Friday, December 25, 2015

Exemplar Cause

In order to develop a life that is no less than a participation in the life of God, we must strive as far as is possible, to live a divine life. Hence, the need we had of a divine model. As St. Augustine remarks, men whom we see were too imperfect to serve us as a pattern and God, who is holiness itself, was too far beyond our gaze. Then, the eternal Son of God, His living image, became man and showed us by His example how man could here on earth approach the perfection of God. Son of God and son of man, He lived a Godlike life and could say: "Who seeth me seeth the Father." Having revealed the holiness of God in His actions, He can present to us as practical the imitation of the divine perfections: "Be you therefore perfect as also your heavenly Father is perfect." Therefore, the Eternal Father proposes Him to us as our model. At His baptism and His transfiguration He said: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Because he is well pleased in Him, the Eternal Father wills that we imitate His only-begotten Son....At bottom the Gospel is no more than a relation of the deeds and traits of our Lord's sacred person proposed to us as a model for our imitation: "Jesus began to do and to teach." Christianity in turn is nothing more than the imitation of Christ. St. Paul gave this as the sum-total of all our duties: "Be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ."

Adolphe Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life, 2nd ed., tr. by Herman Branderis, Society of St. John the Evangelist (Tournai, Belgium: 1930?) pp. 72-73.

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