By: Caitlin Bootsma
I’ve been receiving by email articles from the Catechism since the Year of Faith began, and I sometimes think the timing in which I receive them (despite the fact that they are just sent in order, from the beginning to the end of the Catechism) is perfect. For example, just the other day I received articles about why the Incarnation occurred, why Christ came to earth as a child at Christmas.
In this section, the Catechism outlines four reasons (articles 457-460) why the Word became flesh. I found these quite clear-cut and easy to remember, so I wanted to share them:
1. The first is the reason that most people are familiar with – priests talk about it in homilies, and you may have learned it in religion or CCD class. It is: The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”
2. The second is one of the reasons that Christmas is so joyful for us as Christians! The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
3. The third reminds us that Christ was also fully human and we can constantly look to his example: The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: “Listen to him!” Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.” This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.
4. The fourth should fill us with a sense of awe. If it doesn’t, stop and think about it for a minute and read it again! The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”
When we look at baby Jesus in the manger tomorrow, let’s recall the life-changing reasons that the Word became flesh.