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Posts Tagged ‘Humanity’

Incarnation: God Assumes a Human Condition to Heal It

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/12/12 at 12:00 AM

The meaning of the word Incarnation, “a term,” the Pope said, “that has resounded many times in our Churches over these past days, expressing the reality that we celebrate at Christmas: the Son of God become man, as we say in the Creed.”

The Holy Father began by explaining the meaning of this word, which is central to the Christian faith, starting from the Church Fathers, especially St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Irenaeus, who used it when “reflecting on the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, particularly in the expression, ‘the Word became flesh’. Here the word ‘flesh’,” the Pope emphasized, “refers to the person in their entirety, precisely in light of their transcience and temporality, their poverty and contingency. This tells us that the salvation wrought by God made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth reaches the human person in their concrete reality and in whatever situation they may find themselves. God took on the human condition in order to heal it of everything that separates it from Him, in order to allow us to call Him, in his Only Begotten Son, by the name of ‘Abba, Father’, and to truly be children of God.”

Then the Pope recalled the Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts with those closest to us. Sometimes this may be a gesture undertaken out of convention but, generally, it “expresses affection. It is a sign of love and esteem.” This same idea of giving is at the heart of the liturgy of these feastdays and “it reminds us of the original gift of Christmas. On that holy night, God, becoming man, wanted to make himself a gift for humanity … he took on our humanity in order to give us His divinity. This is the great gift. … In this we find the model of our giving because our relationships, especially those which are most important, are guided by generosity and love.”

The fact of the Incarnation, of God who makes himself man like us, shows us “the unprecedented reality of divine love. God’s action, in fact, is not limited to words. Rather, we can say that He is not satisfied with speaking but immerses himself in our history and takes upon himself the worry and the weight of human life. … God’s way of acting is a strong stimulus for us to ask ourselves about the reality of our faith, which should not be limited to the arena of feeling, of the emotions, but must enter into the concrete reality of our existence, must touch, that is, our everyday life and orient it in a practical way. … Faith has a fundamental aspect that affects not only our mind and our heart but all of our life.”

Citing the Church Fathers again, the Pope observed that on numerous occasions Jesus was compared with Adam, even to the point of calling Him the “second Adam”, or the definitive Adam, the perfect image of God. With the Incarnation of the Son of God a new creation occurs, which gives a complete answer to the question ‘who is man?’ … Only in Jesus is God’s plan for human being fully revealed: He is the definitive man according to God.”

“It is important, therefore, that we rediscover our wonder at this mystery, that we let ourselves be enveloped by the grandeur of this event: God walked our paths as man. He entered into human history to give us His very life. And he did this not with the splendour of a sovereign, subjugating the world with his power, but with the humility of a child.”

“In that child, the Son of God whom we contemplate at Christmastime,” Benedict XVI concluded, “we can recognize the true face of the human being, and only in opening ourselves to the action of His grace and seeking every day to follow Him do we carry out God’s plan for us.”

VIS # 130109

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Human Intelligence Can Find Key to Understanding the World in Sacred Scripture

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/03/01 at 12:00 AM

 The Holy Father focused on the phrase “Creator of heaven and earth”, explained in light of the first chapter of Genesis.

“God,” the Pope said, “is the source of all things and the beauty of creation reveals the omnipotence of the loving Father. As the origin of life … He cares for what has He has created with unceasing love and faithfulness. Creation, therefore, becomes the place in which to know God’s omnipotence and goodness and becomes a call to faith for believers so that we might proclaim God as Creator. … In the light of faith, human intelligence can find the key to understanding the world In Sacred Scripture. Particularly … in the first chapter of Genesis, with the solemn presentation of divine creative action … The phrase ‘and God saw it was good’ is repeated six times. … Everything God creates is good, and beautiful, full of wisdom and love. God’s creative action brings order and infuses harmony and beauty into it. In the story of Genesis, it later says that the Lord created with His word and ten times in the text the phrase ‘God said’ is repeated… Life springs forth, the world exists, so that everything might obey the Word of God.”

“But does it still make sense to talk about creation,” the Pope wondered, “in this age of science and technology? The Bible isn’t intended to be a natural science manual. Its intention is to reveal the authentic and profound truth of things. The fundamental truth revealed in the stories of Genesis is that the world isn’t a collection of opposing forces, but has its origin and stability in the Logos, in God’s eternal reason, which continues to sustain the universe. There is a plan for the world that springs from this reason, from the Creator Spirit.”

“Men and women, human beings, the only ones capable of knowing and loving the Creator,” are the apex of all creation. “The creation stories in Genesis … help us to know God’s plan for humanity. First, they say that God formed man out of the clay of the ground. … This means that we are not God; we have not made ourselves; we are clay. But it also means that we come from the good earth by an act of the Creator. … Beyond any cultural and historical distinctions, beyond any social difference, we are one humanity, formed from the one earth of God who … blew the breath of life into the body He formed from the earth. … The human being is made in the image and likeness of God. … We carry within us His life-giving breath and all human life is under God’s special protection. This is the deepest reason for the inviolability of human dignity against any temptation to judge the person according to criteria of utility or power.”

In the first chapters of Genesis, “there are two significant images: the garden with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the serpent. The garden tells us that the reality that God has placed the human being within is not a savage forest, but a place that protects, nourishes, and sustains. Humanity must recognize the world, not as property to plunder and exploit, but as a gift from the Creator … to cultivate and care for respectfully, following its rhythms and logic, in accordance with God’s plan. The serpent is a figure derived from oriental fertility cults that fascinated Israel and that were a constant temptation to forsake the mysterious covenant with God.” That is why, “the serpent raised the suspicion that the covenant with God was a chain that … took away freedom and the most beautiful and precious things in life. The temptation becomes the building of a world of one’s own without accepting the limits of being a creature, the limits of good and evil, of morality. Dependence on the love of God the Creator is seen as a burden to be overthrown. … But when our relationship with God is distorted, when we put ourselves in His place, all our other relationships are altered. Then the other becomes a rival, a threat. Adam, after have succumbed to temptation, immediately accuses Eve. … The world is no longer the garden in which to live in harmony, but a place to exploit, one in which … envy and hatred of the other enter into our hearts.”

The Pope emphasized one last element of the creation stories. “Sin begets sin and all the sins of history are related. This aspect leads us to speak of what is called ‘original sin’. What is the meaning of this reality, which is so difficult to understand? … First, we must keep in mind that no person is closed in upon themselves. … We receive life from others, not only at birth, but every day. The human being is relational: I am only myself in you and through you, in the loving relationship with the You of God and the you of the other. Sin alters or destroys our relationship with God … taking the place of God … Once that fundamental relationship is altered, our other relationships are also compromised or destroyed. Sin ruins everything. Now, if the relational structure of humanity is altered from the beginning, all humans enter the world characterized by the alteration of that relationship; we enter into the world changed by sin, which marks us personally. The initial sin disrupts and damages human nature. … And humanity cannot get out of this situation alone, cannot redeem itself. Only the creator can restore the correct relationships. … This takes place in Jesus Christ follows the exact opposite path of Adam. … While Adam does not recognize his being as a creature and wants to supplant the place of God, Jesus, the Son of God is in perfect filial relation to the Father. He lowers himself, becomes a servant, walks the path of love, humbling himself even to death on the cross in order to restore the relationship with God. Christ’s Cross becomes the new Tree of Life.”

“Living by faith,” Benedict XVI concluded, “means acknowledging God’s greatness and accepting our smallness, our creatureliness, letting God fill us with His love. Evil, with its burden of pain and suffering, is a mystery that is illuminated by the light of faith, giving us the certainty of being able to be freed from it.”

VIS 130206

Incarnation: God Assumes Human Condition to Heal It

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/01/11 at 9:09 AM

The meaning of the word Incarnation, “a term,” the Pope said, “that has resounded many times in our Churches over these past days, expressing the reality that we celebrate at Christmas: the Son of God become man, as we say in the Creed.”

The Holy Father began by explaining the meaning of this word, which is central to the Christian faith, starting from the Church Fathers, especially St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Irenaeus, who used it when “reflecting on the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, particularly in the expression, ‘the Word became flesh’. Here the word ‘flesh’,” the Pope emphasized, “refers to the person in their entirety, precisely in light of their transcience and temporality, their poverty and contingency. This tells us that the salvation wrought by God made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth reaches the human person in their concrete reality and in whatever situation they may find themselves. God took on the human condition in order to heal it of everything that separates it from Him, in order to allow us to call Him, in his Only Begotten Son, by the name of ‘Abba, Father’, and to truly be children of God.”

Then the Pope recalled the Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts with those closest to us. Sometimes this may be a gesture undertaken out of convention but, generally, it “expresses affection. It is a sign of love and esteem.” This same idea of giving is at the heart of the liturgy of these feastdays and “it reminds us of the original gift of Christmas. On that holy night, God, becoming man, wanted to make himself a gift for humanity … he took on our humanity in order to give us His divinity. This is the great gift. … In this we find the model of our giving because our relationships, especially those which are most important, are guided by generosity and love.”

The fact of the Incarnation, of God who makes himself man like us, shows us “the unprecedented reality of divine love. God’s action, in fact, is not limited to words. Rather, we can say that He is not satisfied with speaking but immerses himself in our history and takes upon himself the worry and the weight of human life. … God’s way of acting is a strong stimulus for us to ask ourselves about the reality of our faith, which should not be limited to the arena of feeling, of the emotions, but must enter into the concrete reality of our existence, must touch, that is, our everyday life and orient it in a practical way. … Faith has a fundamental aspect that affects not only our mind and our heart but all of our life.”

Citing the Church Fathers again, the Pope observed that on numerous occasions Jesus was compared with Adam, even to the point of calling Him the “second Adam”, or the definitive Adam, the perfect image of God. With the Incarnation of the Son of God a new creation occurs, which gives a complete answer to the question ‘who is man?’ … Only in Jesus is God’s plan for human being fully revealed: He is the definitive man according to God.”

“It is important, therefore, that we rediscover our wonder at this mystery, that we let ourselves be enveloped by the grandeur of this event: God walked our paths as man. He entered into human history to give us His very life. And he did this not with the splendour of a sovereign, subjugating the world with his power, but with the humility of a child.”

“In that child, the Son of God whom we contemplate at Christmastime,” Benedict XVI concluded, “we can recognize the true face of the human being, and only in opening ourselves to the action of His grace and seeking every day to follow Him do we carry out God’s plan for us.”

VIS # 130109

Ilia Delio Introduces Bonaventure’s Thought

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/07/10 at 6:47 AM

 

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Ilia Delio, O.S.F., writes about St. Bonaventure in the Introduction to her book: SIMPLY BONAVENTURE:

Bonaventure’s theological system is a profound and unique synthesis…He is concerned with three questions: Where have we come from? What are we doing here? Where are we going?

Bonaventure began with the conviction of faith in God who has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ.  Always searching for the ultimate ground of truth, he came to perceive the fullness of truth in Jesus Christ.Bonaventure had a passionate love of God revealed in Christ crucified in whom he saw the mystery of God and creation united.

If we want to know the ground of our being, the purpose of our existence and the goal to which we are directed, we must come to know Christ who is the center of our lives and our universe. The pattern of Bonaventure’s though is “circular” -we come from God, we exist in relation to God and we are to return to God. The basis of this “circle’ is the Trinity….Everything flows from the Father and ultimately returns to the Father God is the dynamic fountain-fullness of self-communicative love….He is the source of our lives and the goal to which we are directed.

The Trinity provides a “blue-print” for creation  since the relationship between the Father and the Son/Word, united in the Spirit is the ground of all other relationships. The question of why we exist finds meaning on three different levels: in the mirror of creation, in the creation of the person as the image of God in the Incarnation. Humanity has not changed in the last 800 years since Bonaventure.  The essential questions he raised in the thirteenth century are still relevant.

In our age where meaning and purpose of human existence is becoming increasingly vague and the quest for human identity shows the marks of desperation, Bonaventure offers a profound system of thought….He redefines the boundaries of what it means to be human and Christian.  It is a search and a journey that begins with desire and prayer, and spiral through the complexities of our lives, as we seek to find God at the center of our existence….He lead us that to recognize God within us is to let go of what we cling to that is not God, and to embrace that which is God.

We cannot understand the mystery of God within us and in our world; we can only yield to this mystery in love…..for to yield in love is to return to the point from which we gan.  And in this return we discover the truth of who we are created to be and the truth of the world in all its beauty.

http://www.newcitypress.com/simply-bonaventure.html