Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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The Question Box
by Father I.J. Mikulski
(From the Nov. 11, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. What part of Jesus knew and predicted his suffering and death, his human brain or his divine brain? If he knew that by his divine brain, how did he communicate that knowledge to his human brain? Intermittently or continually? Does that depend on when he realized he was Son of God, or on something we don’t know?
A. Theologians have struggled mightily with both sides, the total human nature and the total divine nature in the same person of Jesus Christ. They prefer to speak of the human intelligence and divine intelligence co-existing in the same person.
Your question fits extremely well in the agenda for the Council of Nicaea (325) and again 106 years later at the Council of Ephesus (431) because that was the primary issue that dominated those meetings. The melding of human nature and divine nature in the same person had never been known before, nor even the possibility discussed before, so the assembled bright philosophers and theologians were breaking new ground whatever way they ventured.
Who could believe that the divine nature of God existed totally within the human nature of the same person? And vice versa. This had never happened before and would never happen again.
Heretics swarmed like bees around the formal public declarations at those early Councils. There were Gnostics, Docetists, Nestorians, Arians and Monophysites and some sprinklings of all. If you have ever doubted the guidance of the Holy Spirit in Catholic doctrine, there’s one proof.
Jesus, Son of God, is “begotten not made, of the same substance as the Father.” Furthermore, “the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man.” Furthermore again, Mary truly became the Mother of God “since the holy body ... was born from her the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.” Ultimately, of course, it’s a mystery. Like the Trinity.
Today’s morning news said astronomers have been discovering an average of 25 new planets every year, one every two weeks. Is there no limit to that celestial creation?
What did we expect? That we would someday understand the nature of God? Where is it written that we should know everything?
Q. I was married Catholic 12 years ago but we divorced 8 years later. I married again in a civil way. Since then my first wife died and here I am still outside the Catholic Church. Is there something I could do to get my sacraments again?
A. Make an appointment with your resident priest for a status review. At first glance it appears that your sacramental marriage ended with your wife’s death. Your civil marriage was non-sacramental and invalid, of course. Unless there are complications on her side it appears you have a clean break to return to Catholic practice.
This Q.B. column doesn’t solve marriage cases. You have a diocesan marriage tribunal nearby that would love to hear from you.
Q. It seems that the early Christians started replacing Jewish Sabbath observance with Sunday Masses, didn’t they? When and how did they change the Commandment of the Sabbath Day into Sunday Mass observance? I know they did, but what reason did they give?
A. Ubiquitous St. Paul, with his three journeys in the known world, told the new Christians in Corinth that they were to share Eucharist on the first day of the week, the Lord’s day, because it was the day of the Lord’s Resurrection.
“This food we call ‘Eucharist’ and no one may share it unless he believes our teaching is true.... The reason why we all assemble on Sunday is that it is the first day, the day on which God transformed darkness and matter and created the world and the day on which Jesus Christ our savior rose from the dead.” (St. Justin, martyr. 150).
With such a clearly established venerable ancient tradition why would any respectable Christian even think of changing it?