Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Devotion to The Sacred Heart, Its Theology, History and Philosophy part 16.

By  Rev. Joseph J. C. Petrovits, J.C.B., S.T.L.

The Redemption of mankind was accomplished by the three divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity acting simultaneously, though, for the sake of easier realization, we attribute a different task to each of the three Persons. God the Father conceived the plan of mercy and justice. God the Son actuated by love and of His own free will volunteered to carry out the wishes of the Father. God the Holy Ghost through the instrumentality of Mary put into actual operation the will of both. Thus in the final analysis and by appropriation it may be said that it was the Holy Ghost, the Donum Dei, who has given mankind its most inestimable and perfect gift, the human nature of Christ through which we are to be reconciled to God.

There is a deep mystery hidden in this divine economy of the Incarnation and Redemption. The Holy Ghost is the term of the love which the Father and the Son from eternity entertain for each other. He is the relation of Love personally subsisting in the Godhead, synonymous with Hypostatic Love, as the Son is synonymous with Hypostatic Wisdom. St. Ambrose does not hesitate to refer to the Holy Ghost as the " Kiss of God the Father and God the Son " (Osculum Patris et Filii). Thus the Incarnation, inspired as it was by love, by way of appropriation is referable to the Holy Spirit as its special ultimate efficient cause. This not only accentuates love as the leading motive operating throughout the whole work of Redemption, but establishes a reciprocal relation ad extra between the God-man and the Holy Ghost; a relation which did not exist before the Incarnation became a fact. For while in the creation of the Saviour's human nature, as in all operations ad extra, the three divine Persons acted as one principle, still in the historical sense of Scripture, to the Holy Spirit there seems to have been assigned a very special role.

God the Father selected the Blessed Virgin Mary, and prepared her body and soul for her exalted mission, but it was the Holy Ghost that " descended upon her." His power " overshadowed her " and caused to germinate in her womb that human nature which the Second Person assumed. Consequently the historical Jesus Christ, the God-man, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, for "as Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."

These considerations help us to realize the dignity and excellence of the human body of Christ even irrespective of His divine Person, and especially in the light of the hypostatic union. They show us that the primary motive of the Redemption was love, and aid us to realize the quality of the principle which inspired the whole economy of the Incarnation. Jesus was conceived by Love, the Word became flesh for love of us, and all the subsequent acts of the God-man were an uninterrupted manifestation of a love so ardent that it induced Him to remain with us to the end of the world.

The principles enunciated in this chapter ought to be clearly borne in mind when we meet controversialists whose favorite objection lies in the gratuitous assumption and groundless imputation that the Church advocates a worship which has its sole foundation in the phantasmagoric illusions of a visionary nun. The Church has never approved a public cult unless it was in perfect harmony with faith and morals, Sacred Scripture, and tradition, independently of all private revelation. In the present instance the supernatural visions of Blessed Margaret Mary are only a contributory cause to the spread of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart. They contributed in a large measure toward its general acceptance, and promoted the definite formulation of its objects, but it does not depend on them for its theological basis.