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Friday, 15 March 2013

Part 82: Perfection and Doctors of the Church: Hilary of Poitiers

What strikes me is how busy these Doctors of the Church were, running around putting out heretical fires and still praying intensely. So many of these fought against the Arians, a group of heretics who almost ruined the Church. At one time, it was estimated that fifty percent of the bishops of the world were Arians. Take heart, Catholics. Hilary's dates are 300-368. Busy man, holy saint....
One gets the energy for action from prayer. My comments in blue on a section from St. Hilary of Poitiers on The TrinityBook Three, found here.

Our perfection comes from Christ and not ourselves...

....let us see what this glory is which the Son expects to receive from the Father; and then our exposition will be complete. The sequel is, I have glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. I have manifested Thy name unto men. It is, then, by the Son’s works that the Father is glorified, in that He is recognised as God, as Father of God the Only-begotten, Who for our salvation willed that His Son should be born as man, even of a virgin; that Son Whose whole life, consummated in the Passion, was consistent with the humiliation of the virgin birth.
How can we fear any humiliation?

Humility is recognizing that Christ became Incarnate and died for me. He left His Glory to become Man.

Thus, because the Son of God, all-perfect and born from everlasting in the fulness of the Godhead, had now by incarnation become Man and was ready for His death, He prays that He may be glorified with God, even as He was glorifying His Father on the earth; for at that moment the powers of God were being glorified in the flesh before the eyes of a world that knew Him not. But what is this glory with the Father, for which He looks?

And, because He has taken on our humanity, then we can share in His Perfection.

 It is that, of course, which He had with Him before the world was. He had the fulness of the Godhead; He has it still, for He is God’s Son. But He Who was the Son of God had become the Son of man also, for The Word was made flesh. He had not lost His former being, but He had become what He was not before; He had not abdicated His own position, yet He had taken ours; He prays that the nature which He had assumed may be promoted to the glory which He had never renounced. Therefore, since the Son is the Word, and the Word was made flesh, and the Word was God, and was in the beginning with God, and the Word was Son before the foundation of the world; this Son, now incarnate, prayed that flesh might be to the Father what the Son had been. He prayed that flesh, born in time, might receive the splendour of the everlasting glory, that the corruption of the flesh might be swallowed up, transformed into the power of God and the purity of the Spirit. It is His prayer to God, the Son’s confession of the Father, the entreaty of that flesh wherein all shall see Him on the Judgment-day, pierced and bearing the marks of the cross; of that flesh wherein His glory was foreshown upon the Mount, wherein He ascended to heaven and is set down at the right hand of God, wherein Paul saw Him, and Stephen paid Him worship.

This splendour, which we shall only see when in Heaven, in the Beatific Vision, is given to us partially if we are willing to be perfected, emptying ourselves as Christ emptied Himself. He did not run from pain or even death, so how can we run from what is really hard in the call to perfection, to be like Christ, to be Christ in this world?

More be continued.