June 18, 2021
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, Pope Francis received in audience the community of the Pontifical Seminary of the Marches, the “Pius XI” Seminary, located in Ancona, Italy. He encouraged those in charge to imitate St. Joseph in training those entrusted to them, and the seminarians to practice docility.
There are judicious encouragements to be found in the Pope’s speech. Such as this exhortation to the formators of the seminary to imitate the figure of St. Joseph: that they themselves practice obedience, devotion, generosity, and chastity, understood as detachment from everything.
Or again, to the seminarians, the encouragement of a real docility, a virtue well forgotten in our world, and which must be the basis of priestly formation.
But, unfortunately, there are elements which are real deviations.
The Pope offered to the seminarians the example of Jesus’ careful obedience to St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin in his childhood. He expands: “From an early age, He had to… ask Himself the great questions of life,” he explains.
The Pope adds: “Perhaps we have not reflected enough on the young Jesus, engaged in the discernment of His own vocation, in attentiveness and confiding in Mary and Joseph, in dialogue with the Father in order to understand his mission.”
In such an expression, the Son of God seems disconnected from His humanity. Because, who is seeking discernment of His vocation? The humanity of Christ? but there is no person, no “I.” Could it be the Son of God Himself?
A Little Theology
In Christ, there are two natures and one person: the uncreated person of the Word, of the Son of God. This divine person, who is identical with the divine nature, assumes a human nature in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word.
It must be affirmed that the divine person of the Word, the only “me” or “I” possessed by Jesus Christ, knows perfectly well that He is God. The Incarnate Word of God has more awareness of His incarnation.
The Word of God is thus conscious of Himself even in His human nature. He is the only conscious subject of this consciously assumed nature, and that as soon as the first moment of his incarnation. This is the object of our faith, and it is a true mystery which no one can understand.
Human nature is not a person. Strictly speaking, then, there is no human consciousness in Christ. There are human feelings, human intelligence and thoughts, human desires and will, but which are assumed by the divine person.
Thus, to affirm that Christ had to make a human discernment or to understand his vocation, amounts to thinking that Christ had an independent human conscience, and therefore a human person, which is a heresy.
Furthermore, thinking that He could not know, as God, what was going on in the human nature which was united to Him through the hypostatic union, amounts to another heresy, or thinking that God can ignore anything whatsoever, that He is not the Infinite Wisdom who knows all things.
Thus, it must be affirmed that Christ knew perfectly well that He was God, since His divine person knew it perfectly. His human nature had a clear perception of it: indeed, from the first moment of His conception, the intelligence of the human nature of Christ possessed the beatific vision.
In other words, it sees God immediately, like the saints in heaven, and to a degree that no saint will ever attain. Thus, even through His human intelligence, the person of the Incarnate Word holds the full possession of God.
How then could Christ need to “discern his vocation” and “dialogue with the Father” when He has only one intelligence, one will, one nature with His Father?