Saturday, September 08, 2007

Show Us Jesus

Today a virginal gateway draws near: through her the God who is above all creatures will “come into the world” “bodily,” according to St Paul’s expression (Heb 1.6; Col 2.9). Today, from the stump of Jesse a shoot has sprouted (Is 11.1) from which will grow a flower for the world, united in its nature to the divinity. Today, from earthly nature a heaven has been created on earth by him who, in former times, made the firmament solid by separating it from the waters and setting it in the heights. But this heaven is more astonishing than the former, since he who in the first case created the sun has now himself arisen from this new heaven like a sun of justice (Mal 3.20)... Eternal light, begotten before the ages from eternal light, immaterial and incorporeal being, takes his body from this woman and, like a bridegroom, comes forth from his bridal chamber (Ps 18.6)...
     Today, the “son of a carpenter” (Mt 13.55), the ever-active Word of the one who made all things through him, strong arm of God Most High... has made for himself a living ladder whose base is set on the earth and whose summit reaches the sky. Upon it God rests; this is what Jacob beheld in dream (Gn 28.12); by it God descended from his immovability or, rather, bent down in condescension and thus “appeared on earth and moved among men” (Bar 3.38). For these symbols represent his coming here below, his descent through pure grace, his earthly existence, the true knowledge he gave of himself to those on earth. The spiritual ladder, the Virgin, has been set on earth since she takes her origin from the earth, but her head has been raised to heaven... It is through her and the holy Spirit that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1.14). It is through her and the holy Spirit that the union of God with men is accomplished.

- St John of Damascus (c. 675-749), monk, theologian, doctor of the Church, Homily on the Nativity of the Virgin (trans. SC 80)

HT: The Daily Gospel

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