Monday, December 22, 2014

Pondering the Word Made Flesh

The following reflection comes from Romano Guardini's masterpiece entitled The Lord (pp. 14-16); may this same Lord fill your heart with the joy of his Presence this Christmas:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God...
"God is being described.  With him is someone else, someone called 'the Word'; he is the expression of the meaning and fullness of God, the First Person, Speaker of the Word.  This Second Person is also God, 'was God,' yet there is only one God.  Further, the Second Person 'came' into his own: into the world which he had created.  Let us consider carefully what this means: the everlasting, infinite Creator not only reigns over or in the world but, at a specific 'moment,' crossed an unimaginable borderline and personally entered into history--he, the inaccessibly remote one!....What is meant is that God entered into history, thus taking destiny upon himself.
"However, this journey of God from the everlasting into the transitory, this stride across the border into history, is something no human intellect can altogether grasp.  The mind might even oppose the apparently fortuitous, human aspect of this interpenetration with its own 'purer' idea of godliness; yet precisely here lies hidden the kernel of Christianity.  Before such an unheard of thought the intellect bogs down.  Once at this point a friend gave me a clue that helped my understanding more than any measure of bare reason.  He said: 'But love does such things!'  Again and again these words have come to the rescue when the mind has stopped short at some intellectual impasse.  Not that they explain anything to the intelligence; they arouse the heart, enabling it to feel its way into the secrecy of God.  The mystery is not understood, but it does move nearer, and the danger of 'scandal' disappears.

"None of the great things in human life springs from the intellect; every one of them issues from the heart and its love.  If even human love has its own reasoning, comprehensible only to the heart that is open to it, how much truer must this be of God's love!  When it is the depth and power of God that stirs, is there anything of which love is incapable?  The glory of it is so overwhelming that to all who do not accept love as an absolute point of departure, its manifestations must seem the most senseless folly....
"If an inner protest should arise here, give it room.  It is not good to suppress anything; if we try to, it only goes underground, becomes toxic, and reappears later in far more obnoxious form.  Does anyone object to the whole idea of God-become-man?  Is he willing to accept the Incarnation only as a profound and beautiful allegory, never as literal truth?  If doubt can establish a foothold anywhere in our faith, it is here.  Then we must be patient and reverent, approaching this central mystery of Christianity with calm, expectant, prayerful attention; one day its sense will be revealed to us.  In the meantime, let us remember the directive "But love does such things'!"

Peace and God bless,

P.S.  If you have not yet read--or would be open to re-reading--Pope Francis' The Joy of the Gospel, consider signing up to receive one paragraph per day starting on January 1st; go to and subscribe via email.  Spread the word :)