The Word became flesh to make us
“partakers of the divine
“For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of
God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into com-
munion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might
become a son of God.”
“For the Son of God became man so that
we might become God.”
“The only-begotten Son of God, wanting
to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he,
made man, might make men gods.”
Taking up St. John’s expression, “TheWord became flesh,”
the Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed
a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn
cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ
Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count
equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied him-
self, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness
of men. And being found in human formhe humbled himself
and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Letter to the Hebrews
refers to the same mystery:
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body
have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offer-
ings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Lo, I have
come to do your will, O God.’”
Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinc
tive sign of Christian faith: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every
spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of
Such is the joyous conviction of the Church fromher begin
ning whenever she sings “the mystery of our religion”: “He was
manifested in the flesh.”
79 St. Irenaeus,
3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.
80 St. Athanasius,
54, 3: PG 25, 192B.
81 St. Thomas Aquinas,
Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer.
40:6–8 ([7-9] LXX).