GOD TOOK ON FLESH FOR LOVE
His Eminence, The Lord Cardinal
Raffaele Farina S.D.B.
If you have seen the movie The Nativity Story (2006) you have heard the Magnificat, Mary's hymn, in what I find a very special context. The movie describes how the Mother of Jesus experienced, as a young woman, this great event for mankind, the Nativity of Christ. It is an invitation to meditate on the great event of the birth, or rather of the Incarnation, of the Son of God.
Let us concentrate on the Word, that which God could no more contain in himself and which he at last expressed as a manifestation of himself.
It was and is (a never-ending moment) a manifestation of love: God took on flesh for love. Because he loves us, because he wants our love.
The way in which he was born is in itself love.
Before such an event (God who becomes man) we cannot keep compressed in our heart what it means for us: love to this God who has become man, a child, like us; love towards all men, who with Him have become our brothers and sisters.
May this manifestation of love not be only a fire which soon goes out, just a sympathy, like the adoration of the shepherds: let us, like Mary, conserve and meditate in our hearts the deepest meaning of the birth of Christ among us.
1. The Incarnation is a historical event: not only an idea, a hope, a desire.
It is an event, something man has seen, touched and heard. The space (Christ was born in a determined pIace) and time (Christ was born in a specific historical period) acquire meaning for us, they become something of Christ.
The reasons why we are here and not elsewhere, individually or in the community of the family or the parish of the Church and why we are here now in this moment and not before or later, have a meaning because of the fact that God has become man.
God took on flesh for love!
2. Another certainty remains in our heart: the birth of Jesus is the beginning of our salvation. The sin is removed, can be removed in any moment; death does not frighten us: it is not the end of everything, but the beginning of our life with Him who is everything for us.
3. The birth of Christ is also the birth of that body, the Church, of which we are part, alI united and compact, different in function (and that is why we are loved personalIy and individualIy by Rim, by Jesus!), but united in the substance, in the form, in the figure of Christ, that Christ who will go before the Father, at the end of time, without a stain and without a wrinkle, a perfect image of the Father himself, to whom he will offer himself.
4. This moment (which in the liturgical celebration of the Holy Night continues in the consumption of the Eucharist) is thus an anticipation of when we will be able to hear, see, almost touch and all be only one Body in Christ, when nothing will separate us, when there will be nothing between us and Christ, when we will no more hinder each other from loving one another, in a joy without end.
Let us conserve these certainties in our hearts!
They are the source of two typicalIy Christian virtues: simplicity and joy. Simplicity and joy are the certainty of having Jesus with us (Emmanuel) and the certainty that He has loved us first and that he will never leave us again, whatever may happen.
Let us not permit this moment of meditation to end without looking to the Mother, to Mary, who became the Mother of Jesus and so became Our Mother.
Let us look in her eyes, and carry our small gifts, like the shepherds, without shame or fear: let us put them in her hands, and, realIy, the more our hands will be empty, definitely empty, the more space will there be for Jesus, for Emmanuel, God with us!