The Mystery of Jesus, Chapter 1 – The Mystery Which is Christ

Christ Carrying the Cross, by El GrecoPraying that God may open unto us a door of speech to speak the mystery of Jesus. (Colossians 4:3) We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery which is hidden, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7) The mystery which was kept secret from eternity. (Romans 16:25) The mystery which is Christ, which has been hidden from ages and generations, but now is manifested to his Saints. (Colossians 1:26-27)

Mysteries, both natural and supernatural, surround us, press us and penetrate us on all sides. We are simply steeped in mysteries. We are to our very selves, and each one of the brethren is to us, a mystery or rather a sheaf of mysteries. The material universe we are in is an enormous congeries of mysteries: in the inscrutable depths of the firmament, in the atmosphere which envelops our planet, above and beneath the surface of the earth, in the oceans, are found mysteries upon mysteries and mysteries within mysteries.

Each tiny particle of matter, animate or inanimate, is a little world and a formidable abyss which our short-sighted reason cannot fathom. Science has demonstrated that a single atom of matter has a more complicated structure than any Gothic cathedral. The last word as to its internal laws is yet to be said, and will very likely never be said by man this side of the grave. The more advance is made in the exploration of the infinitesimally small, the more also the goal of all researches, perfect knowledge, seems to recede and elude our grasp.

Then, infinitely transcending these natural mysteries, there are the supernatural ones of the realm of grace and of that of glory.

Innumerable as these also are, they may still be reduced for convenience sake to three most comprehensive ones in which all the others are included as circles within circles, rota in rotam, says Ezechiel. Thus:

First and foremost the mvstery of the Most Holy Trinity of the Divine Persons.

Then, the mystery of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, the mystery of the Church of Christ, in time and eternity.

Even these three distinct mysteries so intermingle or interpenetrate each other, and are so involved in each other, that at least to the eyes of our created intelligence they seem ultimately to run into just one huge mystery, namely the mystery of Jesus. For, indeed, the mystery of the Church of Christ is still the mystery of Jesus, since it is, in the main, the mystery of the extension of Jesus in all souls of good will, in this life and in the next.

On the other hand, Jesus being the Son of God, one and the same God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, we cannot exclude Him from the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. Thus the mystery of Jesus stretches out into all things divine and human and reaches out from eternity even unto eternity. Our Lord is in Himself the whole supernatural order, and He moreover takes unto Himself and sanctifies and transfigures the whole natural order. Whatever is outside of Him and refuses to become one with Him, is doomed; although the process of elimination and separation from Jesus comes not from Him, but from reasonable creatures, whether angels or men, making a wrong use of their freedom to choose.

We have been told, in books purporting to unfold to us the divine plan, that the supernatural order is built upon the natural. It so appears at a first glance, when we look at things as they are mirrored in the medium of our prejudiced mind, instead of viewing them as they really stand in their mutual relations. We are, then, victims of the same illusion as the man who, looking at a landscape reflected in a lake, would persuade himself that the world is upside down. But, if we place ourselves at the right view-point, which is that of God, we shall realize that God has created all things in Christ and for Christ, in close dependence and strict subordination to Him.

The sacred humanity is the primum volitum, the very first object God had in view in creating the world. It is in Jesus Christ and in reference to Him that God has willed the rest of created things, this world of angels and men and lower beings. It is in him that God has loved us from all eternity and has brought us into actual existence and has co-ordinated the entire providential plan of things: in Christ as Saint Paul is so fond of repeating, “in Christ” and not otherwise.

Now, as the whole supernatural order is built upon the person of Our Lord – to be more precise, upon His sacred humanity – it follows that even the natural order rests upon the same sacred humanity, and has been created for its sake. All things visible and invisible, angels, men and inferior creatures are in an absolute dependence on the sacred humanity of Our Lord and exist only for His sake: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. I am the first and the last, and alive and was dead and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell. (Apocalypse 1:8-18)

Lord Jesus, You are truly the first and the last word of God, the first and the last word of the whole universe of things visible and invisible, the first and the last word of all in time and eternity: be also the first and the last word of Yourpoor servant, every day of his life, in all his undertakings, but most particularly at the time of recollection and prayer. I want to contemplate this sublime mystery which You are, I want to grow more and more enamoured of it; to live upon it; to inhale its delectable, substantial perfume, and to breathe it out all around me, until You at last be pleased to call me to the beatific vision of Your glory with the Father and the Holy Ghost in heaven.

Jesus, sweet Lord and Love, may it please Your infinite goodness to shed upon me the radiance of Your adorable countenance, of Your five Wounds, of Your gracious eyes, of Your loving Heart, of Your dear Soul, of Your Godhead! Then shall I fall at Your Feet as dead. Then will You lay Your right hand upon me saying, Fear not. Then will the unutterable take place.

– from The Mystery of Jesus, by Dom Savinien Louismet, OSB, 1922