How Our Lord defeated Death September 16, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
From Saint Alphonsus Liguori, on Christ’s defeat of Death by His own dying. I thought much of the below illuminating. Hopefully you will, too. From The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ:
St. John writes that our Redeemer, before He breathed His last, bowed His head. He bowed His head as a sign that He accepted death with full submission from the hands of His Father, and thus accomplished His humble obedience: “He humbled Himself, and was made obedient to death, even the death of the cross” (Phil ii:8).
………St. Athanasius says that death did not dare to approach to take away life from the Author of Life; wherefore it was needed that He Himself, by bowing His head (which alone He could then move), should call death to approach and slay Him. On St. Matthew’s words, Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the Ghost, St. Ambrose remarks that the Evangelist used the expression yielded up to show that Jesus did not die of necessity, or through the violence of the executioners, but because He voluntarily chose to die. He chose willingly to die, to save man form the eternal death to which He was condemned.
This was foretold by the prophet Osee in the words, I will deliver them from the hand of death, from death I will redeem them. O death, I will be thy death. O hell, I will be thy bite (Osee xiii:14). This is testified by the Holy Fathers St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Gregory; and St. Paul………applies the prophecy literally to Jesus Christ, who, with his death delivered us from death, that is, from hell.
How, then, was Jesus Christ the death of death? O death, I will be thy death! Because by His death our Savior conquered death, and destroyed the death which had resulted from sin. Therefore, the Apostle writes, Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is thy victory? Where, O death, is thy sting? The sting of death is sin (1 Cor xv:54). Jesus, the Divine Lamb, by His death destroyed sin, which was the cause of our death; and this was the victory of Jesus, since by dying He banished sin from the world, and consequently delivered it from eternal death, to which all the human race was subjected. [All of which is absolutely true, but must be properly understood. Christ did banish sin’s total dominance over man by His death, but we can let it back in by our own tendencies to evil. Thus sin and vice are still rampant today. Christ made eternal life possible for all IF – and this IF means all – they live in accord with His Will as revealed through His Church. Christ made salvation for all possible, but not assured. Over time, as men’s hearts have hardened and fewer and fewer live according to God’s will for us, sin has crept back into the world more and more, and fewer and fewer are saved]
To this corresponds that other text of the Apostle, That through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb ii:14). Jesus destroyed the devil, that is, the power of the devil, who, through sin, had the power of death; that is, who had the power to inflict temporal and eternal death on all the sons of Adam who were corrupted with sin. This was the victory of the Cross, on which Jesus, the Author of Life, dying, by His death acquired life for us. Whence the Church sings of the cross that by it “Life endured death, and by death brought forth life.” [Is this all making sense? To me, it’s beautiful, but also tragic, as we so poorly correspond to the infinitely valuable gift that has been made available to us, for the asking]
And all this was the work of the Divine Love, which brought this Priest to sacrifice to the Eternal Father the life of His only-begotten Son for the salvation of men; for which reason the Church also sings, “The Priest, who is love, sacrifices the limbs of His tender body.”
And therefore St. Francis de Sales cries out, “Let us look upon this Divine Savior stretched upon the Cross, as upon the altar of His love, where He dies for love of us. Ah, why do we not cast ourselves in spirit upon the same, that we may die upon the Cross with Him who has been willing to die for love of us?
Yes, O sweet Redeemer, I embrace Thy Cross; and holding it in my embrace, I would live and die ever lovingly kissing Thy feet, wounded and pierced for me.
I do want to make certain folks don’t get tripped up on the above, thinking that Liguori is arguing, protestant-like, that since Christ’s “once for all time” victory over sin, all we have to do is “name it and claim it” to be saved. I saw that wicked lie on a local tele-evangelist show recently (in fact, it was Pope Francis’ favorite, Kenneth Copeland, quoting Scripture out of context and chastising his audience to “have faith” by making donations and “claim” their health and wealth. What a shyster).
Liguori is speaking in a general sense, but individual men still are subject to both Original and actual sin. I think that’s the key distinction to keep in mind.