St. Joseph the Worker

Originally posted on The Holy Ones:

St. Joseph, pray for us! St. Joseph, pray for us!

St Joseph is patron saint of the universal Church of Christ on earth, the dying, marriages, fatherhood, families. He is also an excellent example of humility and obedience to the calling of God in his life.

However, it is St Joseph’s patronage of workers that is one of his most illustrious titles, warranting a special feast day in his honour.

He was himself a humble carpenter who knew what it was to work hard, often for meagre pay, in order to earn a living to support his the Blessed Virgin Mary and the child Jesus. Though a hard worker, he knew poverty and when presenting gifts at Jesus’ presentation in the Temple, it was the gift of the poor that St Joseph presented to God, ‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons’ (Lk 2:24).

REFLECTION:

We should sanctify our daily work by praying before and after work like St. Joseph did. Silence is the guardian of…

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St. Ambrose – Bk 5 – Chapter 1

f&hsWishing to give a reason for the Lord’s answer to the apostles, he assigns the one received to Christ’s tenderness. Then when another reason is supplied by others he confesses that it is true; for the Lord spoke it by reason of His human feelings. Hence he gathers that the knowledge of the Father and the Son is equal, and that the Son is not inferior to the Father. After having set beside the text, in which He is said to be inferior, another whereby He is declared to be equal, he censures the rashness of the Arians in judging about the Son, and shows that whilst they wickedly make Him to be inferior, He is rightly called a Stone by Himself.

219. We have been taught therefore that the Son of God is not ignorant of the future. If they confess this, I too— that I may now answer why He declared that neither angels, nor the Son, but only the Father knows— call to mind His wonted love for His disciples also in this passage, and His grace, which by its very frequency ought to have been known to all. For the Lord, filled with deep love for His disciples, when they asked from Him what He thought unprofitable for them to know, prefers to seem ignorant of what He knows, rather than to refuse an answer. He loves rather to provide what is useful for us, than to show His own power.

220. There are, however, some not so faint-hearted as I. For I would rather fear the deep things of God, than be wise. There are some, however, relying on the words: And Jesus increased in age and in wisdom and in favour with God and man, Luke 2:52 who boldly say, that according to His Godhead indeed He could not be ignorant of the future, but that in His assumption of our human state He said that He as Son of Man was in ignorance before His crucifixion. For when He speaks of the Son, He does not speak as it were of another; for He Himself is our Lord the Son of God and the Son of a Virgin. But by a word which embraces both, He guides our mind, so that He as Son of Man according to His adoption of our ignorance and growth of knowledge, might be believedas yet not fully to have known all things. For it is not for us to know the future. Thus He seems to be ignorant in that state in which He makes progress. For how does He progress according to His Godhead, in Whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells?Colossians 2:9 Or what is there which the Son of God does not know, Who said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? Matthew 9:4How does He not know, of Whom Scripture says: But Jesus knew their thoughts? Luke 6:8

221. This is what others say, but I— to return to my former point, where I stated it was written of the Father: It may be they will reverence My Son,— I think indeed this was written in order that the Father, as He was speaking of men, might also seem to have spoken with human feelings. But still more am I inclined to think that the Son Who went about with men, and lived the life of man, and took upon Him our flesh, assumed also our feelings; so that after our ignorance He might say He knew not, though there was not anything He did not know. For though He seemed to be a man in the reality of His body, yet was He Life, and Light, and virtue came out of Him, Luke 6:19 to heal the wounds of the injured by the power of His Majesty.

222. You see then that this matter has been solved for you, since the saying of the Son is referred to the assumption of our state in its fullness, and it was thus written concerning the Father, in order that you might cease to cavil at the Son.

223. There was nothing then of which the Son of God was ignorant, for there was nothing of which the Father was ignorant. But if the Son was ignorant of nothing, as we now conclude, let them say in what respect they wish Him to seem to be inferior. If God has begotten a Son inferior to Himself, He has granted Him less. If He has granted Him less, He either wished to give less, or could only give less. But the Father is neither weak nor envious, seeing that there was neither will nor power before the Son. For wherein is He inferior, Who has all things even as the Father has them? He has received all things from the Father by right of His Generation, John 16:15 and has shown forth the Father wholly by the glory of His Majesty.

224. It is written, they say: For the Father is greater than I. John 14:28 It is also written: He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Philippians 2:6 It is written again that the Jews wished to kill Him, because He said He was the Son of God, making Himself equal with God. John 5:18 It is written: I and My Father are one. John 10:30 They read one, they do not read many. Can He then be both inferior and equal in the same Nature? Nay, the one refers to His Godhead, the other to His flesh.

225. They say He is inferior: I ask who has measured it, who is of so overweening a heart, as to place the Father and the Son before his judgment seat to decide upon which is the greater? My heart is not haughty nor are my eyes raised unto vanity, says David. King David feared to raise his heart in pride in human affairs, but we raise ours even in opposition to the divine secrets. Who shall decide about the Son of God? Thrones, dominions, angels, powers? But archangels give attendance and serve Him,cherubim and seraphim minister to Him and praise Him. Who then decides about the Son of God, on reading that the Father Himself knows the Son, but will not judge Him. For no man knows the Son, but the Father. Matthew 11:27 Knows it says, notjudges. It is one thing to know, another to judge. The Father has knowledge in Himself. The Son has no power superior to Himself. And again: No man knows the Father, but the Son; and He Himself knows the Father, as the Father knows Him.

226. But you say that He said He was inferior, He said also He was a Stone. You say more and yet you impiously attack Him. I say less and with reverence add to His honour. You say He is inferior and confess Him to be above the angels. I say He is less than the angels, yet do not take from His honour; for I do not refute His Godhead, but I do proclaim His pity.

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St. Ambrose – Bk 5 – Chapter 17

final judgement

Christ acted for our advantage in being unwilling to reveal the day of judgment. This is made plain by other words of our Lord and by a not dissimilar passage from Paul’s writings. Other passages in which the same ignorance seems to be attributed to the Father are brought forward to meet those who are anxious to know why Christ answered His disciples, as though He did not know. From these Ambrose argues against them that if they admit ignorance and inability in the Father, they must admit that the same Substance exists in the Son as in the Father; unless they prefer to accuse the Son of falsehood; since it belongs neither to Him nor to the Father to deceive, but the unity of both is pointed out in the passage named.

208. But we ask for what reason He was unwilling to state the time. If we ask it, we shall not find it is owing to ignorance, but to wisdom. For it was not to our advantage to know; in order that we being ignorant of the actual moments of judgment to come, might ever be as it were on guard, and set on the watchtower of virtue, and so avoid the habits of sin; lest the day of the Lord should come upon us in the midst of our wickedness. For it is not to our advantage to know but rather to fear the future; for it is written: Be not high-minded but fear. Romans 11:20

209. For if He had distinctly stated the day, he would seem to have laid down a rule of life for that one age which was nearest to the judgment, and the just man in the earlier times would be more negligent, and the sinner more free from care. For the adulterer cannot cease from the desire of committing adultery unless he fears punishment day by day, nor can the robber forsake the hiding places in the woods where he dwells, unless he knows punishment is hanging over him day by day. For impurity generally spurs them on, but fear is irksome to the end.

210. Therefore I have said that it was not to our advantage to know; nay, it is to our advantage to be ignorant, that through ignorance we might fear, through watchfulness be corrected, as He Himself said: Be ready, for you know not at what hour the Son of Man comes. Matthew 24:44 For the soldier does not know how to watch in the camp unless he knows that war is at hand.

211. Wherefore at another time also the Lord Himself when asked by his Apostles (Yes, for they did not understand it as Arius did, but believed that the Son of God knew the future. For unless they had believed this, they would never have asked the question.)— the Lord, I say, when asked when He would restore the kingdom to Israel, did not say that He did not know, but says: It is not for you to know the times or years, which the Father has put in His own power. Acts 1:7 Mark what He said: It is not for you to know! Read again, It is not for you. For you, He said, not for Me, for now He spoke not according to His own perfection but as was profitable to the human body and our soul. For you therefore He said, not for Me.

212. Which example the Apostle also followed: But of the times and seasons, brethren, he says, you have no need that I write unto you. 1 Thessalonians 5:1 Thus not even the Apostle himself, the servant of Christ, said that he knew not the seasons, but that there was no need for the people to be taught; for they ought ever to be armed with spiritual armour, that the virtue of Christ may stand forth in each one. But when the Lord says: Of the times which the Father has put in His own power, Acts 1:7 He certainly cannot be without a share in His Father’s knowledge, in whose power He is by no means without a share. For power grows out of wisdom and virtue; and Christ is both of these.

213. But you ask, why did He not refuse His disciples as one who knew, but would not say; and, why did He state instead that neither the angels nor the Son knew? Mark 13:32 I too will ask you why God says in Genesis: I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry that has come unto Me. And if not, that I may know. Genesis 18:21 Why does Scripture also say of God: And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men built. Genesis 11:5 Why also does the prophet say in the Book of the Psalms: The Lord looked down upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and that did seek God? Just as though in one place, if God had not descended, and in the other, if He had not looked down, He would have been ignorant either of men’s work or of their merits.

214. But in the Gospel of Luke also you have the same, for the Father says: What shall I do? I will send My beloved Son; it may be that they will reverence Him. Luke 20:13 In Matthew and in Mark you have: But He sent His only Son, saying: they will reverence My Son; Matthew 21:37 In one book He says: It may be that they will reverence My Son; Mark 12:6 and is in doubt as though He does not know; for this is the language of one in doubt. But in the two other books He says: They will reverence My Son; that is, He declares that reverence will be shown.

215. But God can neither be in doubt, nor can He be deceived. For he only is in doubt, who is ignorant of the future; and he is deceived, who has predicted one thing, while another has happened. Yet what is plainer than the fact that Scripture states the Father to have said one thing of the Son, and that the same Scripture proves another think to have taken place? The Son was beaten, He was mocked, was crucified, and died. He suffered much worse things in the flesh than those servants who had been appointed before. Was the Father deceived, or was He ignorant of it, or was He unable to give help? But He that is true cannot make a mistake; for it is written: God is faithful Who does not lie. Titus 1:2 How was He ignorant, Who knows all? What could He not do, Who could do all?

216. Yet if either He was ignorant, or had not power (for you would sooner agree to say that the Father did not know than own that the Son knows), you see from this very fact that the Son is of one Substance with the Father; seeing that the Son like the Father (to speak in accordance with your foolish ideas) does not know all things, and cannot do all things. For I am not so eager or rash in giving praise to the Son as to dare to say that the Son can do more than the Father; for I make no distinction of power between the Father and the Son.

217. But perhaps you say that the Father did not say so, but that the Son erred about the Father. So now you convict the Son not only of weakness, but also of blasphemy and lying. However if you do not believe the Son with regard to the Father, neither may you believe Him with regard to that. For if He wished to deceive us in saying that the Father was in doubt as though He knew not what would take place, He wished also to deceive us about Himself in saying that He did not know the future. It would be far more endurable for Him to stretch the veil of ignorance in front of that which He does of His own accord, than that He should seem to be deluded by a result contrary to what He had foretold in the things He had declared of His Father.

218. But neither is the Father deceived, not does the Son deceive. It is the custom of the holy Scriptures to speak thus, as the examples I have already given, and many others testify, so that God feigns not to know what He does know. In this then a unity o fGodhead, and a unity of character is proved to exist in the Father and in the Son; seeing that, as God the Father hides what is known to Him, so also the Son, Who is the image of God in this respect, hides what is known to Him.

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The kingdom of God is at hand

jesus preaching“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe in the gospel.”’ “To carry out the will of the Father Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth.” Now the Father’s will is “to raise up men to share in his own divine life”. He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, “on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdoms”.

Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the “family of God”. By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him. But above all in the great Paschal mystery – his death on the cross and his Resurrection – he would accomplish the coming of his kingdom. “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Into this union with Christ all men are called.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 541-542

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St. Ambrose – Bk 5 – Chapter 16

Christ the King, 1The Arians are condemned by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David: for they dare to limit Christ’s knowledge. The passage cited by them in proof of this is by no means free from suspicion of having been corrupted. But to set this right, we must mark the word Son. For knowledge cannot fail Christ as Son of God, since He is Wisdom; nor the recognition of any part, for He created all things. It is not possible that He, who made the ages, cannot know the future, much less the day of judgment. Such knowledge, whether it concerns anything great or small, may not be denied to the Son, nor yet to the Holy Spirit. Lastly, various proofs are given from which we can gather that this knowledge exists in Christ.

188. Wherefore we ought to know that they who make such statements are accursed and condemned by theHoly Spirit. For whom else but the Arians in chief does the prophet condemn, seeing that they say that theSon of God knows neither times nor years. For there is nothing which God is ignorant of; and Christ, yea the most high Christ, is God, for He is God over all. Romans 9:5

189. See how horrified holy David is at such men, in limiting the knowledge of the Son of God. For thus it is written: They are not in the troubles of other men, neither will they be scourged with men; therefore theirpride has laid hold on them; they are covered with their wickedness and blasphemy; their iniquity has stood forth as it were with fatness; they have passed on to the thoughts of their heart. Truly he condemns those who think that divine things are to be regarded in the light of the thoughts of the heart. For God is not subject to arrangement or order; seeing that we do not perceive even those very things, which are common amongmen and often occur in the history of the human race, to turn out always after the arrangement of some stated rule, but often to happen suddenly in some secret and mysterious manner.

190. They have thought, he says, and have spoken wickedness. They have spoken wickedness against the Most High. They have set their mouth against heaven. We see then that he condemns, as guilty of wickedblasphemy, those who claim for themselves the right to arrange the heavenly secrets after the semblance of our human nature.

191. And they have said: How has God known? And is there knowledge in the Most High? Do not the Ariansecho this daily, saying that all knowledge cannot exist in Christ? For He, they say, stated that He knew not the day nor hour. Do they not say, how did He know, while they maintain that He could not know anything but what He heard and saw, and apply by a blasphemous interpretation that which concerns the unity of the divineNature to weaken His power?

192. It is written, they say: But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are inheaven, neither the Son, but the Father only. Mark 13:32 First of all the ancient Greek manuscripts do not contain the words, neither the Son. But it is not to be wondered at if they who have corrupted the sacredScriptures, have also falsified this passage. The reason for which it seems to have been inserted is perfectly plain, so long as it is applied to unfold such blasphemy.

193. Suppose however that the Evangelist wrote thus. The name of Son embraces both natures. For He is also called Son of Man, so that in the ignorance attached to the assumption of our nature, He seems not to have known the day of the judgment to come. For how could the Son of God be ignorant of the day, seeing that the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God are hidden in Him? Colossians 2:3

194. I ask then, whether He had this knowledge by reason of His Being, or by chance? For all knowledgecomes to us either through nature, or by learning. It is supplied by nature, as for instance to a horse to enable it to run, or to a fish to enable it to swim. For they do this without learning. On the other hand, it is by learning that a man is enabled to swim. For he could not do so unless he had learned. Since therefore natureenables dumb animals to do and to know what they have not learned, why should you give an opinion on theSon of God, and say whether He has knowledge by instruction or by nature? If by instruction, then He was not begotten as Wisdom, and gradually began to be perfect, but was not always so. But if He has knowledge bynature, then He was perfect in the beginning, He came forth perfect from the Father; and so needed no foreknowledge of the future.

195. He therefore was not ignorant of the days; for it does not fall to the lot of the Wisdom of God to know in part and in part to be ignorant. For how can He who made all things be ignorant of a part, since it is a less thing to know than to make. For we know many things which we cannot make, neither do we all know things in the same way but we know them in part. For a countryman knows the force of the wind and the courses of the stars in one way— the inhabitant of a city knows them in another way— and a pilot in yet a third way. But although all do not know all things, they are said to know them; but He alone knows all things in full, Who made all things. The pilot knows for how many watches Arcturus continues, what sort of a rising of Orion hewill discover, but he knows nothing of the connection of the Vergiliæ and of the other stars, or of their number or names, as does He Who numbers the multitude of stars, and calls them all by their names; Whom indeed the power of His work cannot escape.

196. How then do you wish the Son of God to have made these things? Like a signet ring which does not feel the impression it makes? But the Father made all things in wisdom, that is, He made all things through theSon, who is the Virtue and Wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24 But it befits such Wisdom as that to know both the powers and the causes of His own works. Thus the Creator of all things could not be ignorant of what He did— or be without knowledge of what He had Himself given. Therefore He knew the day which He made.

197. But you say that He knows the present and does not know the future. Though this is a foolish suggestion, yet that I may satisfy you on Scriptural grounds, learn that He made not only what is past, but also what is future, as it is written: Who made things to come. Isaiah 45:11 Elsewhere too Scripture says: By whom also He made the ages, who is the brightness of His glory and the express Image of His Person.Hebrews 1:2-3 Now the ages are past and present and future. How then were those made which are future, unless it is that His active power and knowledge contains within itself the number of all the ages? For just as He calls the things that are not as though they were, Romans 4:17 so has He made things future as though they were. It cannot come to pass that they should not be. Those things which He has directed to be, necessarilywill be. Therefore He who has made the things that are to be, knows them in the way in which they will be.

198. If we are to believe this about the ages, much more must we believe it about the day of judgment, on the ground that the Son of God has knowledge of it, as being already made by Him. For it is written:According to Your ordinance the day will continue. He did not merely say the day continues, but even will continue, so that the things which are to come might be governed by His ordinance. Does He not know what He ordered? He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye shall He not see?

199. Let us however see if by chance there may be some great thing, which could be beyond the knowledge of its Creator; or at least let them choose whether they will think of something great and superior to other things, or something very little and mean. If it is very little and mean, it is no loss, to speak after our fashion, to know nothing of worthless and petty things. For as it is a sign of power to know the greatest things, it seems rather to be a sign of inferior work to look upon what is worth less. Thus He is freed fromfastidiousness, yet is not deprived of His power.

200. But if they think it a great and important thing to know the day of judgment: Let them say what is greater or better than God the Father. He knows God the Father, as He Himself says: No man knows the Father but the Son and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him. Matthew 11:27 I say, does He know the Father and yet not know the day? So then you believe that He reveals the Father, and yet cannot reveal the day?

201. Next because you make certain grades, so as to put the Father before the Son, and the Son before theHoly Spirit, tell me whether the Holy Spirit knew the day of judgment. For no thing is written of Him in this place. You deny it entirely. But what if I show you He knew it? For it is written: But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, yea the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10 Wherefore, because He searches the deep things of God, since God knows the day of judgment, the Spirit also knows it. For He knows all that God knows, as also the Apostle states, saying: For what man knows the things of aman, save the spirit of man which is in him, even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.1 Corinthians 2:11 Take heed therefore lest either by denying that the Holy Spirit knows, you should deny that the Father knows; (For the things of God, the Spirit of God also knows, but the things which the Spirit of Goddoes not know, are not the things of God). Or by confessing that the Spirit of God knows, what you deny that the Son of God knows, you should put the Spirit before the Son in opposition to your own declaration. But to hesitate on this point is not only blasphemous but also foolish.

202. Now consider how knowledge is acquired, and let us show that the Son Himself proved that He knew the day. For what we know we make clear either by mention of time or place or signs or persons, or by giving their order. How then did He not know the day of judgment Who described both the hour and the place ofjudgment, and the signs and the cases?

203. And so you have it: In that hour he which shall be on the housetop let him not come down to take hisgoods out of his house, and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Luke 17:31 To such a point in the future did He know the issues of dangers, that He even showed the means of safety to those in danger.

204. Could the Lord be ignorant of a day Who Himself said of Himself that the Son of Man is Lord of theSabbath? Matthew 12:8

205. He has also elsewhere marked out a place, when He said to His disciples who were showing Him the building of the temple, Do you see all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down. Matthew 24:2

206. When questioned also about a sign by His disciples, He answered: Take heed that you be not deceived. For many shall come in My name, saying I am Christ; Luke 21:8 and further on He says: and great earthquakes shall be in various places, and famines, and pestilences, and terrors from heaven, and there shall be great signs. Luke 21:11 Thus He has described both persons and signs.

207. In what manner He tells that the armies will surround Jerusalem, or that the times of the Gentiles are to be fulfilled, and in what order—all this is disclosed to us by the witness of the Gospel words. Therefore Heknew all things.

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St. Ambrose – Bk 5 – Chapter 15

Jesus, help us to be obedient to the Will of the Father!

Jesus, help us to be obedient to the Will of the Father!

He briefly takes up again the same points of dispute, and shrewdly concludes from the unity of the divine power in the Father and the Son, that whatever is said of the subjection of the Son is to be referred to His humanity alone. He further confirms this on proof of the love, which exists alike in either.

182. Let us then shortly sum up our conclusion on the whole matter. A unity of power puts aside all idea of a degrading subjection. His giving up of power, and His victory as conqueror won over death, have not lessened His power. Obedience works out subjection. Christ has taken obedience upon Himself, obedience even to taking on Him our flesh, the cross even to gaining our salvation. Thus where the work lies, there too is the Author of the work. When therefore, all things have become subject to Christ, through Christ’s obedience, so that all bend their knees in His name, then He Himself will be all in all. For now, since all do not believe, all do not seem to be in subjection. But when all have believed and done the will of God, then Christ will be all and in all. And when Christ is all and in all, then will God be all and in all; for the Father abides ever in the Son. How, then, is He shown to be weak, Who redeemed the weak?

183. And lest you should by chance attribute to the weakness of the Son, that it is written, that God has put all things in subjection under Him; learn that He has Himself brought all things into subjection to Himself, for it is written: Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus, Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like His glorious body according to the working, whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. Philippians 3:20-21 You have learned, therefore, that He can subdue all things unto Himself according to the working of His Godhead.

184. Learn now how He receives all things in subjection according to the flesh, as it is written: Who wrought in Christ, raising Him from the dead, and setting Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, above principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and has put all things under His feet. Ephesians 1:20-21 According to the flesh then all things are given to Him in subjection; according to which also He was raised from the dead, both in His humansoul and His rational subjection.

185. Many nobly interpret that which is written: Truly my soul will be in subjection to God; He said soul not Godhead, soul not glory. And that we might know that the Lord has spoken through the prophet of the adoption of our human nature, He added: How long will you cast yourselves upon a man? As also He says in the Gospel: Why do you seek to kill Me, a man? John 8:40 And He added again: Nevertheless they desired to refuse My price, they ran in thirst, they blessed with their mouth, and cursed with their heart. For the Jews, when Judas brought back the price, Matthew 27:4 would not receive it, running on in the thirst of madness, for they refused the grace of a spiritual draught.

186. This is the reverent interpretation of subjection, for since this is the office of the Lord’s Passion, He will be subject in us in that in which He suffered. Do we ask wherefore? That neither angels, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor things present, nor things to come, nor any other creature may separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:38-39 We see then, from what has been said, that no creature is excepted; but that every one, of whatever kind it may be, is enumerated among those he mentioned above.

187. At the same time, we must also think of the words which, after first saying Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 8:35 he wrote next: Neither death, nor life, nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. We see, then, that the love of God is the same as the love of Christ. Thus it was not without reason that he wrote of the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, lest otherwise you might imagine that the love of God and of Christ was divided. But there is nothing that love divides, nothing that the eternal Godhead cannot do, nothing that is unknown to the Truth, or deceives Justice, or escapes the notice of Wisdom.

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Jesus’ temptations

temptationThe Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him. At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time”.

The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation. Jesus fulfils Israel’s vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God’s Servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil’s conqueror: he “binds the strong man” to take back his plunder. Jesus’ victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.

Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 538-540

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