God Sent His Son

“Who do you say I am?,” asked Jesus of his apostles. Christology is the branch of theology that tries to answer that question, addressing the doctrines concerning the person and works of Jesus Christ. As one might imagine, there are many, many books out there for people who wish to study the subject.

Last year, Ignatius Press published an English translation of a wonderful book of Christology by Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna, Austria. The book is titled God Sent His Son: A Contemporary Christology.

In describing his approach, Cardinal Schonborn calls the book the result of sixteen years of lecturing on the subject and over thirty years of dealing with Christological subjects. The length of his study and reflection on the subject is evident in the book.

As I’ve openly admitted (more than once), I’m not a theologian, and my interest is primarily in books that feed my soul, that is, whether it gives me things to reflect on that will deepen my faith and my relationship with God. Much theology, therefore, doesn’t satisfy me. I can enjoy reading and exercising my mind with it for a while, but am often left unsatisfied.

This book, however, satisfies head and heart. It is scholarly and comprehensive, but it is also spiritually enriching. Some of the Cardinal’s reflections were new thoughts to me and others helped me to see things in different ways. Even some which were not new at all we written beautifully enough to arrest me.

While some readers will appreciate more than I did the discussion of the early councils of the Church (some of which, I admit, I skimmed) or the discussions of the doctrines of Anselm or Martin Luther, I was most moved by the sections discussing Jesus’ consciousness of himself and his mission and on other aspects of his humanity and on the contemplation of some of the mysteries of the life of Jesus.

But the thought I want to leave you with comes not from any of those parts, but from a passage early in the book that makes an important point about the Incarnation.

Anyone who sees only the material greatness of the cosmos, and not the orders of mind and love, will also find it difficult to have any understanding for the mystery of the Incarnation. Without the order of love, it is incomprehensible that God should have chosen, on this planet, the small, unimpressive existence of a man, of a child, on order to redeem us.

This review is part of the Catholic Company reviewer program. (If you are looking for gifts for baptism, First Holy Communion or Confirmation, you’ll find some lovely gifts at the Catholic Company.

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One thought on “God Sent His Son

  1. “Anyone who sees only the material greatness of the cosmos, and not the orders of mind and love, will also find it difficult to have any understanding for the mystery of the Incarnation…”

    Perhaps another way of stating the above is the following: focus on the Giver and not the gift. The cosmos is God’s gift to humanity, but it is not who He is. God is love and although His gifts are a manifestation of that love and helps us understand who He is, they should never be confused with His person.

    Several times in scripture, Jesus’ admonition to one just healed was, “go and tell no one.” Although many missed the significance of the message, I do believe Christ was trying to convey the following, “in Me you have eternal life, and not in what I can do for you temporarily.”

    Man can so easily become enamored with the physical, the trappings that surround so much of what we call the “church,” that our focus can easily go from Giver to gift. It requires an honest effort, clearly fueled and guided by the Holy Spirit, to stay focused on that which is truly eternal. shalom

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