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A Christmas Message from Saint Augustine

“It is called the Lord’s birthday when the Wisdom of God presented itself to us as an infant, and the Word of God without words uttered the flesh as its voice. And yet that hidden divinity was signified to the wise men by the evidence of the heavens, and announced to the shepherds by the voice of an angel. And so we celebrate this day every year with great solemnity, because on it was fulfilled the prophecy with said, Truth has sprung from the earth, and Justice has looked forth from heaven (Psalm 85:11). Truth which is in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18), has sprung from the earth, in order also to be in the bosom of his mother. Truth, by which the world is held together, has spring from the earth, in order to be carried in a woman’s arms. Truth, on which the bliss of the angels is incorruptibly nourished, has sprung from the earth, in order to be suckled at breasts of flesh. Truth, which heaven is not big enough to hold, has sprung from the earth, in order to be placed in a manger.” – Saint Augustine (Sermon 185).[1]

“In order that Truth might spring from the earth, he came down from heaven. In order that the bridegroom might come forth from his chamber, his going forth was from the height of heaven. That’s why he was born today, a day than which none is shorter on earth, but from which the days begin to grow longer. So in bending down to pick us up, he chose the smallest day, but the one from which light starts increasing. Thus by his very coming in this sort of way he is silently exhorting us, as effectively as if he shouted it aloud, to learn to be rich in the one who became poor for us (2 Corinthians 8:9); to accept freedom in the one who for our sake accepted the form of a slave (Philippians 2:7); to take possession of the heavens in the one who for our sake sprang from the earth” – Saint Augustine (Sermon 192, 3).[2]

[1] The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., ed. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A. (New Rochelle, NY: New City Press), , 21.

[2] Ibid., 43.

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