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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE THIRD ARTICLE
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THE THIRD ARTICLE

 

"Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary."

 

The Christian must not only believe in the Son of God, as we have seen, but

also in His Incarnation. St. John, after having written of things subtle

and difficult to understand,1 points out the Incarnation to us when he

says: "And the Word was made flesh."2 Now, in order that we may understand

something of this, I give two illustrations at the outset.

 

It is clear that there is nothing more like the Word of God than the word

which is conceived in our mind but not spoken. Now, no one knows this

interior word in our mind except the one who conives it, and then it is

known to others only when it is pronounced.3 So also as long as the Word of

God was in the heart of the Father, it was not known except by the Father

Himself; but when the Word assumed flesh - as a word becomes audible - then

was It first made manifest and known. "Afterwards He was seen upon earth

and conversed with men."4 Another example is that, although the spoken word

is known through hearing, yet it is neither seen nor touched, unless it is

written on paper. So also the Word of God was made both visible and

tangible when He became flesh. And as the paper upon which the word of a

king is written is called the word of the king, so also Man to whom the

Word of God is conjoined in one "hypostasis"5 is called the Son of God.

"Take thee a great book and write in it with a man's pen."6 Therefore, the

holy Apostles affirmed: "Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the

Virgin Mary."

 




1. John, i. 1-13.

 



2. "Ibid.," i. 14.

 



3. See above, p. 17.

 



4. Baruch, iii. 38.

 



5. Hypostasis is person distinct from nature, as in the one hypostasis of

Christ as distinct from His two natures, human and divine; also distinct

from substance, as in the three hypostases of the Godhead, which are the

same in substance.

 



6. Isa., vii. 1.

 






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