Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Weakness of Christ

My wife and I took our family to mass on Christmas morning, and the opening prayer (the same as for Evening Prayer II on Christmas Day) made me think.
Lord God,
we praise you for creating man,
and still more for restoring him in Christ.
Your Son shared our weakness:
may we share his glory,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

That phrase "your Son shared our weakness" struck something within me. I know that Jesus was fully human, like us in all things but sin. But when I think of our greatest weakness, it is a result of original sin. We struggle with concupiscence, the disordered appetites that produce in us an inclination to sin. Surely, I thought, Christ didn't have any disordered appetites. I've wondered before about whether Mary, immaculately conceived, was born with concupiscence. Baptism obviously does not remove the effects of original sin, but the sinlessness of Jesus and Mary were, it seems, quite different from baptism. Mary was, for instance, able to remain a virgin even in giving birth to Jesus.

In thinking about this over the last week, I've concluded that, in order to undo the sin of Adam and redeem mankind, he would have to assume our fallen nature. That means that his human nature would have had all of the effects of Adam's original sin. Christ however, was able to align his fallen human nature and his human will with his divine will. And that gives some hope to the rest of us that, with God's grace, we too can overcome our weakness, and share in His glory.


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

That means that his human nature would have had all of the effects of Adam's original sin.

All? No. Check with St Thomas Aquinas!

St Paul sometimes uses "sin" for "fomes peccati", which there was none either in Christ or the Blessed Virgin.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

III, Q14

III, Q15