Thursday, March 25, 2010

On the Incarnation and the Sacrifice

As we celebrate today the Feast of the Annunciation, my mind is raised to the relationship of the Incarnation to Christ's priesthood. The priesthood of Christ rightfully belongs to His human nature. In as much as the work of the priest is to offer God a sacrifice, Christ cannot offer His divinity in sacrifice because the divine nature does not die and cannot be annihilated. Remember that a sacrifice is consummated by the death and destruction of the sacrificial victim. If His divinity cannot suffer nor die, how could it be offered in sacrifice? It is precisely His human nature that he offers to the Father because His humanity can die. It is in the offering of Himself upon the Cross that Christ our Lord exercised His priestly office.

I wish to share the insights of Blessed Columba Marmion on this matter:

"Although itself without spot, the human nature of Jesus belonged to the race of sinners: in similitudinem carnis peccati (Rom. viii, 3), and in accepting the task of bearing the sins of the world, the Savior accepted the task of bearing the sins of the world, the Savior accepted at the same time the conditions of His immolation. This is why Jesus said: "O Father, the sacrifices of the Mosaic law were in themselves unworthy of you.": Hostiam et oblationem noluisti: holocautomata pro peccato non tibi placuerunt. "Here I am."Ecce venio: accept me as a victim. You have given me a body in which I can sacrifice Myself; grind it, break it, overwhelm it with sufferings, crucify it, I accept it all: "I come to do Your will."

Note these words: 'You have formed Me a body.' Christ wishes us to understand that His flesh is not glorious and impassible as it was after His resurrection, not even transfigured as it was on Mount Thabor, but that He accepts from the Father a body subject to fatigue, to suffering, to death, capable like ours of enduring every kind of maltreatment, every kind of suffering: "O Father, I accept this body as You have chosen it for Me."

Christ-the Ideal of the Priest: Spiritual Conferences of the Rt. Rev. D. Columnba Marmion, 23.

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