By PEDRO MENDEZ
CONNECTING FAITH AND LIFE
I woke up early on Christmas Day. Honestly, I was a little disappointed because I would have liked to have slept a little longer. I decided to get up and go to the living room where we have a Christmas tree and, under the tree, a Nativity scene. I decided not to turn on the lights of the tree, but only the light of the stable depicting Mary and Joseph adoring God-made flesh in a newborn baby. It was still dark, so the light coming from the stable created an intimate environment.
After telling the Lord how disappointed I was (something he already knew), I asked him what he would like for me to focus on during my prayer. Two thoughts came to mind: first, a Spanish Christian song by Marcos Witt (“Al Estar Aqui”) that speaks of a person contemplating, adoring and surrendering their total self before God’s divinity, beauty, holiness and grandeur. The second thought was on the opening verses of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being” (John 1:1-3). As I reflected on those verses of John’s Gospel, I also remembered a question that my son Stephen had asked me after the Christmas Eve Mass: “Pappa-Daddy, how was Jesus called before being born?”
So, early in the morning of Christmas day, I felt that God was inviting me to contemplate Jesus’ divinity and the unspeakable-yet-humble way he emptied himself through his Incarnation and birth. The Eternal accepted a human body and a life limited by space and time; the One through whom all things came into being decided to be fed by Mary. The One who didn’t need anything chose to depend totally on Mary’s and Joseph’s care. The all-powerful, almighty and all-knowing Son of God assumed our humanity so completely that he tasted death to give us hope through his Resurrection. He is fully divine and fully human!
There is, however, tension when contemplating Jesus’ divine and human natures. This tension is depicted in the ways the Gospels were written and in some Catholic Church documents, particularly Vatican II documents. It seems to me that we, disciples of Jesus, need to experience the same tension of Jesus’ divine and human natures in our hearts. The result of having this tensional experience is our total surrender in awe, fear and adoration before God’s divinity, beauty, holiness and grandeur – revealed in the simplicity of his mercy and compassion. God’s mercy and compassion are not idealistic perceptions of God, but concrete ways of experiencing God’s unconditional love in our lives.
Where are Jesus’ divine and human natures revealed to us today? Is it through our joys, illnesses and sorrows? Is it through our hope, grief, despair and darkness? Is it through the acceptance of the way God is shaping us into his image under our current/real-life condition, whatever that might be? Is it through the support of family, Church and friends, or the lack of them? Is it through creation? Jesus’ desire for us is to see his divine and human natures, to the extent he wants to reveal himself to us, through our daily life circumstances and under the condition of our life here and now. Would you give yourself the chance to experience Jesus’ divine and human natures in your life here and now? It will be unforgettable!
I continue pondering Jesus’ eternity, Witt’s song and my son’s question after Christmas Eve Mass: “Pappa-Daddy, how was Jesus called before being born?” Maybe, as my son grows older, I accept the challenge of showing him how the Eternal One humbly walks with us every day amid our joys, sorrows and messiness; and how God asks the total surrender of our good yet-imperfect-and-sinful selves as the only way of humble adoration. Maybe then, he follows the One I follow, loves the One I love, and worships the One I worship.