What Abraham Did Not Do

“If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did.” (John 8:39-40)

The Catena Aurea includes the following comment of Origen on the passage above:

It might seem to some, that it were superfluous to say that Abraham did not this; for it were impossible that it should be; Christ was not born at that time. But we may remind them, that in Abraham’s time there was a man born who spoke the truth, which he heard from God, and that this man’s life was not sought for by Abraham. Know too that the Saints were never without the spiritual advent of Christ. I understand then from this passage, that every one who, after regeneration, and other divine graces bestowed upon him, commits sin, does by this return to evil incur the guilt of crucifying the Son of God, which Abraham did not do.  You do the works of your father.

The teaching here is so familiar that it is hard not to let it become a mere notion, a cliché, rather than the unspeakably terrible thing that it is. Bl. Columba Marmion writes:

[The soul] in voluntarily performing an action contrary to God’s will practically denies […] that God is supreme goodness worthy of being preferred to all that is not Himself; it puts God beneath the creature. Non serviam: “I know Thee not, I will not serve Thee”, says this soul, repeating the words of Satan on the day of his revolt. Does it say them with the lips? No, at least not always; perhaps it would not like to do so, but it says them in act. Sin is the practical negation of the Divine perfections […] practically, if such a thing were not rendered impossible by the nature of the Divinity, this soul would work evil to the Infinite Majesty and Goodness; it would destroy God.

But the really astonishing thing is not the malice of sin, but the mercy of God in the face of that malice: “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” (Romans 5:10)

3 thoughts on “What Abraham Did Not Do

  1. Pingback: IT WERE BETTER FOR HIM HAD HE NEVER BEEN BORN | Sancrucensis

  2. Pingback: An Easter Sermon for Contemplative Nuns | Sancrucensis

  3. Pingback: Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam | Sancrucensis

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