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The mystery of a God with human hands and a human heart

· Benedict XVI's General Audience dedicated to the Incarnation ·

The Son of God “worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind, he acted with a human will and he loved with a human heart”. Calling to mind the words of Gaudium et Spes , the conciliar Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, the Holy Father underscored “the great and marvellous riches of the mystery of the Incarnation”: the mystery of a God, he explained at the General Audience on Wednesday, 9 January, “who came down from heaven to enter our flesh” and thereby to open for us “the way to his heaven, to full communion with him”.

“This is one of those truths”, the Pope said, speaking to the faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall, “to which we have grown  so accustomed that the greatness of the event it expresses barely makes an impression on us, concerned as we are above all by the “external aspects” of the Christmas festivities. It is therefore necessary “to recover wonder, as we stand before this mystery”, letting ourselves be enveloped by the grandeur of this event: God, true God, Creator of all things,  walked upon our roads, entering human time”.

At the heart of the Incarnation is the logic of “love freely given”: God, Benedict XVI recalled, “made his only Son a gift for us,  he took on our humanity in order to give us his divinity”. What is more, “even in our own giving it does not matter whether or not a gift is expensive; rather, those who fail to give a bit of themselves always give too little”.

The mystery of God made man, the Pope noted, contains the whole of the  “daring realism of divine  love”. Christ, in fact, was incarnate in a specific period and in a specific place, he grew up in a family, he associated with friends, he worked with a group of disciples. For the Pope this way of behaving is “a strong incentive to question ourselves about the reality of our faith, which must not be limited to the sphere of sentiment, of the emotions, but must penetrate the practicalities of our existence, that is, it must touch our everyday life and give it practical guidance”. It is also in this way that the Incarnation gives life to “a new creation”, because “only in Jesus is God's project for the human being fully manifest: he is the definitive man according to God”.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 22, 2020