The first is the meaning of the Incarnation in light of the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. For, as soon as the Angel Gabriel announced to the blessed Virgin that she was to become the mother of God, the miracle happened. "The Word was made flesh" at the very instant that she accepted her mission with the words, "behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." The culture of death teaches us that life in the womb is worth nothing, a mere thing to be thrown away. Indeed, the pressure today is to accept birth as the beginning of life, when, in fact, it is simply an early stage in a life that has existed for nine months.
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats tells of those on the Lord's right hand, to whom the words are spoken: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. " It also tells of those on his left to whom terrifying words are spoken: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. "
The Word became flesh, that is, he took into his Divine nature the fullness of human nature. In so doing he sanctified every stage of life, including that of the youngest and most helpless of all people. His brethren include children in the womb, many of whom are murdered every day for the selfish convenience of a wicked generation that does not know God, and that has allowed love to grow cold.
As Christians, we must continue to work for the sanctity of all life, from the moment of conception until death. We must do all we can to protect the children in danger, and to come as well to the rescue of expentent mothers who feel afraid, who feel undue pressure to kill their children before seeing their faces, and think they have no one to whom they can turn. We must be that lifeline to these, so as to save the life, whenever possible, of the one of these, the least of his brethren.
Also, I want us to consider this miracle, the Incarnation, itself. I mentioned before that Mary accepted her mission, a mission that would bring such pain to her, one Friday, that it would be, in the words of Simeon, a sword that would pierce her own soul. Her willingness to accept this mission would be fulfilled thirty three years later by her son, as he would pray in his agony, "not my will, but thine be done." Mary was the only person to share the miracle of the Incarnation with the Lord himself. She also felt more keenly than any other, the pain of his death.
What happened when the Word was made flesh? How did God do this thing? Not by reducing Divinity so that it could fit into a small receptacle. A drop that falls into an ocean is transformed into something grand, into part of an ocean. He did not reduce divinity. Rather, he took human nature into his own divine Person as God the Son. God the Son has taken human nature into His Divine Person, our created nature into uncreated Person. He has taken what is alien to Him, our humanity, as the One who is wholly other from every created nature, to forever transform human nature by making us partakers of the Divine Nature, as is written by the apostle Peter. This person, the Word (the λόγος) is both Uncreated and creature; both Eternal and in time; both omnipresent and local; both King and servant; both Lord and worshiper; both God and man.
This, the Incarnation, is, along with the cross, the expression and revelation of God's love (and, so it is fitting to remember that the Annunciation was originally thought to be the correct date of the first Good Friday, as we have learned). That love is the charity that St. Paul wrote about to the Corinthians, and is poured into our hearts by the Holy Ghost given to us.
The following is worth keeping for a devotional to be used in addition to your other regular prayers.
V/. The Angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary,
R/. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.
- Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. (Lk 1:28) Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. (Lk 1:42).
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
V/. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord."
R/. "Be it unto me according to thy Word."
- Hail Mary, full of grace...
V/. And the Word was made flesh,
R/. And dwelt among us.
- Hail Mary, full of grace...
V/. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts, that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by His Cross and Passion we may be brought unto the glory of His Resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.