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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Jesus Christ - A Divine Friend
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Lately I have had the unfortunate reality of encountering several individuals that have been confused regarding the nature of our Divine Lord.  Recall, that our Blessed Lord, the Savior of the world, has said, "Be perfect just as your Heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48) and only by imitating our Lord can we attain the perfection required to enter Heaven.  For those of you who desire greater intimacy with our Lord by imitating Him, I can not highly recommend enough the work of Thomas A Kempis in The Imitation of Christ.

It has come up in conversation as of late with individuals that our Blessed Lord was both a divine and a human person.  This is not correct.  It is true that it is a dogma of our Faith that our Lord has both a perfectly divine and a perfectly human nature, the only one in the history of the world to have both.  However, our Lord is not a human person, even if He has a human nature.  Rather, our Lord is a Divine person.  Understanding this is necessary to knowing our Lord and imitating Him.  As the Compendium states, "The Church calls the mystery of the wonderful union of the divine and human natures in the one divine Person of the Word the 'Incarnation'" (Paragraph 86).

There has also arisen in converation lately and even in some comments on A Catholic Life, that our Lord is our "brother."  While it is true that our Blessed Lord has made us sharers of the glory to come, He never refers to the apostles in the Gospels as His brother.  Instead, He refers to Himself as their friend (cf Matthew 26:50), even as He is being betrayed and delivered up to the cruelty of death.

Try to put these realities together - the only Divine Person in the history of the world is our friend.  This reality should be the source of great consolation and peace.  However, this friendship, like the protestants would claim, is not guaranteed. We are not guaranteed to be "saved."  Our Lord says, "If you love me, keep my commandments " (John 14:15).  If we are His friends, then we will love Him.  How can someone remain another's friend without loving them?  It is not possible.  And yet, our Lord says that if we love Him, our deeds shall manifest our love.  How can we truly say that we are friends of our Lord and worthy of divine filiation and redemption if we do not keep His Commandments (and therefore do not love Him)?

In the Ascension, we hear in the Preface the meaning of our Lord's Ascension, which further illumines this reality of His friendship:

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Who, after His Resurrection, appeared openly to all His disciples, and, while they looked on, was taken up into Heaven, that He might grant unto us to be sharers in His own divinity.
Our Lord ascended into Heaven so that we might become sharers of His own divinity. The only Divine Person in the world that has extended to us friendship, has made it possible that we mere mortals can share in the divinity of the One True God. What marvel is this!  O How Great is our Redeemer.  Praised be to Him!

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