A book title in French commands attention: “L’homme qui divinise” (by Real Tremblay): “The Man Who Divinizes.” That is, a human-divine person, Christ in you, changes you so that you participate in his divine nature (2Peter 1:4) — in your very being, and in your actions. By a divine power, “the will, which hitherto willed evil, begins to will good” (Aquinas, ST I-II, Q3, A2). This “Man Who Divinizes” remains at work in the Christian as a new, permanent and heavenly “Power of my power” (cf., the song “Be Thou My Vision”), elevating the believer’s behavior as well as his nature. Certainly the Christian needs to grow accustomed to walking by faith in this grace, but he is continually aided to do so by the presence and activity of Another at work in him: “The Man Who Divinizes.”
Fr. Timothy Vaverek, writing at The Catholic Thing, says that today many Christians are affected by a mistaken notion which sees “our sharing in God’s love [as] sometimes impractical or impossible. This crisis arose because Christian life ceased to be understood as a personal, communal participation in Jesus’ life.”
He adds that “divine love unites us to God in Christ, brings us true contrition, arouses hatred for sin and evil …” Even suffering, when it is a participation in God’s love, draws us “deeper into the crucified heart of the Risen Christ.” Then Christian life is no longer “misunderstood as a submission to abstract teachings rather than a participation in the life of Jesus.” Indeed, when participation in Christ is removed from a Christian’s awareness, “the demands of love take on the distorted appearance of legalistic obligations that sometimes seem merciless or unrealistic …”
It is a great mystery that Christians individually participate in the life of Christ: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). A renewed understanding of that participation transforms lives. The life of an entire parish, and the relationships among its parishioners, would also be profoundly affected if a pastor imparted a vision of the parish’s “communal participation in Jesus’ life.”
Click on this link, if you want to read the entire article in which Fr. Vaverek applies these truths to effectively clarify many of today’s contested moral issues. The article is worth your close attention!
Vatican II called for an updating of the philosophical and theological studies of seminarians, an updating that could apply to the efforts of every Christian: Their studies should “harmoniously work toward opening more and more the minds of the students to the mystery of Christ. For it is this mystery which affects the whole history of the human race, [and] continuously influences the Church …”
“When God penetrates the soul with his nature, the soul experiences two effects: the first is an irresistible love, an attraction which subjugates her by means unknown to her … The second effect is, that the soul feels herself in some manner as participating in that divine nature. She sees by means of an irrefutable illumination that she comes from that God who manifests himself to her and that she returns to him. Moreover, although outside herself, in God she finds herself in her element and in her center; both God and the soul dissolving into one, she forgets her proper life and feels she is partaking of the Life of God.”