The Nativity of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (Jn. 1.1,14).
God is charity (1 Jn.4.8); everything He does, both in Himself and outside of Himself, is a work of His love. Being the highest and inexhaustible Good, He cannot love anything outside of Himself from the desire of increasing His happiness, as is the case with us; in Himself He possesses all. Therefore, in God, to love, and hence to see it fit to create rational beings (angels and men, with reason and free will; the former, pure spirits, that is, incorporeal with non-deliberating intellect; the latter, corporeal with deliberating reason) and irrational beings, is simply to extend, outside of Himself, His infinite goodness, His perfections, and to communicate to others His own Being and felicity. Bonum diffusivi sui(Good is diffusive of itself), says St. Thomas Aquinas. Thus, God loved man with an eternal love, I have loved thee with an everlasting love(Jer. 31.3), and, loving him, called him into existence, giving him both natural and supernatural life (the life of Christ, the seed of eternal life, implanted in us in Baptism). Through love, God not only brought man out of nothing, but chose him and elevated him to the state of divine sonship, destining him to participate intimately in His own life, in His eternal beatitude. This was the first plan of the immense charity of God with regard to man. But when man fell into sin, God, Who had created him by an act of love, willed to redeem him by an even greater act of love. See then, how the mystery of the Incarnation presents itself to us as the supreme manifestation of God’s exceeding charity toward man. By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we may live by Him. In this is charity… He hath first loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins (1 Jn. 4.9,10). After having given man natural life, after having destined him for the supernatural life, what more could He give him than to give Himself, His Word made flesh, for his salvation?
It is not surprising, therefore, that the story of His benevolent action on behalf of man is all a poem of love, and of merciful love. The first stanza of this poem was our eternal predestination to the beatific vision of God [that is, to see God facie ad faciem (face to face, Ex. 33.11): this consists our eternal happiness in heaven] and to the fruition of the intimate life of God. The second stanza relates, in an even more touching way, the sublimity of His mercy: the mystery of the Incarnation.
The sin of our first parents had destroyed God’s original plan for our elevation to a supernatural state (the state of being born again in the regenerating waters of Baptism and in the Spirit of Truth, cf., Jn. 3.5, abiding forever in the Church, cf., Jn. 14.17).; we had forfeited our claim, and we could never atone for the sin – having offended God. God could have pardoned all, but it was becoming to His holiness and unfathomable justice to exact an adequate satisfaction, for He is just and hath loved justice: His countenace hath beheld righteousness (Ps. 10.8); man was absolutely incapable of providing this. Then the most sublime work of God’s mercy was accomplished: one Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Second – the Eternal Word – came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Behold the Word, God’s only-begotten Son, “who for us men and for our salvation, descended from heaven and became incarnate” (the Nicene Creed). The merciful love of God thus attains its highest manifestation: if there is no ingratitude and misery greater than sin, there can be no love greater than that of Him Who inclines over so much ingratitude and abjection to restore it to its primal splendor. God did this, not by the intervention of a prophet or the most sublime of the angels: but He did it personally as He promised: God will bring the revenge of recompense: God Himself will come and save you(Is. 35.4; pay attention you “Bible-only” sectarians who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior!).
All three Persons of the the Blessed Trinity acted in the Incarnation, the end of which was to unite a human nature with the Person of the Word(theology calls this the “hypostatic union”). The Word remains what He was – perfect God, and the Word was God. Nevertheless, He does not disdain to assume our poor human nature, fallen through sin, Who beingin the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men and in habit found as a man (Phil. 2.6-7). This is the work of the immense charity of God, Who being full of mercy for His poor creatures who had fallen into the abyss of sin, did not hesitate to decree the redemptive Incarnation of His only-begotten Son. Thus the Eternal Word comes to us like the good shepherd who leaves everything and goes down into the valley to look for the lost sheep. This is the fruit of the exceeding charity with which God has loved us!
A Child is born to us, a Son is given to us… His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace
A blessed Christmas to all!