The Grace of Union
In the Incarnation, the Man
Christ is United to
God in a unique way. God the Son, the Second
Person of the Trinity, has assumed to Himself a
Human Nature and thus become Man. The
Word was made Flesh. The Virgin
Mary was Overshadowed by the Most
High, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and brought forth a
Son Whom she called
Jesus. That Human Being, however, caused by the Creation
of a Human Soul in a Human Body, was not born
to exist apart from God's Own Existence. In Its
very being It is United to a
Divine Person, the Second Divine Person,
God the Son.
The Divine Being is communicated to the Human Nature
of Christ by means of a "Terminative",
not an "Informing", Union - if it were "Informing",
it would be received in a Subject and thus be limited (but God is Pure Act).
It would also mean that the Divine Reality was the Form
of Christ's Human Nature - which is a contradiction.
The Form of Christ's Human
Nature is His Human Soul. This Human Soul,
however, as is the case with everything in Christ's Nature, belongs to
God; It is owned by a Divine Person.
Whatever Christ does, God does.
Since the Person, not the Nature, is the
"be-er", the one who "bes" and acts,
the Primary "be" of
Christ must be Divine. A Person's nature exists only in as much as
the Person exists. It is the beneficiary of the Person's existence. Therefore, Christ
"bes" by the Divine Being;
He lives by the Divine Life. This does not mean, however, that
He does not have His own proper existence and
life as a Human Being. But it is not an Independent existence and life; it is
Assumed, as-it-were, into the Being and
Life of God.
Jesus Christ, the Man, is to be
Adored, not because He is a
Man, but because He
(the Person) is God. The
Second Person of the Trinity has a Human Nature, and everything is
to be attributed to the Person. The Person,
Jesus Christ, is both Human and
Who is Christ?
- - The answer is: God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity.
What is Christ?
- - The answer is: God and Man.
Did Jesus Christ always exist? As God,
Yes; as Man, No; for
His Human Nature came-to-be only at the time of the
Incarnation. When we refer to someone, we are referring to the Person, and
the Person we know as Jesus Christ is
Eternal, even though we only came to know Him
through His Human Nature
(which was created in time).
The Union of the Divine and Human Natures
in the Second Divine Person is called Hypostatic.
Hypostasis means that which exercises existence (or subsists) which, in the case of something
Spiritual, is called a Person. Hence, the
Humanity of Christ is
United with God by a Personal Union.
After the Trinity this is the Greatest Mystery
of Faith. How this is, or is even possible, is beyond our
Understanding. The Assumption by the Second Divine
Person of Human Nature marks no-change in the
Divinity (for It is changeless). The Relation
of the Human Nature of Christ to the
Divinity is Real on the side of this
Nature, but not on the side of the
As Father Garrigou-Lagrange says:
"By the Substantial Grace of Personal Union with the Word, the Humanity of Christ is Sanctified,
with a Sanctity that is Innate, Substantial and Uncreated. By the Grace of Union:
Jesus is united to God Personally and Substantially,
by that Grace He is Son of God, the well-beloved of the Father,
by that Grace He is constituted as the Substantial Principle of Acts, not merely Supernatural
but Theandrical, and
by that Grace He is Sinless and Impeccable".
Reality (Saint Louis: B. Herder, 1950), p. 220.]
Thus the fact of Union with God Sanctifies
Christ's Human Nature. The
Grace of this Union is Uncreated, for
It is nothing other than God Himself. The
Created Grace which Christ's Human Soul also
has, which in us is Sanctifying Grace, making us Adoptive Sons and Daughters of
God, is Overtaken, as-it-were, by this
Grace of Union, so that It is not
Sanctifying (for He is already
Sanctified), nor Constitutive in His
Human Nature of Adoptive Sonship, since
He is the Natural
Son of God.