Jacques Maritain Center : Catechism of the Summa Theologica

The Third Part

Of Jesus Christ

(The Way Whereby Man Returns to God)

The Incarnation; Christ's life on earth;
the part taken therein by Our Blessed Lady.

The Sacraments: Baptism; Confirmation; Holy Eucharist;
Penance; Extreme Unction; Holy Orders; Matrimony.

The Last Things. Purgatory; Heaven; Hell.
The Resurrection; the Last Judgment.


What is meant by the mystery of the Incarnation or of the Word made flesh?

It is that truth, absolutely incomprehensible for us on earth, according to which the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, viz., the Word or the only Son of God, existing from all eternity together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the same, one, and only true God, the Creator and Sovereign Master of all things, came, in time, upon this earth by His Incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary of whom He was born: lived moreover our mortal life and evangelized the Jewish race in Palestine to whom He was personally sent by His Father; was rejected by this people, was betrayed and delivered up to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor; was condemned and put to death on a cross; was buried, and descended into hell, and rose again from the dead the third day; ascended into heaven forty days afterwards; sits at the right hand of God the Father, from whence He governs the Church established by Him on earth, and to which He sent the Holy Ghost, who is His as well as the Father's; sanctified this Church by the sacraments of His grace, so preparing it for His second coming at the end of time; at the last day He will judge the living and the dead, having made the latter rise from their tombs; and this in order to make the final separation of the good from the bad; the good He will take with Him into the Kingdom of His Father, and the bad He will curse and condemn to everlasting punishments.



Is this coming on earth of the Son of God by His Incarnation in harmony with what we know of God?

Yes. For we know that God is goodness itself; on the other hand, we know that goodness endeavours to communicate some of its perfection to others. Now God could not communicate Himself to His creatures in a way more marvellous than by His Incarnation (I. 1).

Was the Incarnation of the Son of God necessary?

No; considered in itself the Incarnation was in no way necessary; but given the fall of the human race by the sin of Adam, and that God wished to reinstate the human race in the most perfect way, and that above all He desired to exact the most complete satisfaction for the first sin, then it was necessary that a God-Man should take upon Himself this sin and make reparation for it (I. 2).

It is then by reason of man's sin and for the reparation thereof that the Son of God became incarnate?

Yes, it was for this precise reason (I. 3, 4).

Why then did not the Son of God become incarnate immediately after the fall of Adam?

The reason was because God wished the human race to know fully its misery, and the need it had of a God-Saviour; and also as was meet for so great a coming in order that a great line of prophets might precede and foretell the advent of the Saviour (I. 5, 6).


In what does the Incarnation of the Son of God consist, considered in itself?

It consists in this, that the divine nature and a human nature, each preserving what was proper to each, were substantially and indissolubly united in the unity of the one and same divine Person, which is the Person of the Son of God (II. 1-6).

Why did this union take place in the Person of the Son rather than in that of the Father or the Holy Ghost?

The reason is because the properties of the Son, who in God, has the nature of the Word, and to whom belongs by way of appropriation all that refers to wisdom through which God created all things, make the Son to be especially fitting for the restoration of the fallen human race; and also because proceeding from the Father, He could be sent by the Father, and He, in His turn, could send us His Spirit as the fruit of His Redemption (III. 8).



When it is said that the Son of God was incarnated, or that the Word was made flesh, or that He was made man, what do these different expressions signify?

All these expressions signify that the Word, or the Son of God, took, in order to unite it to Himself in His Passion. our human nature such as it is to be found in every individual human being descended from Adam (IV. 1-6).

Does it then follow that in the incarnate Word or Son of God made man there is a human individual?

Absolutely no. There is in Him an individual human nature, but not a human individual or a human person; for the nature He took was united to His divine Person, so that in the Incarnation there is only one person, and that is the Person of the Word or of God the Son (IV. 3).

Is this human nature which is united to the Person of God the Son, as regards its two essential parts, exactly the same as the human nature in each of us?

Yes (V. 1-4).

The incarnate Son of God has then a body like to ours, of flesh and bone, with the same members, senses, and organs?

Yes (V. 1, 2).

Has He also a soul like to ours, with the same parts and faculties, and with an intellect and a will like to ours?

Yes, He has a soul with the same parts and powers like to ours exactly (V. 3, 4).

Were all the parts which constitute an individual human nature in its essence and integrity united to the Person of the Son of God at the same time?

Yes, but He united them to Himself in a certain order (VI. 1-6).


In what order did God the Son unite to Himself the human nature and its parts?

In such wise that He took the body and all its parts by reason of the soul; and the soul and its other powers by reason of the intellect; and the body, soul, and intellect by reason of the human nature which all the above constitutes in its essence and integrity (VI. 1).

Was this union of the human nature and all its parts with the Person of God the Son made directly and immediately without the intermediary of any created reality whatsoever?

Yes, and this precisely because the term of this union is the very being of the Person of God the Son which is communicated to this human nature and all its parts (VI. 6).



Are there not, however, in the human nature united to the person of God the Son and in the faculties of its soul certain created realities of the gratuitous order which unite it to God?

Yes, but it is not by these that it is united to the Person of God the Son; they are, on the contrary, consequences of this union such as the transcendency of the union demands (VI. 6).

What are these created realities?

They are, first of all, habitual grace in the essence of the soul; then in the faculties all the virtues with the exception of faith and hope; and all the gifts of the Holy Ghost; also all graces gratuitously given, the object of which was the manifestation of the divine truth to the world, not excepting prophecy in so far as it implies the prophetic state properly so-called (VII. 1-8).

What was and what is the rôle of the habitual grace in the essence of Christ's soul?

The rôle was, and will be through all eternity, to make this soul, by participation, to be what the divine nature is in itself, by essence; and to impart to the soul through its faculties the principles of divine activity which are the virtues and the gifts (VII. 1).

Why did Christ's human nature have all the virtues except faith and hope?

Because these two virtues imply an imperfection such as was incompatible with the perfection of the soul united to the Person of God the Son (VII. 3, 4).

In what does this imperfection consist?

In this, that faith implies that one does not see what one believes, and that hope bears one towards God not yet possessed in the beatific vision (ibid.).


What are understood by graces gratuitously given?

They are those privileges enumerated by St. Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xii., ver. 8 et seq., viz., faith, wisdom, knowledge, the grace of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, and interpretation of speeches (VII. 7).

Is faith here mentioned the same as the virtue of faith?

No, for it implies a certain supereminent certainty with regard to divine truths which makes one fit to explain these truths to others (I.-II., CXI. 4, Obj. 2).

And the wisdom and knowledge aforementioned, are they distinct from the intellectual virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost which are called by the same name?

Yes, for they signify a certain abundance of knowledge and wisdom whereby man obtains a just appreciation of divine things, and is able to instruct others therein and to refute adversaries (I.-II., CXI., Obj. 4).

Did Christ ever use while on earth the spiritual privilege which is called diversity of tongues?

No, for the ministry of His Apostolate was exercised among the Jews only or among those who used the same language as the Jews; but He possessed this gift and could have made use of it had occasion offered (VII. 7, Obj. 3).

What is meant by saying that Christ had the grace of prophecy in so far as it implies the prophetic state properly so-called?

By this is meant that Christ during His life on earth lived the life we live, and was hence separated from heavenly things of which he spoke to men; although as regards the higher part of His soul He lived in the very centre as it were of the mysteries of God of which He had always perfect knowledge and the perfect joy resulting therefrom. In fact it is of the essence of a prophet to speak of things that are afar off and not within the sight of those to whom he announces them, and among whom He lives (VII. 8).


What relation is there between the above-mentioned spiritual gifts and habitual or sanctifying grace and the accompanying gifts and virtues?

Sanctifying grace together with the accompanying virtues and gifts sanctify him in whom they are; whereas the spiritual gifts are given solely for the apostolate and the benefit of others (I.-II., CXI. 1, 4).

Can these two kinds of graces exist apart?

Yes, since all holy souls have habitual or sanctifying grace together with the accompanying virtues and gifts; whereas the graces gratuitously given are only given to those who have to minister to others. Further, although as regards these latter the two kinds of graces are ordinarily speaking together, they can be separated as was the case with Judas, who was bad, but who nevertheless had all the graces gratuitously given which were conferred on the Apostles.

Were both these kinds of graces in the human nature of Christ, and were they present in the highest perfection?

Yes (VII. 1,8).

Why was this so in the case of Christ?

Because His personal excellence was infinite; and because He was the supreme doctor of the things of faith (VII. 7).


Must it be said that in the human nature of Christ there was the fulness of grace?

Yes; and in this sense, that there was nothing that relates to the order of grace that was not there; and that this fulness of grace was present in its highest possible perfection (VII. 9).

Was this superexcellent fulness of grace proper to the human nature of Christ?

Yes, it was absolutely proper to Christ's human nature; and the reason is because of the nearness of this nature to the divine nature in the same Person of God the Son which is the source of grace; and because of the mission of our Lord on earth, which consisted in the diffusion of this superabundance of grace to all men (VII. 10).

May one say that this grace of our Lord was infinite?

Yes, in a certain sense. For if it be question of the grace of union it is infinite because it means the union of the human to the divine nature itself in the Person of the Son of God; and if it be question of habitual grace with all that accompanies it, it has no limit in the actual order of grace as regards others who participate therein, although of itself it is created and finite (VII. 11).

Could this grace thus understood be increased in the human nature of our Lord?

If one considers the omnipotence of God, which is infinite, this grace could be increased; but considered in the actual order of grace as established by God this grace could not be increased (VII. 12).

What is the relation between this grace and the grace of union?

It is a consequence of the grace of union, and is proportionate to this grace of union (VII. 13).

What is the grace of union called which is the principle of all other grace in our Lord?

It is called the hypostatic union from a Greek word which signifies person; for it is owing to the action of the Person of God the Son, in concert with the Father and the Holy Ghost, that this superexcellent dignity and honour is bestowed upon the human nature by the fact that it is united immediately to the divine nature in the Person of God the Son.



Apart from the graces above mentioned which belong to Christ in so far as He is a particular man distinct from other men, is there not another grace belonging to Him in so far as He is the head of His mystical Body the Church?

Yes, and it is our duty now to speak of this grace (VIII.).

What is meant by saying that Christ is head of the Church?

It means that Christ occupies in the order of nearness to God the first place, and possesses in its highest perfection and fulness whatsoever relates to the order of grace; and, further, Christ possesses the power to communicate all things in the order of grace to men (VIII. 1).

Is it only by reason of the soul of Christ or by reason of His Body also that Christ is the head of the Church?

Christ is head of the Church by reason of His Body also; this means to say that the whole humanity of Christ, Body and Soul, is the instrument of divinity, whereby He bestows upon the souls of men and upon their bodies also the goods of the supernatural order: He acts thus towards those on earth so that the body may help the soul in the practice of virtue; and to those holy ones who shall rise at the last day that their bodies might receive from the glorified soul their share of immortality and glory (VIII. 2).

Is Christ the head, in the sense explained, of all men?

Yes; but those who no longer live on earth, and who died in the state of final impenitence, belong to Him no longer, and are separated from Him for evermore. But those who are already in heaven belong to Him and He is their head in a special manner. Further, He is the head of all who are united to Him by grace whether they be on earth or in purgatory; and of all those who are united to Him by faith even though they have not charity; and of all those who are not yet united to Him by faith, but who will one day be united to Him thus according to the decrees of divine Providence; and lastly, of all those living on earth who could be united to Him, but who in fact will never be (VIII. 3).

Is Christ also the head of the angels?

Yes; for Christ occupies the first place with regard to the whole multitude of those who are ordained to the same end, which is the enjoyment of heaven (VIII. 4).

Is that grace whereby Christ is the head of the whole Church in the sense explained, the same grace as that which belongs to Him personally as a determinate human being in so far as He is distinct from all other human beings, and "a fortiori" from the angels?

Yes, in its essence it is the same grace, but it is designated by these two different names, personal grace and capital grace, by reason of its double function, viz., in so far as it adorns the human nature of Christ, and in so far as it is communicated to others (VIII. 5)

Is it proper to Christ to be the head of the Church?

Yes; for only the humanity of Christ can justify man interiorly by reason of its union to the divinity in the Person of the Word. But as regards the external government of the Church others may be called, and are in fact, heads in different degrees; as, for instance, bishops in their dioceses, and the Sovereign Pontiff in the universal Church as long as his Pontificate lasts; but these heads only take the place of the one true head, Jesus Christ Himself, from whom they depend, for they are Christ's vicars and act only in His Name (VIII. 6).


Is there a head in the order of evil that leads men to their loss just as Christ in the order of good leads men to salvation?

Yes; and this head of the wicked is Satan, the Prince of the devils (VIII. 7).

In what sense is Satan the head of the wicked?

Not in the sense that he can communicate evil to man interiorly, as Christ communicates good; but in the order of external government he strives to turn men away from God, whereas Christ leads men to God; and all those who sin imitate his rebellion and his pride, whereas the good by their works imitate the submission and obedience of Jesus Christ (VIII. 7).

Is there then on account of this opposition as it were a personal struggle between Christ and Satan?


What will be the end of this struggle?

This struggle will rise to such a pitch that Satan will concentrate the whole of his power and malice in some individual human being who will be called Antichrist.

Will Antichrist in a special way be the head of the wicked?

Yes, for there will be more malice in him than there ever was in any other man; he will be Satan's vicar, whose object will be to strive his utmost in order to lead men to damnation and so ruin the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (VIII. 8).



Besides grace are there any other prerogatives belonging to our Lord?

Yes; they are those that have reference to knowledge

What knowledge did Jesus Christ have as man?

It was threefold: the knowledge which the blessed have in heaven through the vision of the divine essence; infused knowledge which is the infusion of all ideas by God into the soul at its birth; and lastly, acquired knowledge which is gained in the ordinary way by the human faculties with the aid of the senses (IX. 2, 3, 4).


Was the beatific knowledge of Christ as man in a very high scale of perfection?

Yes; in perfection it surpasses that of all the blessed, whether angels or men. From the first instant of conception, by the beatific knowledge Christ was able to see everything in the divine Word, which is Himself as God, in such wise that there is absolutely nothing in the past, present, or future which Christ as man does not know; and He had this knowledge from the moment of the Incarnation (X. 2-4).


Was Christ's infused knowledge in a high scale of perfection?

Yes; for by this knowledge He knew all that which the human mind can know by its natural power, and also whatsoever revelation can make known to a created intelligence whether it have reference to what can be known by the gift of wisdom or the gift of prophecy, or any other such gift of the Holy Ghost; and Christ had this knowledge in a supereminent degree above angels and men (XI. 1,3,4).


What sort of acquired knowledge did Christ have?

By this knowledge He knew whatsoever the human mind can know by reasoning upon the data given by the senses; in this knowledge it was possible for Him to make progress according as His human mind had occasion to reason about new data attained by His senses; but He never learnt from any master, having already acquired what a master was able to teach in the various stages of progress of His life (XII. 1-3).

Did Christ as man ever receive any knowledge from the angels?

No. The whole of our Lord's knowledge came to Him only in the three ways just explained (XII. 4).


Are there any other prerogatives in the human nature of Christ besides the foregoing?

Yes, there are those that refer to His power (XIII.).

What power was in Christ's Soul?

All the power that is connatural to a human soul which is the substantial form of the body; further, all the power that can belong to a human soul in the order of grace in so far as out of its fulness it had to communicate grace to others dependent upon it. Further, in Christ's Soul there was the instrumental participation of the divine power through which the Word of God performed all the marvels of transformation that were in accord with the end of the Incarnation, which is to re-establish all things in heaven and earth according to the plan of restoration determined by God (XIII. 1-4).



Were there certain defects both in the Body and the Soul of Christ?

Yes; and such were necessary for the end of the Incarnation, which was to make satisfaction for our sins -- to come on earth as one of us -- to be for us an example by the practice of the highest virtues of patience and immolation (XIV., XV.).

What were the defects Christ took upon Himself in His Body?

They were all those defects or miseries and infirmities which are to be found in the whole of human nature as a result of Adam's sin, such as hunger, thirst, death, and so on; but in Christ there were none of those defects that are the result of personal sin or of heredity (XIV. 1).

Was the Body of our Lord, putting aside the above-mentioned defects, of great perfection and beauty?

Yes, for such belonged to the dignity of the Word of God, who was hypostatically united to this Body; and such was due also to the action of the Holy Ghost, by whom this Body was formed directly in the womb of our Blessed Lady; but of this we shall speak shortly.


What were the defects Christ took up on Himself in His Soul?

They were the capability of feeling pain, especially the sufferings inflicted upon His Body during the course of His Passion; all the interior affective motions, whether of the sensitive or intellectual order; in other words, Christ had the passions such as sadness, fear, anger, etc., except that all these passions were in perfect accord with His reason, to which they were always perfectly subjected (XV. 1-9).


Can it be said that whilst living on earth our Lord was both in heaven and yet on the way to heaven?

Yes; for as regards the function that is proper to the soul in heaven, this our Lord had, since He enjoyed fully this beatitude by the vision of the divine essence; but as regards the effect of this beatitude in His Body, this He had not as yet by a sort of miraculous suspension in view of our redemption; and this redundancy of the Soul's glory in the Body did not come about until after His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven (XV. 10).


What follows from the Incarnation of the Son of God considered in Himself, and in what manner can we rightly express the truths concerning Him?

We may and must say in all truth, "God is man," for one and the same Person who is God is man also; "Man is God," for a Person who is truly man is a Person who is God; all that is proper to and belongs to human nature can be said of God, for all such belongs to a Person who is God, and all that is proper to the divine nature can be said of man who is the Son of God, for this man is a Person who is God. But we may not say of the divinity what is said of the humanity, or conversely, because these two natures remain distinct and each has its own properties (XVI. 1,2).

May one say "God was made man"?

Yes, because the Person who is God began to be truly man at a particular time before which It was not man (XVI. 6).

May one also say "Man was made God"?

No, for this presupposes that there was a person who was a man first of all without being God, and that afterwards he became God (XVI. 7).

May one say "Christ is a creature"?

One may not say this altogether; but it may be said provided one adds, "by reason of the human nature which is united hypostatically to Him," for it is true that this human nature is something created (XVI. 8).

May one say "This man," meaning Jesus Christ, "began to exist"?

No, for the sense would be that the Person of God the Son began to exist. But it may be said provided one adds, "in so far as He is man," or "by reason of His human nature " (XVI. 9).



Does Jesus Christ constitute only one being or several?

He is one being only, God and man together; and this by reason of the unity of Person which subsists in both the human and the divine natures (XVII. I, 2).

May one speak of more than one will in Christ?

Yes; for in Him there is the divine will in so far as He is God; and the human will in so far as He is man (XVIII. 1).

Is there in Him as man a multiplicity of wills?

Yes, understanding the word "will" in a wide sense and in so far as it comprises the sensitive as well as the intellective appetite; or again in so far as the word sometimes signifies different acts of these faculties (XVIII. 2, 3).

Had the human nature in Christ a free will?

Yes. Although it was absolutely impossible for Him to sin, His will being always and in every sense conformed to the divine will (XVIII. 4).


Is there a multiplicity of operations in Christ?

Yes. For although on the part of the Person or the principle to which all operations are attributed there is absolute and perfect unity, on the part of the immediate principles of operation there were as many different operations as there were principles or faculties of operating in His human nature; and, further, the diversity of actions proper to the divine nature and the diversity of those proper to the human nature (XIX. 1, 2).


In what sense does one speak of theandric operations in Christ, and what does this expression mean?

This expression means that since Jesus Christ is both God and man there is in Him a kind of subordination between all the principles of operation in Him, particularly between those principles proper to the human nature and those proper to the divine; so that the human operations were divinely perfected and superexalted owing to the nearness and the influence of the divine nature; and, on the other hand, the divine operations in some sort were humanized by the concurrence of the human operations (XIX. 1, Obj. 1).

Were the human operations in Christ meritorious as regards Himself?

Yes. It was meet He should merit for Himself all that from which He was separated only temporarily, and such as was not contrary to the excellence and dignity which was His; as, for instance, the glory of the Body and all that referred to His external exaltation in heaven and on earth (XIX. 3).


Was Christ able to merit for others also?

Yes, and by merit that was perfect or de condigno; and this by reason of the mystical unity between Him and all the members of His Church of which He is the head; and this merit was of such a kind that all His actions were meritorious not only for Himself, but for all those who form part of His Church in general, according to the sense already explained (XIX. 4).

What is necessary that other men might share in the merit of our Lord?

They must be united to Him by the grace of baptism, which is the grace whereby they are incorporated into Christ's Church; but of this we shall speak later (XIX. 4, Obj. 3).



As a result of the Incarnation, what were the relations between Christ and God the Father, and conversely?

The consequences of the Incarnation were that Christ was subject to the Father; that He prayed; that He served God the Father by His priesthood; and that, although He was the Son of the Father by nature, not by adoption, He was predestined by the Father (XX.-XXIV.).

How was Christ subject to the Father?

He was subject to the Father by reason of His human nature because this had only participated goodness, whereas the Father is goodness by essence; hence whatever was related to Christ's human life was ruled, disposed, and ordered by the Father.

In Christ there was the most perfect and absolute obedience in respect of the Father (XX. 1).

Was not the human part of Christ also entirely subject to Himself by reason of His divine nature?

Yes, for the divine nature, by reason of which the Father was superior to the Son in His human nature, is common to the Father and the Son (XX. 2).


In what sense was Christ able and is still able to pray?

In this sense, that the human will being incapable of attaining the fulfilment of its desires independently of the divine will, Christ as man had perforce to address the Father in order that the Father by His all-powerful will might accomplish what the human will was unable to realize of itself (XXI. 1).

Did Christ pray for Himself?

Yes; He prayed for the external glorification of His Body which He had not so long as He was on earth; also in order to give thanks to the Father for all the gifts and privileges bestowed upon His human nature; and in the latter way Christ will pray through all eternity (XXI. 3).

Whilst Christ was on earth were His prayers always heard?

Yes, if by prayer one understands a petition made deliberately by the will; for Christ, who knew perfectly the will of His Father, never wished anything deliberately except what He knew to be in conformity with His Father's will (XXI. 4).


What is meant by the priesthood of Christ?

By this is meant that it belonged to Him, par excellence, to bring to men the gifts of God; and to stand before God in the name of men to offer their prayers to God to appease Him and to re-establish them in His favour (XXII. 1).

Was Christ both priest and victim?

Yes; because in accepting death for our sakes he became a victim in the threefold sense of sacrifice as established by the Old Law, viz., a victim of sin, a victim of peace, and a holocaust. He has, in fact, made satisfaction for our sins and has blotted them out; He has obtained for us the grace of God which is our peace and salvation; and He has opened for us the gates of heaven (XXII. 2).

Did Christ need to be priest for His own sake?

No, for He Himself could approach God without need of a mediator; further, in Him there was no sin and hence no need of a victim of expiation (XXII. 4).

Will the priesthood of Christ last for ever?

Yes, in the sense that the effect of His priesthood which is the possession of heaven, will remain always, for the attainment of heaven by the blessed is the consummation of Christ's sacrifice (XXII. 5).

Why was Christ a priest according to the order of Melchisedech?

In order to show the superiority of this priesthood over the levitical priesthood of the Old Law, which was only a figure of the former (XXII. 6).



When one speaks of adoption on the part of God, what does it mean?

It means that God out of His infinite goodness has deigned to give to men a participation of the glory of His beatitude; both angels and men who participate in this glory become the sons or the children of God by adoption, since the second Person of the Blessed Trinity is the only son by nature (XXIII. 1).

Is Christ as regards His human nature also a Son of God by adoption?

No; for since sonship is a personal property, wherever there is natural sonship there cannot be sonship by adoption, which is only a figure of the former (XXIII. 4).


Was Jesus Christ predestined?

Yes; for predestination is nothing else but a preordination fixed by God from all eternity of what is fulfilled in time in the order of grace. But that a human being was God in person and this being as man came from God was realized in time; and such event belonged in the highest degree to the order of grace. Hence it is true that Jesus Christ was predestined by God (XXIV. 1).

Is this predestination of Christ the cause of our own predestination?

Yes, God ordained that our salvation should be accomplished by Jesus Christ Himself, who is the author thereof; further, by predestination we become by adoption what Jesus Christ is by nature (XXIV. 3, 4).



What are the consequences of the Incarnation of God the Son in relation to us?

It follows that we must adore Jesus Christ, and that He is our Mediator (XXV.-XXVI.).

What is meant by saying that we must adore Jesus Christ?

This means that we must pay to the Person of God the Son, whether as God or as man, the worship that is proper to God alone, viz., latria; but if we consider the human nature of Christ as the reason of the honour we pay Him then we must pay to Him what is called dulia (XXV. 1, 2).


Must we adore the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the adoration of "latria"?

Yes, for the Sacred Heart is part of the Person of our Lord; and of all that belongs to the Person of our Lord in His human nature His Heart should be worshipped with the adoration of latria in an especial manner, because it is the symbol of His great love for us.

Must we honour with the adoration of "latria" the images and pictures of Christ?

Yes, because that movement whereby the soul is drawn towards an image precisely as an image (that is, in so far as it represents something), is the same as that movement whereby the soul is drawn towards the thing represented (XXV. 3).


Must we also honour the cross of our Lord with the adoration of "latria"?

Yes, because for us it represents our Lord nailed upon the cross and dying for us; and if it be question of the true cross upon which our Lord was nailed we adore it for this other reason, viz., because it was touched by our Lord's Body, and was saturated with His Blood (XXV. 4).


Must we honour our Blessed Lady, the Mother of Jesus, with the adoration of "latria"?

No; for the reason why we honour her is not only because she is our Lord's Mother, but because of her own worth; but since she is a creature only we do not honour her with the adoration of latria, which is exclusively proper to God. We pay her, however, in a supereminent way an honour in the order of dulia that is due to those who are united to God; but since no other creature is so intimately united to God as she is we pay her that honour which is called hyperdulia (XXV. 5).


Must we honour the relics of the saints and especially their bodies?

Yes, because the saints are friends of God and our intercessors before Him; we honour their bodies in particular because they were temples of the Holy Ghost, and because they will be glorified after the Resurrection, at the last day (XXV. 6).


What is meant by saying that Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God and men?

By this is meant that by reason of the hypostatic union between the human nature and God the Son, Christ is midway between God and men; owing to this it is proper to Him to communicate to men the commands and the gifts of God, standing before God in the name of men, in order to make satisfaction for their sins and to intercede for them (XXVI. 1,2 ).


In what manner did the Incarnation of the Son of God take place, and what were the doings of Christ in the world?

The answer to this question will be given by considering four things: (1) The coming into the world of God the Son; (2) His life in the world; (3) His leaving the world; (4) His exaltation after leaving the world (XXVII., Prologue).



How did Jesus Christ come into the world?

Jesus Christ came into the world by being born of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the all-powerful and supernatural action of the Holy Ghost.

Was our Blessed Lady prepared in any special manner that she might become the Mother of our Lord?

Yes, she was immaculately conceived (XXVII.).

What is understood by the Immaculate Conception?

By this is understood that unique privilege bestowed upon our Blessed Lady whereby God, in view of and owing to the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, preserved her from all stain of original sin, which she would otherwise have contracted as a descendant of Adam; and that from the first instant of creation our Lady's soul was adorned with the supernatural gifts of grace in their fulness (Pius IX., Definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception).


What is meant by saying that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary?

By this is meant that the Mother of Jesus, far from losing her virginity by becoming our Lord's Mother, rendered her virginity holy and doubly pleasing in the sight of God by becoming the Mother of our Lord; and this in such wise that, being a virgin before the conception of our Lord, she remained a virgin in the conception and during the birth, and for ever after the birth of our Lord (XXVIII. 1, 2, 3).

Were this conception and birth wholly miraculous?

Yes, it was wholly supernatural and miraculous that our Blessed Lady conceived and gave birth to our Lord in this manner; it must be remembered also that our Lady performed for her babe all such as any other mother performs with regard to her child born in the natural way (XXXI. 5; XXXII.).

Did God the Son unite the human nature to Himself in the womb of Mary together with all the gifts of grace, of which we have spoken, in an instant?

Yes, as soon as our Lady consented on the day of the Annunciation to become the Mother of God, immediately and in an instant by the action of the Holy Ghost she conceived in her virginal womb all the wonders that constitute the mystery of the Incarnation (XXXIII.-XXXIV.).

Must we say that from the first instant of conception our Lord had the use of His human free will, and that He began to merit already?

Yes, from the instant of His conception our Lord had in all their perfection both the beatific and infused knowledge of which we have already spoken; and He had the full use of His free will, and also began to merit by perfect merit such as is called de condigno (XXXI V. 1-3). Was the birth of our Lord a true birth in the sense that His Person was born, and how is this birth distinguished from that according to which we say He was born of the Father?

When it is said that God the Son was born of our Lady, by this is meant that the birth was a true birth affecting the Person of God the Son; but this birth is only spoken of in reference to Christ's human nature; whereas with regard to the Father He was born from all eternity, and this birth has reference to His divine nature (CXXV. 1, 2).


Owing to our Lord's birth of our Blessed Lady is she His Mother?

Yes, in every sense, for all that a mother gives to a son was given by our Blessed Lady to God the Son (XXXV. 3).

Does it follow that Mary is the Mother of God?

Yes, since she was truly the mother of the human nature assumed by Him who is God (XXXV. 4).


When was the name Jesus given to God the Son Incarnate?

It was given to Him on the eighth day after His birth in accordance with the command given to Mary and to Joseph by an angel of God (XXXVII. 2).

What does the name Jesus signify?

It signifies His mission to men, namely, that He is the Saviour of all men.

Why is the name Christ added?

Because this word signifies "anointed," and our Lord received the divine anointing whereby He was Saint, Priest, and King (XXII. 1, Obj. 3).


Why was our Lord baptized with the baptism of St. John?

In order to begin His mission which was the work of our salvation; now this consists in the remission of sins which was to be effected by the baptism that He Himself was going to inaugurate. This new kind of baptism was to be given with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and all men had to receive this baptism, since all are sinners. For this reason, wishing to point out to all this necessity, He asked to receive the baptism of John, which was only a figure of the new baptism. He received this baptism in water in order to sanctify the water and so prepare it for the matter of the Sacrament. During His baptism the whole Trinity deigned to make Itself manifested -- He Himself in His human nature, the Holy Ghost under the form of a dove, and the Father in the voice that was heard -- in order to make known what would be the form of the Sacrament. He also made known the effect of this new baptism by the fact that the heavens opened above His head; this was to show that by His baptism the gates of heaven were opened for men (XXXIX. 1-8).


What kind of life did our Lord lead among men?

He led a life of the utmost simplicity and poverty; further, He fulfilled all the commands of the Old Law in order to prepare the way for the New Law which was His own (XL. 1-4).

Why did our Lord suffer to be tempted?

In order that He might instruct us and show us how to resist our temptations; and also by His victory over Satan to make good the defeat of our first parents who succumbed to Satan's temptation in the Garden of Eden (XLI. 1).

Why did our Lord preach to others?

During the three years of His public life He endeavoured by His preaching to make men listen to His voice that they might hear the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (XLII. 1-4.).

Why did our Lord perform miracles?

In order that He might show to men that He was almighty and had power over spiritual creatures, over the heavenly bodies, over the miseries of men, and over inanimate things. By miracles He proved to men Who He was, and gave them an infallible testimony of His divinity (XLIII., XLIV.).

Is there not a miracle of our Lord which is of special importance by reason of its character and of the circumstances in which it was performed?

Yes; it is that of the Transfiguration (XLV.).

What was remarkable in this miracle?

This; that after having made known to His disciples the mysteries of His Passion and Death on the Cross, and telling them that all had to follow Him in the way of sorrow, our Blessed Lord wished to show to the three privileged ones, in His own Person, the glorious end to which the way of sorrow would lead all who followed it courageously. Since this is the culminating point of our Lord's teaching His authority among men was proclaimed in a solemn way; on the one hand, the Law personified in Moses, and the prophets personified in Elias, gave homage to Him; and on the other hand, the voice of the Father Himself declared our Lord to be His well-beloved Son and to be the one to whose voice men should listen (XLV. 1-4).

Why was the voice of the Father proclaiming the divine sonship of Jesus Christ heard at the baptism and at the Transfiguration of Jesus?

Because the divine sonship of Jesus Christ is the reason and the end of our sonship by adoption which begins with the grace of baptism and ends with the glory of heaven (XLV. 4, Obj. 2).

Of what did Moses and Elias speak with our Lord during the glory of the Transfiguration?

Of His Passion and Death, for St. Luke says (chap. ix., ver. 31): "And they spoke of His decease which He should accomplish in Jerusalem " (XLV. 3).



What does the consideration of our Lord's leaving the world entail?

It entails four things: the Passion, the death, the burial, and the descent into hell (XLVI.-LII.).

Why did our Lord suffer His Passion and death on the Cross?

First of all to obey His Father, who had thus determined in His divine plans; and because, knowing intimately these divine plans, He knew that the Passion was to be the masterpiece of the wisdom and love of God, whereby salvation was secured to men (XLVI. 1).

Did the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ surpass all other conceivable sufferings?

Yes, because the human nature of our Lord in its sensibility and sensitiveness was exquisite and the most perfect possible; and although in the heights of His soul He possessed and enjoyed for ever the beatific vision, no ray of this splendour was allowed to enter the darkness of His sufferings to bring light and consolation to Him; further, He bore all the sins of men upon His shoulders which His sufferings were to wipe out (XLVI. 5, 6).


In what manner did our Lord's Passion work out our salvation?

The Passion of our Lord considered as an instrument of the divinity was the "efficient cause" of our salvation, itself accomplishing our salvation: in so far as it was accepted by His human will it "merited" our salvation; in so far as it was suffering in the sensitive part of our Lord's human nature it worked our salvation by "satisfying" for the penalties merited by our sins; in so far as it delivered us from the bondage of sin and the devil, it "redeemed" us; and in so far as it brought grace to us and reconciled us to God it worked out our salvation by way of "sacrifice" (XLVIII. 1-4).

Is it proper to Jesus Christ alone to be the redeemer of the human race?

Yes; for the price of this redemption was the Passion and Death of our Lord offered to God the Father and to the whole Trinity in order that we might be delivered from sin and the devil. Although it must be remembered that the whole Trinity is the primary cause of our redemption, and that God the Son, as man, is the immediate cause thereof (XL VIII. 5).

Did our Lord's Passion deliver us from the bondage of Satan in any special way?

Yes, because it wiped out the sin which put us in the devil's power; it reconciled us with God, Whom we had offended; and it exhausted the tyranny of Satan in that through his malice Christ who was innocent was put to death (XLIX. 1-4).

Was the opening to men of the gates of heaven a special effect of the Passion?

Yes; for the twofold obstacle of original sin and of the personal sins of men shut the gates of heaven to the whole of the human race; and it was our Lord's Passion that took away these obstacles entirely (XLIX. 5)


Was it necessary that Christ should suffer the particular death that He actually suffered?

Yes; for it was according to the wisdom of the divine counsels and of His love for us that He suffered such a death. By His death we were delivered from the spiritual death of sin and from the death which is inflicted on us as a penalty of sin. In dying for us our Lord conquered death, and He made it possible. for us to triumph over death by not fearing it, knowing that we shall come to life again (L. 1).


Why was our Lord buried after His death?

First of all to show to men that He was really dead; secondly, to make us know by His resurrection from the tomb that we also shall rise some day; and thirdly, to teach us that by dying to sin we must set ourselves apart from this sinful life and hide ourselves in Him (LI. 1).


Why did our Lord descend into hell?

He descended into hell that He might deliver us from the obligation of descending there; also to triumph over Satan by liberating those who were detained there; and lastly, in order to manifest His power in visiting the darkness of hell and shedding the rays of His splendour there (LII. 1).

What is this hell to which Christ descended?

He descended to that part of hell which was for the time being the dwelling-place of the just who, having no further penalty to pay for their sins, were detained there only by reason of the debt due to original sin. Our Lord descended there to give to the holy Patriarchs the joy of His presence. But even in the hell of the lost the effect of His descent was felt confounding them for their unbelief and for their malice. In a special way His descent was felt in purgatory consoling the souls detained there by the hope of being admitted into the glory of heaven as soon as they had expiated their sins (LII. 1).

How long did our Lord remain in hell?

As long as His body remained in the tomb (LII. 4).

When our Lord came up from hell did He bring the souls of the just with Him?

Yes; for as soon as He arrived among them He communicated to them immediately the glory of the beatific vision; and when our Lord's soul left hell in order to be reunited to His body at the moment of the resurrection, He brought with Him all the souls of the just who were never again separated from Him (LII. 5).


Was it necessary that our Lord should rise from the deatt by a glorious resurrection?

Yes; this was necessary. For God had need of manifesting His justice towards Him who had been humiliated even to the death on the Cross. This supreme testimony to the divinity of our Lord was also necessary in order to confirm our faith; also to strengthen our hope; and lastly, in order to manifest in. our Lord's Person the marvels of the glorious life to which He has destined us (LIII. 1).

What was our Lord's risen body like?

It was absolutely the same as that which was nailed to the Cross and was laid in the tomb; but in a state of glory with the qualities of impassibility, subtlety, agility, and clarity which derived from the fulness of the soul's perfection that was henceforth free to communicate to the body its own fulness of perfection (LIV. 1-3).

Did our Lord's body retain the marks of the wounds He received in the crucifixion?

Yes, this was necessary: He retained the marks of the wounds in His hands and feet and side; and this as a sign of His victory over death; also to convince His disciples of the truth of His resurrection; also that He might show them to His Father when interceding for us; and lastly, that He might confound His enemies at the day of judgment (LIV. 4).

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