Sunday, 2 October 2016

Devotion to The Sacred Heart, Its Theology, History and Philosophy part 37.

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

After having cited numerous authorities in defence of the Catholic traditional teaching as to the pre-existence of Christ, Dr. Schumacher concludes: " According to the Catholic concept of the mystery of the Kenosis, the true Divinity of the Logos was not visible in its glory, though it remained undiminished in the Incarnation. Therefore, Jesus was truly self-conscious of His Divinity as well as of His humanity, though in consequence of becoming man, He appeared only as a poor, humble man."

By the foregoing citations it is sufficiently established that the divine Person in Christ had a pre-existence. This Person by becoming incarnate did not lose any of His divine prerogatives. If He retained all the essential characteristics of the Deity, then His love, which belongs to the very essence of God remained unimpaired. Hence it is proper to speak of the pre-existent love in Christ in contradistinction to the love which His human nature elicited after His Incarnation. It is this pre-incarnate love which the theologians designate by the adjective uncreated.

It is not necessary to enter into an extensive process of reasoning to prove that Christ possessed also a created love. His human nature once admitted as an incontrovertible fact, its inevitable postulate is a love which finds expression through the faculties with which such a nature is endowed. He testifies to such a love; foretells that eventually it will actuate Him to give His life for His sheep; it was so interpreted by His Apostles; and its ardor induced Him to remain with us in the Sacrament of love.

On account of this concept of the two different loves in Christ a controversy arose among theologians as to the nature of the love which we worship under the symbol of the Heart. Is it the uncreated or the created love? Are the two to be conceived as one sole object? Is the Heart of Christ to be considered as a symbol of that love only which began to exist simultaneously with it, or is its symbolization to be extended also to the love whose existence was prior to that of the Heart ? Which of these two loves is the primary and which the secondary, when viewed as an object of the Devotion in question? These are some of the difficulties to be answered in the following pages.

It is generally admitted that the early exponents of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart did not distinguish clearly between the created and the uncreated love. Some of their statements refer to an infinite love, which does not necessarily imply the idea of the uncreated love, for the divine Logos, subsisting in the human nature, endows with infinite merit all the acts attributable to His moral life as man.