Take my body Jesus, eye and ears and tongue;
Never let them Jesus, help to do me wrong;
Take my heart and fill it, full of love for Thee;
All I have I give Thee, give Thyself to me.
PRAYER BEFORE A CRUCIFIXBehold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I cast myself upon my knees in Thy Sight, and with the most fervent desire of my soul, I pray and beseech Thee that Thou would impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment; While with deep affection and grief of soul I ponder within myself and men Mentally contemplate Thy five wounds, having before my eyes the words David the prophet put on Thy lips concerning Thee: "They have pierced My Hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones."
CHRISTIS TRUE GOD as He claimed to be. By the term ‘God' we mean the intelligent first cause of all things, the personal creator and ruler of the world, self existing-- that is, eternal, uncaused. That there is such a supreme being will be shown when we come to consider the existence of God.
Christ claimed to be God in the true sense; that is, to be the creator and ruler of the universe. His claim to be God Almighty was the most stupendous ever made in the annals of mankind. In appearance Christ was like other men, yet He affirmed that He was their creator and ruler and judge. Are we to accept his claim? Are we to honor Christ as God or brand Him a liar or lunatic? This is the crux of the Christian inquiry.
If Christ is God His religion is divine; and we know that in accepting it, and living by it, we are believing and living as God ordains. On the other hand if Christ be not God Christianity is a fraud, an imposition, a delusion, and the sooner abolished the better. The Line is sharply drawn: Christ is or is not God. In passing, let it be said that no institution based on a false foundation could survive through the centuries as the Catholic church has done.
Christ distinctly proclaimed that He was God. Are we to accept His claim? It is one thing to make a claim, quite another to substantiate it. Christ made divine claims. Divine* claims must be supported by divine evidence for His divine claim? Did Christ furnish divine evidence for His divine claim? When a person make a claim, two things must be looked into before excepting it:
(1) the character of the claimant and
(2) the evidence for the claim.
With regard to Christ's character, even His opponents admit that mentally and morally He was the most perfect being that this world has known. The most perfect being is neither a fraud nor a fool. Christ according to be believed, since the most perfect being is neither deceived nor a deceiver.
Christ however, was not content with merely declaring that He was God, but proceeded to confirm his claim by deeds possible to God alone. A miracle is a visible fact outside the course of nature and possible to divine power alone. Christ, realizing the stupendous nature of His claims, knew that He must do the works of God in order to be believed. The Jews had the sublimest conception God, yet here before them stood a man like themselves, who affirmed silently that He was God Almighty! No wonder they were astonished and accused Him of blasphemy.
Christ made allowance for their attitude, knowing that it was based on reverence for Jehovah. And so when His claims met with their rejection, He said in effect to them: "I know you are shocked because I declare I am God, but if you do not believe Me, believe the works which I do, which are possible to divine power alone." Divine power is not exercised God would be approving falsehood. "Accordingly, I proceed to do what divine power alone can effect."
Before their eyes He gave sight to the man born blind, cleansed the leper, gave hearing and speech to the deaf and dumb, made the cripple sound, multiplied the loaves and fishes ruled the raging elements, and raised the dead to life. All things He did merely by His will power. His word alone gave sight to the blind and life to the dead.**
There are many wonderful things done today by scientific methods, and sometimes these wonders are termed miracles. But they all have a natural explanation, they require materials and time, and they make no claim to supernatural power. Christ's miracles were instantaneous, without the employment of material means, and performed as evidence of supernatural confirmation of His claims.
Since Divine Power could not approve error, and since Divine Power approved Christ's claims, He is what He declared Himself to be, the true Son of God. Saints, it is true, have performed miracles, but not by their own power nor as evidence of their divinity, but always in the name and by the power of God.
It is important to understand that Christ's miracles were divine evidence for divine claims Christ performed many miracles, which could not be wrought by natural power or forces, He raised Lazarus from the dead instantly and by a sole command, saying to the corpse of four days, "Lazarus, come forth." And the dead obeyed the voice of the Creator, sprang to life, and came forth from the tomb (John 11-43)
Just before He performed this miracle Christ made it a distinct proof that His mission was divine, saying to His heavenly Father in hearing of the multitude: "That they may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (John 11-42)
Another manifestation of divine power was Christ's command of the natural elements, when by His own authority He said to the tempest that was engulfing the vessel: "Peace, be still." and a calm came instantly rested on the raging sea (Mark 4: 39)
On another occasion Christ by a word only gave sight to the blind man who cried out for mercy. Jesus said: "What wilt thou that I do to thee?" But he said: "Lord, that I may see!" and Jesus said to him: " Receive thy sight." And immediately he saw and followed Him, glorifying God (Luke 18-43)
Other notable miracles of Christ were the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the raising to life of the dead son of the widow of Naim, the cleansing of the lepers. In fact every page of the Gospels is a record of deeds possible to divine power alone, both with regard to the deeds themselves and the manner in which they were performed. Christ according substantiated His divine evidence, and having done so, must be believed on His word only, for God can neither deceive nor be deceived.
Christ besides presenting the divine evidence of miracles for His claims, also furnished the divine evidence of prophecy. Prophecy is not calculation. An astronomer can foretell an eclipse and a scientist can predict the exact consequences of a combination or forces. This is possible on account of the regularity of nature's laws. No one but God, however, knows the future of those beings whose actions are not determined by fixed laws.
Man alone of all visible creation is not determined by fixed laws. No man can foretell, even regarding himself, what will happen a week or a year from now. Of course the plans, and counts on carrying out his plans, but they may entirely miscarry. Shrewd persons sometimes predict the future of human events, but more often they go awry. God alone knows for certain the future regarding mankind. The foretelling of the future regarding events dependent of human action is possible to divine foreknowledge alone.
Prophecy is the foretelling of an event not naturally knowable. Christ furnished the divine evidence of prophecy to confirm his divine claim. He foretold, among other things, His Passion, Death, and Resurrection; the destruction of Jerusalem: the perpetuity of His Church. None of these things was naturally knowable.
God's foreknowledge does not determine man's actions, but simply knows them. An example may help us to understand this. An aviator in an airplane two miles up can see, with a powerful glass, miles and miles of the country below. A traveler going along an unknown road in that country can see just so far before him and behind. The aviator sees the road from the beginning to end. Now, because the aviator knows the turns, ditches, and hills of the road, he knows that the traveler will turn and descend and climb as he goes on his way. But that knowledge does not determine the traveler's turns, descents, and ascents.
In in a somewhat similar manner God, who knows all things, knows what man will freely do. A mother knows that a child will eat ice cream if offered it, but the child does not eat the cream because the mother's knowledge.
Christ's miracles and prophecies are, therefore, divine evidence for His divine claims. He claimed to be God in the true sense, hence He is God. Time and time again Christ declared He was the true Son of God, the Father Almighty.
On a certain ocassion He said: "I and the Father are one." The Jews accused Him of blasphemy for this, and threatened to stone Him "because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God" (John 10: 30-33). To which Jesus replied: "Do you say: Thou blasphemest, because I said I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not; but if I do, though you will not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe" (John 10 : 36-38)
When Jesus sent His apostles forth to preach His kingdom on earth, He commanded them to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. He said in the name, not names, because of God is one supreme being, although there are three person in God. This is the mystery of the Trinity. When Jesus said: "I and the Father are one," He did not say one person, which would be a contradiction, but one nature, one supreme being God.
This leads us to the second matter of our consideration, that Christ is true man. It seems strange that we have to prove that Christ was true man. At present many persons declare He was man and man only. But in the early centuries there were those who asserted that Christ was man in appearance only. They had no doubt at all that He was God, but they denied that He was man in complete sense--that is, possessing all the faculties of a human being, such as mind, will, and so forth.
Unless Christ was truly human, He could not have suffered and died on the cross, as in fact He did, in order to save mankind, Christ could not have suffered mental anguish and corporal pain unless He had a real human soul and body.
When it is said that God became man, the meaning is not that He ceased to be God and was charged into man, but that being God from all eternity He in the course of time assumed human nature, and man from the time He was born of the Virgin Mary. Perhaps an example will help us to understand somewhat this mystery of the incarnation.
Suppose a king desired to improve the condition of his lowly subjects, and for that reason put aside his royal garments and dressed himself as a beggar and lived among beggars in order the better to realize their condition and to help them. It is true to say that while among these unfortunate and sharing their lot, he was a beggar. But he was also truly a king, a king as well as a beggar, but only assumed an added state of existence.
In some such way, but with a substantial difference, God became man, When the Son of God became man He assumed human nature by substantially uniting it to the divine, so that the one person Christ was divine human. This union was not incidental not temporary but substantially real, somewhat the same as the union of soul and body in man. Christ as the Son of God is the equal in all things to the eternal and almighty Father. As man He is inferior to the God-head just as human is inferior to His divine nature.
This explains how it is that Christ, at times, speaking as man , says that He does the will of the Father in Heaven. In the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane He cried out: "Not My will Thine be done." And on the cross, dying for our redemption, He said; "My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" And again: "Father, into my hands I commend My Spirit."
The Trinity and the incarnation are mysteries. The human intellect is incapable of comprehending them. We accept them not because we understand them, but because we understand that Christ who revealed them is God, who can neither deceive not be deceived. This brings us to the third part of our consideration, that Christ is our redeemer.
Almighty God could have effected the restoration of fallen mankind in any way He willed, but having willed that it was to be by human reparation, it was necessary that should be by man. But Man of himself could not offer adequate reparation for an offense against the infinite majesty of God. Thus it was that the Son of God deigned to become man and as such be our redeemer. As man Christ could atone for sin, and as God-man He could offer atonement of infinite value.
Christ might have redeemed us by any single human act, but He chose the way of suffering in order to win our love and loyalty. He sacrificed His life in order that we might have everlasting life. Christ became man in order that the children of men might become the children of God.
"As many as received Him, He gave them power to be made the sons ofGod" John 1:12)
Christ although a historical personage is more than that. There is a personal relationship between Him and each one of us. He lives today in the hearts of millions who are living for Him and if need be ready to die for Him. He is truly the Kings of Kings, and what is more, He is our brother, and entitles us to look up to the Creator of heaven and earth and address Him as or Father.
*(John 10:30) (Matthew 28;19) (John 9: 35-38) (John 5:23) (John 17:5). Chapter IV
shows that the Gospels are a true historical document.
**Christ's miracles were performed as divine confirmation of His claims. "The works themselves which I do give testimony of Me that the Father hath sent Me" (John 5:36). GOD AND MYSELF
By: Fr. Martin J. Scott S.J.