Et Homo Factus Est
Et homo factus est. I remember when I was in the seminary there was a theological debate that asked whether the Incarnation or the Resurrection was the more significant event. And as seminary debates go, this became quite serious. But it was quite foolish. The two events are intimately connected, for without one the other has no significance.
For it is the case that both events are magnificent divine events that transform us. As creatures who are broken because of original sin, both the Incarnation and the Resurrection help us to realize that there is a way to be saved. We share from our conception the brokenness of sin in original sin. We are freed from original sin, but our predisposition to sin means we still need a Savior. We cannot free ourselves from sin, and we cannot forgive ourselves without God’s powerful grace.
Such is the connection. Rather than leaving us in our damnation, God became one of us so that we could be saved, not through our own harder work, but in the free gift of salvation that became available to us through the Incarnation, which resulted in the death of Jesus, and the Resurrection which dramatically confirmed for all his divinity. Et homo factus est.
And so the celebration of the Incarnation is the celebration of the Resurrection. The New Life of the Resurrection became real when the Word became flesh in the Incarnation. And so in the waiting for the Incarnation we are waiting as well for the Resurrection, seeking the confirmation of our own salvation by the unbelievable and unimaginable generosity of our God.
This is what Mary’s faithful generosity brought about. When she said yes to God she opened for us the salvation of God. By allowing the Holy Spirit to incarnate Jesus the Son into the Blessed Mother, what was made real for us was that God indeed loved us so much He would do everything to save us, even at the cost of His own Son.
How much must Mary have longed for the Incarnation! She who saw the angel Gabriel to learn just how much it was that God loved her, and through her, how much it was that God would show His love for the entire world! “Yet she must have longed to hold Him between her hands and to look into His human face and to see in it, in the face of God, a family likeness to herself!”
But there was also a bitter sadness to all of this. Her life would become one where she would recognize more and more deeply that her love of her son was to be a love that led to her son’s suffering. And yet, as it became more obvious to her, especially in those moments where she did not always understand the actions of her son Jesus, that he would suffer and die, she did nothing to try to stop it. She imitated her son’s generosity by His giving his live for our sins. She took on His suffering just as he did. What mother does not suffer greatly when their children suffer?
And so it is very important to know that the Incarnation our Blessed Mother made possible in her fiat led to a waiting for him to become flesh, a becoming flesh that led to His suffering and dying on the Cross. And regardless of whether she realized the depths of suffering her fiat would bring her, at every moment she understood the suffering she endured was the necessary suffering for her son to save the world.
This means that we too must be like the Blessed Virgin, recognizing that when we say yes to God, we are saying yes to allowing Christ to be born in us, and as a result, to see that we suffer in his suffering, and He suffers in ours.
“It is really difficult to realize that if He is formed in our life and we are not beside Him but in Him; and what He asks of us is to realise that it is actually in what we do that He wants to act and to suffer. It really needs to be practiced to be understood. We need to say to ourselves a thousand times a day: “Christ wants to do this”; “Christ wants to suffer this.” And we shall come to realise that when we resent our circumstances or try to spare ourselves what we should undergo, we are being like Peter when he tried to dissuade our Lord from the Passion.” Et homo factus est.
Other Commentaries on The Reed of God
It can be helpful to have the book to read. To purchase books I recommend the Pauline sisters.