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제목 Glory to God - The Mystery of the Incarnation(2014-12-25)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2014-12-26

 



 

 


Glory to God - The Mystery of the Incarnation (25th December 2014)


My dear brethren,


God cares for us!

 

“For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn. 3:16).


This feast of Christmas beautifully illustrate this sentence of our Lord Jesus Christ: yes, indeed, God loves us, little human beings, to the point of sending to us His only-begotten Son, equal with Him, Eternal Son of the Eternal Father, Almighty Son of the Almighty Father, infinitely perfect Son of the infinitely perfect Father! For whom? For us, little human beings, so weak, so short-lived! “What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?” (Ps. 8:5).

That which comes from God ought to return to God. Indeed it is not possible that the infinitely Good God would have as ultimate end a goal that is not infinitely Good: hence God cannot love as His ultimate end anything less than God himself. For God to put His ultimate end in a creature would be a mortal sin; which is an absurdity; when some people think that God has willed some creature “for their own selves”, and not ultimately ordered back to Him, they thereby show that they have no understanding of the perfection of God. God created the whole world, and has so ordered that all the creatures of the world should return to God. Indeed the Scriptures say: “The Lord hath made all things for himself” (Pro 16:4). How can that be? How can we return to God?

God does not need us; there is nothing we could “give” to God that He would not already possess. So how can that “return to God” be? St Paul tells us: “For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things: to him be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).


And the psalmist sings: “The heavens shew forth the glory of God” (Ps. 18:2). All things must return to God by giving glory to God! To give glory to God does not add anything to His own perfection: God is not better nor happier because we glorify Him. He does not need us. Yet “it is truly worthy and just” for all His creatures to give glory to God: it is so ordered by the Wisdom of God. Our own perfection and everlasting happiness consists in giving glory to God, being and living completely for God.

What is “glory”? A person is glorious when he is held in high esteem by many people. Glory consists thus in both being widely known and appreciated. God’s glory consist thus in being widely known by His spiritual creatures as the Supreme all-Perfect Being, God and creator of all things, and being loved above all: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind:” (Lk. 10:27)

Even the material creatures, though they themselves are not endowed with knowledge, they give glory to God by the “ministry” of men and of angels, who see in them the effects of the almighty wisdom of God, as the greatest and most powerful of all artists, and praise Him for His works: men and angels offer to God the praise of all the speechless material creatures.


Thus it was written first about the stars that “The heavens shew forth the glory of God” (Ps. 18:2); from the greatest even to the smallest material creature, the wisdom of the Creator is manifest: “if they[men] admired their power and their effects, let them understand by them, that he that made them, is mightier than they: For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby” (Wis 13:4-5). Thus St Paul denounces the sin of the pagan idol-worshippers thus: “when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks” (Rom. 1:21).

This is the drama of mankind: man, a small creature, yet endowed with intelligence and thus capable to acknowledge the Creator and Supreme God, disregards the great God and turns himself onto created goods. To put one’s ultimate end in a creature, whereas we have been created for God, this is the very essence of mortal sin. Sin has wounded mankind, and every man is born with this original sin (except the Immaculata, preserved by a special privilege of our Lord Jesus Christ). Yet God did not abandon mankind to its sinfulness, but sent His only-begotten Son as Redeemer and Saviour of men, “to save his people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21).

Now the first and essential glory that we give to God is interior, spiritual: it is both knowledge and love: knowing God as supreme and loving Him above all. Moreover God revealed Himself, in the very mystery of His inner-life for all eternity: the Three Divine Persons, the Father begetting His Son from all eternity and together breathing the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of their common Love; He revealed His plan for us, to save us from our sins and to lead us to eternal beatitude with Him in Heaven.


If God speaks, man must believe. In believing, we honour the truthfulness of God: ”I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”.(Jn 14:6) That honour is given by the truth Faith, the Truth of Catholic Faith. “He that hath received his testimony (the testimony that the Father gives to the Son), hath set to his seal that God is true”(Jn.3:33)i.e. 

 But Faith is not sufficient, we also ought to love God above all things: this is the first and the greatest of all commandments: “thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength.


This is the first commandment” (Mk. 12:30). In so doing, we testify in a practical way that, yes, God is supremely Good and therefore supremely lovable! To say with one’s lips that God is supremely good, and yet to love the creatures more than God, that is to deny it by one’s deeds: “They profess that they know God: but in their works they deny him” (Tit. 1:16).

Thus the good angels and the Saints in Heaven give perfect glory to God by their knowledge of Him – which the beatific vision brings to its utmost perfection – and their love of Him above all. In doing so, they live everlastingly: “Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jn. 17:3).


Thus contemplating God with love from our whole heart, soul, mind and strength gives glory to God, and in this constitutes our ultimate end: thus we live indeed not for ourselves but for God; and in this we find our ultimate joy, eternal happiness in Heaven. We prepare ourselves to this by contemplation,that is a loving look Faith on the revealed mysteries.

Yet, how can we get there? Is not such a goal beyond our strength? Yes, it is – the strength of our nature, especially after the wounds of sin, is not sufficient to reach such a lofty goal. But God cares! He sent precisely His only-begotten Son to save us from sin and “to empower us to become children of God” (Jn. 1:12). And we see this in Christmas. How to get to Heaven? Contemplate and follow our Lord Jesus Christ!

All human knowledge starts with our senses, and from the data grasped by our senses, we can then abstract ideas and get to know spiritual things and the Creator of all. Fallen man turned himself towards earthly things; as a consequence of such fall, it became difficult for him to lift up his sight towards heavenly realities.


So God sent His Son on earth: “and the Word was made flesh” (Jn. 1:14); He took a human nature, a body and soul like ours: so that we can now see Him even with the eyes of our body, we can hear Him with our ears, we can touch Him, and through the humanity of Jesus we get to know His Divinity.


St John is so enthused with this that he writes at the beginning of his first epistle:  “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life: for the Life was manifested; and we have seen and do bear witness, and declare unto you the Life Eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us: That which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn. 1:1-3).

Nothing introduces us better into the knowledge of the most Holy Trinity than the knowledge of the Humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ: when we see the little Child Jesus silent in the crib, yet His spirit was in constant prayer adoring His Father and interceding for us, we understand truly the value of the interior life.


Men love earthly things, riches, comfort, external honours and pleasures: when the Son of God comes on earth, He chose none of that; He was born the poorest of the poor, in cold and hardship, unknown to the princes of this world, yet known and adored by the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph and the simple souls of the shepherds and the generous Magi: He, the Son of God, values more the adoration and love of the Blessed Virgin Mary and these few very devout souls than the riches, pleasures and honours of this world. Thus we understand that “God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24).


This Little Child is poor of earthly goods, yet He is proclaimed and sung by the army of Angels to the shepherds; He is declared to the Magi by a miraculous star: thus He is truly Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible (star) and invisible (angels).


This Little Child is the Almighty God, yet He frightens not the repentant sinner, but rather calls all of us to the love of Him. He made himself little and poor so that by helping Him in His humanity, we may obtain the help and graces of His Divinity: this was not only true for Our Lady and St Joseph who served Him in His very body, but also true for all those who help the members of his Mystical Body: “Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:40).

St Augustine says that little children have the art of calling for our love, of making themselves loved. The Almighty God thus made Himself a Little Child to call for our love: by loving His humanity we are led to love His Divinity.

But there is more to it. This Little Child Jesus, adored by the shepherds, is the Lamb of God: He took flesh and blood in order to offer have something to offer in sacrifice in reparation for our sins, to restore the honour of God by the most perfect Sacrifice. He is the Saviour, the Divine Physician who heals our souls from the evils of sin, and who elevates it to that marvellous friendship with God, nay, to the “adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:5): the Son of God has become the son of man, so that the children of men may become children of God! Truly God cares; God is Charity unutterable!

My dear brethren, the more we contemplate this great mystery of the Incarnation, the more we see the reflection of the divine perfections in it, and the more we are raised to love Him above all things, with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind and all our strength. We find no words to express the beauty of this mystery: it ought to be contemplated in silence, as it happened itself in the silence of the night. This gives glory to the most Holy Trinity!

No one can help us more for this contemplation of the Incarnation than the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has been so intimately united with that great of mystery and has the deepest understanding of it. May she obtain for us to appreciate more and more this most marvellous mystery, and thereby give glory to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, from now unto eternity! Amen.


Fr, F. Laisney (sspxasia)