Fra Filippo Lippi, Madonna with Child on her lap

Fra Filippo Lippi, Madonna with Child on her lapAs we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ we have before us a text from the Letter to the Hebrews and some comments by Bl. John Henry Newman.

“Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Heb. ii. 11.

“OUR Savior’s birth in the flesh is an earnest, and, as it were, beginning of our birth in the Spirit. It is a figure, promise, or pledge of our new birth, and it effects what it promises. As He was born, so are we born also; and since He was born, therefore we too are born. As He is the Son of God by nature, so are we sons of God by grace; and it is He who has made us such. This is what the text says; He is the “Sanctifier,” we the “sanctified.” Moreover, He and we, says the text, “are all of one.” God sanctifies the Angels, but there the Creator and the creature are not of one. But the Son of God and we are of one; He has become “the firstborn of every creature;” He has taken our nature, and in and through it He sanctifies us. He is our brother by virtue of His incarnation, and, as the text says, “He is not ashamed to call us brethren;” and, having sanctified our nature in Himself, He communicates it to us.” (Sermon 7. The Mystery of Godliness, Plain and Parochial Sermons, Vol. 5)

By his Incarnation Jesus has truly become one of us. He has assumed the human condition: its physical limitations, the bonds of family ties, the responsibilities, joys and fatigue of work, as well as the suffering due to injustice, betrayal and loneliness. The Creator has sanctified us in the Son who has taken our nature. We do not know exactly how, but we believe that by taking human nature the Son of God has sanctified us; He has made us “sons of God by grace.” We rejoice at this great gift and as we contemplate the Holy Family – the “trinity on earth” we give praise and thanks to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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