Friday, March 29, 2013

The passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

St. Augustine of Hippo

On the Lord’s Passion
Sermon 218C, Date: about 412

The passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ constitutes a guarantee of glory and a lesson in patience.  What, after all, can the hearts of the faithful not promise themselves from God’s grace, seeing that it was not enough for the only Son of God, co-eternal with the Father, to be born for them as human being from a human being, without His also dying at the hands of the human beings He created?  It’s a great thing that the Lord promises us for the future; but it’s a much greater thing which we recall He has already done for us.  When Christ died for the ungodly, where were they, or what were they?  Who can doubt that He is going to endow His holy ones with His life, when He has already endowed them, while they were still ungodly, with His death?  Why should human frailty hesitate to believe that it is going to happen sometime or other that human beings will live with God?  Something much more incredible has happened, that God has died for the sake of human beings.
Who, after all, is Christ, but that Word which was in the beginning, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn 1:1)?  This Word of God became flesh, and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14).  You see, He would not have in Himself the wherewithal to die for us, unless He had taken mortal flesh from us.  That was how the immortal one was able to die, that was how He wished to bestow life on mortals; aiming later on to give us shares in Himself, having first of all Himself taken shares in us.  I mean, we had nothing of our very own by which we could really live, and He had nothing of His very own by which He could really die.  Accordingly, He struck a wonderful bargain with us, a mutual give and take: ours was what He died by; His was what we might live by.
All the same, He too gave even the flesh which He took from us in order to die in it, because He is its creator; while on the other hand He in no way received from us the life by which we are going to live in Him and with Him.  And thus, as regards our nature, by which we are human beings, He died from what is ours, not His, since in His own nature by which He is God, He is quite unable to die.  But insofar as it is His creation, which He made as God, then He did die from what is His; since He Himself also made the flesh in which He died.

“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another;
as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

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