FROM MARY MAGNIFYING GOD. BY WILLIAM HUMPHREY, OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE OBLATES OF ST. CHARLES. AD 1873
But even then, after the reestablishment of the habitual dominion of the will over the inferior faculties, that dominion would be exercised over them not as over obedient servants, as in the days of primeval, unfallen innocence; it would be exercised over them as over subjugated rebels and vanquished enemies, ever inclined to insubordination, and on the alert for an opportunity of revolt.
This is the case with all the redeemed and regenerate. It is so even with the Saints on earth; nay, even with the Apostles of Jesus Christ. It was so with that man of iron will, that vessel of election, the self-subjugated Apostle of the Gentiles. He had to fight for the dominion, and to struggle for the mastery; and such was the strength of his enemies, that he seems to tremble for the issue of the contest. He tells us of the law in his members fighting against the law of his mind, and captivating him in the law of sin. He says he is delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man ; but 'when I have a will to do good, 'evil is present with me.' 'The good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do.' He tells us in another place of 'the sting in hi» flesh' The messenger of Satan' given him to buffet him; and he declares his necessity of keeping under his body, and bringing it into subjection, lest he who had preached to others should himself become a castaway.
The Apostle refers to the fomes peccati' that fuel of sin, which remains in order to their probation, even in those who have had 'power to' become the sons of God,' and 'partakers of the Divine Nature;' that proneness, and promptitude, and facility, and inclination towards the objects of sense which causes the emotions, and feelings, and affections, and appetites, and passions to anticipate-the judgments of the illuminated reason, and to-pervert the will from obedience to its dictates. The-energy of this language of St. Paul, provoked by the vehemence of his struggle, is such that he goes so far as to call this fomes sin. Not that it is really and truly, morally and culpably, sin; but, as the Fathers of Trent explain his words, inasmuch as it proceeds from sin and inclines to sin. It is entailed upon us by the original transgression, and it is the prolific parent of actual sins.
One and one only of the children of Adam was exempt from this consequence of his fall. It was he on whose immaculate soul the stain of his transgression never for an instant lay. She had to fight against the world and against the devil, as he had; but she had not, like him, after he had lost his innocence, to fight against the flesh. There was in her no responsive voice from within to temptations from without. There was no household foe, no traitor in the fortress of the City of our God. But although she was free from sin, and from the fome of sin; although she was, like the first mother of all living, endowed with the preternatural gift of immortality, there being in her no intrinsic principle of dissolution, and no seed of disease; although she enjoyed impassibility, or freedom from all liability to physical suffering from any intrinsic cause, so that, for instance, she had not to bear the curse of Eve, and endure the pangs of travail,—and old age when it came upon her would not bring in its train aught of decrepitude or decay; although she possessed an infused gift of knowledge that preserved her from the defect of ignorance and the infirmity of error, yet a shadow of the fall lay on Mary:—'Mary was amenable to suffering. And this was no disparagement to her prerogatives, no derogation from her perfections, for the selfsame shadow lay on her Divine Son. There is no sin and no shame in suffering.
True, it is the result and issue of sin. It is a punishment, and punishment supposes sin. It is a satisfaction, and satisfaction supposes an offence. But the satisfaction may be offered, and the punishment may be endured, by one for another, by the innocent for the guilty, by the just for the sinner.
Hence Isaias prophesied of the future Son of Mary that He was to be 'a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity;' that He was to 'bear our infirmities' and' carry our sorrows;' that He was to be bounded for our iniquities found' bruised for our sins;' that the chastisement of our peace 'was to be upon Him,' and that by His 'bruises we should be healed.' The Lord was 'to lay upon Him the iniquity of us all:' 'for the wickedness of My people,' said the Almighty, ' have I struck Him.'
Of Him also St. Paul says: ' We have not an High-priest who cannot have compassion upon our infirmities, but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.'
Suffering was a law of the Incarnation. That the Incarnate Word might redeem and satisfy, it became Him to suffer. If He was to satisfy the Justice of the offended God, and redeem the guilty race that through sin lay under captivity and bondage, He must become the Suffering God. Hence
His own words to Cleophas: 'Ought not Christ to have suffered, and so to enter into His glory?'
St. Peter, in his discourse to the people who gathered around him in Solomon's porch, after his miraculous healing of the lame man, declared that the sufferings of Christ were the fulfilment of those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all the prophets.
Again, the argument of St. Paul, when for three Sabbath days he reasoned with the Jews in their synagogue at Thessalonica out of the Scriptures, was this:—that the Christ was to suffer, and to rise again from the dead. This, to use his own words, he declared and insinuated.' He preached it in express words, and it was also the implicit argument that underlay his entire doctrine.
The same Apostle, in presence of the King Agrippa and Bernice, standing before the tribunal of the governor Festus in the hall of audience at Caesarea, and in the hearing of the tribunes and principal men of the city, said that,—aided by the help of God, he witnessed both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come to pass, that Christ should suffer.