JESUS: The Sacred Humanity Again by Winfried Herbst

The Sacred Humanity Again by Winfried Herbst

(Father Herbst writes in his essay, Kissing, that “the of ‘harm’ in a kiss must be measured by the circumstance.” )

From The Divine Savior

We know and believe that Jesus Christ is truly God.  But he is also truly man, because he has the nature of man, a body and soul like ours.  He is the God-Man.  He became man at the time of his incarnation.  Thus teaches the church.

He has the nature of man.  The tulip is a tulip, the rose a rose, the lily a lily, because they have the nature of those flowers; and Jesus Christ is man because he has the nature, not of angels or of any other creatures, but of man.  “The Word was made flesh,” Saint John tells us.  And the Athanasian Creed says of him: “Man, of the substance of his mother.”

How inconceivably great is the honor that has thus been conferred upon the human race, upon man!  Christ has become one of us, we are truly his brethren.  What a proof of the condescension and love of God!  It was perhaps this mystery, the future incarnation of the second person of the blessed Trinity, which constituted the test put to the angels from the beginning and at which so many rebelled and were cast out of Heaven for their grievous sin of pride.  We do not know.  It is a sound theological opinion.

The Savior had, and has, a real human body.  As we read the Holy Gospels and reflect upon his life on Earth, we think of his real human flesh, mangled and torn in the scourging and the crucifixion; we think of his real human blood, shed to the last drop in the passion and on the cross; we think of the members of that body, for instance, the hands and feet that were pierced with nails, the head that was crowned with thorns and disfigured, the heart that was pierced with a lance.

It was a body like ours.  We must bear well in mind that it was not a new creation or a new kind of body; no: it was the flesh and blood of Adam, taken from a human mother, as with us, though we must remember that he was born of a woman and of the spirit of God.  However, it was a body most perfect in organization in every way and a body not in the least affected by concupiscence; and yet it was passable and mortal.  It was a body that could suffer and die.

The Savior had, and has, a real human soul.  This soul has always been most beautiful and perfect, overflowing with divine grace and endowed with all virtues.  “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,” says Isaiah, (11:27), and Saint John speaks of him as “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)  That soul he commended to his eternal Father when he breathed it forth upon the cross, when “he gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30)

It was a soul like ours.  He possessed a real human intellect, though it was all but infinite in its perfection, and wholly unaffected by the fall, and wonderful in the completeness of its knowledge – and all this from the first moment of his miraculous conception.  His, too, was real human sensibility and memory, most exquisite in its capacity.  Witness, for instance, his sorrow in the agony in the garden, his affection for Saint John, his pity at the death of the widow’s son, his compassion on the multitude.  Again, he possessed a real human will, distinct from the divine will, and yet ever in harmony with it, as is most strikingly shown by his prayer in the Garden of Olives: “And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying and saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me.  Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.‘” (Matthew 26:39)

Thus, from the depths of our hearts and with lively faith, we devoutly profess, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: “He is God, begotten before all ages of the substance of the Father; and he is man, born in time of the substance of his mother.  He is perfect God and perfect man, subsisting of a rational soul and a human body.”

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