The Incarnation is the central dogma of Christianity. God became man, spirit and body were integrated, the eternal and the temporal intersected, heaven and earth were reconciled, and the supernatural penetrated the natural.
Christ Incarnate stands against all the divisions in the world where one factor is sundered from its complementary opposite. Thus, the body is alienated from the spirit, the temporal abides without the eternal, the earthly persists without the heavenly, and the natural is separated from the supernatural.
The Incarnation is a refutation of all the forms of secularism that represent negations of wholeness. Today, perhaps the most egregious form of this departure from wholeness lies in the area of human sexuality. According to the new wisdom, a woman is not a woman, a man is not a man, nor is a wife a woman, nor is a husband a man. “Mother” and “father” are also rendered politically incorrect. Men and women have been stripped of their sexual wholeness, their very identity as human beings, and relegated to a world where their incompleteness becomes a cause of great confusion, desperation, and ultimately, as is often the case, profound regret.
Genesis tells us that God created human beings as “man” and “woman.” Furthermore, in marriage, a man becomes a “husband” and a woman becomes a “wife.” The message is clear. Just as Christ Incarnate is unambiguously a man, so too, a human man is also a man. Given the example of His mother, a woman is unambiguously a woman.
A cursory examination of the saints that the Catholic Church has canonized shows a sharp distinction between saints who are men and saints who are women. The distinction is irrefutable. There are no sexually bipolar saints.
Lisa Sergio has made a careful study of women in the New Testament. In her book, Jesus and Woman, she comes to the firm conclusion that Jesus had a special mission for women, in contrast with His special mission for men. For men it is “out-reach,” going to the four corners of the world and preaching the Gospel. For women it is “in-reach” in which women care for others and touch their hearts. The roles of men and women were, for Jesus, solidly mounted in their distinctive but complementary sexual identities as men and women.
The Catholic Church has always been faithful to the Incarnation. The body, as extensively elaborated in Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, is an essential part of the makeup of the human being. The wholeness of the male and the female includes their spiritual differences, their vocations, and their God-ordained missions. In the words of Saint John XXIII, “ Men and women are equal in humanity, complementary in mission”.
The testimony of the saints and the reality of the Incarnation provide a stable and convincing argument that the identities of men and women are precisely that and that they are spiritual as well as bodily, temporal looking forward to eternity, not earth-bound, but heaven-oriented, and naturally open to supernatural grace.
It is a strange phenomenon that is raging in America these days that men and women strive to be less than they are. Rather than reach for the stars, they would rather look down at their feet. The Incarnation invites and encourages each person to achieve the fullness of his being.
More and more, we read reports of men and women who choose a sex change procedure only to come to regret their decision, and with good reason. Through his website, SexChangeRegret.com, Walt Heyer raises public awareness about those who regret their gender change and it’s tragic consequences. The Federal Drug Administration has warned of brain swelling and permanent vision loss found in children taking puberty blockers.
At the August 2022 Vancouver Pride Parade, a 4-year-old girl, with her grandmother at her side, announced her transition to a male. At such a tender age, we must ask, is she wise enough to make such a radical life-altering decision? But why should this questionable choice be celebrated publicly in a parade? No one celebrates girls who identify as girls.
Our culture would be wise to heed the words of Marcus Tullius Cicero who stated in the first century B.C. that “Nature , though expelled with a pitchfork [read modern surgery] always returns.” The nature that God has given us is more permanent than what culture assigns. Nature cannot be entirely annihilated.
The Incarnate Christ came into the world to redeem us. But the Incarnation is also a model for our identities as human beings. We are bodily beings, but also spiritual. We are temporal and eternal, in the world but not of the world. Through the Incarnation Catholics have an important message for the world. We should not keep it under wraps.