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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE THIRD ARTICLE
    • GOOD EFFECTS OF THESE CONSIDERATIONS
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GOOD EFFECTS OF THESE CONSIDERATIONS

 

We can learn something from all this. (1) Our faith is strengthened. If,

for instance, someone should tell us about a certain foreign land which he

himself had never seen, we would not believe him to the extent we would if

he had been there. Now, before Christ came into the world, the Patriarchs

and Prophets and John the Baptist told something of God; but men did not

believe them as they believed Christ, who was with God, nay more, was one

with God. Hence, far more firm is our faith in what is given us by Christ

Himself: "No one hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son who is in

the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."18 Thus, many mysteries of

our faith which before the coming of Christ were hidden from us, are now

made clear.

 

(2) Our hope is raised up. It is certain that the Son of Man did not come

to us, assuming our flesh, for any trivial cause, but for our exceeding

great advantage. For He made as it were a trade with us, assuming a living

body and deigning to be born of the Virgin, in order that to us might be

vouchsafed part of His divinity.19 And thus He became man that He might

make man divine.20

 

(3) Our charity is enkindled. There is no proof of divine charity so clear

as that God, the Creator of all things, is made a creature; that Our Lord

is become our brother, and that the Son of God is made the Son of man: "For

God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son."21 Therefore, upon

consideration of this our love for God ought to be re-ignited and burst

into flame.

 

(4) This induces us to keep our souls pure. Our nature was exalted and

ennobled by its union with God to the extent of being assumed into union

with a Divine Person.22

 

Indeed, after the Incarnation the Angel would not permit St. John to adore

him, although he allowed this to be done before by even the greatest

patriarchs.23 Therefore, one who reflects on this exaltation of his nature

and is ever conscious of it, should scorn to cheapen and lower himself and

his nature by sin. Thus, says St. Peter: "By whom He hath given us most

great and precious promises; that by these you may be made partakers of the

divine nature; flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the

world."24

 

Finally, by consideration of all this, our desire to come to Christ is

intensified. If a king had a brother who was away from him a long distance,

that brother would desire to come to the king to see, to be with him and to

abide with him. So also Christ is our brother, and we should desire to be

with Him and to be united to Him. "Wheresoever the body shall be, there

shall the eagles also gathered together."25 The Apostle desired "to be

dissolved and be with Christ."26 And it is this desire which grows in us as

we meditate upon the Incarnation of Christ.

 

 

 

 




18. "Ibid.," i. 18.

 



19. Thus, in the Mass, when the Priest puts wine and water in the chalice,

he says: ". . . Grant that by the mystery of this water and wine we may be

made partakers of His Divinity who vouchsafed to become partakers of our

humanity, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord."

 



20. "Et sic factus est homo, ut hominem faceret Deum."

 



21. John. iii. 16.

 



22. "The Word, who is a Person of the divine nature, assumed human nature

in such a manner that there should be one and the same Person in both the

divine and human natures" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," 2).

 



23. "And after I had heard and seen, I fell down to adore before the feet

of the Angel who showed me these things. And he said to me: 'See thou do it

not' " (Apoc., xxii. 8).

 



24. II Peter, i, 4. "God deigned to assume the lowliness and frailty of our

flesh in order to lift man up to the highest degree of dignity . . . We may

now glory that the Son of God is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh,

a privilege which is not granted to the Angels" ("Roman Catechism," "loc.

cit.," 11).

 



25. Matt., xxiv. 28.

 



26. Phil., i. 23.




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