Monday, December 24, 2007

A Scandalous Love

For a little reflection this Christmas Eve, I'd like to direct our eyes to some achingly beautiful, wonderfully scandalous passages in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here's a book that I think is too often passed over as heady, theologically dense, or something only for CCD teachers, sisters, priests, academics or theology students to ponder. But the Catechism is for believers, all believers, to leap into, pour over, pray over, and chew on as an essential part of one spiritually nutritious breakfast! The word catechism comes from the Greek root meaning simply "an echo." And that's all it is - an echo of the Truth and Beauty and Goodness of salvation given to us in the Bible. So here we go... chew slowly and enjoy!


457 "Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again... Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior... Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?"
- St. Gregory of Nyssa

"For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."
- St. Athanasius

458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

461 Taking up St. John's expression, "The Word became flesh", the Church calls "Incarnation" the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation: "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross."
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