The Word Made Flesh!

Luke 2:7

And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The blessed apostle has recalled that two men gave a beginning to the human race, namely Adam and Christ; two men equal in physical nature but unequal in merit; truly alike in their bodily structure, but totally dissimilar in their own origin. “The first Adam,” he says, “became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”

That first Adam was made by this last, from whom he obtained the soul to give him life; the last was author of his own making: he did not look for life from another, but himself alone bestowed life on all. The first Adam is molded from the vile dust of the earth, the second comes forth from the precious womb of the Virgin. In the first Adam earth is changed into flesh, in the last, flesh is raised up to God.

And what more? This last is the Adam, who when forming the first set his own image in him. Hence he assumed his role, and received his name to prevent the loss of what he had made to his own image. There is a first Adam, then, and a last Adam: the first has a beginning, the last has no end. Because this last is in truth himself the first, as he says, “I am the first and the last.”

“As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven.” How shall those not born in such a condition be found so, remaining not as they were born, but as they were reborn?

This is the reason, brothers, why the heavenly Spirit makes fertile the womb of the virginal font, by the secret admixture of his light, that it may bring forth as heavenly creatures, and bring back to the likeness of the Creator, those whom their origin in earth’s dust had produced as men of dust in miserable state. So now reborn and refashioned to the likeness of our Creator, let us fulfill the apostle’s command: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

Now reborn after the pattern of our Lord, as I have said, let us bear the full and complete image of our maker; not in majesty, in which he is alone, but in innocence, simplicity, meekness, patience, humility, mercy and concord — in which he deigned to become and to be one with us.

— St. Peter Chrysologus

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    Absolutely agree! Unless God has assumed our ontology thereby suffusing our total being with His saving reality, there can be no final revelation but only preliminary and anticipatory salvation. But He has asummed it, still is assuming it, and communicating it – this salvific eminent ontology of the God -man-  through His Body and into His Mystical Body, the Church. The great scandal of our time – and of preceding epochs also- derives from the vaccuous spiritualization of the Incarnation including all its derivative modes. called Church.Thanks for this well put and succinct declaration.