated, as in other sufferers, from some consideration of reason, by some derivation of joy from the higher powers into the lower, for as Damascene says: "He permitted each one of His powers to exercise its proper function,"[2110] by not lessening the pain from some higher consideration, which He could have done. Thus He most freely and fully delivered Himself up to pain.

4) Because Christ willed to suffer pain that was in proportion to the liberation of men from sin. St. Thomas expresses it as follows: "Fourthly, the magnitude of the pain of Christ's suffering can be reckoned by this, that the pain and sorrow were accepted voluntarily, to the end of men's deliverance from sin; and consequently He embraced the amount of pain proportionate to the magnitude of the fruit which resulted therefrom."[2111]

Reply to second objection. "And so to atone for the sins of all men, Christ accepted sadness, the greatest in absolute quantity, yet not exceeding the rule of reason, " that is, not preventing the use of reason. But, as it was said above, He delivered Himself up fully and most freely to pain for our salvation.

Reply to fourth objection. Christ grieved not only over the loss of His own bodily life, but also over the sins of all others. And this grief in Christ surpassed all grief of every contrite heart, both because it flowed from a greater wisdom and charity, by which the pang of contrition is intensified, and because He grieved at one time for all sins, according to the prophet who said: "Surely He hath carried our sorrows "[2112]

This last text could be developed at length. For Christ grieved not only in the sensitive part of His soul, but in His will motivated by charity. This finds its confirmation in the lives of the saints who offered themselves as victims for certain sinners only, and grieved very intensively for their sins. Thus it was, for example, with St. Catherine of Siena. But Christ not only grieved for the sins of certain sinners, but for those of all men of whatever generation and nation, and for all sins taken together. The chalice about which He said in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Let this chalice pass from Me,"[2113] was the chalice of all human iniquities. He accepted this chalice, so that He might give us another chalice, to wit, the chalice of His most precious blood. These two chalices represent the whole history of the human race, all the abundance of evil and all the superabundance of good.

Moreover, as St. Thomas says in the above-mentioned text, Christ grieved for all sins taken together, so that His grief might exceed the grief of any contrite person whatever, because it was a supernatural detestation not only of certain sins, but of all sins, and moreover because it was the result of greater wisdom and charity. This reason is most evident. St. Thomas says[2114] that contrition is grief of the intellective part of the soul, namely, a displeasure of the will about sin, and is always accompanied by grace and charity; for the soul grieves about sin because of God who is infinitely lovable and loved above all things. There was, indeed, neither contrition nor penance in Christ, because He had never sinned; in fact, He was absolutely impeccable. But there was supreme detestation of sin in the higher part of His soul, and as long as He was both wayfarer and comprehensor, He grieved to the utmost spiritually for the sins of men.

This point is clarified by the following principles.

The just person grieves all the more for sin, the more that person knows its gravity; but nobody knew better than Christ the Savior the quasi-infinite gravity of mortal sin, which practically denies God His dignity of being the ultimate end. If St. Catherine of Siena saw the interior state of souls as regards certain prelates of her time, so as to feel nauseated, then what effect must Christ's knowledge have had upon Him!

Likewise the greater the degree of love which the just person has for God who is offended by sin, the greater is the grief for sin. Sermons are preached about this on the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Compassion to show how great was her grief for sin. A fortiori, much more did Christ grieve for all sins because of the fullness of His love for God the Father, who is offended by sin, and for souls that through sin lose eternal life. In other words, the fullness of Christ's charity increased in Him to the utmost extent His capacity of suffering for the greatest of evils, which is sin. On the contrary, egotism prevents this holy grief, for the egotist, who lives only a superficial life of soul, grieves only superficially over evils that wound his sensuality or pride.

What has been said establishes how much Christ willed to suffer for us, as the following texts prove: "Surely He hath borne our iniquities and carried our sorrows";[2115] "Who His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice";[2116] "He appeared to take away our sins."[2117] Therefore most certainly, as our faith teaches, Christ most vehemently desired to suffer for our salvation even to the death of the cross.

This ardent desire of the cross and supreme happiness of the suffering Christ constitute, as stated, the two principal effects of His fullness of grace to which all other effects can be reduced. They are the two extremes of His interior life.

For Christ's supreme happiness, which consists in the beatific vision, is the nobler element in His human intellect, just as the love of God and peace of mind resulting from this beatific vision constitute what is nobler in His human will. But the ardent desire of Christ for the cross is another aspect of which Christ's life seems to be contrary to what has been said, but it most evidently corresponds to His primary mission of Savior and victim. Thus we have, as L. Chardon says, a beautiful combination of the whole of Christ's interior life.

We must now consider how these two principal effects of Christ's plenitude of grace, although apparently contraries, could simultaneously be present in the Passion.

All these statements pertain more to the teaching of faith than to theology. They transcend it. Yet theology is most useful in showing the subordination of these statements in the body of doctrine. In fact, the principal part of sacred theology is not the deduction of theological conclusions through the medium of a natural premise, but it is the explanation of the truths of the faith and their logical subordination. In the manifestation of this subordination, theology in some manner hides itself; somehow as St. John the Baptist says of Christ: "He must increase, but I must decrease."[2118] This means that sacred theology no longer uses strictly technical terms, but speaks in the words of Sacred Scripture, which are like precious stones logically arranged by it, so that in their subordinate and doctrinal setting they may interact as searchlights. This most exalted part of theology proposes the object of faith in a doctrinal manner, that is, in logical order, and thus it is of great service to contemplation, because thus it prepares for us a general synthesis of the truths wherein we have a view of the whole doctrine of faith, as also a complete and intelligent grasp of it.

3) Christ always retained His supreme happiness even when hanging on the cross.[2119]

We have seen,[2120] that Christ already in this life enjoyed the beatific vision. He says of Himself: "We speak what we know, and we testify what we have seen."[2121] "He that cometh from above is above all.... And what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth."[2122] But Christ speaks of Himself as man, therefore He sees God as man. This vision is the direct source of His testimony. He has not only faith in His own divinity and personality, but something more than faith, namely, beatific vision or knowledge.

Likewise He says: "No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descendeth from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven."[2123] This is the same as saying that the Son of man, still living on earth as man, is already in heaven, or is both wayfarer and comprehensor, as tradition asserts.

Similarly, a short time before His passion, He says: "Father, I will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me, that they may see My glory which Thou hast given Me."[2124] The phrase, "where I am, " signifies the termination of this life, or glory.

This is also quite clear from the Transfiguration, which was the sign of Christ's hidden glory in the soul, which He then allowed to have its repercussion on the body, according to the common teaching of the Fathers.

Hence the Holy Office declared (June 7, 1918) that the following proposition cannot safely be taught. "There is no evidence that Christ when on earth had the knowledge of which the blessed or comprehensors have."[2125] To say that this proposition can be safely taught would be an error.

In fact, we have seen[2126] that, if Christ's soul did not have from the beginning the beatific vision but received it later on, then His charity was capable of increase, which is contrary to the teaching of the Second Council of Constantinople, which says: "Christ was not made better by advancing in perfection."[2127] From the first moment of His conception His soul was raised to the highest degree of being, namely, to the being of the Word, and consequently to the highest of all operations, that is, to the beatific vision, which was permanent in Christ continuing during sleep, just as His plenitude of grace was, which resulted from the uncreated grace of union. Thus because of the beatific vision He already enjoyed the utmost happiness.

But there is no reason why the beatific vision should have been interrupted at the moment of His passion and crucifixion. On the contrary, of its nature the beatific vision cannot be lost, and it is measured by participated eternity.

Even the theological reason that St. Thomas advances,[2128] shows that the sublime fitness of the beatific vision in Christ still a wayfarer, especially applies to the moment of His passion and crucifixion. The reason is this, that Christ already in this life had to be the Teacher of all teachers, namely, of the apostles and doctors of the Church, so as to lead the human race to eternal life, which is the vision of God. But what is in potentiality is reduced to act by what is already in act. Therefore it was most of all fitting that Christ, the Teacher of all teachers, in those things that pertain to eternal life, should already have in this life the immediate vision of God or eternal life to which He was to lead men.

But now it must furthermore be said that Christ, during His passion and on the cross, also teaches in a more sublime manner than before, in uttering the following last words of His: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do";[2129] "This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise";[2130] "Woman, behold thy son.... Behold thy mother";[2131] "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[2132] "I thirst";[2133] "It is consummated";[2134] "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit."[2135]

During these last moments, Jesus most sublimely teaches all men, more so than all the apostles, doctors, and saints. He teaches mercy toward those who err, promises the joys of paradise in the near future to those who invoke Him, teaches that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the spiritual mother of all men, and also by His sufferings satisfies the demands of divine justice. In fact, by the words, "It is consummated,"[2136] He teaches that the mystery of redemption is accomplished by the victory of charity gained over sin and the devil.

Therefore, if the beatific vision befitted Christ, inasmuch as already on this earth He was the Teacher of all teachers, it especially befitted Him on the cross, because He never spoke so sublimely as the Teacher and Savior of all as at that time. Thus the martyrs receive special illumination at the time of their martyrdom, as St. Stephen did who "saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God."[2137] Hence no theologian of any importance is quoted as teaching that Christ's beatific vision was interrupted during His passion and crucifixion.

However, some such as Cano, Valentia, Salmeron, and Maldonatus said that Christ had the beatific vision at the time of His death, but renounced beatific joy, so as to suffer sadness for the purpose of man's redemption.

But, as Gonet shows,[2138] this opinion displeases other theologians, and rightly so. The beatific vision and beatific joy are inseparable, because it is impossible for the will to have supreme good presented to it, namely, God clearly seen, and not find joy and complete satisfaction in this. Granted the beatific vision, the created rational being finds complete satisfaction in its love for God, the uncreated Being, and it is not a free act either on the part of the object which specifies it or on the part of the act itself, for it is an absolutely spontaneous act, though it transcends liberty. As St. Thomas teaches: "If the will be offered an object which is good universally, and from every point of view, the will tends to it of necessity, if it wills anything at all."[2139]

Hence St. Thomas,[2140] in the solution of his objection concerning the incompatibility of supreme happiness with supreme sorrow in Christ during His passion, did not deny beatific joy to Him in the summit of His soul, but affirmed it.

It is also clearly evident from the foregoing that Christ often spoke of the utmost peace of mind which He had and which was the normal effect of His fullness of grace. Thus He says: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, do I give unto you."[2141] Before the Passion He says: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace."[2142] Peace is the effect of charity, and it consists in the tranquility of order of all the affections subordinated to the love of God; it is the union of the powers of the soul subject to God, who is loved above all things. Likewise holy joy is the effect of charity.[2143] Hence in Christ it was in accordance with the fullness of His grace and charity, which He always had.

4) The intimate union prevailing between supreme peace and supreme sadness in Christ's passion.

This union belongs to the very mystery of redemption. It is, as we shall see, a miracle and also an essentially supernatural miracle, being like two united extremes. Hence this intimate union cannot be explained in a natural way. But, as the Vatican Council says, "Reason enlightened by faith, when it seeks earnestly, piously, and calmly, attains by a gift of God some and that a very fruitful, understanding of mysteries."[2144] It attains especially an understanding or contemplation of the above-mentioned union and connection between the virtues in Christ's passion that is most fruitful for the spiritual life of which the Savior is the exemplar.

Our starting point must be the fact affirmed in the Gospel, that although Christ said, "My soul is sorrowful even unto death,"[2145] yet He maintained the utmost peace of mind in the midst of the greatest physical and moral sufferings of the Passion, complete mastery over Himself, and absolute conformity of His will with His Father's will. This is so from the very words uttered by our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane and during His passion, particularly these last words: "It is consummated,"[2146] and "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."[2147] These last words are a quasi-consecration of the sacrifice on the cross, which therefore would be a true sacrifice even though there had not been a previous Eucharistic oblation at the Last Supper, as commonly taught. It was Calvin, indeed, who chose to see an expression Or desperation in the words, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[2148] But these words are manifestly nothing else but the holy and inspired words of the Messianic psalm, wherein we read, on the contrary: "In Thee our fathers have hoped, they have hoped, and Thou hast delivered them.... But I am a worm and no man, the reproach of men and the outcast of the people.... They have dug my hands and my feet. They have numbered all my bones.... But Thou, O Lord, remove not Thy help to a distance from me.... Save me from the lion's mouth.... I will declare Thy name to my brethren, and in the midst of the Church I will praise Thee. You that fear the Lord, praise Him... because He hath not slighted, nor despised the supplication of the poor man.... For the kingdom is the Lord's and He shall have dominion over the nations."[2149] There is no expression of desperation in this Messianic psalm, in which the details of the Passion are most completely given. There is nothing of despair, but it starts with an expression of greatest grief on the part of Christ suffering for the sins of the whole human race, which bring down God's malediction, in accordance with the following words of St. Paul: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."[2150] Therefore they are the words of a victim who suffers to the utmost under the curse that is due to sin. But Christ wishes so to suffer because of His utmost charity, and He at the same moment also adores and loves God's infinite justice. Hence almost immediately afterward He says: "It is consummated,"[2151] that is, the holocaust is completed; and then: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."[2152] These last words evidently are not the words of a despairing and conquered person, but, as stated,[2153] they are the words of consecration in the sacrifice of the cross. They are the words of the conqueror over sin and the devil, who very soon will be, on the Resurrection Day, the conqueror over death that is the result of sin. "It is consummated"[2154] is the expression of peace that has been restored, which is tranquility of order. Christ could say: "I have overcome the world."[2155]

Hence it is thus that St. Thomas and St. Augustine explain these words: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?",[2156] because God left Him to the power of His persecutors.[2157] Thus St. Paul says: "He that spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."[2158] And the prophet declares that: "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.... And was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity."[2159]

Hence there is no doubt about the union prevailing between utmost peace and utmost grief during the time of Christ's passion.

Explanation Of This Fact

But how can these two apparently contrary extremes be united in the same soul and at the same moment?

This aspect of the mystery of the redemption was often the object of speculation among theologians and of infused contemplation for mystics. It must be noted, as the Salmanticenses and Gonet report, in commenting on the beatific knowledge of Christ, that some not knowing how to explain this union, devised three insufficient theories that are generally rejected by theologians.

First theory. It is that of Aureolus and those who, as Capreolus reports,[2160] said that Christ suffered only in the sensitive part of His soul; but, as the Salmanticenses observe,[2161] this view is contrary to the common opinion of the Fathers, who said that Christ grieved for the sins of all men, and this grief is evidently in the will, just as contrition is in our will. This is evident, as the Salmanticenses state, from the epistle of Pope St. Agatho to which the Sixth General Council, the Third of Constantinople, referred against the Monothelites, wherein a distinction is drawn between Christ's human spiritual will and His divine will. Hence this theory seems heretical or at least proximately heretical, it being contrary to the general doctrine, in accordance with Scripture and tradition, of the ordinary magisterial teaching of the Church. Aureolus was a nominalist, and the forerunner of William of Occam.

Second theory. It is the view taken by Melchior Cano, Valentia, Salmeron, and Maldonatus. They say that Christ during His passion gave up His beatific joy, which is the normal consequence of the beatific vision. But this opinion, which is contrary to the teaching of St. Thomas,[2162] seems to involve a contradiction, as Gonet says,[2163] for it seems impossible for the will to have the supreme good presented to it, namely, God clearly seen, and not find delight therein, because, granted this immediate vision of God's essence and goodness, as already stated,[2164] the human will as regards this object no longer has either liberty of specification or liberty of exercise.

Third theory. It was proposed by Theophile Raynaud, who said that by God's absolute power, supreme happiness and supreme sadness can miraculously be present at the same time in the same subject, even though these are contraries. But as Gonet says,[2165] this theory does not seem to be reasonable, because this contrariety includes contradiction, if it be of the same object concerning which the will would experience both joy and sorrow. But not even God by His absolute power can cause contradictories to be present at the same time. Almost all theologians admit that this union of utmost grief and utmost joy was miraculous or the result of a miracle by which Christ was both comprehensor and wayfarer, having prevented the overflow of glory into the inferior part of the soul; but a miracle cannot involve a contradiction.

Let us see what St. Thomas says. He has discussed this problem in various articles.[2166] He has most admirably presented the difficulty to be solved, by remarking that "it is impossible to be sad and glad at the same time, as the Philosopher says."[2167] This first objection reads: "It is not possible to be sad and glad at the same time, since sadness and gladness are contraries. But Christ's whole soul suffered grief during the Passion, and His grief was the greatest."[2168] Therefore He could not have at the same time utmost joy.

St. Thomas answers this objection by quoting St. John Damascene, who says: "Christ's Godhead permitted His flesh to do and to suffer what was proper to it."[2169] He explains this assertion as follows: "The whole soul can be understood both according to its essence, which is entirely present in each part of the body and in each of its faculties, or according to all its faculties. If it be understood according to its essence, then His whole soul did enjoy fruition, inasmuch as it is the subject of the higher part of the soul to which it belongs to enjoy the Godhead."[2170] So also as St. Thomas says in the preceding article, Christ's whole soul suffered in the body that suffered, for it is entirely present in the whole body that suffers, and entirely present in each part of the body. "But if we consider the whole soul, as comprising all its faculties, thus His entire soul did not enjoy fruition... because, since Christ was still upon earth, there was no overflowing of glory from the higher part into the lower, nor from the soul into the body. But since, on the contrary, the soul's higher part was not hindered in its proper acts by the lower, it follows that the higher part of His soul enjoyed fruition perfectly while Christ was suffering."[2171] The first part of St. Thomas' explanation is ontological, and the second part is psychological.

Objection. A superficial reading of this text of St. Thomas makes it appear that Christ suffered only in the lower faculties of His soul, or in His sensitive nature, as the nominalist Aureolus thought according to what Capreolus says. But this opinion of Aureolus is contrary to the teaching of the ordinary magisterial authority of the Church, since it declares that Christ grieved even morally for our sins.

Reply. Most certainly this is not what St. Thomas means, for just previously he had said: "Christ grieved... over the sins of all others [men]. And this grief in Christ surpassed all grief of every contrite heart, because it flowed from a greater wisdom and charity."[2172] He grieved also for man's perdition.

It is manifest that this grief does not belong to the sensitive appetite but to the will. In fact, it seems to pertain to the exalted part of the will that is regulated by greater wisdom and deified by charity.

Instance. But then it seems, as Scotus and Suarez contend, that Christ grieved also in the higher reason for the sins of all men, inasmuch as these are contrary to the eternal law which is the object of the higher reason. Likewise, so it seems, He grieved for the eternal perdition of a number of men, according to the higher reason. So say Scotus and Suarez. But St. Thomas teaches in various passages of his works that Christ did not grieve in the higher reason.[2173] These two difficulties, namely, that Christ grieved to the utmost for the sins of all men, but not in His rational will, find their mode of reconciliation in the doctrine of St. Thomas.

Reply. Certainly, as St. Thomas says, "Christ's higher reason did not suffer on the part of its proper object, which is God clearly seen."[2174] But it also appears certain, as Cajetan remarks, that, according to St. Thomas, Christ simply did not grieve in His higher will in what is concerned with eternal truths. The reason is, as Cajetan says,[2175] that Christ's higher reason already in this life was in full possession of the beatific vision, and the blessed do not grieve over sin; although it displeases them, this displeasure is not sadness, because sadness brings on depression and worry, as St. Thomas says.[2176] The angels in heaven do not grieve over sin. How then did Christ grieve to the utmost over the sins of men, yet not in His higher reason? Cajetan replies: "Grief over sin belongs to the lower reason, since the object of such an act is something temporal, namely, an offense against God. Nothing prevents this sadness from being present even when eternal truths are being considered, because the lower reason is regulated by the higher and receives its principles from the higher. According to the nature of their objects, either temporal or eternal, a distinction is drawn between the higher reason and the lower, as St. Thomas says (Ia, q. 79)."[2177]

Cajetan's explanation does not conflict with the teaching of St. Thomas in the above-mentioned texts.[2178] Hence, at least Christ grieved not only in His sensitive nature, but also in His lower reason inasmuch as this was regulated by the higher, that is, He grieved over the sins of all men in that according to His higher reason He realized, better than we do, their infinite grievousness.

Therefore the higher reason, in which Christ did not grieve for sin, is the culmination of the human intellect and will, the summit of the mind. In this summit Christ enjoyed the beatific vision, and thus He saw the most sublime reason why God permits sins, which is the purpose of a greater good, namely, to manifest God's mercy and the splendor of His justice. This He saw most evidently, as the blessed see it, who no longer grieve over sin, for they see the victory of God's mercy and the splendor of His justice,[2179] since they are no more wayfarers.

Christ in this life still grieved for sin, and to the utmost, because He was both wayfarer and comprehensor, and He voluntarily prevented the connatural overflow of glory into the lower reason so that He might abandon Himself to grief.

Doubt. Was this intimate union of utmost joy and utmost grief in Christ a miracle?

As the Salmanticenses observe, this was a miracle, just as when Christ voluntarily and suddenly put an end to the storm on the lake; for in accordance with the natural laws connected with the life of the soul, joy in the higher part of the soul overflows into the lower part, and conversely it is natural for grief in the lower part of the soul to affect the higher. This deprivation of overflow was both voluntary and miraculous, or it was voluntary because of the miracle inasmuch as Christ was both wayfarer and comprehensor. It was both a miracle and a mystery, that is, it was something essentially supernatural and also extraordinary even in the supernatural order, and it pertains to the hypostatic order as a consequence of the Incarnation; for even according to the laws of the supernatural order, permanence of the beatific vision is not given in this life, but only in the next life. If the beatific vision as a transient act, which was probably granted to St. Paul on this earth, was miraculous, a fortiori the permanence of the beatific vision in Christ here on earth was miraculous. This was the consequence of the miracle and mystery of the Incarnation, while Christ was still in some way a wayfarer according to the lower part of His soul before His resurrection and ascension, He was also a comprehensor or at the end of His earthly life as regards the higher part of His soul. Thus Father Monsabre says that Christ, during His passion, was like a mountain peak that is brilliantly illumined by the rays of the sun and remains most perfectly calm, whereas its lower part is very much disturbed by the storm.[2180]

St. Thomas, as the Salmanticenses remark,[2181] admits this miracle in replying to the following objection: "The Philosopher says (Ethics, VII, chap. 14) that, if sadness be vehement, it not only checks the contrary delight, but every delight; and conversely. But the grief of Christ's passion was the greatest as shown above (a. 6); and likewise the enjoyment of fruition is the greatest."[2182]

Reply to second objection. "The Philosopher's contention is true because of the overflow which takes place naturally from one faculty of the soul into another; but it was not so with Christ, as was said above in the body of the article."

In other words, beyond the natural laws connected with the life of the soul, or the miraculous, Christ the wayfarer voluntarily and most freely prevented the overflow of glory from the higher part of the soul to the lower, so that He might abandon Himself more completely to suffering as a voluntary victim offered in holocaust.

Yet I insist. But it seems that there is contrariety and contradiction inasmuch as in the same faculty Christ grieved to the utmost and greatly rejoiced in the same object, namely, His passion, inasmuch as it was fruitful for salvation and the effect of crime. Likewise in the same faculty He grieved to the utmost for the sins of men and rejoiced in the higher good for which sin was permitted.

Reply. This grief and joy were not about the same object considered under the same aspect. Christ grieved for His passion in that it was contrary to His nature, and the effect of the crime of those who killed Him. At the same time, in accordance with the eternal truths in the higher reason, "He rejoiced in this passion, inasmuch as it was, according to God's good pleasure, conducive to God's glory and the salvation of men."[2183] St. Thomas well explains this when the question arises about how the penitent is saddened for his sins and rejoices in his sorrow. In his reply to this objection, he says: "Of sorrow and joy we may speak in two ways: first, as being passions of the sensitive appetite, and thus they can nowise be together since they are altogether contrary to each other, either on the part of the object (as when they have the same object) or at least on the part of the movement, for joy is with expansion of the heart, whereas sorrow is with contraction; and it is in this sense that the Philosopher speaks in Ethics, Bk. IX, chap. 4. Secondly, we may speak of joy and sorrow as being simple acts of the will, to which something is pleasing or displeasing. Accordingly they cannot be contrary to each other, except on the part of the object as when they concern the same object in the same respect, in which way joy and sorrow cannot be simultaneous, because the same thing in the same respect cannot be pleasing and displeasing. [Theophile Raynaud saw the necessity of adverting to this.] If, on the other hand, joy and sorrow, understood thus, be not of the same object in the same respect, but either of different objects, or of the same object in different respects, in that case joy and sorrow are not contrary to each other, so that nothing hinders a man from being joyful and sorrowful at the same time; for instance, if we see a good man suffer, we both rejoice at his goodness and at the same time grieve for his suffering. In this way a man may be displeased at having sinned, and be pleased at his displeasure together with his hope for pardon, so that his very sorrow is a matter of joy. Hence St. Augustine says in De poenitentia, chap. 13: The penitent should ever grieve and rejoice at his grief."[2184]

Thus Christ in His higher reason rejoiced in His passion, inasmuch as it was pleasing to God for the redemption of the human race, as St. Thomas says.[2185] Thus, following our Lord's example, "the apostles went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus."[2186] So St. Ignatius of Antioch rejoiced, when writing to his faithful followers and ardently desiring martyrdom; he said: "By the death of wild beasts, I am to be ground that I may prove Christ's pure bread."[2187] If the desire of martyrdom in St. Ignatius and in many martyrs was so ardent, then what must it have been in Christ, although it was His wish to experience the utmost grief in the Garden of Gethsemane so that He might be more perfectly a holocaust !

So likewise Christ grieved to the utmost for the sins of all men at one time, for "His grief surpassed all grief of every contrite heart, because it flowed from a greater wisdom and charity."[2188] Thus He grieved in His lower reason which was under the direction of His higher reason, whereby God's infinite dignity is known, who is offended by sin. And yet, at the same time, Christ in His higher reason did not grieve over the divine permission of sin, but He rejoiced at the sight of a greater good, for which God permitted the sins of men, that is, He rejoiced in the victory of God's mercy and in the splendor of His justice, or in the supreme victory of the supreme good over sin, the devil, and death.

Thus there is no contradiction in this mystery, which is also a miracle just as the Incarnation is.

As the Salmanticenses say: "Christ's supreme joy was not only that He saw God, but it was also that He realized that the fittingness of His death contributed to the glory of God and the exaltation of His own name. But His utmost sadness concerned the unfitness of His death as regards His human nature considered in itself, and the sins of men inasmuch as these are contrary to God's glory and their redemption. Hence there was no contradiction."[2189] So also says St. Thomas.[2190]

Conclusion

From all that has been said, it is clear that the plenitude of Christ's created grace is the cause of these two apparently contrary effects, which are the two extremes of His interior life. These are, on the one hand, utmost happiness and, on the other, an ardent desire to suffer for us, even to suffer sadness unto death, so that His sacrifice might be complete, a perfect holocaust, and an efficacious manifestation of His love for God the Father for us, because peace, which is tranquility of order, is the effect of charity, whereby God is loved above all things and all things are subordinated to Him. At the same time this love of God in Christ was the principle of His ardent desire to make reparation for the offense, and it was the reason why He grieved to the utmost for sins.

Hence these two effects, namely, peace and utmost sadness, were the result of His love for God the Father.

These effects were likewise the result of His love for us. For Christ's very great love for our souls was certainly the principle of great joy since it prompted Him to say on the cross: "It is consummated,"[2191] namely, the work of the redemption of souls is consummated, the tranquility of order is restored by the victory over sin and the devil, so that Christ could say: "Have confidence, I have overcome the world."[2192]

But on the other hand, this utmost love of Christ for us was the cause of His utmost grief, for our Savior's grief for our sins was proportionate to His love for our souls that are troubled by sin. Hence there is no contradiction in this, but supreme harmony, as when it is said that human liberty remains under the influence of efficacious grace, which does not destroy liberty, but on the contrary actualizes it. In this consists the synthesis of the interior life of Christ the Savior as proposed by Father Louis Chardon, O. P., in his beautiful book.[2193]

Great saints in this life experience to a certain extent this intimate union between utmost grief and joy, especially those who are called to a life of reparation, such as St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists, who at about the age of thirty-five, after He had attained to the state of transforming union, remained nevertheless for forty-five years in a condition of very great aridity and perplexity of spirit for the salvation of souls, and yet in the midst of this perplexity he maintained a sublime peace, which he imparted to his brethren.[2194]


CHAPTER XXXVI: CHRIST'S THREEFOLD VICTORY PRELIMINARY REMARKS

Christ said to His disciples: "In the world you shall have distress; but have confidence, I have overcome the world."[2195] St. Thomas says in explanation of this text: "Christ overcame the world first of all by taking away its weapons of attack; for these are its objects of concupiscence. The Evangelist says: 'All that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life' (I John 2:16). But Christ overcomes riches by poverty, for the Psalmist says: ‘I am needy and poor’ (Ps. 85:1). And the Evangelist: ‘The Son of man hath not where to lay His head' (Luke 9:58). He overcame honor by humility, for Christ says: ‘Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart’ (Matt. II: 29). He overcame pleasures by suffering and hardship, for the Apostle says of Him: ‘He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death even to the death of the cross' (Phil. 2:8).[2196] This is the victory over sin gained principally by Christ on the cross.

"Secondly, " says St. Thomas, "Christ overcame the world by excluding the prince of this world, for He said: "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out' (John 12:31); and St. Paul says: "Despoiling the principalities and powers, He hath exposed them confidently in open show, triumphing over them in Himself' (Col. 2:15). From this He showed us how the devil must be overcome by us..., so that after His passion young maidens and boys, followers of Christ, deride the devil."[2197]

This twofold victory of Christ, namely, over sin and the devil, was made manifest by the conversion of many pagans, and thus the following words of Christ were verified: "and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself."[2198]

Christ's final and third victory is over death, which is the result of sin; and this victory was clearly seen in His glorious resurrection and ascension, and it will ultimately be manifested on the Judgment Day by the resurrection of all the dead.

Christ's Victory Over Sin

First of all, there is Christ's victory over original sin, for the Apostle says: "As by the offense of one, unto all men to condemnation; so also by the justice of one, unto all men to justification of life. For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one man, many shall be made just.... Where sin abounded, grace did more abound; that as sin hath reigned to death, so also grace might reign by justice unto life everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord."[2199]

But the holy Doctor explains: "Original sin spread in this way, that at first the person [Adam] infected the nature, and afterward the nature infected the person [of Adam's posterity]. Whereas Christ in reverse order at first repairs what regards the person (by baptism of water or by baptism of desire), and afterward will simultaneously repair what pertains to the nature in all men. Consequently by baptism He takes away from man forthwith the guilt of original sin and the punishment of being deprived of the heavenly vision. But the penalties of the present life, such as death, hunger, thirst, and the like, pertain to the nature, from the principles of which they arise, inasmuch as it is deprived of original justice. Therefore these defects will not be taken away until the ultimate restoration of nature through the glorious resurrection."[2200]

St. Thomas explains: "A Christian retains a passible body so that "if we suffer with Christ, we may be also glorified with Him' (Rom. 8:11), and this is suitable for our spiritual training, so that, by fighting against concupiscence and other defects, we may receive the crown of victory."[2201]

Christ's victory over original sin fulfils the prophecy of St. John the Baptist, who said: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world."[2202]

The Scripture records that, after St. Peter's first sermon to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, three thousand were converted and baptized: "And there were added in that day about three thousand souls."[2203] St. Peter had said to them: "Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."[2204]

But during twenty centuries a vast number of infants and adults have been freed from the stain of original sin through baptism by water, or baptism of desire.

Likewise Christ's victory over actual sin is many times affirmed in Sacred Scripture. Thus St. Paul says: "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (by whose grace you are saved) and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places through Christ Jesus."[2205] Again he says: "And you, when you were dead in your sins..., He hath quickened together with Him, forgiving you all offenses."[2206]

Thus it is that very many persons rise again spiritually by means of sacramental absolution or without the sacrament by the grace of contrition. And every day the most abundant fruits of the sacrifice on the cross are applied to us through the Sacrifice of the Mass.

In fact, the victory over the spirit of the world, that is, over the concupiscence of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life, is clearly seen from the foundation of the Church, since many Christians actually observe the evangelical counsels of poverty, perfect chastity, and obedience, or at least by self-denial retain the spirit of the counsels, so that they may increasingly advance in the observance of the greatest commandment, which is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself."[2207]

Sometimes this victory over sin is strikingly illustrated in martyrdom, as happened in the first three centuries in the life of the Church amid incessant persecutions, and as happened in our times; for instance, during the revolution in Spain, when so much blood was shed that 6, 000 priests were killed. Thus the words of the Evangelist are verified: "For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world; and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God...? He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself.... And this is the testimony that God hath given to us, eternal life. And this life is in His Son."[2208]

Thus amid the miseries of the present life, the holiness of the Church shines conspicuously in the lives of many servants of God who are truly His friends, and who lead others to Him.

Christ's Victory Over The Devil

The Savior Himself announced this second victory, when He said shortly before His passion: "Now is the judgment of the world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself., (Now this He said, signifying what death He should die.)"[2209] Immediately before, when Christ asked His Father to glorify His name, a voice from heaven was heard to say: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again,"[2210] which means, I will again glorify My Son in His passion whereby He will triumph over the devil, in His resurrection and ascension, and in the conversion of the whole world.[2211] The devil no longer controls the wills of men who are free from sin; he still tempts them, but does not reign over them.

Likewise the Evangelist says: "He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the devil. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil."[2212]

And St. Paul says: "God... hath quickened I you] together with Him [Christ], forgiving you all offenses; blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was contrary to us, and He hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross, and despoiling the principalities and powers, He hath exposed them confidently in open show, triumphing over them in Himself."[2213] This means that Christ by His passion has freed us from sin, the punishment of sin, and the slavery of the devil. In former times almost the whole world served idols; now the devil no longer thus reigns; and although he still attacks the just, we have a most powerful help in Christ. Hence the Apostle says: "Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of His power. Put you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil."[2214]

St. John announces the persecution of the dragon against the woman, and of Antichrist against the Church;[2215] but the triumph of the good and the condemnation of the wicked is foretold.[2216] Finally, from the seventh chapter there is a description of God's last judgment, the fall of Babylon, the jubilation in heaven, the triumph of Christ over Antichrist and Satan.[2217] On the garment of the Word of God is written: "King of kings, and Lord of lords."[2218] Satan is definitely conquered, the dead rise again and are judged; there is a new Jerusalem, and Christ renders to everyone according to his works, saying: "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city,"[2219]

Long ago the prophet had seen an immense and splendid statue whose feet of clay were destroyed "by a stone cut out of the mountains without hands... but the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth,"[2220] says the prophet. He explains this vision, by saying that this statue represents various kingdoms, "but in the days of those kingdoms, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed... and it shall stand forever."[2221]

Christ is declared "the stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner."[2222] By His humility and passion He overcame the pride of the devils. Hence St. Paul says: "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block and unto the Gentiles foolishness. But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men,"[2223] Again he says: "Christ humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names. That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."[2224] This victory of Christ over the devil is sometimes sensibly and vividly manifested in exorcism, especially where these words are said: "Christ, the eternal Word of God made flesh, who for our salvation, which was lost by thy envy, humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, commands thee, unclean spirit."[2225]

In the language of theology, however, Christ's victory over the devil implies victory over sin as previously established, and the consequence of this, namely, victory over death, immediately to be discussed. From what has been said, it is already certain, as St. Thomas said, that "Christ's passion frees us from sin, inasmuch as it causes forgiveness of sins by way of redemption,"[2226] and "by Christ's passion man was delivered from the devil's power so far as Christ's passion is the cause of the forgiveness of sins... inasmuch as it reconciled us with God."[2227]

Christ's Victory Over Death

Christ gained victory over death first of all by His glorious resurrection, and He announced the resurrection of the body, which will take place on Judgment Day.

He had chosen and announced His resurrection to be the sign in proof of His miracles and the indisputable argument of His divine mission.[2228] This is developed at length in apologetics. We wish here only to show the connection between Christ's victory over sin and His victory over death.

The apostles particularly appeal to the miracle of Christ's resurrection to confirm the truth of their preaching.[2229] In fact, St. Paul twice declares: "If Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain."[2230]

St. Paul does not mean that other miracles are insufficient motives of credibility, but he intends to say and expressly affirms: "If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain.... Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God";[2231] that is, our preaching is false that rests on this fact attested to by all the apostles. Moreover, he explains himself by saying: "And if Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain for you are yet in your sins."[2232] This means that if Christ did not rise again, then faith in Christ risen, which is the root of justification,[2233] is false, and does not cleanse us from sins. In fact, as St. John Chrysostom, Theophylactus, and Oecumenius say, Christ's death proved inefficacious for the remission of sins, if Christ remained dead, and was conquered by it. For if Christ by His resurrection was unable to conquer death, then He did not conquer sin, for to conquer sin is more important and more difficult than to conquer death. Therefore sin is not destroyed unless its effect, namely, death, is destroyed.

St. John Chrysostom says: "If the dead cannot rise again, then neither sin is destroyed, nor death is overcome, nor the curse is taken away."[2234] Theophylactus is of the same opinion.[2235] Oecumenius likewise says: "If Christ Himself was also detained by death... then neither was sin destroyed by Christ's death; for if sin had been destroyed, then certainly death also which was caused by sin, would have been abolished."[2236] Cornelius a Lapide, quoting the above-mentioned authors, offers the same interpretation. In recent times, similar views are expressed by Father Ladeuze[2237] and Father J. M. Voste.[2238] In the foregoing we truly see the intimate connection between Christ's resurrection and the other mysteries of Christianity. This connection may be expressed by saying that, if Christ did not overcome sin by rising again, then we are not certain that He overcame sin on the cross and that our redemption was accepted by God. Why so? Because as explained at length in the Old Testament and also by St. Paul: "As by one man sin entered into this world and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned."[2239] And again: "The wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting in Christ Jesus our Lord."[2240] He also says: "And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead, because of sin, but the spirit liveth, because of justification."[2241] Therefore He who invisibly takes away sin, must visibly take away death, or the effect of sin, so that we may have a most certain sign of His victory over sin and of our redemption.[2242] Christ on the cross does not appear visibly as conqueror but rather as conquered; through the Resurrection, on the contrary, He shows Himself as the master of death, and so we understand how He could say to His disciples: "In the world you shall have distress, but have confidence, I have overcome the world."[2243] Hence Christ's resurrection is the greatest motive of credibility, inasmuch as, according to divine providence, it is a most splendid sign of Christ's victory over sin and the devil; it is also the fulfillment of several of Christ's prophecies and the pledge of our future resurrection.

St. Thomas says about the same in the following passage: "Because it was shown above, that through Christ we have been freed from those things which we incurred through the sin of the first man; because the first man sinned, not only sin was transmitted to us, but also death, which is the penalty of sin (Rom. 5:12); it is necessary for Christ to free us from both, that is, from sin and from death." Hence the Apostle says: "For if by one man's offense death reigned through one, much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of justice, shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, that He might prove both to us, He willed to die and to rise again. He willed to die, indeed, that He might cleanse us from sin.... He willed to rise again, however, that He might deliver us from death,"[2244]

Therefore Christ's victory over death, by His own glorious resurrection, is the result and sign of His victory over sin and the devil. And because the Blessed Virgin Mary was associated with Christ's perfect victory over the devil and sin, it was most fitting that she be associated with His perfect victory over death, and for this to be perfect her resurrection had to be anticipated as also her assumption. It was impossible for Christ to be detained in the bonds of death, for then He would have been conquered by death and not be its conqueror. The same must be said with due reservations for the Blessed Virgin Mary.[2245]

Finally, Christ's victory over death will be made manifest on Judgment Day, when all will rise again. He Himself announced this, saying: "This is the will of My Father that sent Me; that everyone who seeth the Son, and believeth in Him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise Him up in the last day.... No man can come to Me, except the Father who hath sent Me, draw Him, and I will raise him up on the last day.... He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day,"[2246] St. Paul reaffirms this: "And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.... And the enemy death shall be destroyed last; for He hath put all things under His feet.... And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? Now the sting of death is sin.... But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."[2247] On this question, St. Thomas says: "The necessity of dying is a defect in human nature resulting from sin. But Christ by the merit of His passion repaired the defects of nature, which were visited upon Him because of the sin of man; for as the Apostle says: "But not as the offense, so also the gift. For if by the offense of one, many died; much more the grace of God, and the gift, by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many, (Rom. 5:15). From this we see that Christ's merit is more efficacious in taking away death, than Adam's sin was in bringing it about. Therefore those who rise again through Christ's merit, are freed from death, and no longer will suffer from the penalty of death,"[2248] Hence St. John says: "Death shall be no more, nor mourning nor crying nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away."[2249]

From this it becomes apparent what already has been said, namely, Christ's perfect victory over the devil implies perfect victory over sin as presupposed and its consequence, perfect victory over death by an anticipated resurrection. The same must be said, with due reservations, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, inasmuch as, in that she is the Mother of the Savior, particularly on Calvary, she is most closely associated with Christ's perfect victory over the devil and sin. Hence she is also associated with His perfect victory over death, as the ancient and venerated prayer for the feast of the Assumption states, which says: "The Holy Mother of God underwent temporal death, yet could not be held down by the bonds of death, who of herself begot Thy incarnate Son our Lord."[2250]


CHAPTER XXXVII: CHRIST'S DEATH AND DESCENT INTO HELL

We shall consider briefly the question of Christ's death and resurrection, which already have been discussed at length in their apologetic aspect in the treatise on revelation. The principal points in these questions of St. Thomas must be recapitulated,[2251] treating in order Christ's death and descent into hell, His resurrection and ascension, Christ the king, judge, and head of the blessed.

Question 50: Christ's Death

First Article:

It was fitting for Christ to die: (1) SO as to satisfy for us, who were sentenced to death because of sin; (2) to show that He truly assumed a human nature; for if, after conversing with men, He had suddenly disappeared without dying, then all would have looked upon Him as a phantom; (3) that by dying He might take away from us the fear of death; (4) that He might give us the example of dying spiritually to sin; (5) that by rising from the dead He might show His power whereby He overcame death, and instill into us the hope of rising again.

Second Article:

In Christ's death the divine nature was not separated from His body. St. Thomas gives and explains the answer of tradition, namely, that the divine nature remained hypostatically united with Christ's body. What is bestowed through God's grace as something that is by nature destined to be permanent, is never taken away without sin, for "God's gifts are without repentance."[2252] Such is the grace of adoption in the just person. But the grace of the hypostatic union is much greater and more permanent in itself than the grace of adoption, and Christ was absolutely impeccable.

Thus it is said of the Son of God that "He died and was buried,"[2253] which befitted Him on the part of His body before and after death. Not only His body was buried, but the Son of God was buried, for, during the three days of His death, His divine person was not separated from His dead body, nor even from His blood, all of which was shed.

Third Article:

In Christ's death the divine nature was not separated from His soul. The reason is that the soul is united with the Word of God more immediately and more primarily than the body is. But in Christ's death the divine nature was not separated from the body. Therefore, a fortiori, it was not separated from the soul. Hence it is predicated of the Son of God that His soul descended into hell.

Fourth Article:

It is erroneous to assert that Christ during the three days of death was a man, because His soul was separated from His body and the human nature ceased as such through the separation of the soul from the body.

Fifth Article:

Christ's body, living or dead, was absolutely and identically the same, because anything is said to be absolutely and identically the same which is the same in its suppositum. But Christ's body, either living or dead, was the same in its suppositum, as is evident from what was said. It was not, however, absolutely and totally the same identical body, because the life that was lost by death belongs to the essence of a living body. It is more probable that Christ's body during the three days of death had its substantial form, but it had the form of a human corpse, for matter cannot naturally be without a form.

Sixth Article:

Christ's death in becoming (in fier1), or His passion, was the meritorious cause of our salvation. But Christ's death in fact nowise caused our salvation by way of merit, because Christ, who was then dead, was beyond the condition of meriting, for He was no longer a wayfarer. However, Christ's dead flesh remained the instrument of His divine nature with which it was united, and thus it could be the efficient cause of our salvation.


Question 51: Christ's Burial

First Article:

It was fitting for Christ to be buried, because it proves the truth of His death and because by His rising again from the grave we are given hope of rising again through His resurrection.

Second Article:

Christ was buried in a becoming manner as the Evangelists record.[2254] His body was anointed with aromatic spices of myrrh and aloes, according to the custom of the Jews, so as to preserve it longer from corruption. It was buried in a clean shroud, according to the dictates of becoming propriety, and in another's tomb, because He was the exemplar of poverty; in a new tomb in which no one had been buried before Him, lest by the burial of another there it might be pretended and believed that this other had risen again. It was buried in a monument hewn out of a rock, and thus according to the plan of divine providence, lest it might be said afterward that His disciples dug up the earth and stole His body. Finally, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus rolled a great stone against the opening of the sepulcher,[2255] so that the stone could be rolled away from the monument only by the help of many hands. Thus Providence forestalled the calumnies of the Jews.

Third Article:

Christ's body remained incorrupt in the tomb so that divine power should be manifested and so that nobody might believe His death resulted from the weakness of nature, and was not voluntary.

Fourth Article:

Christ's body was fittingly one day and two nights in the tomb, because that was the required and sufficient time to prove the truth of Christ's death, otherwise there would have been no true resurrection. The Evangelist says: "The Son of man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights,"[2256] by way of synecdoche, taking the part for the whole. Thus then, the first day and first night are computed from the end of Good Friday, the day of Christ's death and burial, until midnight on Holy Saturday; the second day and second night, from midnight Saturday until midnight Sunday; the third night and the third day, from midnight Sunday to daybreak of the same day on which Christ rose again. This was the method of computing time among the Jews; for them, one day and one night signified a civil day of twenty-four hours, either complete or incomplete.


Question 52: Christ's Descent Into Hell

It is of faith and is expressed in the Apostles' Creed according to the Ordo Romanus,[2257] that Christ descended into hell, and it is afterward declared that His soul descended there,[2258] but He did not abolish hell.[2259]

This mystery is expressed in St. Peter's sermon on Pentecost Day, in which he quotes the words of the Psalmist as referring to Christ, namely, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell,"[2260] and he says: "The prophet... foreseeing this, spoke of the resurrection of Christ, for neither was He left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption."[2261]

St. Paul also says of Christ: "Ascending on high, He led captivity captive; He gave gifts to men. Now that He ascended, what is it, but because He also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that He might fill all things."[2262]

Did Christ's soul really and substantially descend into hell and not merely effectively; and then was this descent fitting; and what hell was this, and whom did He deliver? St. Thomas gives and exemplifies the answers of tradition.[2263]

First Article:

Christ's soul really and substantially descended into hell and not merely effectively. The Apostles' Creed says: "He descended into hell,"[2264] which obviously and naturally means a real and substantial descent. Similarly St. Paul says: "He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth. He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that He might fill all things,"[2265] Likewise St. Peter says, quoting the Psalmist: "Because Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, nor suffer Thy holy one to see corruption."[2266] The Fathers thus understood this text, especially St. Ignatius, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Augustine.[2267]

St. Thomas explains that Christ's soul did not descend into hell by that kind of motion whereby bodies are moved, but as the angels are moved. And Christ's separated soul was not inoperative in hell, for it operated as the instrument of the divine nature, expelling exterior darkness and illuminating this place.

Second Article: It Was Fitting For Christ To Descend Into Hell

There are three reasons for this.

1) Because man by sin had incurred not only death of the body, but also descent into hell. Therefore it was fitting for Christ to die and descend into hell, so that He might deliver us from the necessity of permanent death (because we shall rise again) and from descent into hell. In this sense Christ is said to have power over death and in dying to have conquered it, according to the prophet, who says: "O death, I will be thy death."[2268]

2) It was fitting for the devil to be overthrown by Christ's passion, so that He should deliver the captives detained in hell.[2269]

3) As He showed forth His power on earth by living and dying, so also it was fitting for Him to manifest it in hell, by visiting it and enlightening it; and so at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, not only of them that are in heaven, but likewise of them that are in hell.[2270]

Third Article:

Christ did not actually descend into the hell of the lost; because, as the Fathers teach, He descended into hell to console and liberate those who were detained there. But nobody is consoled and liberated in the hell of the lost, as will at once be stated. Moreover, the hell of the lost is not a fitting place for Christ. Therefore He descended into the hell of the lost only effectively, arguing with them and convincing them of their infidelity and malice; and this He did by speaking to them or manifesting His will by signs, because local distance is no impediment for spirits.[2271]

Fourth Article:

Christ's soul remained in hell, namely, in the limbo of the holy fathers, until the moment of His resurrection. Hence the Church in the blessing of the paschal candle, sings: "This is the night wherein Christ ascended victorious from hell."[2272] Such is the opinion of St. Irenaeus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and Tertullian.

Fifth Article:

Christ, descending into hell, delivered the holy fathers. He delivered them from the penalty of original sin, namely, from the penalty whereby they were excluded from the life of glory, of whom the prophet says: "Thou also, by the blood of Thy testament, hast sent forth Thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water,"[2273] And St. Paul says: "Despoiling the principalities and powers,"[2274] namely, the infernal ones, by taking away the just, He brought them from this place of darkness to heaven, that is, to the beatific vision. Such is the opinion of the Fathers, especially St. Augustine[2275] and St. Gregory the Great[2276] and St. Jerome.[2277]

Thus Christ's descent into hell was the cause of exceeding joy to those souls already purified, such as the souls of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the prophets, as also many just and holy women of the Old Testament.

Thus we clearly see that the whole of the Old Testament was not an immediate preparation for eternal life, but for the coming of the Redeemer, who after having suffered and died, had to open the gates of heaven, so that we might enter into eternal life. The first and most abundant fruits of the sacrifice on the cross are also made manifest. Then, too, the fathers of the Old Testament fully understood that the passion of Jesus was the source of all graces, and that without it they could neither have been justified nor have merited an increase of grace, nor obtained eternal life. Therefore they were most sincerely thankful to the Savior whose coming they awaited for many centuries, who is called "the desire of the eternal hills, the joy of the angels, the King of patriarchs, the Crown of all the saints, ."[2278]

By the mystery of the holy Incarnation, by the labors of Jesus, by His agony and passion, by His infirmities, and by His death they were liberated. In all these things they saw the most perfect fulfillment of what had been announced and the truth that the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation far transcends all figures, all sacrifices of the Old Law, all prophecies. Christ's descent into hell truly meant for them, "it is consummated."[2279] All these things proclaim the glory of the cross.

Sixth Article:

Christ did not deliver any of the lost by His descent into hell; because, since Christ's descent into hell operated in virtue of His passion, He liberated only those whom He found united to His passion by means of faith that is actuated by charity. But the lost did not believe in Christ's passion and they were not finally united with Christ by charity, and after death there is no possibility of conversion, because the lost are confirmed in evil, as the just are in good.

Seventh Article:

For the same reason, the children who died in original sin were not liberated by Christ. Baptism is administered to men in this life, wherein man can be changed from sin to grace. But Christ's descent into hell was granted to the souls after this life, when they are no longer capable of this aforesaid change.

Eighth Article

Christ did not deliver all the souls in purgatory by His descent into hell. For Christ's passion did not have greater power then than now. But now it does not free all souls in purgatory, but only those that are sufficiently cleansed, or to whom Christ's passion is applied by the Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ's descent into hell was not satisfactory; it operated, however, in virtue of the Passion; thus He did not free all those who, when still living united with their bodies, had merited by their faith and devotion toward Christ's death, that by His descent there, they should be freed from the temporal punishment of purgatory, as St. Thomas says.[2280]

Some theologians, however, said that Christ's descent, although it did not of itself free all souls from purgatory, there was then granted to them the favor of a quasi-plenary indulgence, which is a probable opinion. Yet the commentators of St. Thomas follow his view, and furthermore say that the souls in purgatory that were not then liberated, were consoled and also rejoiced at the thought of the glory they will at once receive after their purgation.


CHAPTER XXXVIII: CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION

St. Thomas has discussed at length Christ's resurrection, the quality, manifestation, and causality of His resurrection, as also His ascension.[2281] The more important things will be recapitulated.[2282]

Question 53: Christ's Resurrection

It is of faith that Christ rose again from the dead on the third day, as declared in the Gospel, the Epistles of the apostles, and in the Apostles' Creed.[2283] In fact, it was declared that He rose again by His own power;[2284] that it was a true resurrection of the body,[2285] that the soul was reunited to the body,[2286] and that He afterward truly did eat, though He did not have to.[2287]

First Article: Whether It Was Necessary For Christ To Rise Again

Christ's resurrection was not absolutely necessary, but it was necessary if we take into consideration the divine plan, the prophecies, the merits of Christ, and our benefit.

St. Thomas gives five reasons for asserting this necessity, all of which have their foundation in Sacred Scripture.

The resurrection was necessary:

1) For the commendation of divine justice, to which it belongs to exalt the humble. For Christ by His charity and obedience humbled Himself even to death on the cross; hence it behooved Him to be exalted by God to a glorious resurrection.[2288]

2) For our instruction in the faith; because by Christ's resurrection our belief in His divinity is confirmed.[2289]

3) For the raising of our hope, because in seeing Christ, who is our head, rise again, we hope that we, too, shall rise again.[2290]

4) To set in order the lives of the faithful, so that we also may walk in newness of life.[2291]

5) To complete the work of our salvation, because Christ was thus glorified in rising again, so that He might advance us to good things.[2292] For it was so ordained by God, that only after the resurrection would the Holy Spirit be given, or the apostles be sent to preach.[2293]

Second Article: It Was Fitting For Christ To Rise Again The Third Day

To confirm our belief in the truth of Christ's divinity, it was necessary for Him to rise soon, and that His resurrection be not delayed until the end of the world. But to confirm our belief in the truth of His humanity and death it was necessary that there be some delay between His death and resurrection. That the truth of His death be made manifest, however, it sufficed that His resurrection be deferred until the third day.

The third day, on which Christ rose again, was the first of the week, which is our Sunday; it was daybreak or about dawn. In other words, the night following the Sabbath, "when it began to dawn toward the first day of the week."[2294]

Third Article:

Christ was the first to rise again, His resurrection being perfect, in that He never died again. Some rose again before Him, resurrection was imperfect, for they were rescued from actual death, but not from the necessity and possibility of dying. Thus, like Lazarus, they returned to life, merely to die again.

St. Thomas says: "There are two opinions regarding those who rose with Christ. Some hold that they rose to life so as to die no more.... But Augustine seems to think that they rose to die again... and his reasons seem to be more cogent,"[2295] The common opinion of the faithful is that nobody ascended bodily into heaven before Christ and the Blessed Virgin.

But some saints rose again with Christ though the Scripture does not give their names. It is very probable, according to the more common opinion, that these referred in a special manner to Christ, and were His more illustrious types, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Melchisedech, and such as these, as also some of those who died later on, such as Zacharias, John the Baptist, Simeon, and others of this kind.

Fourth Article:

Christ according to His divine nature was the principal efficient cause of His resurrection, but His soul and body were instruments of His divine nature, and "they mutually took back each other."[2296] Moreover, Christ by His passion was the meritorious cause of His resurrection.[2297]


Question 54:

First Article:

Christ rose again with the same true body, otherwise His resurrection would not have been true; for that is said to rise again, which has fallen.[2298]

Second Article:

Christ's body rose again entire, because it was of the same nature after His resurrection as it was before death, although glorified. Christ also took again all His blood, morally speaking, all that is necessary for the integrity of the body.

Third Article:

Christ arose with a glorified body; for, the mystery of the redemption being completed by Christ's passion and death, in the resurrection His soul at once communicated its glory to its reunited body.[2299]

Fourth Article:

It was most fitting for Christ to rise again with scars,[2300] as permanent marks of His victory, so as to convince His disciples that the same crucified body rose again; that when He pleads for us with the Father, He may always show what manner of death He endured for us; that on the Judgment Day, He may manifest these scars to all that are to be judged, to the just, indeed, as a motive for their love and gratitude, but to the reprobates for their reproof and shame.


Question 55

First Article:

Christ ought not to have immediately manifested Himself to all after His resurrection, but to some, who were as witnesses to make known His resurrection to others. For such things as concern future glory are beyond the common knowledge of mankind. Hence St. Thomas says: "Christ appeared first to the women... because the women, whose love for our Lord was more persistent, so much so that when even the disciples withdrew from the sepulcher they did not depart, were the first to see Him rising in glory."[2301] And again he says: "A woman is not to be allowed to teach publicly in church; but she may be permitted to give familiar instruction to some privately."[2302] Therefore, as St. Ambrose says: "A woman is sent to them who are of her household, but not to the people to bear witness to the Resurrection."[2303] It is a pious and probable opinion that Christ first appeared to the Blessed Virgin His Mother; the affection of the Son for His most loving mother is the reason for this assertion. Such is the teaching of Abbot Rupert, St. Albert the Great, St. Bonaventure, and several more recent commentators.[2304]

Second Article:

Christ's actual resurrection should not have been seen by His disciples, because the divinely established order is that those things above men's knowledge be revealed to them by angels, or at least it is the accustomed way for these to be proclaimed by angels.

Second objection of St. Thomas. "In order to have certainty of faith, the disciples saw Christ ascend into heaven.[2305] Therefore it seems for the same reason that Christ ought to have been seen to rise again by the disciples."

Reply to second objection. "Christ's ascension as to its term, wherefrom, was not above men's common knowledge, but only as to its term whereunto.... Thus the disciples did not see how Christ raised from the earth was received into heaven."[2306]

Third Article:

Christ ought not to have lived continually with His disciples after His resurrection because, for the manifestation of the glory of Him who rose, this was not befitting, lest it might seem He rose to the same life as before. "But it is unknown, " says St. Thomas, "in what places He was bodily present in the meantime, since Scripture is silent and His dominion is in every place."[2307]

St. Thomas observes[2308] that there were apparitions not mentioned in the Gospels; for St. Paul records the appearance to five hundred brethren at once,[2309] afterward to James,[2310] and yet these are not mentioned by the Evangelists.

Hence several authors think that between the times of the ten apparitions recorded in the Gospels, it is very probable that Christ was for some time with His most beloved Mother.

What is the meaning of these words of Christ to Magdalen: "Do not touch Me, for I am not yet ascended to My Father"?[2311] St. Thomas gives the following explanation: "If you say that Christ wished to be touched by the disciples, but not by the women, this cannot be; for it is said of Magdalen and the other women that they came up and took hold of His feet, and adored Him."[2312] But St. John Chrysostom is of the opinion that Christ first said to Magdalen, "Do not touch Me, " as if to say: "Do not think that I am still mortal and living with you the same way as before."[2313]

Fourth Article:

Christ appeared in His own shape to some who were well disposed to believe; but in another shape to those who already seemed to be getting tepid in their faith. Such is the view of St. Gregory the Great.[2314]

Fifth And Sixth Articles

Christ by various testimonies and signs sufficiently proved the truth of His resurrection. The first testimony is given by Christ to the disciples on their way to Emmaus, as recorded in the Gospel.[2315] The second testimony is when the angels[2316] announced the Resurrection to the women. The third is when He appeared bodily present to the eyes of His disciples, in His own shape, conversing with them, eating, drinking with them, allowing them to touch Him, and showing them His scars.[2317] The fourth is where He asserted that it is He Himself confirming this assertion by miracles, by passing through closed doors,[2318] on the occasion of the catch of the vast number of fishes,[2319] and when He ascended into heaven.[2320]

The objection is raised that even the angels appeared in human form and spoke, and yet they were not truly human.

St. Thomas replies to this objection by saying that the angels who appeared in human form did not assert that they were truly men, and they did not work miracles in confirmation of this assertion. Hence all the above-mentioned arguments and signs "taken collectively perfectly manifest Christ's resurrection, especially owing to the testimonies of the Scriptures, the saying of the angels, and even Christ's own assertion supported by miracles."[2321]

Moreover, in the treatise on revelation, it is shown apologetically that the testimony of the apostles invincibly proves the truth of Christ's resurrection. This argument is ably set forth by Billuart in his treatise on Christ's resurrection.


Question 56

Christ's resurrection is the exemplar and efficient instrumental cause of the resurrection of our bodies and souls.[2322] It is called an efficient instrumental cause, not inasmuch as it is an act that is immediately transient, but inasmuch as the humanity, according to which Christ rose, is the instrument of the divinity united with it to raise our bodies and sanctify our souls. St. Thomas says: "Christ's resurrection is the efficient cause of ours, through the divine power whose office it is to quicken the dead; and this power by its presence is in touch with all places and times; and such virtual contact suffices for its efficiency." Its contact is not quantitative, but virtual or dynamic.[2323]

Question 57: Christ's Ascension

It is of faith that Christ ascended into heaven, as stated in the Apostles' Creed;[2324] that He ascended body and soul;[2325] that He sits at the right hand of the Father,[2326] according to the natural mode of existing;[2327] that His kingdom is eternal;[2328] and that He will judge the living and the dead,[2329] coming in His body.[2330]

The principal passages from Sacred Scripture in testimony of the Ascension are: "And the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God";[2331] "And it came to pass whilst He blessed them, He departed from them and was carried up to heaven";[2332] "And when He had said these things, while they looked on, He was raised up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they were beholding Him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments, who also said: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into heaven. ' "[2333]

St. Thomas, having presupposed faith in Christ's ascension, in this question makes several inquiries about the fittingness, manner, and effects of Christ's ascension.

First Article:

It was fitting for Christ to ascend into heaven because after the resurrection Christ's body was incorruptible, and heaven is a place of incorruption. Moreover, this was a better way of manifesting Christ's victory over death. Finally, it befitted Christ to ascend, since this increased our faith, which is of things unseen; it advanced us in hope, because thus Christ, our head, gave us hope of reaching heaven, for He said: "I go to prepare a place for you."[2334] This mystery also increases love in us, for St. Paul says: "Seek the things that are above. where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God."[2335]

Christ fittingly ascended into heaven forty days after His resurrection,[2336] so as to prove more efficaciously the truth of the Resurrection; and also as the Scripture says: "For forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God,"[2337] in order to instruct them in those matters that pertain to the faith.

Second Article:

Christ ascended into heaven as man, but by the power of the divine nature.

Third Article:

Christ ascended into heaven by His own power, first of all by His divine power, and secondly by the power of His glorified soul moving His body at will, "inasmuch as His glorified body was endowed with the gift of agility."[2338] Although Christ did ascend into heaven by His own power, yet "He was raised up and taken up into heaven by the Father, since the Father's power is the same as the Son's."[2339]

Fourth Article:

"Christ ascended above all the heavens,"[2340] and this was most fitting because of His dignity. Hence St. Paul says: "For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, ... and made higher than the heavens."[2341] "God's seat is said to be in heaven, not as though heaven contained Him, but rather because it is contained by Him."[2342]

Fifth Article:

Christ's body ascended above every spiritual creature on account of the dignity of the hypostatic union, for St. Paul says: "He set Him above all principality and power, and virtue, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."[2343]

Sixth Article:

Christ's ascension is the cause of our salvation. (1) On our part, because by it faith which is of things unseen, is increased, there is an advancement in hope, an enkindling of charity, and greater reverence for Christ is thereby fostered. (2) On His part, for by thus ascending into heaven He prepared the way for us, as our Head.[2344] In sign whereof He took to heaven the souls of the saints delivered from hell, as the Scripture says: "Ascending on high He led captivity captive."[2345] So also Christ "entered into heaven to make intercession for us,"[2346] and "that He might fill all things."[2347]

Reply to first objection. Christ's ascension is the cause of our salvation, by way not of merit, but of efficiency, as His resurrection was.

Reply to third objection. "Christ... from some special dispensation sometimes comes down in body to earth, either in order to show Himself to the whole world, as at the judgment; or else to show Himself particularly to some individual, as to St. Paul.[2348] And lest any man may think that Christ was not bodily present, but in some way, when this occurred the contrary is shown from what the Apostle says to confirm faith in the Resurrection: "Last of all He was seen also by Me, as by one born out of due time. ' "[2349]

This vision would not prove, of course, the truth of the Resurrection, unless he had seen Christ's true body.

St. Thomas does not here discuss the mission of the Holy Ghost, because He had already spoken about this mystery at the end of the treatise on the Trinity,[2350] concerning the mission of the divine persons.

It suffices to note that the effects produced in the apostles by the mission of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost were a great increase of sanctifying grace and charity, to confirm them in grace, a proportionate increase of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the twelve fruits resulting from these gifts,[2351] and the gratiae gratis datae enumerated by St. Paul.[2352] Thus the gift of tongues was bestowed upon each of the apostles so that they might speak in the languages of the various nations, and also they sometimes spoke in one language so that the people of various nations understood them. Thus it is said: "They began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak";[2353] "They shall speak with new tongues";[2354] "I thank my God I speak with all your tongues."[2355]

The virtual catholicity of the Church was in this way manifested, which had to become increasingly an actual fact by the preaching of the gospel throughout the world.


CHAPTER XXXIX: CHRIST THE KING, JUDGE, AND HEAD OF THE BLESSED

First Article: Christ The King

There are three parts: (1) The principal testimonies of the Old and New Testaments concerning Christ's universal kingship. (2) Whether and by what titles Christ even as man is the king of all, both spiritually and temporally. (3) Christ's universal influence as king over all men in the social order.

It is of faith that Christ after His ascension sits at the right hand of the omnipotent Father and reigns forever. The various symbols of the faith express this.[2356]

Testimony Of Scripture

1) In the time of the patriarchs, the Messias is announced as the Savior of the world, during the time of the kings He is described as king, Son of God, and priest; in fact, His passion or sacrifice are foretold. His royal dignity and universal power are proclaimed in the following text: "In His days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away. And He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. Before Him the Ethiopians shall fall down... the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts. And all kings of the earth shall adore Him, and all nations shall serve Him. For He shall deliver the poor from the mighty, and the needy that had no helper.... And He shall save the souls of the poor.... For Him they shall always adore.... And in Him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all nations shall magnify Him,"[2357]

Likewise it is said: "The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against His Christ.... He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them... and trouble them in His rage. But I am appointed king by Him over Sion, His holy mountain, preaching His commandment. The Lord hath said: "Thou art My Son, this day I have begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thy inheritance. ' "[2358]

Also the prophet announces the Messias as king in this text: "For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace."[2359]

And similarly another prophet speaks of a stone that struck the statue, and the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth, which is a symbolical announcement that Christ's kingdom is to replace all other kingdoms and be preferred to them.[2360]

One of the minor prophets describes also the powers of this king, saying: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion.... Behold, thy King will come to thee, the just and Savior, He is poor and riding upon an ass and upon a colt, the foal of an ass."[2361] This prophecy is quoted by the Evangelist: "Behold thy king cometh to thee sitting upon an ass."[2362]

New Testament. Here Christ's universal kingdom is more clearly affirmed. It is, indeed, first of all declared by the angel announcing Christ's birth to the Blessed Virgin, and saying: "The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever."[2363] Christ Himself says: "All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth,"[2364] which means right over all nations, so that nations are under obligation to hear His teaching, for He says: "Teach all nations,"[2365] and they must observe His laws, to which they are subject after having been baptized, for He says: "Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."[2366]

This universal power of Christ includes both angels and the elect, for He says: "He shall send His angels, and shall gather together His elect."[2367] This universal power extends to demons, whom Christ rejects by His power, and it also includes all created beings, inasmuch as miracles were worked over all creatures, which absolutely obey Him.

The Fourth Gospel frequently refers to Christ's kingdom, especially in this text, when "Pilate said to Jesus: "Art Thou the King of the Jews?' Jesus answered: "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from hence. ' Pilate therefore said to Him: 'Art Thou a king then?' Jesus answered: "Thou sayest that I am a king.... Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice. "[2368] Therefore His kingdom is of a higher and universal order. Likewise Pilate orders the title to be inscribed on the cross, "King of the Jews, " in three languages: Hebrew, Greek and Latin;[2369] that is, as Bossuet says, in the language of God's people, in the language of philosophers, and in the language of imperial power, jurists, and statesmen.

Finally, St. John the Evangelist particularly exalts Christ the King, whom He calls: "beginning and the end, King of kings, and Lord of lords, the supreme Judge, who renders to each according to His works, the Prince of the kings of the earth."[2370]

St. Paul in one of his epistles also often speaks of Christ's universal reign; in fact, he even points out why Christ is the universal king, because He is: (1) the natural Son and heir of God; (2) the Redeemer. As for the first reason, he says: "In these days, [God] hath spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things... who sitteth at the right hand of the majesty on high."[2371] The second reason is given as follows: "Who is He that shall condemn Christ Jesus that died, yea, that is risen also again; who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us?"[2372] And again he says: "For He must reign. All things are put under Him,"[2373]

The liturgy often recalls the title of King as in the hymn, "Thou art the King of glory, Christ,"[2374] and the antiphon, "O King of nations,"[2375] and in the invocation, "Christ the King, Ruler of nations, let us adore."[2376] In the liturgy, Christ is called King of angels, of apostles, of martyrs; moreover, Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands. In the symbol of faith, we chant: "Whose reign will never end."[2377] That Christ is King is therefore of faith.[2378]

By What Titles Is Christ Also As Man King Of All Created Things?

His claim to kingship rests on three titles: (1) the hypostatic union; (2) plenitude of created grace, and these titles He claims by natural right; (3) His redemption of us, which is not a natural right, but one that is acquired by His sacrifice on the cross.

1) The hypostatic union. Because of this title, Christ, as man, transcends all creatures, even the higher choirs of angels, who must adore and obey Him as we do. Moreover, because of this union His acts are theandric and of infinite value.

This doctrine is clearly expressed by Pope Pius XI in the following words: "His kingship is founded upon that wonderful union which is called hypostatic. Hence it follows that Christ is to be adored by angels and men as God, and also that to Him as man, angels and men are subject and must recognize His empire, since, solely because of the hypostatic union, Christ has power over all creatures."[2379]

2) His claim to plenitude of grace, virtues, and gifts. Because of this title Christ excels all creatures, and is the head of the Church. The Evangelist says: "Of His fullness we all have received,"[2380] For this reason He also has the highest degree of the light of glory and charity. This plenitude of grace He also has by natural right.

3) He is entitled to be King because He has redeemed us. Since all Christ's acts are theandric, they are meritorious and satisfactory, and of infinite value. Under this aspect, He transcends the angels who are His ministers and who must assist the redeemed in attaining their end. Therefore Pope Pius XI says: "But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this, that Christ is asking for us by acquired right as well as by natural right, because He has redeemed us. Would that they who forget what they have cost our Savior might recall the words: "You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver... but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled."[2381] For we are no longer our own property since Christ bought us with a great price,[2382] and our bodies are the members of Christ."[2383]

St. Thomas expresses this doctrine clearly saying: "To sit on the right hand of the Father is nothing else than to share in the glory of the Godhead with the Father, and to possess beatitude and judiciary power, and that unchangeably and royally."[2384] Again he says: "Christ as man is exalted to divine honor, and this is signified in the aforesaid sitting."[2385]

He also asks whether it belongs to Christ as man to sit at the right hand of the Father. His reply is: "To sit at the right hand of the Father belongs to Christ first of all as the Son of God..., because He has the same nature as the Father.... Secondly, according to the grace of union.... According to this, Christ as man is the Son of God, and consequently sits at the Father's right hand; yet so that the expression 'as' does not denote condition of nature, but unity Or suppositum, as explained above (q. 16, a. 10, I1). Thirdly, the said approach can be understood according to habitual grace, which is more fully in Christ than in all other creatures, so much so that human nature in Christ is more blessed than in all other creatures, and possesses over all other creatures royal and judiciary power."[2386]

St. Thomas goes on to say: "If 'as' denote unity of person, thus again as man He sits at the Father's right hand as to equality of power, since we venerate the Son of God with the same honor as we do His assumed nature, as was said above (q. 25, a. 1) concerning the adoration of Christ's humanity inasmuch as it is personally united to the Word."[2387] Afterward he says: "Judiciary power goes with royal dignity."[2388]

Again he says: "It belongs to no one else, angel or man, but to Christ alone to sit at the right hand of the Father."[2389] Thus He alone is the King of all. The holy Doctor also frequently speaks about Christ's title of Redeemer. In fact, he says: "Judiciary power belongs to the man Christ on account of His divine personality and the dignity of His headship and the fullness of His habitual grace; and yet He obtained it also from merit."[2390]

To understand these assertions, we must properly define with St. Thomas the meaning of "king."

The word "rex" comes from "regere, " which means to rule, to govern, and universal government belongs to the king, ordering things to a good end. Thus the king is in his kingdom as God is in the world, and as the soul is in the body.[2391]

Hence St. Thomas says: "To direct belongs more to the king, " wherefore "prudence and justice belong most properly to a king,"[2392] especially legal justice and equity.

To direct and to govern are defined by St. Thomas as follows: "To govern the world is to bring the things of the world to their end,"[2393] and "the best government is government by one. The reason of this is that government is nothing but the directing of the things governed to the end; which consists in some good. But unity belongs to the idea of goodness.... Now the proper cause of unity is one.... From this it follows that the government of the world, to be the best, must be by one."[2394]

Thus the supreme and intelligent designer, who directs all things, corresponds to the ultimate end.

But the spiritual king directs his subjects to a spiritual end; the temporal king, however, to a temporal end, to the common good of society, which is not only a useful good, but a moral good, and which is subordinated to the ultimate supernatural end.

Is Christ as man, both the spiritual and temporal king of the universe, and was He the king of all kings and kingdoms in the whole world? Let us first see the three assertions on which all theologians are agreed.

1) All theologians always held that Christ as God rules as Lord and King of all, both spiritually and temporally, because "in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible."[2395]

2) All theologians also maintain that Christ, as man, is spiritual king of all men and societies, even of angels, as is evident from the above-quoted scriptural texts, for example: "King of kings, Lord of lords."[2396] Thus civil governments must accept Christian revelation, and legislate, for example, as regards indissolubility of marriage, in accordance with this revelation.

3) Theologians are also all in agreement that-Christ did not exercise this power as temporal king of the whole world. In fact, as the Evangelist says: "Jesus, therefore, when He knew that they would come to take Him by force and make Him king, fled again into the mountain Himself alone."[2397]

But the theologians disagreed whether Christ as man, had, if not the exercise of the power, at least the power of temporal king of the world.

St. Robert Bellarmine, Toletus, Sylvius, Billuart,[2398] and others reply in the negative. On the other hand, St. Antoninus, the Salmanticenses,[2399] and others replied in the affirmative, quoting several texts of St. Thomas,[2400] and this opinion afterward becomes the more generally accepted one, and is finally approved by Pius XI in his encyclical.[2401] The summary of his declaration is that Christ as man is king by legislative jurisdiction, coercion, and administration, and has this right over members of His spiritual kingdom, over all men,[2402] all civil affairs;[2403] hence laicism must be condemned.[2404]

Proof of affirmative opinion. St. Thomas says: "Christ, although established king by God, did not wish while living on earth to govern temporarily an earthly kingdom, because He came to raise men to divine things."[2405]

Objection. But the pope has only indirect power over temporal things. Therefore Christ also.

Reply. The Salmanticenses are right in saying that, although the pope may have only indirect power in temporal affairs, Christ could have direct and immediate power, by reason of the hypostatic union. Not all power that Christ had was granted to the Roman Pontiff even in spiritual things. Thus the pope cannot institute new sacraments.

In our days, after the pope's encyclical,[2406] there is no more disagreement among theologians on this point. Pope Pius XI says in this encyclical: "This kind of kingdom is especially of a spiritual nature and concerns spiritual things.... It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to Him by the Father, all things are in His power. Nevertheless, during His life on earth, He entirely refrained from the exercise of such authority."[2407]

Does this kingship of Christ consist of certain powers? The Pope's encyclical replies by saying that it consists of a threefold power, namely, legislative, judicial, and executive, "which, if it be deprived of these renders this kingship scarcely intelligible. This becomes sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a lawgiver, to whom obedience is due (C. Trid., Sess. VI, can. 21). Not only do the Gospels tell us that He made laws, but they present Him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their divine Master, and He promises that they shall remain in His love (John 14:15; 15:10). He claimed judicial power as received from His Father, when the Jews accused Him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. 'For neither does the Father judge any man, but all judgment He has given to the Son, (John 5:22). In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey His command; none can escape the sanctions imposed by Him. Nevertheless this kingdom is in a special manner of a spiritual nature and concerns spiritual things."[2408]

The universal extent of Christ's influence as king is the same as His influence as head of the Church. Thus His influence is universal, bestowing upon the just grace and charity, upon sinners in the Church the supernatural virtues of faith and hope, upon schismatics, heretics, Jews, and pagans, actual graces of illumination and inspiration, which can dispose them for salvation.[2409] Christ died for all men, and is king and lord of all.

Christ also, as king of the angels, exerts at least accidental influence of grace and glory upon them, inasmuch as they are His ministers in the heavenly kingdom. He also reigns as judge by exercising His justice over demons whom He cast out of creatures during His life on earth.

Christ the King, as explained in the encyclical, reigns in the whole of man, in our souls which He deifies, in our intellects so that they may always think of Him, in our wills so that they may be subject to Him, in the affections so that Christ may be loved above all things, in our bodies so that our members may serve "as instruments of justice unto God" for His honor and glory.[2410]

This kingdom also includes civil society, for as Leo XIII remarks,[2411] civil society no less than the individual is dependent on God as its author, for "there is no power but from God,"[2412] and without Christ's help man cannot observe even the whole natural law, provide for sound morality, pass good laws, for, as St. Thomas says: "In the state of corrupted nature man cannot fulfill all the divine commandments without healing grace,"[2413] nor the whole natural law.

Hence Pope Pius XI declares against laicism, "that by the rejection of Christ's universal kingdom, it gradually comes about that no distinction is made between the true religion and false religions, and then all religion, even natural religion, is abolished, and thus the reign of impiety and immorality is established,"[2414] so that the words of our Lord are verified: "He that is not with Me is against Me."[2415]

In our times, because of the institution of this feast of Christ the King, some have taken occasion to object to the Thomistic doctrine concerning the motive of the Incarnation. They have said that Christ as man is King of all creatures, even of angels, independently of our redemption from sin. But in virtue of the present decree, Christ came as King. Therefore in virtue of the present decree, He came also independently of sin.

We concede that this could be so in virtue of another decree, but not in virtue of the present decree. And we reply: Let the major pass without comment, because for Christ to be King of all creatures, formally as such, does not depend upon redemption from sin.

I distinguish the minor: in virtue of the present decree that Christ came primarily as King, this I deny; that He came so secondarily, I concede; for He came primarily as Savior, priest, and victim, although He is also King of all creatures. I distinguish the conclusion in like manner. Therefore, in virtue of the present decree, He came independently of sin if He came only as King, this I concede; if He also came, even primarily, as Savior of men, then I deny that He came so as king.

For the present decree, since it is efficacious and most prudent, concerns not only the substance of the Incarnation, but also all its circumstances, and therefore it is about the redemptive Incarnation, that is, it is about Christ who is to come in passible flesh. Hence, in virtue of the present decree, Christ nowise would have come unless man had sinned. This means that He would not have come in passible flesh, or in any other way, either as Savior or as King. But de facto, after the sin of the first man, He came principally as the Savior of man and as the King of all creatures. As we said, God, perceiving by His knowledge of simple intelligence the possibility of the fall of man and the redemption, by one decree willed the creation of the natural order, the elevation of the human race and of the angels to the order of grace, and at the same time, in permitting original sin, willed the redemptive Incarnation and therefore by the same sole decree ordered all created things for the incarnate Word and Redeemer, or for the conqueror of sin, the devil, and death, as also for Him as King.

This is also clearly seen in the Mass of Christ the King, in which the title of King is intimately connected with that of Savior, and this not only once a year in the Mass of this feast, but daily in every Mass that is celebrated throughout the year.

The Introit of this Mass reads: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and honor. To Him be glory and empire forever and ever." The oration says: "Almighty and eternal God, who has willed to restore all things in Thy beloved Son, who is King of all things, mercifully grant that all the nations of the earth, freed from sin, may be subject to His sweet rule."

The Epistle thanks God "who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins... because in Him it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself."[2416] The Gospel of this Mass recalls that Christ affirmed His kingship during His passion and intimately connected this royal dignity with redemption. The same is said in the Secret prayer. Also the Preface, in which Jesus is declared Priest before He is called King, says: "Thou who didst anoint with the oil of exaltation Thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ eternal Priest and King of all: so that of offering Himself... on the altar of the cross, He might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption, and having subjected all creatures to His empire, might deliver an eternal and universal kingdom to Thy immense Majesty...."

Therefore the title of "King of kings" is nowise in opposition to the teaching of St. Thomas concerning the motive of the Incarnation. Christ is first of all the Savior.[2417]

Second Article: (Q. 59): Christ The Judge

It is of faith that Christ will judge the living and the dead, coming corporeally.[2418]

1) Judiciary power befits Christ for three reasons: (1) because of the hypostatic union; (2) because of His fullness of grace and dignity of headship; (3) because of His infinite merits.[2419] Thus the Scripture says: "It is He who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead."[2420] It was most fitting that He who fought for God's justice and conquered, having been unjustly condemned, should be, even as man, judge of all in accordance with God's justice.[2421]

2) Judiciary power befits Christ as regards all human affairs, according to both natures.[2422] Thus the Evangelist says: "The Father hath given all judgment to the Son."[2423] And St. Paul says: "For this end Christ died and rose again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.... For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God."[2424]

3) Christ's judgment is twofold, that is, particular at death for every individual, namely, for each particular person; and it is also universal, inasmuch as each individual is a part of the universe, and this will be at the end of the world. Thus St. Paul says: "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment,"[2425] that is, the particular judgment. And the Evangelist says: "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."[2426] The sentence delivered on the Judgment Day means the separation of all the good from the bad. It is more probable that the sentence and all that pertains to the general judgment is done mentally and not vocally.[2427]

There will be in the last days a world-wide persecution by the wicked against the good; therefore the wicked will feel secure, and the good will fear.[2428] But on the day of the Last Judgment the just will deride the condemned for three things, namely, their pride, their trust in themselves, and the passing glory of this world.[2429]

4) Christ according to His human nature exerts judiciary power over all the angels, as regards the dispensation of graces granted through them and their accidental rewards; but He gives essential reward only in accordance with His divine nature. On this point St. Thomas says: "As to the essential reward of the good angels, which is everlasting bliss, and as to the essential punishment of the wicked angels, which is everlasting damnation, this was done by Christ from the beginning of the world, inasmuch as He is the Word of God."[2430]

Nevertheless, as St. Thomas says: "The angels are subjects of Christ's judiciary power even as regards His human nature: (1) from the closeness of His assumed nature to God, namely, by reason of the hypostatic union; (2) because by the lowliness of His passion, the human nature in Christ merited to be exalted above the angels, so that as is said: ‘In the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.'[2431] And therefore Christ has judiciary power also over all the angels both good and bad. In testimony of this the Scripture says: ‘All the angels stood round about the throne.’"[2432]

5) Will Christ come to judge the whole world in His human nature?[2433] The answer is in the affirmative. The Evangelist says: "The Father hath given Him power to do judgment, because He is the Son of man."[2434] Christ truly judges inasmuch as He is Lord, and Lord not only as Creator, but as Redeemer, which means according to His human nature. Hence St. Paul says: "For to this end Christ died and rose again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living."[2435]

Third Article: Christ The Head Of The Blessed

1) It is said that "Christ sitteth on the right hand of God,"[2436] and according to both natures.[2437] By reason of His divine nature He is equal to the Father, and in His human nature He excels all other creatures in the possession of divine good things. And both claims befit only Christ.

2) Christ as God preserves all the blessed in being and in the consummation of grace. He preserves the light of glory and unfailing charity in them, and moves these powers to their respective acts. Christ as man illumines the blessed, rules them, gives them joy in accordance with the scriptural saying: "The Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof [of the new city], and the Lamb. And the city hath no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof."[2438]

3) Christ glorious as man adores the Father, thanks and offers Him His whole mystical body; and until the end of the world intercedes for wayfarers. St. Paul says: "Christ, being come a high priest of the good things to come,"[2439] concerning which St. Thomas says: "He sits next to the Father to intercede for us. He likewise sits there to help us."[2440]

Likewise the Church chants in the Mass: "It is truly worthy and just... for us always and everywhere to thank Thee, O holy Lord, omnipotent Father, eternal God, through Christ our Lord, through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the dominations adore Thy majesty."[2441]

Likewise St. Augustine says[2442] that all the blessed thank God through Christ for their predestination and for all its effects.

4) Christ glorious is adored by the blessed and He receives their thanks inasmuch as He is the Savior of all. The Church addresses Him in these words: "O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father... Thou only art holy, Thou only art the Lord, Thou only, O Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father."[2443] St. John says: "I heard all saying: To Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction and honor and glory and power, forever and ever."[2444]

Is There Sacrifice In Heaven?

This has been admitted by some and in recent times by Talhofer and Father Lepin[2445] because Christ offers to God the Father His glorious scars and because the Scripture says: "I saw the Lamb standing as it were slain."[2446]

There is a considerable difficulty here, because first of all sacrifice in the strict sense implies external immolation, at least sacramentally, and this does not continue in heaven any more than the sacraments do, because the blessed see God directly, without sensible signs.

Moreover, it seems that the sacrifice in heaven would not be subordinated, but coordinated with the sacrifice on the cross, whereby therefore the work of our redemption would not have been completed, and would be contrary to what our Lord said in dying: "It is consummated."[2447] In fact, it seems that the sacrifice in heaven as such would be more perfect than the sacrifice on the cross, which latter would be subordinated to it as a disposition to its ultimate perfection.

Wherefore neither a new sacrifice in heaven in the strict sense must be admitted, nor a new and formal oblation of the sacrifice on the cross, but merely its consummation, which, St. Thomas says, "consists in this, that those for whom the sacrifice is offered, obtain the end of the sacrifice... according to Heb. 9:11, that Christ is a high priest of the good things to come, for which reason the priesthood of Christ is said to be eternal."[2448]

Nevertheless, until the end of the world, Christ glorious appeals to the Father for us, as the fruits of the sacrifice on the cross are applied to us, and thus also He actually offers the Masses that are daily offered by His priests. After the end of the world, Christ as our High Priest along with the members of His mystical body, will offer to the Father the cult of praise, adoration, and thanksgiving, wherein the sacrifice on the cross will be consummated without a new sacrifice in the strict sense.[2449]

The sacrifice of the cross, however, is not actually but virtually perpetuated in its consummation; for it is more perfect to reach consummation than to tend toward it, and the mystical body already glorified is more perfect than the mystical body not yet glorified. Likewise, generally speaking, merit is subordinated to the reward toward which it tends.


CHAPTER XL: COMPENDIUM OF MARIOLOGY

These questions have been discussed fully enough in a special book.[2450] Therefore we shall give a very brief explanation of them in the present treatise, considering them in their speculative aspect, as they pertain to the body of theological doctrine.

First Article: The Eminent Dignity Of The Divine Motherhood

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Christ, and is therefore truly and properly the Mother of God, as defined by the Council of Ephesus.[2451] St. Thomas says: "Conception and birth are attributed to the person and hypostasis in respect of that nature in which it is conceived and born. Since, therefore, the human nature was taken by the divine person (of the Word) in the very beginning of the conception, it follows that it can be truly said that God was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary."[2452] Hence she is truly the Mother of God.

The Blessed Virgin Mary was first predestined to this divine motherhood and then as a consequence of this to fullness of glory and grace, so as to be worthy of being the Mother of God.[2453] This is sufficiently clear from the bull of Pope Pius IX in which it is said: "The ineffable God from the beginning and from all eternity chose and ordained for His only-begotten Son, a mother from whom His Son took flesh so as to be born in the blessed fullness of time, and pursued her with such great love above all creatures, so as to find the greatest of delight in her."[2454] A little farther on it says: "By one and the same decree [He chose her] along with the Incarnation of divine wisdom."[2455]

In other words, the eternal decree of the Incarnation is not directed toward the quasi-abstract Incarnation, but toward the Incarnation here and now to be brought into being or, so to speak, individualized; that is, it concerns the incarnation of God's Son from the Virgin Mary, as stated in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan symbol.[2456]

Therefore by the same eternal decree Christ as man was predestined to be by nature the Son of God, and the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the Mother of God. But this decree is antecedent to the predestinating decree of men who are to be saved by Christ's merits, and of whatsoever other human persons to glory and grace. Therefore the Blessed Virgin Mary was predestined to be the Mother of God, as to what was principally intended, prior to being predestined to glory, just as Christ was predestined to be the Son of God by nature, as to what was principally intended, prior to being predestined to glory. That to which anyone is first predestined is called the end, and is nobler than any other things to which a person is afterward predestined. From this it is already apparent that divine motherhood is nobler than fullness of grace and glory, which is a consequence of the former and which accompanies it so as to render the Blessed Virgin worthy of being the Mother of God.

This superiority of divine motherhood is evident also for several other reasons. First, because the Blessed Virgin Mary could indeed merit eternal life, but she could not merit the Incarnation, which is the eminent principle of all Mary's merits, just as it is of all men after the Fall, and hence she could not merit the divine motherhood, which is closely connected with the Incarnation, and which, like the Incarnation, transcends the sphere of merit.[2457] From what has been said it is also apparent that the Blessed Virgin Mary's predestination is entirely gratuitous.

Secondly, the divine motherhood is a dignity which by reason of its terminus whereunto, namely, the Word incarnate, belongs to the hypostatic order, which transcends the order of grace and glory.

Thirdly, the divine motherhood is the reason for all the graces bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thus it is their measure and end, and is therefore of a higher order than these. Such is the common teaching of the theologians.

Fourthly, the divine motherhood is the motive for the cultus of hyperdulia paid to Mary, to which she would not be entitled if she were only full of grace and the highest of all the saints, but not Mother of God.[2458]

Fifthly, it follows from this that the divine motherhood is also considered in itself superior to the fullness of grace that was granted to Mary so as to render her worthy of being the Mother of God. So also in the natural order the spiritual soul, even considered in itself, because it belongs to the substantial order, is more perfect than its intellectual faculty, although it is perfected by this latter.[2459]

Second Article: The Immaculate Conception Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

The plenitude of grace in Mary was first made manifest through the privilege of the Immaculate Conception, which was more and more explicitly admitted in the Church, and was finally solemnly defined by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854.[2460] Pius IX says in this definition: "We define the doctrine that holds the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception was by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Savior of the human race, preserved exempt from all stain of original sin, and that this is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore must be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."[2461]

This privilege, according to the bull of definition, is implicitly affirmed by the archangel Gabriel to Mary on the day of the Annunciation, who said: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women";[2462] and St. Elizabeth uttered similar words.[2463] The Blessed Virgin Mary would not have received this fullness of grace if her soul at any moment had been in a state of spiritual death because of original sin, that is, if at any moment she had been without sanctifying grace and charity, and therefore turned away from God the ultimate end, a daughter of wrath, whom the devil could have claimed as having once been his slave.

This is especially evident from tradition, as this same bull declares, for it quotes the testimonies of St. Justin, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Ephrem, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine.[2464] The feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated especially in the Greek Church since the seventh century, and almost in the whole of Europe since the twelfth century.

The theological proof for this privilege completes by the notion of preservative redemption what St. Thomas had said for the sanctification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb before her birth. He had said: "For it is reasonable to believe that she who brought forth the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, received greater privileges of grace than all others."[2465]

Now it must be said to be fitting that the most excellent Redeemer most perfectly redeemed the person who was most closely connected with Him as Mother and associated with Him in the redemption of the human race. But most perfect redemption liberates not only from sin, but also preserves from sin. Therefore it was far more fitting that the most excellent Redeemer, by His merits, that were of infinite value, preserve His mother from original sin and also from actual sin, as tradition affirms.

This argument was proposed by Eadmer in the twelfth century, and was afterward more clearly explained by Scotus,[2466] and is valid even regardless of the special opinion held by Scotus concerning the motive of the Incarnation.

The bull of definition declares that it is not fitting for the most perfect Redeemer to have had a Mother conceived in sin.

The consequences of the particular privilege of the Immaculate Conception are that the Blessed Virgin Mary never had concupiscence, and never had any absolutely first deordinate movements arising in her sensitive nature, but that there was always perfect subordination of her sensitive nature to the intellect and will, which were fully in subjection to the divine good pleasure, as in the state of innocence. Thus the Blessed Virgin is inviolate and undefiled.

Her intellect was never exposed to either error or illusion, so that she was always correct in her judgments, and if she was not at any time enlightened about anything, then she suspended her judgment, avoiding all precipitation. Thus she is called Seat of Wisdom, Queen of Doctors, Virgin most Prudent, Mother of Good Counsel.

In what way was she subjected to pain and death? She submitted to it as Christ did, inasmuch as pain and death were in her not the result of original sin, but of human nature or of the body conceived in passible flesh. For human nature of itself, just like all animal nature, is subjected to pain and death, and man is by nature mortal. The human body in the state of innocence was endowed with the preternatural gift of immortality, but when this was taken away, then the laws of nature at once came into operation. But Jesus, that He might be our Redeemer by His passion and death, was conceived in passible flesh, and thus willingly accepted pain and death for our salvation. The Blessed Virgin Mary also accepted pain and death, so that she might be united with her Son in the sacrifice of redemption.

The privilege of the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of the fullness of grace very much increased in Mary her capacity of grieving for the greatest of all evils, which is sin. It is precisely because she was most pure, and loved God and her Son in the very highest degree, that she grieved to the utmost for our sins, whereby God is offended and for which Christ was crucified.

The Teaching Of St. Thomas On The Immaculate Conception

It seems that we must distinguish between three periods in the life of St. Thomas as to his teaching on this subject.

In the first period, which was from 1253 to 1254, he affirmed the privilege, for he wrote: "Such was the purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was exempt from both original and actual sin."[2467]

In the second period, St. Thomas sees more clearly the difficulties of the problem, and, because some theologians said that Mary had no need of redemption, the holy Doctor affirms that, according to revelation,[2468] Christ is the Redeemer of the human race, and that nobody is saved without him. But giving no thought to preservative redemption, St. Thomas seems to deny the privilege of the Immaculate Conception, saying: "It remains, therefore, that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified after animation,"[2469] St. Thomas fails to distinguish, as he often does in other questions, between posteriority of nature, which is compatible with the privilege, and posteriority of time, which is incompatible with it. He says: "The Blessed Virgin did indeed, contract original sin,"[2470] not sufficiently distinguishing between the debt of incurring original sin and the fact of incurring it.

Concerning the question as to the precise moment when the Blessed Virgin was sanctified in the womb, St. Thomas does not come to any conclusion. He only says: "This sanctification took place immediately after her animation,"[2471] and "it is not known when she was sanctified."[2472]

It must be observed with Fathers del Prado, O. P.,[2473] Mandonnet, O. P.,[2474] and Hugon, O. P.,[2475] that the principles invoked by St. Thomas do not contradict the privilege and remain intact if preservative redemption be admitted. But St. Thomas, at least in this second period of his life as teacher, does not seem to have thought of this most perfect mode of redemption. Moreover, it must be noticed that the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin was not as yet celebrated in Rome;[2476] but what is not done in Rome, does not appear to be in conformity with tradition.

In the last period of his life, however, from 1272 until 1273, St. Thomas wrote a work that is certainly authentic.[2477] In a recent critical edition of this small work made by J. F. Rossi, c. M., we read: "For she [the Blessed Virgin] was most pure because she incurred the stain neither of original sin nor of mortal sin nor of venial sin."[2478] If it be so, then St. Thomas at the end of his life, after mature reflection, and in accordance with his devotion toward the Blessed Virgin, again affirmed what he had said in the first period of his life.[2479]

We must note other passages indicative of this happy return to his first opinion.[2480]

A similar change of opinion is often enough to be found in great theologians concerning very difficult questions that belong to Mariology. First something of the privilege is affirmed in accordance with tradition and devotion; afterward difficulties become more apparent which give rise to doubts, and finally upon more mature reflection, enlightened by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, the theologian returns to his first opinion, considering that God's gifts are more fruitful than we think and there must be good reasons for restricting their scope. But the principles of St. Thomas, as we have observed, do not decide against the privilege, they even lead to it, at the same time as the mind is acquiring an explicit notion of preservative redemption.

Thus St. Thomas probably at the end of life reaffirmed the privilege of the Immaculate Conception. Father Mandonnet[2481] and Father J. M. Voste[2482] thought so.

Third Article: The Blessed Virgin Mary Was Preserved From All Actual Sin, Even Venial Sin

The Council of Trent declares the belief of tradition in the following words: "If anyone shall say that a man once justified... is able, during his whole life, to avoid all sins, even those that are venial, except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds concerning the Blessed Virgin, let him be anathema."[2483]

St. Hippolytus, St. Irenaeus, St. Justin, Tertullian, and St. Ambrose are quoted as witnesses of tradition, who place opposition between Eve and Mary, and St. Augustine says: "About the holy Virgin Mary, on account of the Lord's honor, concerning sins, I will that no questions at all be raised."[2484]

St. Thomas gives the theological proof in the following words: "God so prepares and endows those whom He chooses for some particular office, that they are rendered capable of fulfilling it, for St. Paul says: "Who hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament."[2485] But she would not have been worthy to be the Mother of God if she had ever sinned.... So that what is written is fulfilled: "Thou are all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. ' "[2486]

Mary was not only sinless but incapable of sinning, yet not absolutely so and in her own right as Christ was, but in virtue of the confirmation of grace that was granted her from the beginning and because of the special assistance of divine providence. This special assistance was the effect of the Blessed Virgin Mary's predestination, and under this particular help she retained her complete freedom in the performance of good, without deviating from the right path. This is a participation in the immortality and impeccability of God's supreme liberty.

It is the common teaching of theologians that the Blessed Virgin was also preserved from every imperfection, either directly or indirectly willed, which means that she was never less prompt in following the inspirations of grace given by way of counsel, and her acts of charity did not vary in intensity.

Fourth Article: The Beginning Of Perfection In The Blessed Virgin's Fullness Of Grace

Pius IX says: "The ineffable God... from the beginning and from all eternity chose and ordained for His only-begotten Son a mother from whom His Son took flesh, so as to be born in the blessed fullness of time, and pursued her with such great love above all creatures so as to find the greatest of delight in her. Wherefore, far excelling all the angelic spirits and the saints, He so enriched her with an abundance of all heavenly charismata drawn from the treasury of His divine nature, that always absolutely free from all stain of sin, and all beautiful and perfect as she is, He might present in her a fullness of innocence and sanctity, greater than which, after God, cannot at all be known and, after God, no one can be thought to attain."[2487]

St. Thomas manifests the fitness of this privilege by this principle: "In every genus the nearer a thing is to the principle, the greater the part it has in the effect of that principle.... But Christ is the principle of grace, authoritatively as to His Godhead, instrumentally as to His humanity. But the Blessed Virgin Mary was nearest to Christ in His humanity, because He received His human nature from her. Therefore it was due to her to receive a greater fullness of grace than others."[2488]

If this incipient fullness of grace in the Blessed Virgin is compared with the final grace of men and angels before their entrance into heaven, theologians commonly teach that this beginning of fullness already surpassed the final grace of any man or angel whatever. This is today considered certain and is expressed by Pius IX.[2489]

The reason is that grace is the effect of God's active love, which makes us pleasing in His eyes, as His adopted sons. But the Blessed Virgin from the first moment of her conception, destined to be the Mother of God, was loved by Him more than any saint or angel whatever. Therefore the Blessed Virgin received greater grace than any of them. Moreover, this incipient fullness of grace was already a worthy reparation, although remote, for divine motherhood, which transcends the order of grace inasmuch as terminatively it belongs to the hypostatic order.

In fact, the majority of theologians now teach as most probable, if not certain, that this incipient fullness of grace in the Blessed Virgin already transcended the final grace of all the saints and angels taken together.

Pius IX evidently favors this view, for he says: "God pursued her with such great love above all creatures, so as to find the greatest delight in her. Wherefore, far above all the angelic spirits and the saints, He so enriched her with grace..., and this fullness of grace is, after God, the greatest conceivable."[2490]

But these expressions denote not only every one of the saints and angels, but all of them taken together. In fact, a little farther on in this papal bull, the Blessed Virgin is said to be "above all the choirs of angels,"[2491] that is, all the angels taken together.

This assertion is conceded by all concerning Mary as she is in heaven, but the degree of glory in heaven corresponds to the degree of merit at the moment of death, and this in the Blessed Virgin was in proportion to her dignity as Mother of God, for which the incipient fullness of grace already disposed her.

The theological proof of the aforesaid teaching, which is more generally accepted, is this. A person that is loved more by God than all creatures taken together, received greater grace. But God from all eternity loved Mary more than all creatures taken together, because He loved her as His future mother. Therefore He enriched her with a greater fullness of grace. And He considered her as His future mother from the first moment of her conception, in fact from all eternity, when He predestined her to divine motherhood.

Moreover, if this incipient fullness of grace surpasses the final grace of the highest saint or the highest angel, for this reason it surpasses the grace of all the saints taken together, for grace does not belong to the quantitative order, but to the qualitative order.

Thus the intelligence of an archangel surpasses the intelligence of all angels inferior to him. The intellectual vigor of St. Thomas exceeds that of all his commentators taken together. Likewise the power of the king not only surpasses the power of his prime minister, but of all his ministers taken together.

Hence the Blessed Virgin even in this life, without the cooperation of the saints and angels, could obtain more by her prayers and merits than all the saints and angels taken together could obtain without her.

The consequences of this beginning in the fullness of grace are that all the infused virtues, and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, which are connected with charity, were from the beginning in Mary in a proportionate degree.

Moreover, many theologians think that the Blessed Virgin more probably received, through infused knowledge, the use of reason and of free will from the first moment of her conception, for the purpose of offering herself to God and for the purpose that this beginning in the fullness of the graces of the virtues and gifts might produce fruit in her. It is also probable that she was not afterward deprived of this use of free will, because thus she would have become less perfect through no fault of her own.[2492]

Fifth Article: The Blessed Virgin Mary's Increase In Grace

Whereas Christ received in the first moment of His conception, absolute fullness of grace, for the Second Council of Constantinople says, "He never was made better in the advancement of good works,"[2493] the Blessed Virgin Mary always was made better until death, increasing in the grace of the virtues and the gifts. Just as a stone falls more swiftly as it approaches the ground, so, says St. Thomas, the just soul more promptly goes to God the more it approaches Him and is attracted and drawn by Him.[2494] Thus there was always an increase of progress in the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This spiritual progress in the Blessed Virgin Mary was the fruit of merit and prayer.

It was especially on the day of the Annunciation at the moment of the Incarnation that she received a great increase of grace. Then when the Word was made flesh, she received this Word with the greatest fervor, and the Incarnation by reason of the operation effected (ex opere operato) produced in her a great increase of grace more so than Eucharistic Communion does in a person very well disposed.

The spiritual joy of the Blessed Virgin Mary was made manifest on the day she uttered her canticle of praise, when visiting Elizabeth.[2495]

The Church has defined[2496] that the holy Mother of God was a virgin before her parturition, in her parturition, and after parturition, and always remained a virgin; wherefore she did not need to be purified.[2497] The Fathers of the Church have often said this.[2498] St. Thomas says: "The error of Helvidius, who dared to assert that Christ's Mother, after His birth, was carnally known by Joseph, and bore other children... is derogatory to Christ's perfection..., is an insult to the Holy Ghost..., and is derogatory to the dignity and holiness of God's Mother, for thus she would seem to be most ungrateful, were she not content with such a Son, and were she of her own accord, by carnal intercourse to forfeit that virginity which had been miraculously preserved in her."[2499]

Then the grace of the virtues and the gifts was in a special manner increased in-Mary on the day of our Lord's birth, on the day when Jesus was presented in the Temple, during His flight into Egypt, afterward when the holy family lived in Nazareth. But this grace was especially increased in her on Mount Calvary, when the mother of our Savior was intimately associated with the sacrifice of her Son, also on the day of Pentecost, and when she most fervently received Holy Communion from the hands of St. John the Evangelist.

Therefore the Blessed Virgin Mary had the greatest of faith, illumined by the gifts of understanding, wisdom, and knowledge, and hence her knowledge of Sacred Scripture was profound, especially as regards those things that are more closely related to the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.

It is commonly held that she was exempt not only from error, but also from ignorance in the strict sense, which is a privation in a fit subject. Certain things she did not know, but she was not ignorant of those things which it befitted her to know.

It is more probable that she had infused knowledge for the use of reason and free will from the first moment of her conception, and afterward was not deprived of this use, because she would have become less perfect through no fault of her own.

From her Canticle of the Magnificat it is evident that she had the gift of prophecy. Like many of the saints, she also received the gift of discernment of spirits, especially in giving counsel to those who appealed to her. Finally, perhaps toward the end of her life, she had the beatific vision in a transient manner, as St. Augustine and St. Thomas affirm that St. Paul probably had.

The principal virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary were her most firm hope, especially her heroic charity on Mount Calvary, eminent prudence, enlightened by the gift of counsel, justice always tempered by the greatest mercy, the greatest of piety, invincible fortitude, most renowned virginity, exceeding meekness, and most profound humility. Thus she is the exemplar of the contemplative life in the hidden apostolate made most fruitful by prayer and sacrifice.

Sixth Article: The Final Plenitude Of Grace In Mary

1) What was this plenitude at the moment of death? The immaculate Mother of God did not die on account of original sin;[2500] her death, like that of Christ, as we have said, was not the result of sin but of nature, or of natural consequences, inasmuch as she was conceived in passible flesh, as Christ was, for man is by nature mortal.

In union with her Son on Calvary she offered the sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of her own life, and, as St. John Damascene,[2501] St. Francis de Sales,[2502] and Bossuet[2503] testify and explain, she died not only in love, but from love for her divine Son, that is, from a strong desire of seeing God immediately and forever. In accordance with this final plenitude of grace and charity, her soul was ultimately disposed for the beatific vision.

2) The assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to documents of tradition the feast of the Assumption has been solemnly celebrated both in the Latin Church and in the Greek Church since the seventh century. But this solemn feast is the liturgical expression of the ordinary magisterial teaching of the whole Church, for the law of praying is the law of believing, and this presupposes that the privilege of the Assumption is certain and at least implicitly revealed. The Blessed Virgin Mary's entrance into heaven could not be naturally known with certainty; even though the apostles saw His body rise from the ground as to its term wherefrom, they did not see it as to its term whereunto as St. Thomas says of our Lord's ascension.[2504] Therefore the certainty of the Assumption as expressed in the institution of this solemn feast can be the result only of at least implicit revelation.

That this privilege, however, was implicitly revealed, is evident from especially two traditionally alleged theological reasons. For the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the angelic salutation was "full of grace and blessed among women."[2505] But this exceptional benediction excludes the malediction, "Unto dust thou shalt return."[2506] Therefore the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary was under no obligation to suffer the corruption of the tomb.

Moreover, according to the words of Simeon, "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce,"[2507] the Blessed Virgin Mary was closely associated on Calvary with Christ's perfect victory over the devil and sin. Therefore she was associated with Christ's perfect victory over death, which is a part of the victory over the devil, and victory over sin follows, inasmuch as "death is the wages of sin."[2508] But perfect victory over death requires that the Mother of God "could not have been held down by the bonds of death."[2509] Therefore this victory requires an anticipated resurrection and assumption. Thus the privilege of the Assumption seems proximately definable as one hundred and ninety-seven Fathers of the Vatican Council postulated. Denzinger also points out: "Concerning the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the time of the Vatican Council two hundred and four bishops and theologians urged its dogmatic definition since, unless we wish to say that the most firm faith of the Church savors too much of slight credulity, which it is impious to think, without doubt it is of divine and apostolic tradition, that is, it must be most firmly held to have been revealed."[2510]

3) The final plenitude of the Blessed Virgin Mary's grace received its confirmation in heaven for she was raised "above the choirs of angels"[2511] as the liturgy says, to the highest degree of essential glory or of the beatific vision after Christ, as His worthy Mother, who was intimately associated with Him in the work of our salvation, and reached the highest degree of charity after Him. The degree of glory corresponds to the degree of merits acquired at the end of this life.

But the accidental beatitude of the Blessed Virgin Mary consists in the intimate knowledge of Christ's glorious human nature, in the functioning of her office as universal Mediatrix and spiritual mother, and in the cult of hyperdulia that is owing to her as Mother of God. To her is attributed the threefold aureole of martyrs, confessors of the faith, and virgins.

Seventh Article: The Blessed Virgin Mary's Universal Mediation

The holy Mother of the Redeemer is often called by the Fathers "the new Eve" or the spiritual mother of all men.[2512] Afterward, more and more explicitly her universal mediation was affirmed in the liturgy and in the works of theologians. In the Middle Ages St. Bernard says: "Mary is the procurer of grace, the mediator of salvation, the restorer of the ages,"[2513] St. Albert the Great calls Mary "the coadjutor and associate of Christ,"[2514] Finally, in most recent times, the Supreme Pontiffs expressly affirm that she is the Mediatrix of all graces.

Leo XIII says: "It is God's will that nothing be bestowed on us except through Mary; so that, as nobody can reach the supreme Father except through the Son, so that almost nobody can approach Christ except through Mary."[2515] Leo XIII also says: "She is the one from whom Jesus was born, His true Mother, and for this reason the worthy and most accepted Mediatrix to the Mediator."[2516]

Pius X more explicitly declared: "But from the communion of griefs and purpose between Mary and Christ she merited, as Eadmer says, to become most worthily the reparatrix of a lost world, and therefore the dispenser of all the gifts which Jesus procured for us by His death and the shedding of His blood.... Since she excelled all others in sanctity and in her union with Christ and was summoned by Him in the human work of salvation, it was congruous, as they say, that she should merit for us what Christ condignly merited for us; and she is the principal minister in the dispensation of graces."[2517]

Benedict XV likewise says: "As she suffered with her Son in His passion and, so to speak, shared in His death, so she abdicated her maternal rights over her Son for the salvation of men and, as far as it was in her power, sacrificed her Son for the appeasement of divine justice, so that it can truly be said, that along with Christ she redeemed the human race."[2518]

Pius XI said in equivalent words: "The most sorrowful Mother participated in the work of redemption with Jesus Christ."[2519]

Finally, a decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office praises the custom of attaching the name of Jesus to that of Mary: "His Mother, our co-Redemptress, the blessed Mary."[2520] Therefore the title "Co-Redemptress of the human race" is approved.[2521]

Theological proof. It shows the genuineness of this title, for in the strict sense this title of co-Redemptress and universal Mediatrix befits the Mother of the Redeemer, if she is associated with Christ in the work of the redemption of the human race by way of merit and satisfaction. But she was truly so associated with Him by a perfect communion of will and suffering, inasmuch as she gave her consent to the mystery of the Incarnation. Thus she gave us the Redeemer, and afterward, especially on Calvary, along with Christ congruously merited and satisfied for all of us; now finally in heaven she intercedes with Christ for us and distributes all graces we receive. Therefore the aforesaid title strictly befits her.

But this association with Christ the Redeemer is properly understood when we exclude what it is not. Certainly the Blessed Virgin Mary was not the principal and perfective cause of our redemption, for she could not condignly redeem us in justice. For this, Christ's theandric act of infinite value, as the head of the human race, was necessary. The Mother of the Savior could not elicit a theandric act of reparation, nor was she constituted the head of the human race. But, subordinated to Christ, she is really the secondary and dispositive cause of our redemption.

It is said "subordinated to Christ" not only in this sense, that she is inferior to Him, but that she concurs in our salvation, by the grace which comes from Christ's merits. Thus she operated in Him and through Him. Hence Christ is the supreme mediator of all, and the Blessed Virgin Mary was redeemed by Him by a most perfect redemption, not by being freed from sin, but by being preserved from it.

She is also the dispositive cause of our redemption, inasmuch as she disposes us to receive Christ's influence who, as the author of salvation, perfects the work of our redemption.

Some have raised the objection, that the principle of merit does not come under merit. But the Blessed Virgin Mary was redeemed by the sacrifice of the cross. Therefore she could not even congruously merit the attainment of graces for us.

Reply. I concede the major and minor, but the conclusion does not follow. All that follows is that she could not even congruously merit the attainment of all these graces for herself, this I concede. But she could merit these for us.

Christ merited condignly all the effects of the Blessed Virgin Mary's predestination, except the divine motherhood, because in such a case He would have merited the Incarnation and therefore Himself. Hence Christ merited the first grace and final perseverance for the Blessed Virgin Mary. But the Blessed Virgin Mary did not even congruously merit for herself either the first grace or final perseverance, because the principle of merit does not come under merit. But the Blessed Virgin Mary merited for us congruously what Christ merited for us condignly, namely, all the graces we receive, even the first grace and final perseverance. In this there is no contradiction, but great harmony.

Hence the Blessed Virgin Mary was indeed redeemed by Christ through the sacrifice of the cross in the preservative sense, and so she was immaculate; but as a consequence of this, she merited congruously with Christ for us, not only the distribution or application of graces, but the attainment of graces that flow from the sacrifice of the cross; for in the strict sense together with Christ she offered this sacrifice. Thus she merited with Him redemption in the objective sense, namely, our liberation from sin and our reinstatement in grace.

But I insist. The Blessed Virgin Mary merited congruously for us what, for example, St. Monica congruously merited and obtained for St. Augustine, namely, the grace of conversion. Therefore there is only a difference of degree between her and other saints who intercede for us, and it must not be said that she is the Co-Redemptrix in the strict sense, but only in an improper sense, as the apostles are said to have labored for the salvation of souls.

Reply. The difference is that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave us the Redeemer, and with Him offered the sacrifice of the cross by meriting and satisfying. St. Monica and other saints, on the contrary, did not offer with Christ the sacrifice of the cross, and therefore did not merit congruously the attainment of graces that flow from this sacrifice but only the application of these, and therefore cannot be called co-redeemers. They can be said only to labor in the salvation of souls. They did not merit congruously our redemption in the objective sense.

Hence St. Albert the Great could say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is not assumed into the ministry of our Lord, but as a consort and help, in accordance with the saying: "Let us make him a help like unto himself, " (Gen. 2:18).[2522] In this the Blessed Virgin is above the apostles and she alone can be properly called the Mediatrix and co-redemptrix of the human race.

The Way The Blessed Virgin Mary Merited The Liberation And Restoration Of The Human Race

In these times, as is known, in divers theological periodicals, especially in Belgium, and also in Italy, France, Spain, and Germany, there was and still is a controversy concerning the exact meaning of this doctrine that is commonly accepted among theologians and is sanctioned by Pius XI, namely, that what Christ merited de condigno for us, the Blessed Virgin Mary merited de congruo for us as the Mediatrix of the human race.

What is the exact meaning of saying that the Blessed Virgin Mary merited de congruo for us? Many theologians say that, although she did not merit condignly, yet she still merited in the proper sense, or strictly congruously, the liberation and restoration of the human race. The Blessed Virgin Mary properly merited for us de congruo also the first grace and also the last grace, namely, that of final perseverance, but under Christ, through Him and in Him, inasmuch as she was most closely and indissolubly united with Him in offering up the sacrifice of the cross.

Among these theologians, some, a few indeed, hint and sometimes say that merit in the strict sense is condign merit. Therefore the Blessed Virgin Mary, if she strictly merited for us the first grace, merited it also condignly, which is admitted by very few theologians.

Against this last conclusion several wrote that this would detract from the primacy of Christ the Redeemer, by whom the Blessed Virgin Mary was redeemed by preservative redemption, and they appealed to the common teaching as formulated by St. Thomas, who says: "No one can merit condignly for another the first grace, except Christ alone... inasmuch as He is the head of the Church, and the Author of human salvation,"[2523] In fact, some, but a few, replied that merit in the strict sense is condign merit; but the common teaching is that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not merit condignly for us. Therefore she did not merit properly but only improperly for us the first and the ultimate grace.

Therefore these last theologians wish to reduce the Blessed Mary's merit for us to merit improperly so called or to the impetratory power of prayer, which can be in the sinner without merit, and which continues now in the blessed with merit. They interpret the following words of Pius X in this sense: "Since she excelled all others in sanctity and in her union with Christ, and was summoned by Him to the work of human salvation, it was congruous, as they say, that she should merit for us what Christ condignly merited for us."[2524] According to this interpretation Pius X, concerning the merit of the Blessed Virgin Mary for us, would have had in mind only merit improperly so called of intercession such as that which continues in heaven, which is not strictly merit, and which therefore does not refer to the attainment of graces, but only to their application, just as other saints intercede for us. This last opinion is admitted by very few.

Theologians generally hold that the Blessed Virgin Mary merited for us strictly speaking, but only congruously, the first and last grace.[2525]

I do not now wish to enter into the particulars of this controversy, but I should like to make some preliminary observation, which has not been sufficiently noted, the necessity of which is clearly seen from the extremely opposite views on both sides. Both parties to the controversy hold that merit in the strict sense is condign merit; and one party to the controversy deduced therefore that the Blessed Virgin Mary merited condignly for us, which is contrary to the common teaching; the other party to the controversy deduces therefore that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not strictly merit for us, which is likewise against the common teaching, but in the opposite sense.

This controversy seems to result from an insufficient analysis of the notion of merit in general. On the one hand, the adversaries take a quasi-univocal view of merit, and therefore consider merit in the strict sense to be only condign merit. Wherefore either the Blessed Virgin Mary merited condignly for us, or did not strictly merit for us; and both parties depart from the common opinion.

But the first question to be asked is whether the notion of merit is univocal or analogical; and whether merit that has its foundation in an amicable right may be called analogically but still properly merit.

We often take univocally what must be understood analogically, and we do not sufficiently distinguish between what is said analogically and metaphorically, as when we say that God is angry, and what is said analogically and properly, as when we say that God is just.

Some, for example, seem to consider that cause in general is predicated univocally of the four causes, whereas it is predicated only analogically, or proportionately, but nevertheless it is still predicated properly of the final cause, the efficient cause, the formal cause, and the material cause. Others speak as if cognition would be predicated univocally of intellection and sensation, whereas it is predicated of them analogically, but still properly, for sensation is the lowest kind of cognition, but it is still cognition in the strict sense. Likewise love is predicated analogically of spiritual love and of sensitive love, but this second kind is strictly love. Also, life is predicated analogically of divine life, of our intellectual life, our sensitive life, even of vegetative life, which still is life properly so called, distinct from life in the metaphorical sense, as when we speak of living water. Also, being is not predicated univocally but analogically of God, created substance, and accident; although accident is being in another, it is still properly something real; the quantity of bread, the wisdom of the doctor, are strictly something real and entirely distinct from a logical being, which is not strictly being. In all these examples analogy of proper and not merely metaphorical proportionality is verified.

Finally, according to the teaching of St. Thomas, sin is not predicated univocally but analogically of mortal sin and venial sin; nevertheless, venial sin is still sin in the strict sense, and thus is distinct from imperfection, for example, from less generosity or promptness in following the divine counsel. But if sin or demerit is predicated analogically, but still properly, of venial sin, likewise merit is not predicated univocally but analogically of condign merit and congruous merit; and why could it not still be properly predicated of merit that has its foundation in an amicable right?

What St. Thomas says of sin or of demerit is equally applicable to merit. He writes: "The division of sin into venial and mortal is not a division of a genus into a species, which have an equal share of the generic nature, but it is the division of an analogous term into its parts, of which it is predicated, of the one first, and of the other afterward, consequently the perfect notion of sin, which Augustine gives, applies to mortal sin. On the other hand, venial sin is called a sin in relation to mortal sin, even as an accident is called a being, in relation to substance, in reference to the imperfect notion of being."[2526] Nevertheless, just as accident is still properly something real and not a logical being, so venial sin is still in the proper sense sin, but imperfectly so, just as vegetative life is very imperfect life, but it is still, however, properly called life.

Likewise merit, or the right to a reward analogically and not univocally is predicated of merit in the natural order, for example, in civil life or military life, and of supernatural merit. Likewise, in the supernatural order merit is predicated analogically: (1) of merit that has its foundation in strict justice in accordance with the absolute equality between the work performed and the reward, namely, Christ's theandric merit is of infinite value; (2) condign merit still has its foundation in justice, yet not so that the work performed is equal to the reward, but proportionately so and according to the divine ordination and promise; (3) congruous merit properly so called has its foundation in merit, or in an amicable right to a reward, presupposing the state of grace, and in the Blessed Virgin Mary fullness of grace. So far merit has been predicated analogically, indeed, but still in the proper sense, just as accident still is being, and just as vegetative life still is life properly so called; (4) merit is predicated improperly or metaphorically of congruous merit in the broad sense which has its foundation in God's liberality or mercy; then there is no more a right, not even an amicable right to a reward, because this last improperly called right does not suppose the state of grace, but a certain disposition for grace or prayer that the sinner offers, which has not a meritorious but an impetratory power.

St. Thomas, inquiring whether a man can merit the first grace for another, says: "No one can merit condignly for another his first grace; since each one of us is moved by God to reach life everlasting through the gift of grace; hence condign merit does not reach beyond this motion, but Christ's soul is moved by God through grace, not only so as to reach the glory of life everlasting, but so as to lead others to it, inasmuch as He is the head of the Church, and the author of human salvation.... But one may merit the first grace for another congruously; because a man in grace fulfills God's will, and it is congruous and in harmony with friendship that God should fulfill man's desire for the salvation of another."[2527] Thus it is commonly held that St. Monica not only obtained by her prayers, but also merited fittingly, though not condignly, the conversion of St. Augustine; a fortiori, the Blessed Virgin Mary, full of grace, the Mother of God and the spiritual mother of all men, merited for us in a strictly congruous sense the first grace, in fact, all the graces we receive and for the elect the ultimate grace of final perseverance, which they cannot strictly merit for themselves, because thus the principle of merit or the state of grace lasting until the moment of death would come under merit.

This congruous merit has its foundation not only in God's liberality and mercy, like the impetratory power of a sinner's prayer, but has its foundation in an amicable right or in the rights of friendship, and presupposing the state of grace, and in the Blessed Virgin Mary fullness of grace, is still merit properly so called.

Nevertheless the idea of merit is not absolutely the same in condign merit and in strictly congruous merit; this notion is simply different, but in a qualified manner the same, that is, in accordance with a proper proportionality and is not merely metaphorical.

Thus the notion of life is not simply the same in the divine life and in the vegetative life, they are only proportionately the same; nevertheless the vegetative life is still life properly so called, and is not so metaphorically as when we speak of "living water." Thus it remains true that the Blessed Virgin Mary properly merited for us the first grace and others, yet not condignly, but in a strictly congruous sense. Thus the Blessed Virgin Mary with Christ, through Him, and in Him congruously merited objective redemption, that is, the liberation and restoration of the human race, or the attainment of graces, which afterward are applied to individuals.

Thus the solution of the objections against the title "co-Redemptress" presents no difficulty.

Objection. Only Christ is the Redeemer.

Reply. That Christ alone is the Redeemer essentially, condignly, perfectively, this I concede; the Blessed Virgin Mary is co-Redemptress through Christ, congruously and imperfectly.

But I insist. The principle of merit does not come under merit. But Mary was redeemed by Christ. Therefore she cannot be the co-Redemptress.

Reply. That she cannot be her own co-Redemptress, this I concede; of others, I deny. Thus she could not even congruously merit for herself either the first grace or the immaculate conception, or the grace of final perseverance; for in such cases the principle of merit would fall under merit. But she could merit in a strictly congruous sense for us the first and last graces which Christ merited for us condignly. First of all the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from sin, and she was afterward the co-Redemptress.

Still I insist. Redemption is one and indivisible. Therefore, if the Blessed Virgin Mary is redeemed and hence is not her own co-Redemptress, she is also not the co-Redemptress of others.

Reply. Father Merkelbach distinguishes the antecedent as follows: That redemption is one and undivided according to the principal and perfective cause, and thus is a theandric act of Christ, this I concede; that redemption is one and undivided in its effects as a secondary and subordinated cause, this I deny. This presupposes the preservative redemption of the Virgin in her action as Mediatrix and co-Redemptress for others. Thus the soul, which vivifies the head, through the mediation of the head moves the members. Thus Christ was predestined first of all before us.[2528]

Thus Christ's primacy is absolutely maintained, for the Blessed Virgin Mary is Mediatrix only, subordinately and in dependence on Christ. Only in virtue of her suffering and grace in union with Christ has she merited and satisfied congruously for us. It is only by Christ's grace that the Blessed Virgin gave her consent on the day of the Annunciation, and on Calvary said: "May the Father's will be done."

Final objection. The Blessed Virgin Mary could not immediately cooperate with the act of redemption, or offer the sacrifice of the cross, because she was not a priest.

Reply. That she could not immediately cooperate in the redemptive act, by eliciting a theandric act, or by exercising a truly sacerdotal and sacrificial action, this I concede: that she could not by suffering with Him, this I deny. It is in this sense that Benedict XV says: "As she suffered with her Son in His passion and, so to speak, shared in His death, so she abdicated her maternal rights over her Son for the salvation of men and, as far as it was in her power, sacrificed her Son... so that it can truly be said, that along with Christ she redeemed the human race."[2529]

In this sense the Blessed Virgin Mary congruously merited in the strict sense the attainment of graces that flow to us from Christ's passion, whereas other saints can only congruously merit for us not the attainment but the application of graces that flow from the passion. And just as Christ condignly merited all the graces we receive, so the Blessed Virgin Mary merited them congruously; and just as Christ merited for the elect all the effects of predestination, namely, calling, justification, and glorification, so the Blessed Virgin Mary congruously merited these effects for the elect. Thus she is to us the Mediatrix of all graces, and can and must be called the co-Redemptress as subordinated to Christ in the work of our salvation. This nowise detracts from Christ's primacy, but better affirms it, for just as God gave to creatures the dignity of causality, so Christ gave to His mother the dignity of causality, as regards meriting and satisfying for us.

Thus the unity of Mariology is preserved intact. There are not two quasi-equal principles, namely, Mary is the Mother of God, and Mary is the Mediatrix of all. The supreme principle in Mariology is: Mary is the Mother of God the Redeemer, and hence she is intimately associated with Him in the work of redemption.

The mediation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as subordinated to Christ's mediation, is not necessary, but most useful and efficacious and is granted to us by God because of His mercy and our weakness. Truly the Blessed Virgin Mary congruously merited for us in the strict sense what Christ condignly merited. She also congruously satisfied for us, whereas Christ condignly satisfied for us.

Now in heaven the Mother of the Savior exercises her universal mediation by means of her all-powerful intercession, and by the distribution of all graces, congruously, since she already merited what she asks for. In this distribution, she is more probably, like Christ, not only the moral cause, but also the physical and instrumental cause of grace. Thus the parallelism with the Savior is preserved, as regards these four: namely, merit, satisfaction, intercession, distribution. There is no reason to deny this causality, which is found also in the priest absolving a penitent and in the wonderworker when he performs miracles. This causality is suggested in the liturgy when it chants: "Make my heart burn with the love of God.... Make me bear in my body the death of Christ.... Grant that I may be wounded with His wounds.... Grant that I may be inebriated with the teaching of the Cross."[2530]

On account of the aforesaid reasons the Blessed Virgin Mary's Universal mediation seems to be proximately definable.

The Blessed Virgin Mary especially shows herself as Mother of mercy toward men, inasmuch as she is the health of the sick, the refuge of sinners, comforter of the afflicted, help of Christians, mother of holy joy.

Similarly, as Mother of the Savior, she is queen of all, queen of angels, of patriarchs, of apostles, of prophets, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins. As Mother of God, she is entitled to the cult of hyperdulia.[2531]

The Excellence Of St. Joseph Over All Other Saints

Finally, something must be said of St. Joseph's predestination and of his eminent sanctity. The doctrine according to which St. Joseph among the saints in heaven is the highest after the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the quasi-commonly accepted teaching in the Church, especially from the sixteenth century.[2532] It was approved by Leo XIII in proclaiming St. Joseph patron of the universal Church, who wrote: "Certainly the dignity of Mary as the Mother of God in heaven is so great that nothing greater can be attributed to her. But, because there intervened between St. Joseph and the most Blessed Virgin Mary a marital bond, there is no doubt that to the most distinguished dignity whereby the Mother of God very far surpasses all creatures, it came about that nobody is greater than St. Joseph. Marriage is a partnership and a necessity that is the greatest of all, which by its nature has added to it the mutual communication of goods. Wherefore, if God gave Joseph as spouse to the Virgin, He assuredly gave him not only as companion in life, as witness of her virginity, guardian of her virtue, but also as sharer by this conjugal bond in her high dignity."[2533]

The Church invokes St. Joseph immediately after the Blessed Virgin Mary and before the apostles in the oration of the Mass.[2534] She also addresses him with the following titles: "St. Joseph, light of patriarchs, spouse of the Mother of God, chaste guardian of the Virgin, foster father of the Son of God, diligent protector of Christ, head of the holy family..., glory of home life, guardian of virgins, pillar of families, solace of the wretched, hope of the sick, patron of the dying, terror of demons, protector of the holy Church, pray for us."[2535]

No one is greater among the saints after the Mother of the Savior.

But what is the principle of this doctrine about the excellence of St. Joseph, admitted for the last five centuries? It is that proportionate sanctity is required for an exceptional divine mission, as in the case of Christ, His holy Mother, the apostles, founders of orders, and others who are immediately chosen by God.

But Joseph was predestined for an exceptional mission, one that is unique in the world and throughout all time, namely, that he should be the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the foster father of the Son of God, and that he should have in the guardianship of the Word incarnate the heart of a father, full of benevolence and love. There is nothing more exalted after the dignity of divine motherhood. Therefore St. Joseph received sanctity in proportion to this mission, and this sanctity increased until the end of his life. In fact, St. Joseph was probably predestined to his exceptional mission before he was predestined to glory, for there is no distinction between his predestination and the decree of the Incarnation, which is directed to the Incarnation not in a general way but as to something individualized, namely, as concerning the incarnation of the Word by the Virgin Mary "espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David,"[2536] This decree includes both Christ's predestination to be the natural Son of God, predestination of Mary to be the Mother of God, predestination of Joseph to the protection of the Son incarnate and His Mother. Hence it can be said that just as Christ was predestined to be the natural Son of God before He was predestined to glory, and the Blessed Virgin to divine motherhood before glory, so it seems that St. Joseph was first predestined to his exceptional mission, on account of which he was afterward predestined to a very high degree of glory and grace. The reason for this conclusion is that Christ's predestination as man to be the natural Son of God, precedes the predestination of any of the elect, because Christ is the first of all the predestined.[2537] But Christ's predestination to be the natural Son of God is nothing but the decree of the Incarnation thus fulfilled here and now. But this decree implies Mary's predestination to divine motherhood and Joseph's predestination to the protection of the Son of God incarnate and of His Mother.

Monsignor G. Sinibaldi says: "The mystery of St. Joseph is in close relation with the order of the hypostatic union as so constituted.... The cooperation of St. Joseph is not equal to Mary's cooperation. Whereas Mary's cooperation is intrinsic, physical, immediate, St. Joseph's is extrinsic, moral, through Mary's mediation; but it is a true cooperation."[2538]

It has recently been asked exactly in what sense St. Joseph is called father of Jesus, for example, when the Evangelist says: "The child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not.... And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing."[2539]

Reply. St. Joseph is not called father in the strict sense. Three things are required to be father in the strict sense, namely, that he produce of his own substance, one like himself in species, and principally, as St. Thomas shows in many places,[2540] that the father gives to his son three things, namely, being, nourishment, and education. If he gives being, he is already father in the strict sense, even though his son be illegitimate; but to be father in the full sense he must give not only being, but nourishment, good education, and instruction. Father in the strict sense is attributed analogically to the eternal Father because of the eternal generation of His only-begotten Son, and to the earthly father because of his temporal generation.

But many times the term "father, " is not attributed in the strict sense as in the cases of adoptive father, spiritual father, foster father intellectual father. Among these paternities not taken in the strict sense the most exalted is the paternity of St. Joseph toward Jesus. It is a paternity absolutely of its own kind, which transcends common adoptive paternity and foster paternity. St. Thomas says: "The child is not called the good of marriage only inasmuch as it is the result of marriage, but inasmuch as it is received and educated in marriage. And so the good of the Blessed Virgin Mary's marriage was that child, not taken in the first sense; neither a child born in adultery nor an adopted son who is educated in matrimony is the good of marriage, because matrimony is not ordered to the education of those, as this marriage between Mary and Joseph was ordered especially to this, that the child be both received and educated in marriage."[2541] Thus St. Joseph's paternity was absolutely of its own kind and therefore Joseph received from God, as Bossuet says, a paternal heart, so that with the greatest of affection, he might take care of the Word incarnate, the Son of God, who was truly and properly the Son of his consort, the Blessed Virgin Mary.[2542]


Appendix: The Definability Of The Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption

Revelation declares that the Mother of the Savior is the vanquisher of and is not vanquished by the devil, sin, and death.

In recent times William Hentrich and Rudolf Gualtero de Moos published a work in two volumes, which contains the petitions addressed to the Holy See postulating the definition of the corporeal Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. These petitions were proposed by various members of the hierarchy, starting with the highest and included the reasons of the more prominent dogmatic theologians, from various parts of the world, and were arranged in chronological order in manifestation of the consent of the Church.[2543]

From the day when the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was proclaimed a dogma of our faith, many bishops throughout the Catholic world, very many priests, religious, and faithful postulated the definition of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption as constituting the crowning doctrine of the Church concerning the privileges that stem from her divine maternity. From the time of Leo XIII these petitions have been placed on file by a special department of the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, but up to the present time these had not been published. The Most Reverend Fathers W. Hentrich and R. G. de Moos, S. J., qualifiers of the Holy Office, with the greatest of care prepared for publication a work containing all these petitions. For this all lovers of this cause of Mary's Assumption are most thankful, and especially theologians who study the questions about the definability of this privilege.

As explained in the introduction to the first part of this work, contained in the first volume and in the second volume up to page 658, these petitions are arranged in hierarchical order, beginning with the cardinals, patriarchs, councils and synods, residential bishops, vicars capitular, coadjutors, bishops, auxiliary bishops, prefects apostolic, religious orders, universities, Catholic faculties, and congresses.

Moreover, for each diocese, there is a collection of all the petitions sent in by each of the successive ordinaries. There is an analysis attached to each petition, so that its doctrinal import may be more clearly seen.

In this documentary part, petitions are collected of 113 cardinals, 18 patriarchs, 2, 505 archbishops and bishops, 383 vicars capitular, and a great number of other prelates, rectors of Catholic faculties, and also 32, 000 petitions from the secular and regular clergy, 50, 000 from nuns and sisters, and more than 8, 000, 000 petitions from the faithful.

In the second part, the possibility and opportunity of solemnly defining the dogma of the Assumption is methodically and clearly set forth. There is a special inquiry about what the teaching Church dispersed throughout the world, represented by more than 3, 000 petitions of bishops, apostolic vicars, and others, teaches concerning this question, namely, whether the truth of Mary's Assumption is contained in the deposit of revelation.

With this end in view, the dogmatic, geographical, and historical nature of the aforesaid documents was written. These petitions were arranged in thirty-five sections, according to the various formulas made use of by the authors of the petitions. As Hentrich and de Moos reported in their work: "Many argue from the fact that the faith of the whole Church in the Assumption cannot be explained without formal divine revelation."[2544] In this same work[2545] the petitions are arranged according as they agree in their method of argumentation with this or that theological proof.

From all these inquiries it appears that almost all the petitions of the ordinaries[2546] from the year 1869 to 1941 postulate the definition of the Assumption as a dogma of the faith. Moreover, it must be noted that the number of dioceses that were not vacant, whose bishops sent in these petitions, represent almost three fourths of all the dioceses in the Catholic Church.[2547]

Then what results from this laborious compilation is that in the Eastern Church all the patriarchates, and three fourths of the dioceses with resident bishops in union with Rome, also postulate the dogmatic definition of the Assumption.[2548]

The geographical location of all the dioceses from which these petitions came is set forth.[2549]

Finally, the above-mentioned work records the history of this movement that postulates the dogmatic definition of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption into heaven.[2550]

The publication of this great work was most gratefully received by all the bishops of the Catholic Church, by all Catholic universities and seminaries, and by all who discuss theologically the definability of this truth and who pray that this privilege of the Blessed Virgin Mary may be solemnly defined as a dogma.

Difficulty To Be Solved

Some will say perhaps that it is not quite certain that these petitions of the bishops are postulating the definition of the Assumption as formally and implicitly revealed. Several perhaps think that it is only virtually revealed, and according to the majority of theologians, this is not enough so that any truth can be defined as a dogma of the faith formally to be believed on the authority of God revealing.

There are two ways of answering this objection.

1) The bishops of almost the whole Catholic Church do not speak as private theologians, using the precise terminology of Scholasticism; but they speak as witnesses of tradition and judges in matters of faith, and, as was said: "many argue from the fact that the faith of the whole Church in the Assumption cannot be explained without formal divine revelation."[2551] This was already made clear by two hundred fathers of the Vatican Council, who said: "Most ancient and constant in both the Western Church and the Eastern Church, in the Church both teaching and taught, is the opinion about the corporeal assumption of the Mother of God. But this fact, namely, that a man's body be living in heaven before the Judgment Day, cannot be confirmed either by the senses or any human authority.... Therefore, unless we wish to say that the most firm faith of the Church regarding the corporeal assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary savors of slight or excessive credulity, which is undoubtedly impious even to think of, it must be most firmly held that this opinion is of divine and apostolic tradition, namely, that it originates from revelation. We assert that this glorious event could have been revealed to the divine-like Evangelist St. John who died after the Blessed Virgin's repose."[2552]

It must be observed that the fact of the Assumption is certain from tradition, inasmuch as the solemn feast of the Assumption is universally celebrated in the Latin and Greek Churches, at least from the seventh century. For the institution of this solemn and universally celebrated feast is an expression of the general tradition of the Church, even of her ordinary and universal magisterial authority, and expresses the consent of the Church both teaching and taught, which is confirmed by these recent and most numerous petitions, which strictly postulate the dogmatic definition. All these facts presuppose that the fact of the Assumption is a certainty in the Church.

But this fact of the Assumption cannot be certain without divine revelation, as regards the term whereunto of the Assumption, or as regards the entrance of the Blessed Virgin Mary body and soul into heaven. St. Thomas well explains this for our Lord's ascension, whose term whereunto transcended any natural knowledge of the witnesses.[2553]

We already gather from the preceding that the certainty the Church has about the fact of the Assumption presupposes formal and at least implicit revelation. The history of this question was never concerned with any private revelation of the Assumption, which might have resulted, apart from any discussion, in the institution of this solemnity in both the Western and Eastern Churches.

Hence now, in our times, the bishops in almost all parts of the world speak, not as private theologians, but as witnesses and judges in the matters of faith, for whom the fact of the Assumption is certain because of the universal tradition, and it cannot be certain without formal and at least implicit revelation. Hence there is no need to inquire whether these bishops, as private theologians, maintain these two propositions, namely: for the definability of any truth it must be formally and implicitly revealed and not merely virtually, and that it is sufficiently proved theologically that the privilege of the Assumption is formally and implicitly revealed. This calls for a deep and complex study of the question, and it is no wonder that in this difficult question not all theologians are in agreement.

2) Moreover, these bishops are aware of the fact that the majority of theologians maintain that for any truth to be defined as a dogma of the faith, it must be at least formally and implicitly revealed, which seems to us to be absolutely true, and many of the aforesaid petitions clearly state this. For many of these petitions point out that it was gradually and formally revealed that the Mother of the Savior is the vanquisher of the devil, sin, and death.

For example, 144 of the petitioners argue from the special victory gained by Mary over the devil and sin or from the absolute opposition prevailing between the Virgin and the devil and his kingdom.[2554] But this reason frequently proclaimed by the Fathers[2555] was invoked by Pius IX in the definition of the Immaculate Conception;[2556] it was proposed by 200 fathers of the Vatican Council, to show that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is formally and implicitly revealed, that is, not only as the effect is contained in the cause but as the part is in the whole; whereas the cause can be without its actual effect that is virtually contained in it, the whole cannot be without its parts.

The postulation of 200 Of the fathers of the Vatican Council begins by saying: "O most blessed Father, since in accordance with the doctrine of the Apostle, as given in Rom. V-VIII; I Cor. 15:24, 26, 54, 57; Heb., 2:12, 15, and in other passages, the threefold victory over sin, and the fruits thereof, concupiscence and death, constitute the quasi-integral parts of this triumph that Christ obtained over Satan, the ancient serpent; together with what is said in Gen. 3:15, the Mother of God is presented as singularly associated with her Son in this triumph; together with the unanimous consent of the holy Fathers, we do not doubt that in the above-mentioned oracle, the same blessed Virgin is presignified as illustrious in that threefold victory. Therefore, just as by her immaculate conception she conquered sin, and by her virginal maternity concupiscence, so also in. this same scriptural text it was foretold that she will obtain a singular triumph over hostile death, like her Son, by an anticipated resurrection"[2557]

This reason that associates the Blessed Virgin Mary with Christ's perfect victory over the devil and sin is a more proximate reason for the Assumption than the divine maternity, the fullness of grace and her divine blessedness among all women, all of which are likewise referred to by many of the petitioners. Hence it is no wonder that 144 of the petitions invoke this first reason, as well as 200 fathers of the Vatican Council.[2558]

There are two revealed premises, however, in this argument, which would be already sufficient for its definability, and moreover it is not a strictly illative argument of a new truth, but an explanatory argument wherein the conclusion is contained in the premises, not only virtually as the effect is contained in the cause, but also formally and implicitly, as the part is contained in the whole; whereas the cause can be without the effect afterward to be produced, on the contrary, the whole cannot be without its actual parts.

This theological reason may be expressed by the following syllogism.

Christ gained a perfect victory over the devil, which contains as parts a perfect victory over sin, and consequently a perfect victory over death, manifested by His glorious resurrection and ascension. This major is formally revealed even explicitly in the texts of St. Paul quoted by 200 fathers of the Vatican Council in their postulation.[2559]

But the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Mother of the Savior, who in all tradition is called the second Eve, is most closely associated with Christ's perfect victory over the devil and sin.[2560]

Therefore the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Mother of the Savior and the new Eve, is also most closely associated with Christ's perfect victory over death, so that "she could not be held down or detained by the bonds of death, " as the liturgy says;[2561] otherwise she would have been vanquished by death and would not have been the vanquisher, and her parallelism with Christ's resurrection and ascension, before the general resurrection of the dead, would be destroyed. Moreover, the exceptional benediction, "blessed art thou among women,"[2562] excludes the malediction "into dust thou shalt return."[2563]

As we said, the major and minor of this argument are revealed, and this already suffices for the definability of the conclusion. Moreover, it is not a strictly illative argument resulting in a new truth, but an explanatory argument, whereby the parts contained in Christ's victory over the devil are shown, namely, victory over sin and consequently over death. But the whole cannot exist without its parts. Hence in this way its definability is certainly proved.

Moreover, 171 petitions argue from the Immaculate Conception,[2564] showing in the same way that the Blessed Virgin Mary's victory over sin infers victory over death according to this revelation.

Likewise 196 petitioners argue almost the same way from the intimate union and consent prevailing between the Virgin and Christ, her Son.

Therefore the conclusion of the aforesaid traditional argument is not only virtually revealed, but is also formally and implicitly revealed. The denial of the Assumption means the denial of the major or minor, both of which are revealed; doubt about the Assumption means doubt about the major or minor. Therefore it was progressively and formally revealed that the Mother of the Savior, the new Eve, is the vanquisher of, and is not vanquished by, the devil, sin, and death.

Hence these very many petitions show the definability of this privilege of the Blessed Virgin Mary and with equal clarity they manifest the opportuneness of its dogmatic definition, as the crowning doctrine of the Church concerning the divers privileges that stem from the divine maternity. Thus also the existence of eternal life would again be solemnly affirmed, of which the present life, unless it be to no purpose, must be ordered as merit to reward, and as the precious commencement for the ultimate end.

 


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