is Born in Us
Notes from the Sunday of the Fathers
January 3, 2010
Seeing the beautiful children in the church reminds us that we were once children. By analogy, to approach the birth of Christ through the Virgin, reminds us that we too must give birth to Christ and through this be born again ourselves—Christ, not as a babe, but spiritually within ourselves. Christ is born each year and perpetually. He must be born in us and through us.
Nicodemus was perplexed: how can a man be born again after he has left his mother’s womb (John 3:4-5). We might really ponder this question: how can Christ be born in us and through us. Christ is the God-Man, God was incarnate, generating a flesh-body (carne), and became one with our humanity. We have to do the same, but in reverse. We start with the unity, which our Lord accomplished, and we have to be united with Him. It’s not good enough to just sprinkle Christ over our fallen humanity. He must become a part of us, integrated into every aspect our humanity. He must be born in us, or we must be reborn. How we think, evaluate things, what is possible or impossible, must be seen through Christ. The Logos, Christ, is the second Person of the Trinity. He was begotten of the Father before all ages. He was first “born” on the lips of the prophets, according to St. Maximos the Confessor, and through the law, and then he was “really born”—incarnate—as a child. Now he must be born again in us. How? Ask the Apostles who followed Him. How? Ask all the saints who lived and died for Him.
Before Christ all Jewish households dreamt of their sons and daughters participating in the mystery of the coming of the Messiah. After Christ, pious homes yearned for their sons and daughters to become saints. Today, we can yearn for Christ to be born in us and through us. How is this possible? It is a great mystery. The Holy Spirit came upon the mother of God. Could it come upon us? She was highly favored before God, virtuous. Could we strive for this? Is it possible to have a virtuous life?
How Can We Have a Virtuous Life
We have responsibilities. Let us strive for obedience. We know people. Let us love our neighbor. We have the poor with us. Let us give to them. We have visitors. Let us exercise hospitality. Our loved ones have problems. “Bear ye one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). We have temptations. Let us struggle and pray: “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” We have been hurt and have reason to judge, but let us judge not that we be not judged (Matt. 7:1). Let obedience to Christ in my life be my daily business. I have control and responsibility for my own soul and with my own soul Christ can be born again, and I can be born again. At Christ’s birth there came to earth peace to men of good will. And in the same way, Christ is born spiritually in us today,
We see in even modern examples, men and women who have striven in this way towards holiness, that they are not strange or different, but, on the contrary, normal and more human than most, because Christ is truly born and integrated into every aspect and fiber of their life. This is another dimension of the revelation about peace on earth to men of Good will that was proclaimed to the shepherds by the angels and heavenly hosts. “Peace on earth, to men of good will” (Luke 2:14).
May the peace of Christ be born in us, and not just sprinkled upon us!