Loading
March 30, 2010
The Mystery of the Incarnation
By Michelle Bauman *

By Michelle Bauman *

We’re almost there.  On Palm Sunday, we entered into Holy Week. This, the most holy week of the liturgical year will culminate in the Triduum, when we celebrate Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.  As we conclude the season of Lent, let us take a look at the Christ’s life on Earth.  The Incarnation is one of the central truths of the Catholic faith. But it is also one that is easy to take for granted. This is especially for those who have been Catholics their entire lives, taught since they were little that Jesus is both God and man.

When we really pause to think about it, we realize how incredibly deep and beautiful the teaching on the Incarnation really is.  God became man.  The infinite, all-powerful, immortal God became one of us!  Christ is at the same time both fully human without losing his divinity and fully divine without losing his humanity.  What an incredible thought!  The Incarnation is a mystery that we cannot possibly understand fully.  However, it is a teaching that is of utmost importance to the Catholic faith.  As we go through this Holy Week, let us pause to really reflect on this important Church teaching.

In the early centuries of the Church, several heresies regarding the nature of Christ attracted many followers.  Among the more prominent heresies were Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ and held him to be simply a great man, and Docetism, which denied Christ’s humanity and claimed that his physical body and crucifixion were merely an illusion.  The Church fought these heresies by proclaiming the truth, which was affirmed by the early bishops, saints, and Church councils. This solidified truth has been clearly stated in the Catechism: The Incarnation “does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man” (CCC 464).

This understanding of the two natures of Christ is essential to the belief that our salvation comes from his Passion and Resurrection.  If Christ were not fully human, he could not have offered his sacrifice on the Cross on behalf of humanity.  If he were not divine, his sacrifice could not have been perfect.  Only in light of the proper understanding of Christ as both fully man and fully God does the Crucifixion really become the “acceptable sacrifice” that can save us from our sin.

While these ideas are probably not new to most Catholics, they are nevertheless good to remember during Holy Week.  Christ shared fully in our humanity, and he provides a model for us to follow in every situation of our lives.  Furthermore, he understands what we are going through, no matter how difficult.  The Scriptures record Jesus in times of hunger, thirst, exhaustion, joy, grief and anger.  Christ knew the full range of the human experience.  We are reminded that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). 

This knowledge should bring us comfort as we remember that we are never alone.  Not only did Christ show us the way to heaven, he offers us the strength to follow him along that path.  He comes down to us in our weakened human state and lifts us up with his grace.  What a truly amazing gift!  This Holy Week, as you prepare for Easter, take some time to reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation and thank God for his great love as you rediscover the depths of this fundamental but profound teaching of the Catholic Church.

Michelle Bauman is a senior at the University of Dallas, where she is studying politics and journalism.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
17

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Gospel
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Homily
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: