Theology of the body: Part five of a nine part series
…valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully acc e p t t h e s p e c i fic gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. (Pope Francis, “Laudato Si’,” pa. 155) Man has destroyed what belongs to God, namely, the covenant of love which existed between him and God. Fallen man, therefore, is unable, of himself, to eradicate the dilemma of his essence and existence because the ties of grace belong to God alone. Mouroux realizes, therefore, that the only solution to the problem of man, which is, by argument of association, the problem of corporeal-ity, is Christ.
In Christ, God wills to save sinful humanity. The Father’s absolute Word of love, mercy and reconciliation is revealed to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ. In the divine mission of the Son, inaugurated by the incarnation, the God who was only known as wholly transcendent and immanent now becomes personally immanent in a way never known before. In one sense, through the Person of the Word becoming man, God descends to matter. In another sense, through
the Word taking on a human body, matter is mediated to God. In the incarnation, Christ, because he is the God-Man, possessing a human nature and a divine nature, bridges the tension between man and God, between time and eternity, between matter and spirit. Through Christ, matter is mediated to God; therefore, in Christ, man’s matter is intelligible to God, in a way not previously known to the Master of Spirits, in personal intimacy. On the cross, Christ, the fulfil l ment of the suffering Servant prophesied through Isaiah, freely takes on the sins of mankind and vicariously offers his suffering and death in expiation for man’s sinfulness. By his sacrific e o f t h e c r o s s , Christ freely offers himself in obedience and love to the salvific will of the Father. This sacrifice condemns sin in the flesh, all which is carnal, egocentric and opposed to the will of God. By his cross, Christ overcomes the reign of sin and death, which separated man from God, the temporal from the eternal, the natural from the supernatural.
Since Christ is not just man but the Godman, the incarnate Son is not an intermediary between man and God; rather, he is the absolute mediator. He is not an intermediary insofar as the humanity of Christ, which is the once-for-all, efficacious instrument of the Redemption, does not subsist in itself; rather, it exists in and for the person of the Word. Thus, to have contact with the humanity of Christ, is to have contact with this divine person, which is to say, direct and personal access to God. Because Christ is the absolute mediator between man and God, the sacrifice of Calvary is the oblation in which God’s love for man encounters man’s love for God. As the Son of God, Christ expresses the love of
the Father for mankind. As the son of man, Christ communicates the love of man for God.
In the Resurrection, the Father vindicates his Son’s death. Triumphant over his death, Christ arises as the author of life, the living spirit, the savior and redeemer of the world. By drawing his Son’s humanity to new life, the Father expresses his satisfaction with the atonement rendered by Christ on the Cross. In Christ, therefore, man is reconciled to God, in other words, restored to communion with God in a covenant which is inscribed not in stone but in the heart.
In the mystery of the redemptive act (the Incarnation, Cross and Resurrection), Christ is the second Adam who restores by obedience what sin de-created out of Adam’s disobedience, namely, the covenant of “agape” which linked man and God in friendship. Through the Cross and Resurrection, Jesus Christ, in whom the fullness of “agape” dwells, is revealed as the Redemption, and that love is both the principle and meaning of the Redemption.
Father Glenn Comandini is Advisor to The Catholic Spirit
Through Christ, matter is mediated to God; therefore, in Christ, man’s matter is intelligible to God, in a way not previously known to the Master of Spirits, in personal intimacy.