24 June, 2013

Response to Leda who claims that God asking us to believe truly in Him is irrational

(Leda) Thank you for your exhaustive reply on the subject of the Trinity. I will read it again to get a better grasp of this complicated issue, but I have a feeling already that It may not be acceptable to many people.

(Cristoiglesia)  The teaching in this Creed (The Creed of Athanasius) is a compilation of at least three Ecumenical Councils and spells out the orthodoxy of Christianity in regards to the essential belief in the nature of God for Christians. While one may not, for many reasons, be able to grasp its profound teachings, it is a substantial effort to condense several centuries of Christian thought into the reality of true Christian belief about God and the person of Jesus in particular as the second person in the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who are the only uncreated of all eternity.

(Leda) From a merely historic point of view, it is difficult to believe that an all powerful God should use a Jewish adolescent to 'create', in very human terms, a being identical to all others.

(Cristoiglesia) Perhaps you could elaborate on what you mean by this statement in more detail but I will respond to what you have already said….I cannot give a true response as to why God chose this way to atone for the sins of man except to say that a perfect sacrifice is needed as the Lamb of God and that perfection necessitated a perfection that only God in the flesh could provide. Keep in mind this is not the first time that God had created perfect humans as Adam and Eve were the first to be created and were without any sin It is through their sin that sin entered into the human race. She was called “woman” and this is the same name that Jesus called His mother referring to her sinless state as she was previously prepared at her conception for her role in our salvation to be the God bearer. Her womb was, as a result, consecrated to God for all times and she became the ark of the New Covenant which was Jesus Christ and God incarnate. Her perfection in Christ bore His perfection by God’s will. Truly Jesus was indeed “very human” as well as being very much God incarnate. We call Him Immanuel or God with us. Historically I do not see the difficulty that anyone would have with the incarnation of the God-man who was fully God as well as fully man.

(Leda) This, in a strictly traditional Jewish society with very strict moral rules for little girls in particular, though usually given in marriage at age 12 or thereabout. The child and her family would be ostracized by the rest of society. An arranged marriage to Joseph seems to have been arranged, but even this implies that Mary could not remain a virgin.

(Cristoiglesia) I am at a loss to understand why you say that the blessed mother could not remain a virgin. Such arrangements were quite common and not unusual at all for consecrated virgins to be betrothed to a much older caretaker as a protector for the virgin. This was the arrangement with Joseph who was probably 70 years of age when the marriage occurred.

We see from Scriptures that it is likely that the blessed mother had made a vow of virginity even before the angel of the Lord visited her which is evidenced by her answer to the angel saying, “how can this be done because I know not man?” St Augustine and subsequent fathers of the Church and theologians have reasoned from this response that she indeed had made a vow of virginity and subsequently it would be unreasonable for one so faithful and obedient to God to have at any time abdicated her vow.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae there are three reasons why she was forever virgin:

First, it would follow that since Jesus was the only begotten Son of the Father that He should also be the only begotten Son of His mother.

Secondly, the virginal womb of the blessed mother is the shrine of the Holy Spirit where Christ was formed and subsequently nurtured.

Thirdly, such a premise would be derogatory to the dignity and holiness of God’s mother. It would suggest that she was ungrateful and unsatisfied to God for the gift of such a Son.

It is further fitting and logical that the blessed mother of God is the tabernacle of the Lord and her womb is the ark of the New Covenant. Just like the ark carried by the Israelites that contained the law of God, Aaron’s rod and manna from God it should be understood that no man could ever touch what God had consecrated to himself and live. So, it would follow that if St. Joseph, as some have claimed through eisegesis of Scripture, had consummated his marriage to the blessed mother of God and lived then it would put into question even the possibility that Jesus was the messiah prophesied which would mean that the world still awaits the messiah or Savior of the world.

One can find in the writings of Origen and St. Ambrose further explanation of the impossibility that the blessed mother of God was not the perpetual virgin as the Church has always claimed her to be for 2000 years.

(Leda) Why should this powerful God choose this near barbarous way to 'beget' his Son?

(Cristoiglesia) Perhaps before I answer you out of speculation, why do you believe that such a divine plan was “barbarous”?

(Leda) These are just a few points that people worry about, and to ask them to believe in something so irrational, or be condemned, as stated, 'he shall perish everlastingly', is what tempt many Catholics away from the church.

(Cristoiglesia) To a Christian true belief in God is neither irrational nor condemning.  As Christians we know that God requires our true belief in Him as fully God and fully man and this makes perfect since in view of the incarnation. What is condemning is a false belief in Christ and a denial that He is not God. Surely to deny Him is to spend eternity separated from His love. This is not what God chooses but each individual that makes the free choice to follow Him or deny Him. God sends no one to eternal condemnation as each person chooses to believe or reject the call of the Holy Spirit to true faith. It is said that hell is locked from the inside.

(Leda) I know Father that you will have a full answer covering these points, and some people will just shut off (what? their mind?) and accept what we shall call, this 'contract' in exchange for 'salvation'.

(Cristoiglesia) All Jesus asks is that we believe in Him. Surely many will reject this simple and humble request of our Lord and as a result reject His salvific grace that He offers to all who believe in Him. You seem to think that the ”contract” that He died for on the cross is unreasonable but regardless this is the obedience He requires to have eternal life.

(Leda)I am sorry Father if my reply disappoints you, but I hope you will understand.
Yours sincerely.
(Cristoiglesia) Do not worry about my disappointment of your apparent rejection of God’s simple request but about the result of your rejection. May our Lord have mercy on you. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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