Having addressed the philosophical terms “nature” and “person” (CLICK HERE to read previous posts in this blog series), we now need to apply these terms to Jesus Christ in order to start to understand His Sacred Heart – “what” and “who” is Jesus Christ, and how does this affect His heart and its experience of love. For if we do not understand that Jesus Christ is a Divine Person with both the Divine Nature and a human nature, then we will never fully grasp the magnitude of the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Let us first ask “what” Jesus is, so what is His nature? Well, as ¶ 464 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church writes, Jesus Christ is true God AND true man – “The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that He is the result of a confused mixture of the Divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man.” So then, what is Jesus? Jesus Christ is God and Jesus Christ is a man. Jesus Christ is God because He possesses the Divine nature, so “what” Jesus is is God. But He’s also a man, a real flesh and blood man, born of a woman under the law, as Saint Paul writes, because He also possesses a human nature, so what Jesus is is a man. And He possesses these two natures, the Divine and a human, completely – Jesus Christ is fully, not partly, Divine and fully, not partly, human. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He also possesses these two natures, the Divine and a human, distinctly – Jesus Christ is distinctly God and distinctly a man, not some composite nature of the Divine and a human nature combined to make some new kind of thing. Hence, if you would have asked Him 2,000 years ago while He walked on earth, “what are you”, then He would have said, “I am God and I am a man”.
Now remember that nature determines not only what a thing is, but also what it can do. So, if we know what Jesus is – God and man – then the next question to ask would be, “what could He have done”? Well, what He is is God because of His Divine nature, and so what He could do by His Divine nature is anything and everything pertaining to God, because He is God. He could and did create all things, further holding all things in their existence. And He could turn water into wine, walk on water, touch a leper and not contract leprosy, but instead heal that man of leprosy, resurrect Himself from the dead. And why could He do these Divine things? Because He is God because He possesses the Divine nature, so He can do anything within the capacity of the Divine nature. But yet, that’s not all – what Jesus is is also a man because of His human nature, and so He could not only do all things Divine, but also anything and everything pertaining to the nature of human, because He is a man. So He could be born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, wrapped in cloths, laid in a manger. And He could eat, work, sweat, laugh, sleep, cry. Why? Because He is a man because He possesses a human nature, so He can do anything within the capacity of a human nature. With some notable exceptions due to the fact that He is God – Jesus couldn’t sin, for example – with some notable exceptions, Jesus Christ, by His human nature, could do anything and everything that you and I can do by that very same kind of nature, because He is truly a man. He can, for example, have a human heart, just like you and I do. A human heart that pumps blood through His body as a physical organ, but which is also a symbol of His Person and love, as our human hearts are. And which we therefore appropriately call His Most Sacred Heart.
If you would like to learn more about the Sacred Heart of Jesus, then check out Daniel’s audio course on the Sacred Heart – 13 audio tracks with over 11 hours of content! CLICK HERE to learn more and purchase.