Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Glories Of The Sacred Heart Part 5.

By Henry Edward, Manning. Cardinal Archbishop Of Westminster.

The Son of God from all eternity willed this great mystery of His Incarnation; and in time, by the spirit of prophecy, He said, 'In the head of the book it is written of Me— Ecce venio —. Behold, I come to do Thy Will, 0 God.' (Ps. xxxix. 8) When He came into the world He said, * My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me.' (S. John iv. 34) In His agony in the garden He said, ' Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me ; nevertheless not My will, but Thine be done.' (S. Mark xiv. 36.) There was then no conflict in His human will. It was in perfect conformity with the divine. And upon the cross He offered Himself; as the prophet Isaias wrote, ' Oblatus est quia ipse voluit (Isaias liii. 7.) —He offered Himself because He willed it.'Of His own will He gave up the Ghost: ' Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.' (S. Luke xxiii. 46.) And these free acts of our Divine Redeemer had an infinite merit. It was the free oblation of the life and of the Blood of God that redeemed the world.

4. But though He had two natures, two intelligences, two hearts, and two wills perfect and distinct, yet there was but one agent. All His actions were divine and human, because the agent is both God and man. His actions are therefore called theandric or deiviriles, because they are the actions of God and man. There is but one agent, because there is but one person; and that one person is the Person of the Eternal Word. In the Incarnate Son there is no human personality, neither could there be. For a person is a rational nature, complete and perfect, subsisting in itself, independent of all others. The Eternal Son of God is a person complete and perfect in Himself; therefore a human person in Jesus there could not be. If there had been a human person, Jesus could not have been God Incarnate. He. might have been the son of a woman, and therefore the son of man, but He would not have been the Incarnate God. And it was impossible that there should be confusion in His personality, for, as I said before, a human person cannot become a divine person; because he cannot cease to be finite; and a divine person cannot become a human person, because he cannot cease to be infinite. Two persons cannot coexist without real distinction. And if there had been a human personality, Mary would have been, as Nestorius said, Mother of Christ, not Mother of God. Therefore, the Person of the Eternal Son was the sole and only personality in our Redeemer. In assuming our humanity, there was never a moment of time when that human nature existed separate from or independent of the personality of the Eternal Son of God. The act of the Incarnation was an instantaneous act of almighty power. The Eternal Son clothed His Person with our manhood, and thereby anticipated all human personality by His own. If that human nature had ever for one moment subsisted independently, it would have had its own personality. But it was never for one moment conceived independent; and cannot, even in thought, be separated from the Person of the Eternal Son without ceasing to be the Humanity of God. The absence of human personality in the Incarnation of the Son is no imperfection of the Sacred Humanity. It is its highest perfection. Our human nature was elevated; it was perfected with a perfection above its own, and was thereby lifted above the order of creation. It was assumed into immediate union with a divine Person, and because it was assumed into the unity of a divine Person it was in Him united to the Divine Nature, and thereby deified. It became the flesh of God—it became from that moment unto all eternity the flesh of God, because those two natures subsisting in the Eternal Word can never be divided. And at the right hand of God there sits the Incarnate Son; God clothed in our humanity for ever. As, then, there never was a moment when His sacred humanity was separated from the Person of the Eternal Son, so there never shall he.