Sermon 195

 St. Augustine

(1) Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is likewise the Son of Man, Born of the Father without a mother, He created every day; born of His Mother, without a father, He consecrated this day; invisible in His divine nativity, visible in His human birth, marvelous in both. Hence, it is difficult to determine to which birth the Prophet referred when he said: 'Who shall declare his generation?'[1] It is difficult to judge whether Isaias spoke of that nativity whereby, though never unborn, He had a co-eternal Father, or that whereby He was born in time of the Mother whom He had already made; or whether Isaias meant that nativity whereby He was always born since He always existed. For who will declare how Light is born of Light and how both constitute but one Light; how God is born of God without increasing the number of gods; how the statement is made that He was born, as if one were speaking of an accomplished event when, in that nativity, time neither elapsed, becoming past; nor progressed, becoming future; nor was it present as though it were being made up to that moment and was not yet completed? Therefore, who shall declare this generation when what is to be declared remains superior to the limits of time, while the speech of the one who makes the declaration passes in time? And who will declare that other generation of the Virgin, in which conception took place without seed and in which parturition brought fullness to her when she nourished but did not deprive her of integrity when she gave birth? 'Who shall declare his generation' in

either or both of these nativities?


(2) This is the Lord our God; this Man, our Saviour, is the mediator between God and man. Born of the Father, He created His Mother; formed as Man in His Mother, He glorified His Father. He is the only Son of the Father without woman's parturition; the only Son of His Mother, without man's co-operation. Surpassing all the sons of men in beauty,[2] 2 He, the Son of holy Mary and the Spouse of holy Church, has made the Church like to His Mother, since He made it a mother for us and He kept it a virgin for Himself. To the same Church the Apostle says: Tor I have betrothed you to one spouse, that I might present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.[3] 3 Elsewhere he says that our mother is not a handmaid but free, and that the children of the desolate are more numerous than of the one who has a husband, 3 The Church, then, like Mary, has inviolate integrity and incorrupt fecundity. What Mary merited physically, the Church has guarded spiritually, with the exception that Mary brought forth one Child, while the Church has many children destined to be gathered into one body by One.


(3) This is the day on which He by whom the world was made came into the world; it is the day He became present In the flesh although He was never absent in spirit; He was in this world and He came unto His own; He was in the world but He passed without notice because the light shone in the darkness and the darkness grasped it not.'[4] Therefore, He came in the flesh intending to cleanse the vices of the flesh. He came, clothed in healing human clay, to cure our interior eyes which our outer earthy vesture had blinded, so that, with soundness of vision restored, we who had before been darkness might become a shining light in the Lord,[5] and so that the Light might no longer shine in darkness but might be clearly envisaged by those perceiving it. For this purpose, He came forth as a bridegroom from His bride-chamber and 'hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way.'[6] Comely as a bridegroom, strong as a giant; amiable and terrible, severe and serene; beautiful to the good, stem to the evil remaining in the bosom of His Father, He took possession of the womb of His Mother. In this bride-chamber, that is, in the womb of the Virgin, He united human to divine nature. The Word was made flesh for us so that, coming forth from His Mother, He might dwell among us[7] and so that, going forth to His Father, He might prepare a dwelling place for us. Therefore, let us joyfully and solemnly celebrate this day; let us earnestly desire the Eternal Day through Him who, though eternal Himself, was born in time for us.

[1] Isa. 53.8.

[2] Cf. Ps. 44.3.

[3] 2 Cor, 11.2; cf. Gal. 4.26-28.

[4] Cf. John 1.10-12,5.

[5] Cf. Eph. 5.8.

[6] Ps. 18.6.

[7] Cf. John 1.14.



Adoration of the Shepherds


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