The mystery chose to enter the history of man through a life story identical to that of any other man. Thus, it made its entrance imperceptibly. No one was there to record it. At a certain point, the mystery presented itself. And this event marked the greatest moment in the lives of those who encountered it, the greatest moment in all of history. –Msgr. Luigi Giussani
“Ponder, brothers, the humility of God,” a wise friar once told us in novitiate. I carried this instruction with me even after I laid the Dominican habit aside. It tends to reside at the forefront of my meditations in the Advent and Christmas seasons.
“Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand,” reads Proverbs 30:18.
I count among such things the profound, incomprehensible event of the Incarnation. I’m suspicious of any man who claims to understand fully how and why the God who created the universe ex nihilo humbled Himself to become a man who was born in a stable and eventually suffered a torturous death at the hands of His creation. It is, in its essence, a mystery—the mystery—and it must be approached as such.
It is not a mystery we can seek to understand, but rather an event we must embrace and carry with us as we toil through even the most mundane aspects of daily life. The soul must never cease chasing it. As St. Gregory of Nyssa said, “Those who run toward the Lord will never lack space… One who is climbing never stops; he moves from beginning to beginning, according to beginnings that never end.”
Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.