The Incarnation of the Word

1. Jesus Christ: icon of God and exemplary of man

This is the event that builds all our faith: eternal and inaccessible God, Creator of all things and man’s friend, has become man, like us and for us in His Son. Jesus Christ is the visible manifestation of God, of His infinite being, of His total goodness and beauty. The glory of the Father shines “on his face” and is present throughout his earthly life. For this reason, Jesus is the icon of God and to see on His face the features of his Father, as he himself says: “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father.” (Jn.14:9)

By becoming a man, the also becomes an exemplar of man fully successful, conforming to which every man reaches perfection. And perfection for man is becoming just as God has thought and wanted, or his image and likeness: God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” and “God created man in His own image”. (Gen.1:26-27)

It is a creative masterpiece of God. The image and the resemblance are a prelude to the relationship, to the reciprocal attraction, to the loving intimacy between God and His creature.

Unfortunately, however, the union between man and God has been lost because of mortal sin. Venial sin further disguise this initial likeness, so that in the life of man sometimes very difficult to recognize the presence of God. In Jesus of Nazareth this image-originality between God and man is restored: He is a perfect man. Believing in Jesus, imitating Jesus, then makes men fully successful because they are fully realized according to the plan of God.

2. Jesus Christ: The fulfillment of the prophecies and the revelation of the Father

In the Old Testament we see that the Incarnation has been prepared and prefigured in many steps: not only in those who expressly anticipate the coming of the Messiah, but also in the characters and  images used by the Psalms and the Prophets, who prefigure the coming and the mission of Christ, his royalty, his expiatory suffering and his glorification.

The New Testament resumes the ancient prophecies, pointing out that, they are fulfilled in Jesus in a timely manner: he is the Messiah whose ancient scriptures are spoken. The History of Salvation has its center in the Incarnation of the Word: God has chosen an hour and a precise place, the hour that marks the center of History, “when the fullness of time came and God sent his Son”. (Gal. 4:4)

Jesus is not only the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies, but it is the very fulfillment of revelation, that is, the full and definitive word of his father as he himself said: “For all things that I  have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you”. (Jn.15:15)

3. God becomes man to make man God

From the first centuries, the Church has firmly defended the historical reality of the Incarnation of the Word against all the objections of those who could not conceive as divine and human, eternal and temporal, infinite and creative, invisible and visible, one being: Jesus of Nazareth.

Only if true man, fully involved in the human condition, Christ can be our Savior. It is an important point of Christian doctrine: “What is not taken from the Word become man is not saved.”

If the divine word falls in human weakness, it is for man to escape from his fragility and be elevated to divine fullness. This fate of glory may seem like utopian for man: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible”. (Mk.10:27)

The Incarnation, the extension of God to man is intended to remove man from his sinful condition and bring it back to communion with God. It is the redemption offered to all, freely. Man returns to that union with God to which he is destined for constitution and that alone makes him happy.

This familiarity with God recovered through faith in the Son is properly called adoption to the children of God, and no other religion offers such a sublime goal to man.

According to the St. Ambrose, who writes: “He would not be born, unless there was the benefit of redemption”. Each one of us called to this sublime goal of divinization, thus matching the intent of the incarnation, “God became man so that man would become God”.


The Divine Childhood »