HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 









Enchiridion On Faith, Hope and Love
by Saint Augustine


CHAPTER XI

THE INCARNATION AS PRIME EXAMPLE OF THE ACTION OF GOD'S GRACE

36. In this the grace of God is supremely manifest, commended in grand and

visible fashion; for what had the human nature in the man Christ merited, that it,

and no other, should be assumed into the unity of the Person of the only Son of God?

What good will, what zealous strivings, what good works preceded this assumption

by which that particular man deserved to become one Person with God? Was he a

70John 1:14.

71Rom. 3:20.

72Epistle CXXXVII, written in 412 in reply to a list of queries sent to Augustine by the proconsul of

Africa.

73John 1:1.

74Phil. 2:6, 7.

75These metaphors for contrasting the "two natures" of Jesus Christ were favorite figures of speech

in Augustine's Christological thought. Cf. On the Gospel of John, Tractate 78; On the Trinity, I, 7; II,

2; IV, 19-20; VII, 3; New Testament Sermons, 76, 14.


man before the union, and was this singular grace given him as to one particularly

deserving before God? Of course not! For, from the moment he began to be a man,

that man began to be nothing other than God's Son, the only Son, and this because

the Word of God assuming him became flesh, yet still assuredly remained God. Just

as every man is a personal unity--that is, a unity of rational soul and flesh--so also

is Christ a personal unity: Word and man.

Why should there be such great glory to a human nature--and this

undoubtedly an act of grace, no merit preceding unless it be that those who consider

such a question faithfully and soberly might have here a clear manifestation of

God's great and sole grace, and this in order that they might understand how they

themselves are justified from their sins by the selfsame grace which made it so that

the man Christ had no power to sin? Thus indeed the angel hailed his mother when

announcing to her the future birth: "Hail," he said, "full of grace." And shortly

thereafter, "You have found favor with God."76 And this was said of her, that she

was full of grace, since she was to be mother of her Lord, indeed the Lord of all. Yet,

concerning Christ himself, when the Evangelist John said, "And the Word became

flesh and dwelt among us," he added, "and we beheld his glory, a glory as of the only

Son of the Father, full of grace and truth."77 When he said, "The Word was made

flesh," this means, "Full of grace." When he also said, "The glory of the only begotten

of the Father," this means, "Full of truth." Indeed it was Truth himself, God's only

begotten Son--and, again, this not by grace but by nature--who, by grace, assumed

human nature into such a personal unity that he himself became the Son of Man as

well.

37. This same Jesus Christ, God's one and only Son our Lord, was born of the

Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Now obviously the Holy Spirit is God's gift, a gift

that is itself equal to the Giver; wherefore the Holy Spirit is God also, not inferior to

the Father and the Son. Now what does this mean, that Christ's birth in respect to

his human nature was of the Holy Spirit, save that this was itself also a work of

grace?

For when the Virgin asked of the angel the manner by which what he

announced would come to pass (since she had known no man), the angel answered:

"The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall

overshadow you; therefore the Holy One which shall be born of you shall be called

the Son of God."78 And when Joseph wished to put her away, suspecting adultery

(since he knew she was not pregnant by him), he received a similar answer from the

angel: "Do not fear to take Mary as your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of

the Holy Spirit"79--that is, "What you suspect is from another man is of the Holy

Spirit."









Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com