The Baltimore Catechism
on the Incarnation of Christ
and the Hypostatic Union



The Annunciation and Incarnation of Jesus Christ - by Tintoretto - from Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

 

The Incarnation of Jesus Christ within the Womb of Mary implies Three (3) facts:

The Divine Person of Jesus Christ;

The Human Nature of Jesus Christ;

The Hypostatic Union of the Human with the Divine Nature in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ.

Hypostatic Union - A Theological Term used with reference to the Incarnation, within the Womb of Mary, to express the Divinely Revealed Truth that in Jesus Christ, One (1) Divine Person subsists in Two (2) Natures, the Divine and the Human. The Natures are not joined in a Moral or Accidental Union; nor mixed, fused or co-mingled; but they are Substantially United for Eternity.

The Baltimore Catechism number 4, was first released in 1891. It was written to help Catechists have more detailed background on the lessons they are teaching and was written for the Catholic minority in America.

 

The Incarnation - from the Baltimore Catechism No. 4

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77. Did God Abandon Man after Adam Fell into Sin?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) God did not Abandon Man after Adam Fell into Sin, but promised to send into the World a Savior to free Man from His Sins and to reopen to Him the Gates of Heaven.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) God could have Abandoned Man and allowed the Human Race to Suffer the Just Penalty of never seeing Him face-to-face in Heaven. In His Infinite Love and Mercy, God took Pity on Adam and his descendants, and gave them the chance of Salvation through the promised Redeemer.

78. Who is the Savior of all Men?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Savior of all Men is Jesus Christ.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Not all Men are Saved, but all who attain Salvation do so through the Merits of Christ.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) That Jesus Christ is the promised Savior, can be proved from the Prophecies of the Old Testament which are fulfilled in Him; from His own testimony, which is worthy-of-belief; and from the Miracles He worked in proof of His Divine Mission, especially His Resurrection.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The name "Jesus" means Savior.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) "Christ", a Greek word meaning "Anointed", signifies Jesus' Three-fold Office of King, Priest, and Prophet, because, of old, Kings, Priests, and Prophets were Anointed.

79. What is the Chief Teaching of the Catholic Church about Jesus Christ?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Chief Teaching of the Catholic Church about Jesus Christ is that He is God made Man.

80. Why is Jesus Christ God?

Origin of the Son

God the Father possesses Two (2) Internal Divine Activities or Processions

1. Knowing Act of Intellect

arrow002.gif (3348 bytes) Generates
(not made, not created)

The Son of God,
Second Person of the Holy Trinity

2. Willing Act of Will

***

***

"Generation" is the production of one living-being from another, both having the Same Nature.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus Christ is God because He is the only Son of God, having the same Divine Nature as His Father.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who from Eternity Proceeds by True Spiritual Generation from the Father.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) We believe Jesus Christ is God because God Himself revealed this Truth:

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) First, through the Prophets of the Old Testament who foretold that the promised Redeemer would be God;

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Second, through Christ Himself, Who claimed to be God and confirmed His own testimony by the Holiness of His Life, by the fulfillment of His Prophecies, and by the Miracles He worked in His Own Name and by His Own Power, especially His Resurrection.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) A Miracle is something that is not according to the usual-course of Created Nature, surpasses the power of all creatures, and consequently can be produced only by the Power of God.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The Senses must be able to observe a Miracle if It is to have the Value of a Proof for us.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Only God can be the Principal Cause of a Miracle because a Miracle surpasses the power of all creatures. God sometimes uses Creatures as instruments in performing Miracles.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Since God, Who is All-Truthful, is the Principal Cause of a Miracle, it cannot be worked in support of a Lie.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The following are some of Christ's Miracles:

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) He restored Sight to the Blind,

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) cured Lepers in an instant,

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) walked on the waters of the sea,

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) multiplied the loaves and fishes,

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) raised the Dead to Life, and finally,

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) rose from the Dead Himself by His own Divine Power.

81. Why is Jesus Christ Man?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus Christ is Man because He is the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary and has a Body and Soul like ours.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Although Christ's Conception and Birth were Miraculous, He, like other Men, came into the World as an Infant, having Mary for His Mother. Since His origin from the Blessed Virgin is True Generation, Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ, Who is God, and she is therefore truly the Mother of God.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Christ, like other Men, ate, drank, became tired, slept, and walked through Judea, Galilee, and Samaria.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Christ, as Man, was the Most Perfect of all Men. He was endowed with Human Intelligence and Free Will, but He was free from all Ignorance and Error, from all Sin and Imperfection.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The Human Soul of Christ could Suffer as well as His Body. For example, Christ was Sorrowful unto Death. In the Garden of Gethsemane He said to His Disciples: "My soul is sad, even unto death. Wait here and watch with Me" (Matthew 26:38).

82. Is Jesus Christ more than One (1) Person?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) No, Jesus Christ is only One (1) Person; and that Person is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) It is Heresy to say that there are Two (2) Persons in Christ.

83. How many Natures has Jesus Christ?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus Christ has Two (2) Natures: the Nature of God and the Nature of Man.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) There is a difference between Person and Nature. Human Nature is composed of Body and Soul; in a Human Person is found the Added Perfection which makes each one an Individual, distinct from all others. A Human Person has only One (1) Human Nature. Christ is a Divine Person having the Nature of God and the Nature of Man.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Christ proved He had both the Nature of God and the Nature of Man by doing some things that only God could do, and other things that Men do.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) It is Heresy to deny the Divine Nature of Jesus Christ by accepting Him as merely a Perfect Man; it is also Heresy to deny His Human Nature.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The following is the defined teaching of the Church: "I also believe in the Son of God, the Word, begotten of the Father in eternity, before all time . . . born in time of the Holy Ghost from Mary, ever virgin; born with a rational soul; having two nativities, one eternal of the Father, the other in time, of His Mother". (Leo IX, April, 1053.)

84. Was the Son of God always Man?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Son of God was not always Man, but became Man at the time of the Incarnation.

85. What is meant by the Incarnation?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) By the Incarnation is meant that the Son of God, retaining His Divine Nature, took to Himself a Human Nature, that is, a Body and Soul like ours.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The Union of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity with Human Nature is called the Hypostatic Union.

86. How was the Son of God made Man?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes)The Son of God was conceived and made Man by the Power of the Holy Ghost in the Womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The Conception of the Son of God in the Womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary is attributed to the Power of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity because the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Love of the Father and the Son, and the Incarnation is a work of God's Great Love for Mankind.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) All Three (3) Persons of the Holy Trinity performed the act of Divine Power whereby the Incarnation took place. But Catholic Faith teaches that only the Second Person took to Himself a Human Nature.

87. When was the Son of God conceived and made Man?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Son of God was conceived and made Man on Annunciation Day, the day on which the Angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) We commemorate this event when we say the Angelus.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The Miraculous Privileges accorded the Blessed Virgin Mary by Almighty God testify to her position as the Most Exalted of God's Creatures.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Mary, the Mother of God, remained a Virgin not only in the conception of Christ but also in His Birth and during the rest of her life.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Because of her consent to accept the Office of Mother of the Redeemer, and also because of her Merits in intimately sharing the Sufferings of her Divine Son for the Salvation of Mankind, the Blessed Virgin is given the Title of Co-Redemptrix of the Human Race.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) After her Death, the Body of the Blessed Virgin, reunited with her Soul, was Miraculously taken up into Heaven. The Church observes this event in the Feast of the Assumption.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Special Veneration, called Hyperdulia, is given to the Blessed Virgin, because of her Excellence which far surpasses that of all the Saints and Angels.

88. Is Saint Joseph the father of Jesus Christ?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus Christ had no Human father, but Saint Joseph was the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Guardian, or Foster Father, of Christ.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) God the Father is the only True Father of Jesus Christ.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Christ was the only Child of Mary. The brothers and sisters of Christ mentioned in the Bible were cousins.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Saint Joseph's High Dignity, Grace, Holiness, and Glory have their source in the fact that he was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Foster Father of the Son of God. Saint Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church.

 

Mystici Corporis Christi -
Encyclical of Pope Pius XII
on the Mystical Body of Christ

piusxii.jpg (2477 bytes) 75. Now the only-begotten Son of God embraced us in His Infinite Knowledge and undying Love even before the world began. And that He might give a visible and exceedingly beautiful expression to this Love, He assumed our Nature in Hypostatic Union: hence - as Maximus of Turin with a certain unaffected simplicity remarks - "in Christ our own flesh loves us". But the Knowledge and Love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the Human Intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the Womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His Redeeming Love. O marvelous condescension of Divine Love for us! O inestimable dispensation of boundless Charity! In the Crib, on the Cross, in the Unending Glory of the Father, Christ has all the Members of the Church present before Him and united to Him in a much clearer and more Loving manner than that of a mother who clasps her child to her breast, or than that with which a man knows and loves himself.

 

 

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