The Wonder of the Incarnation

 Truth sprang from the earth and justice looked down from heaven

from a Sermon by St Augustine, 5th century

 Wake up, O man - it was for you that God was made man!  Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.  For you, I say, was God made man.  Eternal death would have awaited you had he not been born in time.  Never would you be freed from your sinful flesh, had he not taken to himself the likeness of sinful flesh.  Everlasting would be your misery, had he not performed this act of mercy.  You would not have come to life again, had he not come to die your death.  You would have broken down, had he not come to help.  You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption.  Let us celebrate the hallowed day on which the great eternal day came from the great eternal day into this, our so short and temporal day.  He has become our justice, and our sanctification, and our redemption.  And so, as scripture says: ‘Let him who glories, glory in the Lord'.

Truth, then, is sprung out of the earth: Christ who said, ‘I am the truth', is born of a virgin.  And justice looked down from heaven: man, believing in him who has been born, has been justified not by himself, but by God.

Truth is sprung out of the earth, for the Word was made flesh.  And justice looked down from heaven, for every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above.

Truth is sprung out of the earth - flesh born of Mary.  And justice looked down from heaven, for a man cannot receive anything, unless it be given him from heaven.

Being justified by faith, let us have peace with God, for justice and peace have kissed each other, through our Lord Jesus Christ, for Truth is sprung out of the earth.  Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we glory in our hope of sharing the glory of God.  Saint Paul does not say, ‘our glory', but ‘the glory of God'; because justice does not proceed from us, but has looked down from heaven.  Let him who glories then, glory, not in himself, but in the Lord.  Because of this, when the Lord was born of the Virgin, the angels announced, ‘Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will'.

Whence is peace on earth, if not from the fact that Truth is sprung out of the earth, that is, Christ is born of flesh?  And he is our peace, who has made both one, that we might be men of good will, bound together by the sweet bonds of unity.

Let us, then, rejoice in this grace, that our glory may be the testimony of our conscience, and we may glory, not in ourselves, but in the Lord.  Obviously, it was because of this that it was said, ‘my glory, who lifts up my head'.

For what greater grace could have dawned upon us from God, than that he, who had only one Son, made him the son of man, and so in turn made the son of man a son of God.  Ask yourself whether this involved any merit, any motivation, any right on your part; and see whether you find anything but grace!



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(c) 1998 Don Schwager