"Truly the Son of God and Truly the Son of Man"
"Truly the Son of God and Truly the Son of Man"
Isenheim Altarpiece - Second view - Annunciation Panel by Matthias Grünewald (1470 - 1528), 1515; Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France; (from left: the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Resurrection, Predella: the Lamentation); commons.wikimedia.org
The Mystery of Our Reconciliation
From a letter by Saint Leo the Great (400-461), pope
Majesty assumes humility; power, weakness; eternity, mortality; and, to pay the debt incurred by our sinful condition, an invulnerable nature is united to a passible one. In this manner, as was convenient for our remedy, the one and same mediator between God and mankind, Christ Jesus, also a man, could be mortal and immortal at the same time by the union within Him of this dual condition.
He who is true God is born as a true man, without lacking anything in the integrity of His human nature, conserving the totality of His proper essence, and assuming the totality of our human essence. And, when saying our human essence, we are referring to that nature that was embodied in ours from the Creator, and that He assumes so as to restore it.
Our nature became corrupt when man let Himself be deceived by the malignant one, yet no vestige of this original corruption or vice is found in the nature assumed by the Saviour. He, in effect, while making our frailty His own, did not make Himself a participant of our sins.
He took the condition of a slave, yet free of the deafness of sin, ennobling our humanity without lessening His divinity because this stunning act of His - for which, He, who was invisible, made Himself visible, and He, who is the Creator and Lord of all things, wanted to be one more among the mortals: it was a dignifying act of His mercy, not a lack of power. Therefore, the same one that, remaining in His divine condition, made man, is the same One that becomes that same man, taking the condition of a slave.
And so, in this manner, the Son of God makes His entrance into the lowness of this world, descending from the celestial throne, without leaving the glory He has together with the Father, being engendered in a new order of things.
A new order of things, because He who is invisible by His nature makes Himself visible in ours; He who was inaccesible to our minds wanted to be accessible - the one who existed before time, began to exist in time: the Lord of the entire universe, veiling the immensity of His majesty, assuming the condition of a slave, the unaffected and immortal God deigns to become a passive man, subject to the laws of death.
The same One that is true God is also true man, and in Him, in all truth, are united the smallness of man and the grandiosity of God.
Neither did God suffer any change with this dignation of His piety, nor was man left destroyed by being elevated to this dignity. Each one of the two natures realizes its own actions in communion with the other. This is to say, the Word realizes what is proper of the Word, and the flesh what is proper of the flesh.
Being the Word, it shines because of its miracles; being the flesh, it succumbs to injuries. And as the Word retains its glory from the Father, in the same manner the flesh conserves the proper nature of our race.
One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person - we will not tire repeating this - is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man.
He is God because in the beginning the Word already existed, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is man because the Word made itself flesh, and dwelt among us.
Lord, You have wanted the Word to become incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary; grant us, in your goodness, that all of us who confess our Redeemer as true God and true man, will come to make ourselves like Him in His divine nature. Through our lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
translated from the Lectura del Oficio Divino by Jan Paul von Wendt
Isenheim Altarpiece - First view - Lamentation Panel by Matthias Grünewald (1470 - 1528), 1515; Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France; (from left: Saint Sebastian; center: The Crucifixion, right: Saint Anthony the Hermit, Predella: the Lamentation); commons.wikimedia.org
"Truly the Son of God and Truly the Son of Man" - The Mystery of Our Reconciliation - from a letter by Saint Leo the Great (400-461), pope
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