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Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Word Was Made Flesh...He Lived Among Us

by Edwin Rodrigues 

Edwin Rodrigues of Chandigarh, India, can be found

at @ed1667 on Twitter
Two sacred realities are most vehemently denied and opposed.

One is that God became man -- the poorest man among poor men. 

And the other is that bread and wine are changed into that same God! He is the source and fullness of all riches! 

Christmas is all about the first reality, that God took on human flesh and came to live among us.  Christ instituted the second reality at the Last Supper. God accepted Christ's All-Consuming Sacrifice --  offered once and for all on Good Friday -- when the Son was  nailed willingly to the cross. 

The reality of the Holy Sacrifice is made present again during the celebration of every Holy Mass. After the holy seasons of Advent and Christmas, as we journey through Ordinary Time and approach the season of Lent, it would help us if we paused a little and remembered: “And the Word was made Flesh; And dwelt among us.” 

As weak mortals, we tend to say our prayers instead of praying them meditatively. These two phrases are at the core of Salvation history and our Creed. God said to Moses, “I am Who I Am.” (Exodus 3:14). 

Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, and that means He is eternal. He always possessed His Divine Nature and lacked nothing. But for our sake, who are made in His image and likeness, Jesus assumed our human nature in all respects except sin. 

In the order of creation, human beings possess a nature that is lower than that of angels. By taking on our human nature, Jesus abased and humbled Himself, and by doing so He exalted us to such a degree that we became perfected in and through Him, who is not ashamed to call us  brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2).

"For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect… .who are being tested”(Heb 2: 16-18). 

This mystery is so profound that we can scarcely begin to scratch its surface; much less plumb its depths or even express it. In such a bid, British pundit and theologian G.K.Chesterton refers to it as “Glory to God in the Lowest!” (Gloria in Profundis)

At the Annunciation, Jesus allowed Himself to be trapped in the temporal realm. He became so tiny, nay, invisible that only 
Mary visits Elizabeth 
through the power of the Holy Spirit, His Real Presence within Mary’s womb was felt by Elizabeth and the unborn John, the future Baptist. 

The King of Kings made Himself so poor that He chose to be born in a stable! The first people to pay Him homage and a visit were poor shepherds, who had no social standing at all in the world. 

Later when the Lord was presented in the temple, Jesus continued to manifest His “dependence” on His Mother, Mary, His foster father, Joseph, and Simeon for the fulfillment of His role. 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”(Heb 13:8). He makes Himself  vulnerable, exposed to rejection and persecution of His Presence in the sacraments and also in His Mystical Body, the Church -- with which He identifies himself in a very personal way (Acts 9:4 and Matthew 25:40-46).

In fact He identifies Himself with every human being. He is so meek and humble that he conceals His glory and omnipotence and asks us to participate in His redemptive plan. 

Mary is foremost among all human beings to co-operate in His redemptive work. She literally carried Him from womb to tomb. What we meditate on in the 4th Joyful Mystery (Jesus' presentation in the temple), was in reality the first of her sorrows. 
Mary, Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix
Our Lady is co-redemptrix of the human race because she is Mother of Sorrows. She became co-redemptrix at the foot of the cross by her participation in Our Lord's Passion, which saved us poor sinners!
Though Jesus remains the one Mediator, Mary is Mediatrix of all graces because “in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope, and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result she is our Mother in the order of grace.” (Vatican Council II)
“He (Jesus) is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and ….is more excellent than theirs.”(Heb 1:3-4). The Catholic Church, Saints and mystics have always advocated devotion to Jesus through Mary. 

Jesus -- being the perfect, unblemished (Gentle)Man, God and King -- cannot violate the 4th Commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Therefore He honors Mary as Queen Mother by crowning her as Queen of Heaven and Earth. 

It pleases Him much when we approach Him in humility through her. Mary, remembering that she is the handmaid of The Lord, always recommends our case and petitions to Jesus, who always listens to our prayers and grants them according to His Divine Wisdom. 

St. Joseph Protector of the
 Body of Christ
At times the answer is, “Yes.” At other times,  “No.” And sometimes, He says, “Wait.” But He always answers them and grants us the best. It wouldn’t be out of place to bring to mind that Jesus honors Joseph, His foster-father as protector and patron of the Universal Church. And Holy Mother Church in her wisdom venerates St Joseph under several other titles too.

It might help to take a pause and reflect on what the meaning is of being made “In His own image and likeness.”  A simple answer is that beginning with Adam, God has created every individual member of humankind with a soul, which is in the image and likeness of God since God is a Pure Spirit. "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear." (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Through the Incarnation, Jesus assumed a human nature without ceasing to be God. Thus, the Second Person of The Trinity is fully God and fully human (albeit without the blemish of sin). He is one Person; a Divine Person with two natures; a Divine Nature and simultaneously a human nature. Through his Sacred Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection, Jesus has redeemed, restored, and sanctified human nature; elevating what was lost at The Fall of our first parents to that which rightfully could have been exclusively His own. And so we can dare to cry, “Abba! Father”…. and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…… if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Rom 8: 14-17)

Jesus, Mary And Joseph epitomize hope for pro-lifers!!!
If Jesus reflects the Father, Mary reflects The Son because she is always pregnant with Her 
Divine Spouse, the Holy Spirit. So unique and beautiful is her vocation that she is ever Virgin, Mother, and the faithful wife of St. Joseph. 

From all accounts it is amply evident that under the custody of St Joseph, the Holy Family always prevailed over all attempts and assaults on their sacred union as a human family. It wouldn’t be incongruent to say that St. Joseph received grace and strength from Jesus through Mary and gave it back to them.

To begin with, in his righteousness Joseph overcame the first “hurdle of comprehending” the mysterious nature of Mary’s pregnancy and all else that ensued. This he did by co-operating with grace and through TRUST --True Resolve Under Severe Testing (Johnnette Benkovic,Women of Grace Live). He responded positively to the messages of the angel and did as he was told. He lived,
The angel came to Joseph in a dream
worked hard and provided for Jesus and Mary. He verily defended Life itself. (Jn 11:25)


As we witness the vicious attack on the sacredness of life in its various ugly forms -- abortion, euthanasia, contraception, pornography, substance and drug-abuse, same-sex-unions etc, we have reasons for faith and hope even when all appears bleak in the face of this onslaught.

In our day and time, we have so many pro-lifers who stand up for the unborn, the victims of sexual abuse, the elderly and the defenseless. This Gospel of Life is written on the hearts of every human being who follows his well-formed conscience. 

The stalwart of heroes of our times -- especially Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope Saint John Paul II, Mother Angelica and all who speak for the little ones using modern means of communication -- are aggressively taking on the culture of death. Through intense prayer, beginning with Holy Mass, the sacraments, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Rosary and other pious activities, we can reclaim lost ground.

That is the redemptive power that emanates from Jesus Christ. He always has the victory -- even when all seems over. He alone knows how to bring life out of death…. So much so that there is great power in powerlessness, as exemplified and demonstrated from His Cross. 

So today, under the tutelage of Joseph, we can say that a true man is one who honors, upholds and protects every woman. He is indeed a man of grace! 

Conversely, every woman who emulates Mary is a woman of grace!! And The Holy Family is the most pro-life family of all time!!!



Gloria in Profundis


There has fallen on earth for a token 
A god too great for the sky. 
He has burst out of all things and broken 
The bounds of eternity: 
Into time and the terminal land 
He has strayed like a thief or a lover, 
For the wine of the world brims over, 
Its splendour is spilt on the sand. 

Who is proud when the heavens are humble, 
Who mounts if the mountains fall, 
If the fixed stars topple and tumble 
And a deluge of love drowns all- 
Who rears up his head for a crown, 
Who holds up his will for a warrant, 
Who strives with the starry torrent, 
When all that is good goes down? 

For in dread of such falling and failing 
The fallen angels fell 
Inverted in insolence, scaling 
The hanging mountain of hell: 
But unmeasured of plummet and rod 
Too deep for their sight to scan, 
Outrushing the fall of man 
Is the height of the fall of God. 

Glory to God in the Lowest 
The spout of the stars in spate- 
Where thunderbolt thinks to be slowest 
And the lightning fears to be late: 
As men dive for sunken gem 
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it, 
The fallen star has found it 
In the cavern of Bethlehem.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton




5 comments:

  1. I really like the first part of your blog. Why must you use a term the Church has asked that you not to use--Co-Resemptrix? There is but One God and One Savior. I think Mary neither wants nor needs this title that brings discord and division in the body of Christ and makes it impossible for our estranged brothers and sisters to believe that the Catholic Church does not worship Mary. I am convinced that it brings more sorrow to the heart of God, perhaps to Mary, but I do not know if she is capable of sorrow now in the presence of God.

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  2. We by no means are forbidden to call Mary co-Redemptrix. The late Pope Saint John Paul II used the term no less than six times. Here is a series of articles from EWTN--the latest on the title. https://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/coredemedadv.htm
    When the time is right, the Church will declare it a dogma. So far the time has not arrived. The Legion of Mary handbook has been approved by every pope since 1921, and it uses the term repeatedly, Mary, Co-Redemptrix. The idea is set up in the Gospel of Luke 2:35. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed-- and a sword will pierce even your own soul-- to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." Simeon prophesied this to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the temple. Joseph and Jesus were present. God bless you flossreadsmile
    Susan Fox

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  3. The unfortunate truth is the mystery behind Mary, stays that. But she points to Jesus at the end, not herself. I love BVM and she is an awesome Spiritual Mother.
    Thanks for righting complete catholic truth here. We are sooo prone to limiting truth with our tiny finite minds and limits.

    Http://www.paulaokeefe.net

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  4. I thank God for your blog....for accommodating my article and message for 1 full year!(Was published on December 17, 2016)
    May it help sincere souls along their Faith journey.
    Warm regards and prayers
    Edwin Rodrigues
    India

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  5. All your posts are here getting hits Edwin. Thank you for your incredible work of evangelisation. Merry Christmas! Susan Fox

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