The Hypostatic Union of Christ

[The Union of His Two Natures, United during the Incarnation, in the Womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by the Power of the Holy Spirit]


Incarnation of Jesus - by PIERO DI COSIMO - from Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence . . . . . . . . . The theme of the Incarnation of Jesus in the Womb of Mary does not have an Established Pictorial Tradition, as does the Annunciation which immediately preceded it. Piero di Cosimo embraces the challenge of depicting this subject, placing the Virgin on the Central Axis with the Dove above and the Fallen Book on the ground below. Scenes in miniature from the early life of Christ are hidden in the rugged hilltops on either side of the picture, including the Annunciation and Nativity on the left and the Flight into Egypt on the right. (Click image to enlarge)

Throughout the History of the Church, the following Feast Days have been observed on 25 March, Nine (9) months prior to Christmas:
1. Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
2. Feast of the Incarnation of Christ
3. Feast of the Beginning of the Redemption
4. Feast of the Conception of Christ, and
5. Feast of the Announcing of the Christ.

 

The Incarnation of Jesus 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.

 

Index to Pages
on
The Hypostatic Union of Christ

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One (1) Divine Person, Two (2) Natures

The Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. brought to the Climax the long debates about the make-up of Jesus: He is One (1) Person, a Divine Person, having Two (2) Natures, Divine and Human, in such a way that these Two (2) Natures remain Distinct after the Union in the One (1) Person. We call this Union "Hypostatic Union" from the Greek "Hypostasis" which means Person - Two (2) Natures joined in One (1) Person. It is to be remembered that, when the Word took Flesh in Mary's Womb (Incarnation), there was no Change in the Word (God is Unchangeable); all the Change was in the Flesh. His Human Nature is the same as ours, for He had a Human Body and a Human Soul. He was like us in all things except that He was without Sin, even though He was Tempted as we are (Hebrews 4:15). However, this does not mean that He had within Him Disorderly Passions. The Second Council of Constantinople in 553 A.D. Defined this Truth. His Divine Nature is the same as that of the Father. The Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. defined that He is "One in Substance [Homoousios] with the Father".

The Divine Person/Personality of Christ bridges the Infinite Gap between His Human and Divine Natures

Divine
Person/
Personality

Divine Nature of Christ

Brick Wall between Natures

Human Nature of Christ

The Profound Mystery of One (1) Person in Christ, with Two (2) Natures

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- Christ's Divine Nature -

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Unchangeable
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Infinite
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Complete
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Perfect

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) His Divine Nature is the same as that of the Father and Holy Spirit.

No Body
"God is a Spirit" (John 4:24).

No Soul

Christ's Divine Intellect and Will
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) In common with the Father and Holy Spirit

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) A Virtual Brick Wall exists between Christ's Divine Nature and His Human Nature. The Two (2) are Distinct and Infinitely Distant.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Christ's Divine Nature and Human Nature are not United Directly, not Mixed, not Fused.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Instead, Christ's Two (2) Natures are Mysteriously United through the Divine Person/Personality of Christ.

- Person of Christ -

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) One (1) Divine Person.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Person signifies an individual subject, which is First Intellectual, Secondly Free, i. e.: master of his own acts, one whose acts are self-initiated. . . . . Saint Thomas Aquinas.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) His Person is Uncreated.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) One (1) Divine Personality. Personality is that which Unites the Two (2) Natures and makes them One (1) complete Whole Person. Unifies the Divine and Human Natures.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) One (1) sole Ego, possesses both Natures.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) This Union of Two (2) Natures is not an Essential Union, since the Two (2) are Distinct and Infinitely Distant.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The Word sustains the Human Nature of Christ.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) His Humanity, far from being Lowered by this Union with the Word, is rather thereby Elevated and Glorified.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Immortal and Eternal.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Pre-exists His Human Nature.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The Responsible Agent for all Actions.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The lowliness of the Inferior Nature was not consumed in the Glory of the Superior, nor did the assumption of the Inferior lessen the Glory of the Superior. . . Pope Leo the Great
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Wisdom is vested in Personality

- Christ's Human Nature -

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) His Human Nature is composed of Body and Soul; Created by the Power of the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) His entire Humanity was Mysteriously Assumed, taken over by the Second Person of the Holy Trinity; therefore not Independent.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) His Humanity, which is Created, cannot become Divine.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) It has no Human Personality.
Had not His Human Nature been Assumed by a Divine Person, that Nature would have its own Proper Personality. Hence we may say, speaking inexactly, that the Divine Person consumed the Human Personality, because the Divine Person, by being United to the Human Nature, prevented that Nature from having its Own Personality. . . Saint Thomas Aquinas
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) In Knowledge and Power, the Human Nature of Christ possesses all the Perfection possible to a Human Nature.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Jesus worked Miracles by His Divine Omnipotence but, (watch the preposition) but through His Human Nature as Man.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) His Humanity, seeing the Vision of God (Beatific Vision in the Womb of Mary), knew all.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Whatever was Physical in Christ as regards His Human Nature was completely subject to His Will because of the Power of His Divinity, to which All Nature is subject. Therefore Christ had it in His Power that so long as He Willed, His Soul would remain United to His Body, and that the instant He Willed, the Soul would depart from the Body . . . . Saint Thomas Aquinas

         - Christ's Human Free Will -
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Perfectly conformed to the Divine Will.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Could not do Evil, since to be able to do Evil is a Defect and Jesus is Perfect.

           - Christ's Human Body -
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Fully subject to suffering of Hunger, Pain, Thirst, Fatigue and Death. This was fully demonstrated during His Passion and Death on the Cross. Sickness and Deformity are excluded by most Theologians.

blood.gif (5128 bytes)
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Death, by its very nature, is a Breaking of the Union between Body and Soul. Christ Willed the exact 'Instant' of His Death via His Divinity.

             - Christ's Human Soul -
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Rational, Human Intellect; not Infinite.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Capable of Acquiring Knowledge.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Perfectly Sanctified by Grace. Impossible that any Stain of Sin should Soil the Soul of Christ.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Possesses the Perfection of the Divine Knowledge and Enriched with the Vision of God (Beatific Vision), but still Finite and not Infinite.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Subject to Suffering. Christ's Soul suffered at the Death of His Friend Lazarus. His Soul also suffered at the sight of the Lame, Blind, Sick, Hungry and Demonic-Possessions which He cured.

If Jesus was One (1) Unified Person, and not Two (2) Persons in One (1) Body (One (1) Divine and One (1) Human), then He must always be spoken of as the God-man. We cannot speak of His Humanity or His Deity in Isolation, but must always speak of them together in Unity (1). Whatever can be said of One(1) of His Natures can be said of His Whole Person. In Theology this is called the Communicatio Idiomatum, i.e. a 'Communication of Attributes'.

 

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Who What is God?

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Saint Thomas on Hypostatic Union

(from the Catechism of Saint Thomas Aquinas)

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Baltimore Catechism on Hypostatic Union

(from the Baltimore Catechism No. 4)

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Saint Pius X on Hypostatic Union

(from the Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X)

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Pope Saint Pius V on Hypostatic Union

(from the Catechism of Trent)

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Catholic Church on Hypostatic Union

(from the Catechism of the Catholic Church - Second Edition)

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Grace of Union

(by Andrew Nimmo, Centre for Thomistic Studies)

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Thoughts on the Hypostatic Union during the Triduum

(Excerpted from The Catholic Encyclopedia)

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Personhood of Christ

(by Father Walter Farrell and Father Martin Healy)

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Discourse on Christ’s Beatific Vision/Knowledge

(by Andrew Nimmo, Centre for Thomistic Studies)

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Virtues in Christ

(by Andrew Nimmo, Centre for Thomistic Studies)

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Do we Worship the Humanity of Christ?

(from the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Council of Ephesus, and
the Second Council of Constantinople)

 

 

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