A Human Heart Moved with Pity

It is believed by Christians that this work of redemption and revelation was accomplished through human nature assumed into union with the divine — that God did not, so to speak, act merely in virtue of his deity, but through humanity as well —that, first a nation, then a tribe, then a family, and then a person, were successively drawn from the world as a whole - Israel, Judah, the line of David, and, finally, Mary — and then, by a unique act of the power of the Holy Spirit, a created substance was produced so perfect and so pure as to be worthy, in a sense, of becoming the vehicle of the deity; — this is, in short, the entire summary of the Old Testament —   that this substance was then assumed into union with God, and used for his divine purposes — by which he lived and suffered and died as man, was the instrument of both revelation and redemption; that by a human voice he spoke, that human hands were raised to bless, that a human heart loved and agonized, and that these human hands, heart, and voice — broken, pierced, and silenced as they were — were the heart, hands, and voice of Very God.

Consider that claim carefully. Though the person was the person of God, the very nature by which he was accessible and energetic was the nature of man. It is by union with that humanity that Christians believe themselves redeemed. Thus in that last emphatic act of the life of his humiliation he took bread, and cried, not here is my essential self, but “This is my Body which is given for you,” since that Body was the instrument of redemption. And, if the Christian claim is to be believed, this act was but a continuation (though in another sense) of that first act known as the Incarnation. He who leaned over the bread at that “last sad supper with his own” had, in another but similar manner, leaned over Mary herself with similar words upon his lips.

                                                             MONSIGNOR ROBERT HUGH BENSON

                                                             Monsignor Benson (t 1914) was a British

                                                             convert to Catholicism who is best known

                                                             for his novels about the faith.



December 2007. Vol. 9 No. 10

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