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 Original Justice and the nature of religion 
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New post Original Justice and the nature of religion
This passage is simply stunning. Nobility of doctrine, combined with crystalline clarity, and a great and chaste elegance of expression. He is speaking of the state of original justice. This provides a solid foundation for considering, in their turn, the means by which God saves fallen man through and in Christ.

In Christ our King,
John Lane.


Fr. Edward Leen, C.S.Sp., Why the Cross?, Ch. VI, The Tree of Death, pp. 136-139.

Sanctifying Grace knits mankind into one supernatural organism, forming of all men One Mystical Body.

Even in the supernatural scheme man was made to tend towards his perfection in the framework of A Spiritual Society. It is his nature to be a member of Society. The elevation by grace respects this radical exigency of the human species.

In the plan of God, men were destined to be bound together, not only by the ties of nature, but by the ties of supernature. As in their veins was to flow the common blood of the human family, so through their souls was to course the common life-giving stream of grace. As all were unified on the plane of nature, so all were meant to be unified in the supernatural plane. Men were meant to form not merely one family, they were planned to function as members of one Mystical Body, all sharing in the same supernatural life. The whole human species was to work its way to its final goal as one man.1 “In this way,” says St. Thomas, “ the whole multitude of men destined to receive human nature from the first parent of the race, is to be considered as one group or rather as one body of a single individual: in this multitude each man, Adam himself included, can be considered as a single person or as a member of the multitude, which in its own order of nature is derived from a single individual.” 2

As the life blood flows through all the members of the living body, supplying its suitable nourishment to each part and enabling it to fulfil its appropriate function, so the life blood of the soul, that is, sanctifying grace and divine charity, was to stream through all the members of the vast, mystic, human body, imparting to each a divine vigour and empowering it to exercise its due role in relation to the other members and to the body as a whole. Adam was created to be the head, “from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly joined together, by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in charity.” 3 It is in the realm of the spirit and not in the realm of matter that men can be made one. It is the divine nature of charity and not soulless materialism that will bring about that unification of humanity and universal brotherhood of men, that is the dream of international atheists.

All that God required on the part of man for all these benefits was that man should interiorly and exteriorly profess his willing dependence on, and subjection to, his Maker.

The realisation of the divine scheme demanded, as has been said, the conformity of the human will to the Divine. To be deified, man should stand in the truth. He was a creature, and to abide in the truth for him was to show the disposition of “creatureliness“ in thought and in act. He should acknowledge in his heart and profess, in some practical manner, that he depended and depended willingly on God for all the glory with which he was clothed. God ordained a sign by which this willing and loving subjection of the creature to the Creator should be testified in a constant and practical manner. St. Thomas writes: “Because the state of justice depended on this, that the human will should subject itself to God, the Lord made certain injunctions by which He forbade man to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The eating of this was not prohibited as being in itself evil, but in order that in this small matter men should do something for the sole reason that it was commanded by God.” 4.

The fruit of the tree of knowledge was for man’s use as well as all the other fruits of the garden. Man’s abstaining from personal usage of it was the outward sign of his free subjection to God. It was a kind of sacrifice appropriate to the religion of Eden. No hardship or pain was caused by this deprivation. Sacrifice is a visible sign or symbolic action instituted by God, by which man acknowledges God’s supreme dominion over him and his total dependence on God. The expropriation from man’s usage of something belonging to man — an expropriation carried out by real or equivalent destruction — is the ordinary form of this symbolic gesture of dependence. In the Garden of Eden the fruit, which man did not allow himself to consume, was destroyed as far as his usage of it was concerned. As really as if he burned it on an altar, he, by his own act, deprived himself of the power of using it. This non-usage was an eloquent testimony daily renewed, that not only the fruit, which was thus made sacred to God by being distrained from man’s usage, but what that fruit symbolised, namely, man and all man possessed, wholly belonged to God. To this daily sacrifice on the part of the creature, responded a constant communication of divine life, on the part of the Creator. The whole essence of religion is comprised in Sacrifice and Communion.

1. Although this body (i.e., the whole mystical body of humanity) be composed of a great number of members, still, in the eyes of God, it is but one body. God is the Source of Unity. Sin is the source of disunion for it brings separation from God, the Source of Unity (Ven. Libermann, C.S.Sp., Ecrits Spirituels, p. 61.).
2. Quaest, Disp. De Malo. Q. IV, a. I. Porphyry, quoted by St. Thomas (I, II. Q. 81, a. I) says “that in virtue of their participation in the same species, the multitude of men are as one man,” accordingly, continues St. Thomas, “the multitude of human beings descended from Adam are so many members of one unique body of one specific kind.”
3. Eph. iv. 16.
4. Comp. Theo., Part II, c. 188.

Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:47 am
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