Saturday, December 29, 2007

Is not this a happy business?

"Faith does not merely mean that the soul realizes that the divine word is full of all grace, free and holy; it also unites the soul with Christ, as a bride is united with her bridegroom. From such a marriage, as St. Paul says, it follows that Christ and the soul become one body, so that they hold all things in common, whether for better or worse. This means that what Christ possesses belongs to the believing soul, and what the soul possesses belongs to Christ. Thus Christ possesses all good things and holiness; these now belong to the soul. The soul possesses lots of vices and sin; these now belong to Christ. . . . Now is not this a happy business? Christ, the rich, noble and holy bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor, contemptible and sinful little prostitute, takes away all her evil and bestows all his goodness upon her! It is no longer possible for sin to overwhelm her, for she is now found in Christ and is swallowed up in him, so that she possesses a rich righteousness in her bridegroom."

Martin Luther, quoted in Alister E. McGrath, Christian Spirituality: An Introduction, pages 158-159.