Map of Life - Lesson 5

Preparation
Map of Life: Chp 5. Incarnation
Map of Life: Contents
Catechsim Series 1: 5. Incarnation & Redemption
Catechism Series 2: 19. Who is Jesus Christ?
Catechism: Q31-76
Bible: Lk 1:26Jn 14:6Jn 10:10
Aquinas 101: 
Summa Theologica:
Companion to the Summa: 
Random articles: 
Ite Missa Est:

 

Incarnation

  1. Recap:

    Introduction: Just as we need a geographical map to know where we are, and how to get to where we want to go in the world, we also need a map of life to know where we are in relation to everything else in life, and how to get to our ultimate goal in life. This map of life is given to us by God through Divine Revelation which is preserved, interpreted and transmitted through the Catholic Church.

    Chapter 1:  Just as we must have faith in the geographical map-maker at the start of a journey, we must have faith in life's map-maker at the start of our journey through life. The map of life tells us
          (a) what man is (a creature composed of body and soul, in the image and likeness of God by the possession of an intellect and a will),
          (b) where he is destined (his finality: supernatural union with God).

    Chapter 2:  We also need an law of life so that we might attain the goal indicated on the map of life. This law comprises the physical law (for all material creatures) and the spiritual law (for intelligent creatures). Some spiritual laws are natural to man (eg. the ten commandments), some are divinely revealed in Scripture or Tradition (e.g. the laws of the sacraments). Some spiritual laws form the basis of man-made laws such as canon laws or civil laws. 

    Chapter 3: The "X" that marks the spot on the map of life is heaven, where our highest faculties (intellect and will) are perfected by a perfect knowledge and love of God, which is only possible with supernatural grace (also called supernatural life, sanctifyfing grace and habitual grace).

    Chapter 4: Adam was created with the means of attaining heaven, but lost supernatural grace, virtues and gifts when he committed the sin of disobedience. It was the first sin of the first man and condemned humanity to a fallen state whereby every man was henceforth conceived in the state of Original Sin. The map of life became blurred to humanity, the path was either lost or impassible, and "X" was unattainable without supernatural help.
     

  2. "I am the Way the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14:6)

    Man had lost the path, the destination "X", and the means of ever arriving there. God, in his infinite mercy, however, stepped into His creation to give them back to mankind. He said "I am the Way the Truth and the Life", that is "I am the path, the destination and the means." Christ did not say "I have" these things, but "I am" these things, so that if we are to know and possess eternal life, we must know and possess Christ.
     

  3. To know Christ: Who He is

    32. Who is Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is God the Son, made man for us.

    Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who took to Himself a human nature (Lk 1:26). This is what we call the Incarnation.

    Jesus Christ, as a result of the Incarnation, is one person with two natures: one divine, one human. 
    -  A person is the suppositum of an intellectual nature according to the philosophers, which translates as the subject that acts with an intellectual nature.
    - The nature of a thing is the principle of action of a thing, or that by which a thing acts. 

    So when you ask "Who is that?" you want to know the person, and when you ask "What is that?" you want to know the nature of the thing acting.
    -  So, if someone points to a crucifix and asks "Who is that?" we say "Jesus Christ"
    -  but if they point to the corpus and ask "What is that?" we say "It is God, acting with a divine nature, and it is man, acting with a human nature." 
    Jesus Christ is the only person in the universe Who has two natures. Every other person (men & angels) in the universe has one nature.
    Jesus Christ can operate as God by His divine nature, or as man by His human nature. 
     

  4. To know Christ: What He did
     

    43. Why was God the Son made man? God the Son was made man to redeem us from sin and hell, and to teach us the way to heaven.

    When Adam sinned, his sin was the sin of the whole human race - an infinite sin which demanded an infinite reparation for the whole human race. Now, it is impossible for any man, or all men collectively, in their sinful state to pose an infinite act of reparation, so God in His mercy became incarnate. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took to Himself a human nature so that, as man, He could pose an act of reparation on behalf of the human race, and as God, His act would have infinite value. 

    We say that Jesus Christ redeemed mankind from the slavery of sin. We can also say, that His act was an act of atonement, or at-one-ment because He made it possible for man to be one with God again. 

    It is important to note that Christ's atonement for Original Sin and all subsequent actual sins is called the objective redemption by which all men may be save. This must be distinguished from the subjective redemption, by which individuals souls are actually saved by repenting of their sins and receiving the fruits of the objective redemption. There is no such thing as universal salvation as the post-conciliar theology would have us believe.
     

  5. To know Christ: What He taught

    Jesus Christ came to teach us the way to heaven. He taught us about Himself as being God and that in Godhead there were three Persons. He also completed the law of the Old Testament. For example, He reduced the Ten Commandments to two, by replacing the "Thou shalt nots" with "Thou shalts" and distilling from the Ten Commndments the essence of God's will for man. God wants us to love Him and thereby love our neighbour as a natural and necessary consequence. By loving Him, we love His will, His law, His way, and His creatures. By loving Him, we are ordered to Him as to our end.
     

  6. To possess Christ

    Jesus Christ said "I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly." (Jn 10:10).  When men accept the grace of His redemption by the sacraments or by any act of love of Him, they receive supernatural life. More precisely, they participate increasingly in the Divine Life - the life of Jesus Christ as God - which means that their very being is increasingly divinised, and their actions become increasingly divine. As this Divine Life intensifies in them they transform themselves into Christ. They also unite themselve to other souls who share the Divine Life and become members of one Mystical Body of Christ.

    By knowing Jesus Christ, we perfect our intellect, by loving Him we perfect our will and we transform ourselves into Him. St. Athanasius (c.298-373) succinctly summarised the purpose of the Incarnation in this memorable proposition: "God became man, so that man might become God" ...not only individually, but collectively too so that in the end "there will be but one Christ loving Himself" (Eugene Boylan, This Tremendous Lover).