And God Became Flesh

The Word became flesh. Alongside this Johannine truth there has to be put also the Marian truth as rendered by Luke. God has become flesh. This is not only an immensely great and remote happening, it is something very close and human. God became a child who needed a mother. He became a child, someone born with tears on his cheeks, whose first utterance was a cry for help, whose first gesture consists in outstretched hands searching for protection. God became a child.

Nowadays we also hear it being said, in contrast, that this, after all, would be nothing but a sentimentality better put aside. Yet the New Testament thinks differently. For the Faith of the Bible and the Church, it is important that God desired to be such a creature who has to depend on a mother, on the sheltering love of humans. He wished to be dependent in order to awaken in us love that purifies and redeems.

God became a child, and every child is dependent. To be a child thus contains alrady the theme of the search for shelter, the elementary motif of Christmas. And how many variations has this motif seen in our history! In our days we experience this anew and in disturbing ways: the child knocks on the doors of our world. The child is knocking. This search for shelter is profound. There is indeed an atmosphere of hostility toward children, but is this not preceded by an attitude that altogether bars any child from entering this world because there would be no more room for him?

The child knocks. If we would receive him we are to rethink thoroughly our own attitude toward human life. Here we are dealing with fundamentals, with our very concept of what it means to be human: to live in grandiose selfishness or in confident freedom that knows its vocation to be united in love, to be free to accept one another.

From: Münchener Katholische Kirchenzeitung January 14, 1979.
[Reprinted in Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year (Ignatius Press, 1990).

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