Pre-History now History

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Nativity (the Word made Flesh) - by Charles LE BRUN, from Musée du Louvre, Paris

 

eucharist3.gif (9262 bytes) "All my Sermons are prepared in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. As recreation is most pleasant and profitable in the sun, so Homiletic Creativity is best nourished before the Eucharist. The most brilliant ideas come from meeting God face-to-face. The Holy Spirit that Presided at the Incarnation is the best atmosphere for Illumination. Pope John Paul II keeps a small desk or writing pad near him whenever he is in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament; and I have done this all my life — I am sure for the same reason he does, because a lover always works better when the Beloved is with him".

- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

 

Pre-History now History
(the Word made Flesh)
(the Hypostatic Union)

by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.

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"The Word became Flesh". The Divine Nature, which was Pure and Holy, entered as a Renovating Principle into the Corrupted Line of Adam's Race, without being affected by Corruption. Through the Virgin Birth, Jesus Christ became Operative in Human History without being Subject to the Evil in it.

So the Word became Flesh; He came to Dwell among us, and we saw His Glory, such Glory as Befits the Father's only Son, Full of Grace and Truth. [John 1:14]

Bethlehem became a Link between Heaven and Earth; God and Man met here, and looked each other in the face. In the taking of Human Flesh, the Father Prepared It, the Spirit Formed It, and the Son Assumed It. He Who had an Eternal Generation in the Bosom of the Father, now had a Temporal Generation in Time. He Who had His Birth in Bethlehem came to be born in the Hearts of Men. For, what would it Profit if He was born a Thousand times in Bethlehem, unless He was Born again in Man?

But to all who did Receive Him, to those who have Yielded Him their Allegiance, He gave the Right to become Children of God [John 1:17].

sacheart_ani.gif (8256 bytes) Now Man need not hide from God as Adam did; for He can be Seen through Christ's Human Nature. Christ did not gain One (1) Perfection more by becoming Man, nor did He Lose anything of what He possessed as God. There was the Almightiness of God in the Movement of His Arm, the Infinite Love of God in the Beatings of His Human Heart and the Unmeasured Compassion of God to Sinners in His Eyes. God is now Manifest in the Flesh; this is what is called the Incarnation. The Whole Range of the Divine Attributes of Power and Goodness, Justice, Love, Beauty, were in Him. And when Our Divine Lord Acted and Spoke, God in His Perfect Nature became Manifest to those who Saw Him and Heard Him and Touched Him. As He told Philip later on:

Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. [John 14:9]

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural Order

Body/Senses/Sex/
Psychosomatic Powers
Emotions/Feelings/
(Subordinate-Partner)

Soul/Spirit/Intellect/
Superior Will/Faith/
Love/Reason/Mind/
(Dominant Partner)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Man can Love anything unless he can get his Arms around it, and the Cosmos is too Big and too Bulky. But once God became a Babe and was wrapped in Swaddling Clothes and Laid in a Manger, Men could say, "This is Emmanuel, this is God with us". By His Reaching-down to frail Human Nature and Lifting it up to the Incomparable Prerogative of Union with Himself, Human Nature became Dignified. So real was this Union that all of His Acts and Words, all of His Agonies and Tears, all of His Thoughts and Reasonings, Resolves and Emotions, while being properly Human, were at-the-same-time the Acts and Words, Agonies and Tears, Thoughts and Reasonings, Resolves and Emotions of the Eternal Son of God.

What Men call the Incarnation is but the Union of Two Natures, the Divine and the Human in a Single (1) Person Who governs both. This is not Difficult to Understand; for what is Man but a Sample, at an Immeasurably Lower Level, of a Union of Two (2) Totally Different Substances, One Material and the Other Immaterial; One the Body, the Other the Soul, under the Regency of a Single (1) Human Personality? What is more remote from one another than Powers and Capacities of Flesh and Spirit? Antecedent to their Unity, how difficult it would be, ever to conceive of a moment when Body and Soul would be United in a Single (1) Personality. That they are so United is an Experience clear to every Mortal. And yet it is an Experience at which Man does not Marvel because of its Familiarity.

God, Who brings-together Body and Soul into One (1) Human Personality, notwithstanding their Difference of Nature, could surely bring about the Union of a Human Body and a Human Soul with His Divinity, under the Control of His Eternal Person. This is what is meant by the:

So the Word became Flesh; He came to dwell among us. [John 1: 14]

The Person which Assumed Human Nature was not Created, as is the case of all other Persons. His Person was the Pre-existent Word or Logos. His Human Nature, on the other hand, was Derived from the Miraculous Conception by Mary, in which the Divine Overshadowing of the Spirit and the Human Fiat or the Consent of a Woman, were most Beautifully Blended. This is the Beginning of a New Humanity out of the Material of the Fallen Race. When the Word became Flesh, it did not mean that any Change took-place in the Divine Word. The Word of God proceeding forth did not leave the Father's Side. What happened was not so-much the Conversion-of the Godhead into Flesh, as the Taking-of a Manhood into God.

There was Continuity with the Fallen Race of Man through the Manhood taken-from Mary; there is Discontinuity through the fact that the Person of Christ is the Pre-existent Logos. Christ thus literally becomes the Second Adam, the Man through Whom the Human Race starts-all-over. His Teaching centered on the Incorporation of Human Natures to Him, after the Manner in which the Human Nature that He took from Mary was United-to the Eternal Word.

It is hard for a Human Being to Understand the Humility that was involved in the Word becoming Flesh. Imagine, if it were possible, a Human Person divesting himself of his Body, and then sending his Soul into the Body of a Serpent. A Double (2) Humiliation would follow: First, accepting the Limitations of a Serpentine Organism, knowing all the while his Mind was Superior, and that Fangs could not Adequately Articulate Thoughts no Serpent ever possessed. The Second Humiliation would be to be forced as a result of this "Emptying of Self" to Live in the Companionship of Serpents. But all this is nothing compared to the Emptying of God, by which He took on the Form of Man and accepted the Limitations of Humanity, such as Hunger and Persecution; not Trivial either was it for the Wisdom of God to Condemn Himself to Association with Poor Fishermen who knew so-little. But this Humiliation which began in Nazareth when He was Conceived in the Virgin Mary was only the First of many to Counteract the Pride of Man, until the Final Humiliation of Death on the Cross. If there were no Cross, there would have been no Crib; if there had been no Nails, there would have been no Straw. But He could not Teach the Lesson of the Cross as Payment for Sin; He had to take it. God the Father did not Spare His Son ------- so much did He Love Mankind. That was the Secret wrapped in the Swaddling Bands.