Heart of Jesus, In Whom
Dwells the Fullness of Divinity
THE DIVINITY of
Christ has been and is still denied by millions of men. The idea of a
God in human form is relegated to the realm of fairy tales and poetic
fiction. At the same time many of those who deny the Divinity of Christ
would make Him the greatest teacher and social reformer the world has
ever seen; they say His Own claim to be the Son of God is due to some
mental complex for which He cannot be made responsible. It escapes
their attention that one who suffers from mental aberrations cannot be
a reliable leader in the field of morality or social reform. Proofs for
the Divinity of Christ are contained in most of the invocations of the
Litany of the Sacred Heart as we consider them. Here we wish to confine
ourselves to the testimony which Christ gives of Himself and draw from
it some conclusions as to the significance of Christ for the world.
Equal to the Father
Jesus claimed to have the same nature as the Father
when He said, "I and the Father are one" (Jn. 10:30). He attributed
eternity to Himself when He told the Jews that "Before Abraham came to
be, I am" (Jn. 8:58). In both cases the Jews wanted to stone Him,
because they considered Him guilty of blasphemy, thus showing that they
understood Him to mean exactly what He said. His power and authority
are equal to that of the Father, "For whatever He does, this the Son
also does in like manner. . . . As the Father raises the dead and
gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He will .
. . that all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. . .
. As the
Father has life in Himself, even so He has given to the Son also to
have life in Himself" (Jn. 5:19ff.).
When Jesus was about to heal a certain paralytic, He
first said to him, "Son, thy sins are forgiven thee." At once the Jews
accused Him of blasphemy, for God alone can forgive sins. Thereupon
Jesus asked the question, "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
Thy sins are forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, and take up thy pallet,
and walk?" Of course, neither of these is easier, for both call for the
exercise of Divine power. And so Jesus continued, "But that you may
know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins . . . I say
thee, arise, take up thy pallet and go to thy house" (Mk. 2:4 ff.). And
immediately the health of the sick man was restored.
Profession of St.
Since many of the people took Jesus for one of
the great prophets, He asked the Apostles on a certain occasion Whom
they thought Him to be. Then Peter, in the name of the other Apostles,
made this solemn declaration, "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living
God." Jesus accepted this clear profession of His Divinity as He
answered, "Blessed art thou Simon, Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has
not revealed this to thee, but my Father in Heaven. And I say to thee,
thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the
gates of Hell shall not prevail against it . . ." (Mt. 16:13 ff.).
Before the High
Jesus is brought to trial before Caiphas, the
high priest. Since the testimony of the witnesses does not agree,
Caiphas turns to Jesus with this solemn question, "I adjure Thee by the
living God that Thou tell us whether Thou art the Christ, the Son of
God." Jesus answers with equal solemnity, "Thou hast said it," which is
the same as saying: I am. And enlarging on what He has said He
continues, "Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son
of man sitting at the right hand of the Power of God and coming upon
the clouds of Heaven." The words of Jesus are unmistakable and the high
priest rends his garment as he cries out, "He has blasphemed; what
further need have we of witnesses? . . . What do you think?" And they
answered and said, "He is liable to death" (Mt. 26:63 ff.).
The strength of Christ's testimony lies in the fact that He wrought
countless miracles during His life, that He rose from the dead, and
that the Catholic Church in her victorious march through the centuries
is a standing proof of the truth of Christ's prophecy that the gates of
Hell shall not prevail against her.
If Christ is God, then His teaching is true and final. It
is not theory or opinion that might be overthrown by the progress of
science. But then, all views of life, all systems of philosophy
contrary to the teaching of Christ, are utterly and hopelessly false.
If Christ is God, then His law is binding on all. His commandments are
not mere counsels that may be accepted or rejected at pleasure. His
authority is universal and every knee must bend to Him, not only the
masses of the people, but also all governments and public institutions.
If Christ is God, then no power on earth has the right to interfere
with the work of the Church, to limit or control her in the mission
given her by Him. Then the authority of the Church is supreme in all
matters of faith and morals; she is the divinely established court to
pronounce on the moral aspects of all human affairs and not confined to
teaching a few pious practices to the faithful.
If Christ is God, then in Him alone can salvation be found. There is no
other name given us by which we can be saved. No man will be forced in
this life to submit to His authority; each one must make his choice for
or against Him freely, but upon this choice his eternity depends.
St. Hilarion says that there is nothing more dangerous for the
than not to know and not to accept Christ. A world reduced to misery
and chaos is in our days a tragic illustration of the truth of the
Saint's words. Under such circumstances the task of the faithful is
clear. By a fearless profession of their faith in Christ, by their
living deeds of faith, they must show the world the way back to Christ.
"The more Thy Divinity is attacked, the more we will profess it, O
Heart of Jesus, in Whom dwells the fullness of Divinity."
TAKEN FROM THE LITANY OF
THE SACRED HEART, Bruce Publishing