As Advent winds down, the Church in her wisdom offers the O Antiphons, as the faithful grow nearer to the moment of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Redeemer. From the root of Jesse to the Annunciation souls waited for the Messias and, good to His Promise, God delivered. The Incarnation remains such a wonderful mystery in the divine formation by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Immaculate Ark of the Covenant, who is the Blessed Virgin Mary by way of her divine Spouse thanks to the heavenly Father she would bear His only-begotten Son. Her humble fiat, recorded for all posterity in St. Luke 1: 26-31 and confirmed by her cousin St. Elizabeth in the same chapter, verses 41-56 is only magnified the more by Mary's magnificent Magnificat. The Holy Trinity knew exactly what They were doing in choosing Mary from all time to be the holy living tabernacle for the Son of God. No other receptacle would do to usher in the Savior through the Gate of Heaven, Mary Immaculate.
Editor's Note: This series is an effort to return to basics since too often we all make the holy Faith complicated, whereas in reality the truths and traditions of the Catholic Faith are quite simple. God doesn't complicate things, man does. Realizing the fact that, for many generations indoctrinated by conciliar ambiguities, it all seems so confusing, we are introducing this series which is an adaptation of an earlier series titled "Appreciating the Precious Gift of the Faith" in utilizing a combination of the excellent compendium of the late Bishop Morrow's pre-Vatican II Manual of Religion My Catholic Faith and Dom Prosper Gueranger's incomparable The Liturgical Year as well as the out-of-print masterpieces The Catholic Church Alone The One True Church(1902) and the Cabinet of Catholic Information (1903). This Step Twenty is taken from My Catholic Faith, including the graphic below, and "The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church", published by Benziger Brothers in 1907. Through prayer and discussions, we've decided to employ this revised series to simplify the tenets of the Faith for those who continue to wallow in what they think is the 'Catholic Church' out of obedience to a man and his hierarchy who long ago betrayed Christ and His flocks. This then, is an affirmation of the basic truths the Spotless Bride of Christ has always taught and cannot change or evolve as "living documents" for truth is truth. As we say every day in the Act of Faith, "We believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived." If you have been deceived, and the vast majority have been, then realize what you've been indoctrinated with over the past 50 years cannot be from God but from His adversary. Our advice: flee the conciliar confines as well as other man-made religions which do not teach these truths without compromise. Seek out a traditional chapel nearest to you. There is a list of churches you can absolutely trust at Traditional Latin Masses
The name Jesus means Savior or Redeemer and Our Lord is called Jesus because He came to save men from sin, and to open the doors of Heaven to them. Before the birth of Our Lord, an angel appeared to Saint Joseph and said: "Thou shalt call His name Jesus" (St. Matthew 1:21). At the Annunication the Archangel Gabriel had spoken the same words to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We should say the name of Our Lord with great reverence. We should bow our head every time we utter it. "In the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Philippians 2:10). The symbol HIS is composed of the first three letters of the name Jesus in Greek. The name Christ means "The Anointed One." "Christ" is a Greek word, with the same meaning as "messias." In the Old Law it was the custom to anoint with oil prophets, high priests, and kings. Our Lord is the greatest of Prophets. He is the High Priest Who offers Himself for all mankind. He is the King of angels and men. Therefore it is fitting that we should call Him Christ. He truly is the Anointed One.
We are called Christians because we are disciples of Christ. We believe in His teachings, and obey His commandments. The followers of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch.
Jesus Christ was announced to the world through many types. By "types" is meant persons or actions which strongly suggested or foreshadowed Christ. "Types" are to the reality what a photograph is to the actual person; but for lack of the reality, types are a good substitute, to give an idea of the substance foreshadowed.
Some of the types of Jesus Christ were: the gentle and just Abel, who was murdered by his brother; Noah, who alone persevered and saved the human race from extinction by his justice;Isaac, who willingly carried the wood on which he was to have been sacrificed; Joseph, who was sold for a few pieces of silver, but later saved his brethren from death; Moses, who freed the Jews from slavery and led them to the Promised Land; David, who was born poor, did great deeds for his people, and became king. From David would come to the lineage for the Son of God and the fulfillment of the Promise of a Redeemer with the Incarnation.
By the Incarnation, the third article of the Apostles' Creed, is meant that the Son of God, retaining His Divine nature, took to Himself a human nature, that is, a body and soul like ours.
The Incarnation is the greatest act of humility possible. By it the Son of God, eternal, almighty, infinite, voluntarily took upon Himself human nature with its weaknesses. He circumscribed Himself with a human body that would feel sickness and pain, and with a human soul that would cause Him agony for though he is divine, He also possessed a human nature and thus Jesus worked, ate, spoke, felt pain. But it was His divine nature that enabled Him to become transfigured, walk on the waters, raise the dead.
These two natures were united in a divine Person Jesus Christ, the God-Man. They were intimately united, but they remained distinct. Neither was absorbed by the other. The union of the divine and human natures in Christ is called the hypostatic union for Christ is true God and true man. This is why we call Him God-Man or the Man-God.
Beings obtain their nature from their origin; for this reason a child has a human nature, from its human parents. As the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus has His origin from God the Father, and hence He has a divine nature; moreover, as man He was born of the most pure Virgin Mary at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold, and, yes, with His human nature He was as every child after birth. He had a human nature, but not a fallen human nature for He could not have Original Sin on His soul. He was the God-Man with two natures. This is why Christ often referred to Himself indiscriminately as "Son of God" or "Son of Man."
As a consequence of these two natures, Christ had also two wills. We can see this very clearly in His prayer in the Garden of Olives before His Passion. He said: "Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done." He was referring to His human will, for His divine will was surely the same as His Father's. Thus, He was willing to submit Himself to being born in the immaculate womb of God's chosen vessel - the Ark of the Covenant - the Virgin Mary. We call this first beginning of life for Christ with these two natures, the Incarnation.
Incarnation means "becoming flesh." Thus the Son of God took a human body and soul and united it to His divine Peson. Without ceasing to be God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became man at the same time. The divine nature of Christ is from all eternity. Only His human nature began at the Incarnation, when the Son of God became man.
By virtue of the Incarnation Jesus Christ came to earth. This is a mystery which we can never fully understand, but must be content to honor and adore. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (St. John 1:14). Christ as man was like us in all things except sin. He could not sin, because He is God. But in all other things He was like us: He had a human body, a human soul, a human will. Can we understand this with our reason? Hardly. As the wise, holy Doctor of the Church St. John Chrysostom said: "I know that the Son of God became man, but how, I do not know." God, Who produced the universe from nothing, also caused the Incarnation.
The Son of God was conceived and made man by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Three Persons of God cooperated in the Incarnatiion, but only the Second Person took on flesh; only He took to Himself a human nature.
The Incarnation is peculiarly the work of the Blessed Trinity. They formed a human soul and a human body, and these They united to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity; the result was Our Lord Jesus Christ, God-Man. To the power of the Holy Ghost we attribute the Incarnation, because the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity peculiarly expresses the Spirit of Love: and the Incarnation is the supreme example of God's love for men.
It was fitting that God the Son should become incarnate, rather than the Father or the Holy Ghost; for the Son proceeds from the Father, and could be sent by Him. God the Son then could, as the fruit of His Redemption, send God the Holy Spirit. Thus through the Son of God we became adopted sons of God. The Son of God was conceived and made man on Annunciation Day, the day on which the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God.
This event is called the Annunciation and the date is set in equation to His Nativity on December 25th with the nine month pregnancy of the Savior dating back to March 25th.
The mystery of the Incarnation is commemorated daily by the Angelus, a prayer said by Catholics morning, noon, and night, at the ringing of the Angelus bell, a tradition that sadly has been abandoned in many parishes and is really only still practiced in monasteries and convents and parishes where tradition is treasured. During the Easter time the prayer Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) is substituted for the Angelus. Those who prefer may simply recite five Hail Marys instead of the Angelus or the Regina Coeli. The same indulgence is gained. The Angelus was formerly recited kneeling, except from Saturday noon to Sunday evening inclusive. Now it is recited according to one's convenience. The Regina Coeli is always recited standing.
Jesus Christ had a human mother, the Blessed Virtin Mary, but He had no human father. The Blessed Virgin was Christ's mother as man, but not as God. However, the Blessed Virgin is truly the Mother of God, because the humanity and divinity of her Son are inseparable. In a similar way we call our parents mother and father, although they only gave us our body, and not our soul.
Christ had no human father. The Blessed Virgin remained a virgin all her life. The conception of Our Lord is a great miracle and mystery that we cannot understand. We can only accept it as true on the word of God, Who is almighty. Various approved private revelations such as St. Gertrude, St. Bridget of Sweden and others reveal that the best analogy is as light coming through glass.
St. Joseph was the legal spouse of Mary, but both of them preserved their virginity, consecrating it to God. They always lived together as brother and sister. St. Joseph was only the guardian of foster-father of Our Lord.
We should honor and love holy Joseph, because Our Lord honored and loved him. Holy Scripture calls him a just man. He was a most pure man; and this is why God selected him as the virgin spouse of Mary, to care for her and the Child Jesus. Jesus loved St. Joseph, and obeyed his slightest wish. Mary even called Joseph the father of Jesus.
It seems that St. Joseph was born in Bethlehem of Judea. But at the time of the Annunciation, he and Mary were living in Nazareth of Galilee. He was a carpenter. It appears that he died before the beginning of Christ's public life. The memory of St. Joseph was venerated from the very earliest centuries. In 1870 Pope Pius IX declared St. Josep Patron of the universal Church. He is also patron of a happy death. We should invoke his protection often. His feast, kept on March 19, has been celebrataes since the 15th century. Late in his pontificate, Pope Pius XII established the feast of St. Joseph the Worker to be celebrated on May 1st. The Third Wednesday after Easter is also a celebration of St. Joseph.
Previously: Step Twenty-one: The Promised Redeemer
Catholicism Made Simple