Friday, August 17, 2007
Let us follow a new way of life through the Spirit
~by St. Pacian
The sin of Adam had come into all men. Through one man, the Apostle says, sin entered and through sin, death. Thus it has come to all men. Therefore, the justice of Christ must enter into men; and as the old Adam ruined his descendants through sin, so Christ must bring new life to all men through justice. The Apostle stresses this theme when he says: As through the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, so too, through the obedience of one man, many were made just. And, as sin brought death to the offender, so grace through justice brings birth to life eternal.
Someone may say to me: "But the sin of Adam is justifiably transmitted to his posterity. Since they were descended from him, and since we are not descended from Christ, how can we be saved because of him?" Do not think in physical terms about descent, then you will see how Christ is our father. In these times of salvation, Christ received body and soul from Mary. He came to save this soul, not to leave it in hell. He united it with his spirit and made it his own. And this is the marriage of the Lord, the union of two in one flesh, so that according to that great mystery, two become one flesh, Christ and his Church.
From this marriage the Christian people are born, by the descent of the spirit of the Lord. The essential nature of the soul, engendered by heavenly seed, grows in the womb of our mother, the Church, and at birth is given life by Christ. Therefore, the Apostle says: The first Adam was a living soul, the new Adam a life-giving spirit. Thus Christ continues in the Church through his priests, as the same Apostle says: In Christ, I have begotten you. And so, the seed of Christ, that is, the Spirit of God, brings forth the new man, nourished in the womb of his mother, welcomed at his birth at the font through the hands of the priests, while faith presides over the ceremony.
Christ must, therefore, be received in order to beget, for the apostle John says: To all who received him he gave the power to become sons of God. But these things cannot be accomplished except by the sacrament of the font, the chrism and the priest. For sin is washed away by the waters of the font; the Holy Spirit is poured forth in the Chrism; and we obtain both of these gifts through the hands and the mouth of the priest. Thus the whole man is reborn and renewed in Christ. Just as Christ rose from the dead, so we shall walk in the newness of life, that is, we put away the errors of our old lives and follow the new way through the Spirit in Christ.