Tag Archives: Incarnation

Pope Benedict’s homily for Christmas Eve Mass 2010

Christ draws us to Himself through beauty. Beauty in the sacred Liturgy, in music, words, human gesture, the human body, indeed, through His own birth. Here the Pope tells us again that the birth of the Savior, the Incarnation of the Word, i.e., God, really happened in history; it is a fact, not a legend or a pious myth. The birth of Jesus is not “a just nice” story and it is normative for all of humanity, all of history. The following is Pope Benedict XVI’s homily given tonight at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City State, Rome.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!


“You are my son, this
day I have begotten you” with this passage from Psalm 2 the Church begins
the liturgy of this holy night. She knows that this passage originally formed
part of the coronation rite of the kings of Israel.

The king, who in himself is
a man like others, becomes the “Son of God” through being called and
installed in his office. It is a kind of adoption by God, a decisive act by
which he grants a new existence to this man, drawing him into his own being.

The
reading from the prophet Isaiah that we have just heard presents the same
process even more clearly in a situation of hardship and danger for Israel:
“To us a child is born, to us a son is given. The government will be upon
his shoulder” (Is 9:6).

Installation in the office of king is like a
second birth. As one newly born through God’s personal choice, as a child born
of God, the king embodies hope. On his shoulders the future rests. He is the
bearer of the promise of peace.

Baby Jesus, St Peter's.jpg

On that night in Bethlehem this prophetic
saying came true in a way that would still have been unimaginable at the time
of Isaiah. Yes indeed, now it really is a child on whose shoulders government
is laid. In him the new kingship appears that God establishes in the world. This
child is truly born of God.

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Covering statues, images & crucifixes in Passiontide

My friend George asked me the other day about the
tradition of covering the statues, images and crucifixes (sacred images) -but
not the Stations of the Cross–before Holy Week. He told me that the nuns told
him that the Church covered sacred items because Christ went into hiding before
his arrest. Well, that’s true but incomplete. The tradition of veiling finds
its source in John 8:46-59 where the Jews attempt to stone Jesus because of his
claims of being the Son of God, but he hides from view. As point of comparison,
you will notice in Mark’s gospel our focus is on the Lord’s crucifixion because
it is there that we learn the true identity of Jesus as being man and divine.
The covering of sacred images, therefore, is to illustrate the increasing
tension we find ourselves in the Liturgy as we move toward of the Lord’s own
Paschal Mystery. The veiling actually reinforces the verifiable fact of the
Incarnation.


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Holy Saturday

Descent into Limbo.jpgLET me tell you right now,
No one suffered more on Good Friday
And deserves a rest today
Than the King of the Jews-

And right now he’s in hell.

He descended into hell
Where he is right now.
And right now he is being himself,
He’s being his God-from-heaven-descended self,
And I’ll bet you that it’s a real blast in hell
With him there
And I’ll bet he’s in there
And having a ball.
He’s redeeming hell
By his sky-high dream-drawn scheme
Of simply being himself
And accepting selves’ selves
And offering himself to God-on-high for them.

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Nativity

nativity Giotto detail.jpgImmensity cloistered in thy dear womb, Now leaves His well-belov’d imprisonment, There He hath made Himself to His intent Weak enough, now into the world to come; But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room? Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient, Stars and wise men will travel to prevent; The effect of Herod’s jealous general doom.

Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how He which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie? Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high, That would have need to be pitied by thee?

 

Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go, With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.

 

John Donne (1572- 1631)

 

Magnum nomen Domini Emmanuel


Birth of Christ.jpg

 

 

 

 

Evangelizo vobis gaudium magnum: natus est vobis hodie Salvator, Christus Dominus.

 

I proclaim to you good news of great joy: today a Savior is born for us, Christ the Lord.

 

 

 

 

God, who gladden us by the yearly expectation of our redemption, grant that we may merit to see Your Only Begotten, our Lord, Christ Jesus, whom we in joy are now receiving as the Redeemer also see in safety when He is coming as the Judge.

 

 

Hodie Christus natus est. Hodie Salvator apparuit. Hodie in terra canunt Angeli, lætantur Archangeli. Hodie exsultant iusti dicentes: Gloria in excelsis Deo! Alleluia.

 

Today the Savior has appeared: today the Angels sing, the Archangels rejoice: today the just rejoice, saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will towards men: Alleluia.

 


Nativity of Mary Pietro Cavallini.jpgT
oday, the twenty-fifth day of December

Unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth; And then formed man and woman in his own image.

Several thousand years after the flood; When God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant.

Twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah;

Thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt.

Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges;

One thousand years from the anointing of David as king;

In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel.

In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; The seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome.

The forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus; The whole world being at peace,

Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
Desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
Being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
And nine months having passed since his conception,
Was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary.

Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Amen.

 

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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