Good Morning Father Angelo,
I came across your website thanks to my wife’s recommendation and I would like to ask you a question which has recently arisen when reading “the figure of Jesus Christ” by Romano Guardini. In the final Chapter of Guardini’s book he introduces Jesus’s sacrifice in connection with man’s freedom. I interpret : if men had adhered to the word of Jesus, Jesus should not have died. So, if freedom exists, when has Jesus matured the understanding that he had to die? So, when he was sent by the Father, had it been already decided that he should have died? What about freedom? If Jesus gradually gained(reached) the understanding that he had to sacrifice himself, does this mean that he did not know from the beginning he was the Father’s son? I don’t elaborate it further but I believe you got the meaning of my question.
I am interested in your answer and if there are any books on the subject (which I don’t think is new!) please let me know..Thank you and have a nice day
- Jesus is God made flesh. As God, he knew from all eternity that – given his freedom – men would not welcome him.
- As Man he accepted the death on Cross from the first moment of his existence, as we can see on Hebrews Letter: “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.”(Hebrews 10,5-7).
- Saint Thomas says: Hence, he says, sacrifice and offerings you did not desire, and then adds: but a body you have prepared for me, i.e., fit for immolation; and this for two reasons. First, because it was most pure, to wipe away all sin: ‘It shall be a lamb without blemish’ (Ex. 12:5); secondly, because it would suffer and be immolated: ‘God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh’ (Ron 8:3). But that body is a true sacrifice and a true oblation: ‘He has delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness’( Commentary on the Letter of Hebrews, 10,5-7).
- “Then I said: then, that is, when you have prepared a body for me, that is, at the moment of my conception. Behold, I come: “through the Incarnation. I came from the Father and have come into the world ( John 16,28 ). And this I did to offer myself to passion. That’s why he says behold ” (lb.).
- Therefore in Jesus there was no progress in the awareness of his mission and his immolation. Everything was already clear to his mind from the first moment of his existence.
- Jesus’s consciousness, indeed, did not develop little by little , as it happens to each of us. Christ from the first moment of his conception had a very perfect knowledge and He individually knew every man in the entirety of his own personal history. The Catechism of Catholic Church remembers it when it says : Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: “The Son of God. . . loved me and gave himself for me.” ( Gal, 2,20 )” (CCC 478).
- In Christ, alongside this acquired knowledge (CCC 472), there was therefore this other type of knowledge. The Catechism of Catholic Church after reporting a quote from St.Maximus Confessor :” The human nature of God’s Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God.” (St.Maximus Confessor , Quaestiones et dubia, 66; PG 9P, 840A) keeps saying : “ Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father. The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts. (CCC 472).
- St Paul also seems to allude to this most perfect knowledge when he writes: ” the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. ” (Gal 2,20). He did not write : “ He loved us and he gave himself for us”. But “ God loved me and he gave Himself up for me”.
Although Paul did not know Jesus, he nevertheless knew that he had been perfectly known by him in all the moments of his life and that he had always been personally loved by him.
- You also can say that Jesus knew you from the very first moment of your existence and loved you personally. In all his works and in all his words, as well as in his passion, death and resurrection he always had you in front of his eyes. So what he did, he did it for you. What he said, he said for you. What he suffered, he suffered for you. You were not so present to anyone as to Our Lord, who loved you personally like no one else.
There we are, from your question we have ended here, at the most beautiful chapter of our life, that of the love of Jesus for each of us, understood individually.
I wish you well, I remind you before the Lord and I bless you.