CCC 54 “God, who creates and conserves all things by his Word, provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities. And furthermore, wishing to open up the way to heavenly salvation – he manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning.”1 He invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.
CCC 102 Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely:2
You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.3
CCC 151 For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his “beloved Son”, in whom the Father is “well pleased”; God tells us to listen to him.4 The Lord himself said to his disciples: “Believe in God, believe also in me.”5 We can believe in Jesus Christ because he is himself God, the Word made flesh: “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.”6 Because he “has seen the Father”, Jesus Christ is the only one who knows him and can reveal him.7
CCC 241 For this reason the apostles confess Jesus to be the Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”; as “the image of the invisible God”; as the “radiance of the glory of God and the very stamp of his nature”.8
CCC 268 Of all the divine attributes, only God’s omnipotence is named in the Creed: to confess this power has great bearing on our lives. We believe that his might is universal, for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything. God’s power is loving, for he is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it “is made perfect in weakness”.9
CCC 291 “In the beginning was the Word. .. and the Word was God. .. all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”10 The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him “all things were created, in heaven and on earth. .. all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”11 The Church’s faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the “giver of life”, “the Creator Spirit” (Veni, Creator Spiritus), the “source of every good”.12
CCC 423 We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem at the time of King Herod the Great and the emperor Caesar Augustus, a carpenter by trade, who died crucified in Jerusalem under the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, is the eternal Son of God made man. He ‘came from God’,13 ‘descended from heaven’,14 and ‘came in the flesh’.15 For ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. .. And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace.’16
CCC 445 After his Resurrection, Jesus’ divine sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity. He was “designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”.17 The apostles can confess: “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”18
CCC 461 Taking up St. John’s expression, “The Word became flesh”,19 the Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.20
CCC 473 But at the same time, this truly human knowledge of God’s Son expressed the divine life of his person.21 “The human nature of God’s Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God.”22 Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father.23 The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts.24
CCC 504 Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.”25 From his conception, Christ’s humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God “gives him the Spirit without measure.”26 From “his fullness” as the head of redeemed humanity “we have all received, grace upon grace.”27
CCC 505 By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. “How can this be?”28 Participation in the divine life arises “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”.29 The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit’s gift to man. The spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God30 is fulfilled perfectly in Mary’s virginal motherhood.
CCC 526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom.31 For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we must be “born from above” or “born of God”.32 Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us.33 Christmas is the mystery of this “marvelous exchange”:
O marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.34
CCC 530 The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents35 make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.”36 Christ’s whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him.37 Jesus’ departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God’s people.38
CCC 575 Many of Jesus’ deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”,39 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”,40 than for the ordinary People of God.41 To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting;42 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes.43 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resurrection of the dead,44 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer),45 the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.46
CCC 612 The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father’s hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani,47 making himself “obedient unto death”. Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. ..”48 Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.49 Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”.50 By accepting in his human will that the Father’s will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”51
CCC 705 Disfigured by sin and death, man remains “in the image of God,” in the image of the Son, but is deprived “of the glory of God,”52 of his “likeness.” The promise made to Abraham inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son himself will assume that “image”53 and restore it in the Father’s “likeness” by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is “the giver of life.”
CCC 706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.54 In Abraham’s progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself,55 in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”56 God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and “the promised Holy Spirit. .. [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.”57
CCC 717 “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”58 John was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb”59 by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.60
CCC 719 John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.”61 In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah.62 He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the “voice” of the Consoler who is coming.63 As the Spirit of truth will also do, John “came to bear witness to the light.”64 In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels.65 “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God. .. Behold, the Lamb of God.”66
CCC 878 Finally, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a personal character. Although Christ’s ministers act in communion with one another, they also always act in a personal way. Each one is called personally: “You, follow me”67 in order to be a personal witness within the common mission, to bear personal responsibility before him who gives the mission, acting “in his person” and for other persons: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. ..”; “I absolve you. ..”
CCC 1108 In every liturgical action the Holy Spirit is sent in order to bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his Body. The Holy Spirit is like the sap of the Father’s vine which bears fruit on its branches.68 The most intimate cooperation of the Holy Spirit and the Church is achieved in the liturgy. The Spirit who is the Spirit of communion, abides indefectibly in the Church. For this reason the Church is the great sacrament of divine communion which gathers God’s scattered children together. Communion with the Holy Trinity and fraternal communion are inseparably the fruit of the Spirit in the liturgy.69
CCC 1216 “This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding. ..”70 Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself:71
Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift. .. We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship.72
CCC 1692 The Symbol of the faith confesses the greatness of God’s gifts to man in his work of creation, and even more in redemption and sanctification. What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become “children of God,”73 “partakers of the divine nature.”74 Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life “worthy of the gospel of Christ.”75 They are made capable of doing so by the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit, which they receive through the sacraments and through prayer.
CCC 1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.76
CCC 2466 In Jesus Christ, the whole of God’s truth has been made manifest. “Full of grace and truth,” he came as the “light of the world,” he is the Truth.77 “Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”78 The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know “the truth [that] will make you free” and that sanctifies.79 To follow Jesus is to live in “the Spirit of truth,” whom the Father sends in his name and who leads “into all the truth.”80 To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes or No.’”81
CCC 2780 We can invoke God as “Father” because he is revealed to us by his Son become man and because his Spirit makes him known to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God.82
CCC 2787 When we say “our” Father, we recognize first that all his promises of love announced by the prophets are fulfilled in the new and eternal covenant in his Christ: we have become “his” people and he is henceforth “our” God. This new relationship is the purely gratuitous gift of belonging to each other: we are to respond to “grace and truth” given us in Jesus Christ with love and faithfulness.83
1 DV 3; cf. Jn 1:3; Rom 1:19-20.
2 Cf. Heb 1:1-3.
3 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 103, 4, 1: PL 37, 1378; cf. Ps 104; Jn 1:1.
4 Mk 1:11; cf. 9:7.
5 Jn 14:1.
6 Jn 1:18.
7 Jn 6:46; cf. Mt 11:27.
8 Jn 1:1; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3.
9 Cf. Gen 1:1; Jn 1:3; Mt 6:9; 2 Cor 12:9; cf. I Cor 1:18.
10 Jn 1:1-3.
11 Col 1:16-17.
12 Cf. Nicene Creed: DS 150; Hymn “Veni, Creator Spiritus”; Byzantine Troparion of Pentecost Vespers, “O heavenly King, Consoler”.
13 Jn 13:3.
14 Jn 3:13; 6:33.
15 1 Jn 4:2.
16 Jn 1:14,16.
17 Rom 1:3; cf. Acts 13:33.
18 Jn 1:14.
19 Jn 1:14.
20 Phil 2:5-8; cf. LH, Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer.
21 Cf. St. Gregory the Great, “Sicut aqua” ad Eulogium, Epist. Lib. 10, 39 PL 77, 1097 Aff.; DS 475.
22 St. Maximus the Confessor, Qu. et dub. 66 PG 90, 840A.
23 Cf. Mk 14:36; Mt 11:27; Jn 1:18; 8:55; etc.
24 Cf. Mk 2:8; Jn 2 25; 6:61; etc.
25 I Cor 15:45,47.
26 Jn 3:34.
27 Jn 1:16; cf. Col 1:18.
28 Lk 1:34; cf. Jn 3:9.
29 Jn 1:13.
30 Cf. 2 Cor 11:2.
31 Cf. Mt 18:3-4.
32 Jn 3 7; 1:13; 1:12; cf. Mt 23:12.
33 Cf. Gal 4:19.
34 LH, 1 January, Antiphon I of Evening Prayer.
35 Cf. Mt 2:13-18.
36 Jn 1:11.
37 Cf. Jn 15:20.
38 Cf. Mt 2:15; Hos 11:1.
39 Lk 2:34.
40 Cf. Jn 1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.
41 Jn 7:48-49.
42 Cf Lk 13:31.
43 Cf. Lk 7:36; 14:1.
44 Cf. Mt 22:23-34; Lk 20:39.
45 Cf. Mt 6:18.
46 Cf. Mk 12:28-34.
47 Cf. Mt 26:42; Lk 22:20.
48 Phil 2:8; Mt 26:39; cf. Heb 5:7-8.
49 Cf. Rom 5:12; Heb 4:15.
50 Cf. Acts 3:15; Rev 1:17; Jn 1:4; 5:26.
51 1 Pt 224; cf. Mt 26:42.
52 Rom 3:23.
53 Cf. Jn 1:14; Phil 2:7.
54 Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21.
55 Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16.
56 Cf. In 11:52.
57 Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14.
58 Jn 1:6.
59 Lk 1:15, 41.
60 Cf. Lk 1:68.
61 Lk 7:26.
62 Cf. Mt 11:13-14.
63 Jn 1:23; cf. Isa 40:1-3.
64 Jn 1:7; cf. Jn 15:26; 5:35.
65 Cf. 1 Pet 1:10-12.
66 Jn 1:33-36.
67 Jn 21:22; Cf. Mt 4:19. 21; Jn 1:4.
68 Cf. Jn 15:1-17; Gal 5:22.
69 Cf. 1 Jn 1:3-7.
70 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 61, 12: PG 6, 421.
71 Jn 1:9; 1 Thess 5:5; Heb 10:32; Eph 5:8.
72 St. Gregory Of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 3-4: PG 36, 361C.
73 Jn 1:12; 1 Jn 3:1.
74 2 Pet 1:4.
75 Phil 1:27.
76 Cf. Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4.
77 Jn 1:14; 8:12; Cf. 14:6.
78 Jn 12:46.
79 Jn 8:32; Cf. 17:17.
80 Jn 16:13.
81 Mt 5:37.
82 Cf. Jn 1:1; 1 Jn 5:1.
83 Jn 1:17; Cf. Hos 2:21-22; 6:1-6.