In an earlier work, Providence, we sought to explain, according torevelation and theology, the nature of divine Providence, its extension and infallibility, and the way we must confidently abandon ourselves to it by fulfilling our duties a little better each day. We have also shown in that work how conformity with God's signified will permit us to abandon ourselves to His will of good pleasure even before it has been manifested to us. Thus, "fidelity and abandonment" is a maxim that preserves the equilibrium of the interior life in the face of two opposing deviations, namely, restless, sterile agitation, and lazy, quietistic indifference. This book on the Savior is in a sense the sequel to the one mentioned above. Who, indeed, if not the Savior has made the correct notion of Providence, so often expressed in the Old Testament, prevail over the notion of destiny or of an unknown and irresistible linkage of events and causes? Who has liberated men from the clutches of blind fate, spoken of by the Greek poets? Who has enabled us to free ourselves from the bonds of fatality, of chance or ill fortune, of life's countless worries, of slavery to the passions? Who, if not He whom we call the Savior? The greatest Greek philosophers sought deliverance in contemplation of the Sovereign Good, which they conceived variously, depending on whether they were more or less idealistic. But they admitted that this contemplation of the Sovereign Good was accessible to only a very few men. They themselves attained to it only for a few fleeting moments; and if they spoke of the life to come, it was in terms of a beautiful possibility. Even Plato expressed himself thus in the Phaedo, as did Seneca in one of his Letters to Lucilius (102). The problem of men's individual destinies remained obscure, and the necessity resulting from the very nature of things weighed heavily on men's souls. There was nothing to do but to be resigned to it. "The philosophers do not free us from it. Quite the contrary, they buttress by their doctrines the stern necessity of universal laws." According to the Stoics, fate leads those who submit to her, but carries along in spite of themselves those who resist. The determinist doctrines from the Orient added still more to the weight of destiny. The Savior came not only to deliver us from the stranglehold of fate, from the irresistible chain of known and unknown causes, and from the blows of misfortune; He came also to deliver us from sin, from injustice with respect to God and men. He came to justify us and to promise us, no longer as a beautiful possibility but as an absolute certainty, not only future life in the natural order, but eternal life in the supernatural order, participation in the intimate life of God: a life in which we shall see Him as He sees Himself and love Him as He loves Himself. Belief in destiny has been superseded by faith in God's love for us and faith in Providence: "God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting." The weight of destiny has been lifted, and our individual destinies are brighter. The Savior brings deliverance to all who do not through lust or pride resist the light and the grace of God. It is from this point of view that we shall consider the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation. On several occasions we have explained to theological students St. Thomas' treatise on the Incarnation, making use of his principal commentators. We judge it useful for our present purpose to extract certain portions of this treatise that bear directly on the personality of the Savior, His interior life, and His love for us, and to present this material in a form accessible to all interior souls. In our presentation we shall go back as much as possible from theology to faith itself, since the latter is far superior to the former.
Rev Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP, Brother Hermenegild TOSF A Boussard, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1508849021, ISBN 13: 9781508849025