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Question

Hello Father Angelo.

Excuse  my ignorance, maybe my question will sound a bit odd , but I have found statements for which  the feeling of fear is defined as a consequence of original sin and that Christ could not have it.

For me fear becomes an obstacle, it can be a temptation, that we must dominate, not giving in to fear. But with regard to Jesus, He could not be afraid, much less of death. Except that in my opinion it is a human feeling, which is part of man but which is not a sin, but a temptation.

Reading an offering prayer, coming from an alleged mystic named Justine Klotz, it is said that she offered for sinners the fear of Jesus near death for the salvation of those who are about to die suddenly of an accident, suicide or murder so that they have the opportunity to repent and be converted.

So I’d like some clarity. Thank you very much. 

I greet you and wish you a good Lent (2019)


Answer

Dearest,

1. Fear is the fear of any evil that is about to happen to us.

Certainly fear entered the world with the  original sin, since before, man was immune from suffering and death.

2. Jesus in His human nature was full of grace from the first instant of His existence.

Indeed, in Him there was the fullness of grace. St. John says that “from His fullness we have all received: grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16).

Theologians affirm that in Christ there was capital grace, the grace of the head. From this grace all graces flow as from a source.

3. However, Christ wanted to be similar to us in everything except sin.

He therefore wanted to assume the penalties deriving from original sin, such as suffering and death

4. Among the various emotions or passions He also experienced that of fear, as the evangelists tell us.

Here is what we read in the Gospel of Mark: “They came to a farm called Gethsemane and he said to his disciples:” Sit here while I pray. “

He took Peter, James and John with Him and began to feel fear and anguish.

He told them: «My soul is sad until death. Stay here and keep watch ».

Then, going a little further, He fell to the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, that hour would pass away from Him.

And He said: «Abbà! Father! Everything is possible for you: take this cup away from me! But not what I want, but what you want “” (Mk 14: 32-36).

5. Regarding the fear of Jesus, St. Thomas in the Golden Chain reports the thought of  Theophylact of Ochrid : “Since He had assumed all human nature, He had taken all natural impressions from man, and consequently sadness, anguish, fear natural in the face of death; since it is natural for man to go to death in spite of Himself “.

6. However, Jesus did not suffer the emotions as we do.

St. Thomas says: “In Christ there were not only the passions with respect to good, but also with respect to evil: in fact He had a passable body, and therefore following the imagination of what is harmful there could be in Him the passions of fear and sadness and others of the kind … In Christ there were therefore true passions, for which Augustine says that Christ “for a well-defined providential purpose took these motions with a human soul when He wanted, as well as when He wanted to become man” (De Civitate Dei , XIV, 9) “(De Veritate, 26) z

7. St Thomas adds: “It should be noted, however, that these passions were found in Christ in a different way from ours in three respects.

First, for the object. Because in us most of the time these passions turn to illecite things: what did not happen in Christ.

Second, for the cause. Because such passions often prevent the judgment of reason in us, while in Christ all the movements of the sensitive appetite were born from the empire of reason. Therefore St. Augustine says that “by the grace of a very sure freedom Christ assumed these passions in His soul when He wanted, as when He wanted he became man”.

Third, for the effect. Because in us, at times such passions do not stop at the sensitive appetite, but they  affect the reason ,too.

This did not happen in Christ, because all the motives pertaining to human flesh were so contained by His will in the sensitive appetite that His reason was not in the least hindered.

This is why St. Jerome writes that “the Lord suffered true sadness to demonstrate the reality of the assumed humanity, but to exclude a domination of the passion over His soul it is said that He began to grieve” for a propassion, indicating with passion what dominates the soul, that is reason, and with the term propassion the feeling that develops within the sensitive appetite, without trespassing “(Summa theologiae, III, 15, 4).

Wishing you to overcome any fear, even that of the most serious evil that can happen to us, I assure you of my prayers and I bless you.

Father Angelo