I am reading The Mirror of Simple Souls , a book by Marguerite Porete. When I bought this book about a year ago, I really didn't understand too much of it. I saved it for a later moment, as instructed.
This moment has come and as I recognize myself in many of the things she writes, I am becoming more deeply involved in the text.
One of my favourite quotes so far is the following: What the humanity of Jesus Christ suffered, the divinity did not feel.
That kept me thinking for a while.
And I saw that, historically, too much attention has been put on the suffering of his humanity, also the physical suffering of the crucifixion. He suffered for our sins, he gave up his (physical) life. But his divinity did not suffer, it was/is/will be in perfect equilibrium. But why is there no emphasis on this aspect of his being? Why are people confronted with the story of his suffering and not with the story of his not-suffering? Why so much Jesus and so little Christ?
aion, Porete is a classical Quietist and some of her writings have been condemned by the Church. This splitting of Jesus into human and divine parts is not sound theology, nor is this division between Jesus and Christ. So the reason the Church does not emphasize Poret's points here is because they are in conflict with Church teaching about Jesus. What she's articulating is similar to Nestorianism, which is a heresy condemned by the Church. Do a little reading on it.
Jesus Christ is one Person, the incarnate Logos or Second Person of the Trinity. His human nature subsisted in his divinity (within it, not alongside it) and was the means in and through which he came to know and exercise his divinity. He really did suffer, as the scriptures clearly indicate.
Thank you for your comments, Phil. You made me clear that I'm not only a heretic, I'm also largely ignorant concerning the official Catholic doctrine
I do believe that Jesus Christ indeed is one and the same person, but his humanity can be found in Jesus and his divinity in Christ. It also is a fact that I derive from my spiritual practice. Christ seems to me to be a level of spiritual manifestation, rather then just a name or title. Compare the (also heretical ) Gospel of Philip:
67: [...] The name of Christian is welcomed with anointing, in the fullness and energy of the cross, which the apostles call the union of opposites; then one is not just Christian, one is the Christ
Orthodox and Protestant doctrine as well. We all believe the same on this matter.
Oh, well, if you know this from your personal spiritual practice, why didn't you say so? That settles everything! Who needs a religious tradition to teach us anything when we can know it all from our own spiritual practice?
A 3rd C. gnostic Gospel that has Jesus marrying Mary Magdalen.
But, then, why start a thread on this topic if you already have all the answers?
Here's an analogy: suppose you have a toothache. It hurts. It would be rather odd to say that it only hurts in your body, but that your spiritual nature is not in pain. And yet that is probably the case, for those who experience out-of-body phenomena such as in surgery report that in the OBE they are pain-free. But because the body, psyche and spirit are an integral whole, pain in the body hurts the whole person. We cannot separate the painful sensations of the body from our psychological and spiritual awareness.
Now step up the analogy one notch to Jesus. Athough God as pure Spirit knows no pain (but yet may feel our pain empathetically), God-as-Incarnate is wholistically integrated with human consciousness. Everything that happens in the humanity of Jesus happens to him in his divinity as well. Because he is one Person, his consciousness does not split experiential phenomena into either human or divine parts. When he hurts in his body, the experience of pain happens to his Person, and he feels it. Thus does God participate in human suffering in and through the Person of Jesus.
I hope that makes sense. And I hope you are as welling to look at more orthodox sources to help you understand Jesus than Perote, gnostic writings or your own experience.
To take it a step further, you might even say that this scenario of God experiencing pain through Christ is the entire point of the incarnation and crucifixion. Before the incarnation and crucifixion, it was impossible to become closer to God through suffering. By taking part in human suffering via the person of Jesus, God made himself open to human beings on the "lowest common denominator," to to speak, in the sense that all humans suffer, without exception.
This is very different than the gnostic view, which focuses more on the secret teachings that Jesus delivered to the world. But this difference has to do with more than just the question of whether or not Jesus in his divinity experienced suffering. This is the difference between approaching God based on merit and knowledge, and approaching God based on God's desire to know you.
I'd urge you, aion, to read a bit of the Catholic Catechism, and traditional Catholic Christology. Just check it out and see if anything rings true to you. I've studied and experienced both. And while I enjoy Gnostic writings and I can gleam useful information and some truth out of them, they must be taken with a grain of salt. The very nature of gnostic, i.e. direct experiential teaching, is that it cannot be taken as absolute, because the experiences are slightly different for everyone.
That's excellent, Paul! Thanks.
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