Hearts of Jesus and Mary: Teachings of the Saints
The Mystery of Man's Reconciliation with God
From a letter of Saint Leo the Great
Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by
eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was
incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in
keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator
between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one
nature, and unable to die in the other.
He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature
of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we
mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took
to himself in order to restore it.
For in the Savior there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and
man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he
submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our
He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our
humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though
invisible he made himself invisible, though Creator and Lord of all
things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the
condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in
the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant,
Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the
throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father's glory.
He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.
He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he
became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our
grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in
time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the
nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to
be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the
laws of death.
He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity
as long as the lowliness of man and the preeminence of God coexist in
As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up
by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion
with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh
fulfills what is proper to the flesh.
One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to
injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father's glory, so
the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person - this must be said over and over again - is
truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of
the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that the Word was
made flesh, and dwelt among us.
Receive, O Virgin Mary, the word
which the Lord has made known to you
by the message of the angel:
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
both God and man,
--and you will be called blessed among women (alleluia).
A virgin, you will indeed bear a son;
ever chaste and holy, you will be
the mother of our Savior.
--And you will...
God our Father,
your Word became man and was born of the Virgin Mary.
May we become more like Jesus Christ,
whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
reading is the second Reading from the Office of Readings of the
Liturgy of the Hours for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the
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