Friday, December 7, 2018

Something from ... Pope Leo on the Two Natures of Jesus (2nd entry)

Here is something more from Pope Leo the Great ( c. 400 – 10 November 461) on the two natures of Jesus -- that Jesus is both God and man.  (For a longer introduction on the significance of this teaching and the attack against Christianity which prompted Leo's letter, see this blog entry.)

Pope Leo the Great

After the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD), Pope Leo wrote a letter to Flavian, bishop of Constantinople, regarding Eutyches who had been teaching that Jesus was not really a man, but bore only the form or appearance of a man.  What Pope Leo writes is the correct teaching of the Scripture and the faithful confession of the Church. 

It is a mystery worth pondering, especially as we are coming up on the celebration of the incarnation of our Lord, better known as Christmas.  

Here is another portion of Leo's letter:

"So without leaving his Father’s glory behind, the Son of God comes down from his heavenly throne and enters the depths of our world, born in an unprecedented order by an unprecedented kind of birth. In an unprecedented order, because one who is invisible at his own level was made visible at ours. The ungraspable willed to be grasped. Whilst remaining pre-existent, he begins to exist in time. The Lord of the universe veiled his measureless majesty and took on a servant’s form. The God who knew no suffering did not despise becoming a suffering man, and, deathless as he is, to be subject to the laws of death. By an unprecedented kind of birth, because it was inviolable virginity which supplied the material flesh without experiencing sexual desire. What was taken from the mother of the Lord was the nature without the guilt. And the fact that the birth was miraculous does not imply that in the lord Jesus Christ, born from the virgin’s womb, the nature is different from ours. The same one is true God and true man."


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