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Question

Hello,

I’m currently reading the spiritual exercises known as “The path of humility” by L. Beaudenom.

I’m now at the third week of exercises, where there is a thought on Jesus’ humility and basically there is a part of text entitled “humility preserved and nourished in Jesus by the beatific vision”. I now report the writing in question (underlining the sentence that sent me in confusion):

We know we are nothing, and we are not humble! Why? Because we don’t live continuously in this penetrating thought that only imposes the belief and impresses the feeling. Pride begins with being forgetful, it becomes an illusion; it is never true. If a Saint comes back among us from Heaven while preserving the enjoyment of the beatific vision, he could deserve and suffer for a miracle; he couldn’t be proud, because the vision of God and the sight of his own nothing would never leave him.

– Let’s consider our divine Saviour, who here on Earth enjoys this beatific vision and that takes his profound humility from its light.

What a show is this of the Word coming face to face with the nature with which it is united! The soul pushes his amazed and enraptured gaze into the depths of this ocean, into inaccessible depths… which not even it can fathom. Everywhere its gaze stops, and it feels that here it is in infinity… Never even in all the eternal centuries will this soul united with the Word fully understand the Word! The crowds even shout Hosanna, Jesus will not raise his head. – The executioners also spit in his face, his heart will not resent!… Jesus has very high ideals!…

Here, I wonder: Jesus is God! Basically He is the Word of God that became flesh and therefore He is visible! How is it possible then that Jesus’ soul linked to the Word of God will not fully understand the Word of God even in all eternal centuries?

That is, Jesus man-God, who must know things by “human means” (brain and soul’s capacity), doesn’t fully understand his Divine self? It seems absurd to me the fact that Jesus doesn’t really know himself! Indeed there is only one Jesus and there is no distinction between human Jesus and Divine Jesus to me. Or maybe I don’t understand what it means.

I thank you and I await your thoughts about it.

Martina


Answer

Dear Martina,

1. Christ took on a human nature with his incarnation, made up of soul and body. Now, Christ’s human soul is a created soul and it is endowed, like all the other human souls, with two faculties: the intellect and the will.

2. This intellect of Jesus is a created intellect, distinct from the uncreated one that identifies with his divine person. Therefore in Jesus there are two intelligences, one created and the other uncreated.

3. It is clear that Jesus’ uncreated intelligence perfectly knows all God’s depths, being God himself.

But Jesus’ created intelligence always remains a created intelligence, even if it enjoys the beatific vision. Only a Divine person can completely understand God because He is as great as God. The intelligence of Christ’s human soul, even if increased to the maximum degree of beatific vision, remains a created intelligence.

4. This is the thought of St. Thomas, who writes: “The two natures are joined together in the person of Christ, leaving the properties of each distinct, therefore according to Damascene: “The uncreated remained uncreated and the creation was kept within limits of the creature”. But it is impossible that a creature has total comprehension of Divine essence, as we explained in the First Part, because infinite cannot be limited by finite. Therefore Christ’s soul in no way has total understanding of the divine essence” (Theological sum, III, 10, 1). And: “Christ’s soul sees all God’s essence, but it doesn’t comprehend in its totality because it doesn’t see it as perfectly as it is visible” (Ib., ad 2). Therefore, even Christ with his human mind sees the divine essence totam sed non totaliter (all, but not in its entirety).

5. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Christ’s soul and human knowledge writes: “Apollinaris of Laodicea argued that in Christ the Word took the place of the soul or spirit. Against this error the Church confessed that the eternal Son also took on a rational human soul ” (CCC 471).

6. And: “The human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with true human knowledge. As such, the knowledge couldn’t be illimited in itself: it was exercised under the historical conditions of its existence in space and time. This is the reason why the Son of God, becoming man, could «grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man» (Lc 2,52) and also having to inform oneself about what in the human condition one can only learn through experience. This was entirely in keeping with the reality of his voluntary humiliation in the «condition of servant» (Fil 2,7)” (CCC 472).

Thank you for your question, I remember you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo


Translated by Rossella Silvestri