Thoughts on the Hypostatic Union during the
Triduum of Christ's Death 

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The Triduum is the Three-Day celebration of the Death and Resurrection of Christ - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/ Easter Sunday.

 

Thoughts on the Hypostatic Union during the
Triduum of Christ's Death

excerpted from The Catholic Encyclopedia

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What, it may be asked, happened to the Hypostatic Union during the Triduum of Christ's Death? The Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, which are Infallible Documents of Faith, tell us that after His Death Christ descended into Hell (Limbo) and that He was Buried. These statements presuppose that the Word remained united both to the Soul which descended into the Limbo of the Just and to the Body which was Buried in the Sepulcher. Besides, Death could take place without destroying the Hypostatic Union, for Death did not consist in a separation of the Humanity from the Divinity but in a separation of the Soul from the Body. Hence the Soul and the Body could be separated from each other without being disjoined from the Word.

At this point several interesting questions immediately arise. How could Christ's Body in the Sepulcher be united to the Word, the Source and Fountain of all Life, and yet be Dead and Lifeless? The solution to this Problem lies in a proper understanding of the manner in which God is the Author of Life.

The Word, it is true, is the Source of all Life in the Universe, especially of that of the Human Soul. As far as the Human Body is concerned, the Divine Disposition by Creation is such that the Body lives only when united to the Soul. Hence although the Word is the Source of all Life, It does not Vivify the Body except through the Soul. Since Christ's Body in the Tomb was separated from the Soul - although united to the Word - It was not a living Body.

During the Sacred Passion, our Lord shed His Blood with Great Profusion and Generous Prodigality. The various stages of the Passion and especially of the Way of the Cross constituted a veritable Procession of the Precious Blood. The question whether Every Single Drop of Christ's Blood, shed during the Passion remained Hypostatically united to the Person of the Word during the Triduum, was debated during the Middle Ages with great Vehemence and Vigor between members of the Franciscan and Dominican Orders. The prevailing opinion among Theologians today is to the effect that during the Triduum of Christ's Death, the Person of Christ remained Hypostatically united at least with that portion of His Precious Blood which He Reassumed at the Resurrection.

euch-lanciano15.jpg (14924 bytes) Bruges, Beyreuth, Jerusalem and several other places maintain or at-one-time claimed to possess True Relics of Christ's Precious Blood. If these Relics are true, is the Blood of Christ which They contain still united to the Person of Christ? Is It consequently deserving of Divine Worship? This Problem has likewise been the subject of extensive and prolonged discussion. At present the generally accepted Doctrine is the following: If these Relics are the Blood shed by Our Lord during His Passion, these Particles of Christ's Blood were not reassumed at the Resurrection but permanently separated from Christ's Person; They are not to be Worshiped (Latria) but only Venerated (Dulia) like Particles of the Holy Cross.

The Blood which is said to have flown Miraculously from Consecrated Hosts or Images of Christ is not the Blood of Christ at all. Since the Resurrection, Christ is in a Glorified State and "dieth now no more". Hence He cannot Bleed in a Consecrated Host where He is present in the same Glorified State.

If a fluid, the chemical ingredients of which are the same as those of Human Blood, should appear on the Consecrated Host, the Phenomenon would be a Miracle - a "Didactic" (meant to Instruct) Miracle teaching us the Truth of the Real Presence.

Since the Holy Eucharist was established on the Night of Holy Thursday (during the Last Supper), and since the regular Celebration of Mass did not begin until some time after the Resurrection, Theologians speculate what would-have-been the state of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist if the Apostles had Consecrated on:

1) Good Friday Morning,

2) Holy Saturday Morning,

3) Easter Morning?

 

Holy Eucharist Presence - Good Friday Morning

Body

Blood

Soul

Divinity

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

If the Apostles had Consecrated on Good Friday Morning, Christ Who at that time was in Himself Passible (able to Suffer) would have been in the Holy Eucharist in an Impassible manner. "It is clear," says Saint Thomas, "that the very Body of Christ which was perceived in Its Own Nature by the Disciples, was also received in the Sacramental Species. The Body which was perceived in Its Own Nature was not Impassible, but rather prepared for the Passion. But that which in itself was Passible was in an Impassible manner in the Sacrament, just as that which in itself was visible existed invisible".

 

Holy Eucharist Presence - Holy Saturday Morning

Body

Blood

Soul

Divinity

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Let us suppose now that the Apostles had celebrated the Lord's Supper on Holy Saturday Morning. At this time there existed a Real separation between the Constitutive Elements of Christ. The Sacred Host would have contained (in an Impassible manner) the Bloodless Inanimate, Body of Christ as It lay in the Tomb. The Chalice would have held only the Blood separated from His Body during the Passion and absorbed by the Earth. Both the Body and the Blood would have remained Hypostatically United to the Divine Person. Christ's Soul, sojourning in Limbo, would have remained entirely excluded from the Eucharistic Presence.

 

Holy Eucharist Presence - Easter Morning

Body

Blood

Soul

Divinity

Yes - Glorified

Yes - Glorified

Yes

Yes

If the Apostles had Consecrated on Easter Morning after Christ's Resurrection, Christ would have been in the Holy Eucharist in the same state as He is Now - namely, in a "Glorified State". Christ Who "dieth now no more" has an Animate Body through whose Veins courses His Life's Blood under the Vivifying influence of the Soul. Christ is present in each species Wholly and Entirely - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

 

Holy Week Triduum

Good Friday

Holy Saturday

Easter Sunday

jesus.jpg (6602 bytes) littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus Christ consisted of Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. At Death His Body and Soul were separated, each individually remaining united with His Divinity. allori_body_of_christ.jpg (70020 bytes) littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) In the Tomb were Jesus' Body and His Divinity. resurrection_tiziano.jpg (28581 bytes) littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) At His Resurrection, Jesus' Glorified Body was united with His Soul and Divinity for Eternity.
Limbo3.jpg (65263 bytes) littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus' descent to Limbo included His Soul and His Divinity.

 

The Hypostatic Union will continue after the Resurrection for all Eternity. The Word is never separated either from the Body or from the Soul which He has assumed. Thus the Hypostatic Union is Immovable, Indissoluble, for all Eternity. The Perpetual Inseparability of Our Lord's Two (2) Natures is implied in Christ's Eternal Priesthood. The Eternal Existence of Christ is taught in the following passage in Hebrews: "Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today, and the same forever" (Hebrews 13:8). That the Apostle in this passage means the God-Man is evidenced by his teaching in regard to Christ's Eternal Priesthood: "But this (Christ), for that He continueth forever, hath an Everlasting Priesthood" (Hebrews 7:24). Since the exercise of Christ's Priesthood is a Theandric (Human/Divine) act, it necessarily presupposes the Hypostatic Union; and since Christ's Priesthood is to endure Forever, the Hypostatic Union Itself will never cease. The Exalted Celestial Priesthood of our Pontiff is not a mere empty title, but a complement of the Sacrifice of the Cross. Christ appears before His Father as the Victim of Calvary and adorned with the Qualities of Victim. He constantly presents to His Father the Merits of His Blood shed upon Calvary - everlastingly He is asserting the Sacrifice of the Cross in behalf of those whom He Redeemed. As Saint Ambrose remarks: "He refused to relinquish the wounds which He had received for us, but preferred to take them with Him to Heaven, in order to exhibit them to His Heavenly Father as the Purchase Price of our Liberty". In this way Christ is "always living to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25).

 

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