The Incarnation

Due to travel during Christmastide, this is the final post for this week. I can think of no better meditation than that on the Incarnation written by Frank Sheed. It is linked here from the Ignatius Insight blog. I wish all a Happy and Most Holy Christmas!

The human race then had broken its right relation of friendship with God: men had lost the way because they had lost the life (without which the way cannot be followed) and the truth without which the way cannot even be known. To such a world Christ, who had come to make all things new, said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." In those three words–way, truth, life–Christ related Himself quite precisely to what man had lost: as precisely as a key fits a lock. In the precision of that threefold relation, we are apt to overlook the strangest word in the phrase–the word "am."

Men needed truth and life: what they might have expected was one who would say "I have the truth and the life": what they found was one who said "I am the truth and the life." This strange word forces us to a new mode of approach. If a man claims to have what we want, we must study what he has. If a man claims to be what we want, we must study what he is. With any other teacher the truth he has is our primary concern–the teacher himself is of no importance save as the bearer of truth, and his work is done when he has given it. With Christ, the teacher is primary: He cannot simply give us the truth and the life, and then have done with us. He can only give us Himself, for He is both. This point must be insisted on, not as a figure of speech, but as a strict fact. It is a map we are making, not a poem; and what is now being said, mysterious as it is, is strictly and literally true. Our study of the road of life has brought us to an examination of truth and life: we cannot understand the road if we do not understand them. But if Christ is the truth, then we must understand Him: if He is the life, then He must live in us.

Obviously, then, our map-making cannot progress till we are clear about Who and what Christ is, because the road we are to travel depends even more on what He is than on what He did.


Christ is God-made-man: that is He is truly God and He is truly man. He is God–with the nature of God: He took to Himself and made His own a complete human nature–a real human body and a real human soul. He is, then, one person–God–with two natures–divine and human. Nor is all this mere abstract matter, of no real concern to us. Everything in our life is bound up with the one person and the two natures of Christ. We must grasp this central luminous fact, or everything remains in darkness.

The rest of this mediation can be found here. It is taken from Sheed's book, "Map of Life."