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The Mystery of the Incarnation, by Father J E Canavan, SJ

The Mystery of the Incarnation, by Father J E Canavan, SJ

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Published by SaintsSQPNcom
In a clear, brief and intelligent way, Father Canavan explains the need, the purpose, the results, and the orthodox doctrine on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. From SQPN Books.
In a clear, brief and intelligent way, Father Canavan explains the need, the purpose, the results, and the orthodox doctrine on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. From SQPN Books.

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Published by: SaintsSQPNcom on May 03, 2011
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02/08/2013

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TheMysteryoftheIncarnation
byFatherJECanavan,SJ
WeassumeinthisessaythattheGospelsaregenuineandauthenticrecordsofapersonwhoreallylived,offactswhichactuallyhappened,ofwordswhichwereuttered.WeassumefurtherthatGodexistsasaTrinityofPersons;thattheSecondPerson,ortheWord,whenthefullnessoftimehadsome,tookfleshinthewomboftheVirginMaryandwasbornintotheworld.WetakeforgrantedthefactoftheIncarnationbecauseitisclearlyrevealedintheGospels.WedonotintendtoprovethatJesusChrististrulyGod;thedemonstrationofthatfactisworkedoutelsewhere.WeshallendeavortoexplaininaccordancewithCatholicteaching,thenatureoftheIncarnation,whatitmeans,whatitinvolves,itsmotivesanditsobject.
 
Indiscussingthissubject,wemustneverforamomentforgetthatwearehandlingamystery,thedeepestmystery,perhaps,ofourfaith.TheIncarnation,theunionofthedivinewithahumannature,isathingsoremotefromanyhumanexperience,sobeyondthecompassofourintellectsthatweareunabletograspthemannerofitsaccomplishment,evenafterithasbeenrevealed.Weknowitisso,wecannotexplainhow.WemustrelyonwhatwearetoldintheinspiredwritingoftheEvangelistsandApostles,andbytheinfallibleChurch.Allourreasoningonthismysterymustbeconditioned,qualified,andcorrectedbytheGospelstoreandbythedogmasoftheChurch.IfwedonotseeclearlyhowtheIncarnationwasbroughtabout,evenifitseems,atfirstsight,toruncountertorationalprinciples,wearenot,therefore,toconcludethatitcouldnothavetakenplace.Weacceptthefactonincontestableauthority;andourphilosophictenets,whichmayappeartocontradictofdenyitspossibility,mustthenbemodifiedtofittheact.Ourhumanintellectsarenotthemeasureofalltruth;ourhumanpowersarenottheonlycriterionofwhatispossibleorimpossiblewithGod.Wemustrecognizethatlimitationsofhumanreasoning,elseweareforcedtodenytheexistenceofmysteries.IfwecouldexplaintheIncarnationitwouldnolongerbeamystery,andSaintPaulcouldnotdescribeit,andhedoesintheEpistletotheColossians(1:26),asthe"mysterywhichhasbeenhiddenfromagesandgenerations."Thefactis,ourphilosophicalprinciples,true,maybe,asfarastheygo,donotcoverthewholeground.Theyare,atbest,moreorlessaccuratesummariesofexperience;butaTrinityofPersons,inoneidenticalnature(whichisessentiallyinvolvedintheIncarnation),isathingcompletelyoutside
 
andbeyondallhumanexperience.Thesupernaturalisnecessarilyabovetherangeandcapacity,thecomprehensionandexigenceofallcreatednature.Theunionofahumannaturewithadivinepersonalityisasupernaturalfact.Wehavenorighttoexpectit;wecannot,byourunaidedreason,seeclearlythatitispossible;andevenafterithasbeenrevealedwecanotunderstandhowitwasbroughtabout.
TheIncarnationIsBefittingtoGodandMan
Oncewearesure,fromacarefulstudyoftheinspiredGospels,thatJesusChrististrueGodandtrueman,wecanseeeasilyenoughhowthoroughlytheIncarnationisinaccordwithallweknoworthinkofGod,howusefulitistoman,andhowitfillsoutandcompletesthedivineeconomyoftheuniverse.Godisinfinitelygood;anditisaqualitycharacteristicofgoodnesstodiffuseitself,tosharehappinessandpossessionswithothersinasintimateandgenerousawayaspossible.GoddiffusesHimself,asitwere,throughcreationinavarietyofwaysHegiveslife,whichisafaintthoughaccurateimitationoftheboundless,self-existentlifeofGodHimself.InthesupernaturalorderHegivesgrace,which,thoughitisacreatedfinitething,makesusHisadoptedsonsandheirstoHiskingdom.BytheIncarnation,Godcommunicates
Himself,
fortheinfinitePersonfotheWordisunitedtoahumannature,andbytheunionthemanChristisbroughtintobeing.ItisdifficulttoseehowevenGodcouldhavedonemore.Theincarnationseemstobetheultimateexerciseofthedivinepower.Componentsinfinitelyremovedfromeachother,thedivineandhuman,arejoinedtogetherinasingle

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