Behold, a virgin shall conceive”

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

That’s from the first reading of the Mass of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. (cfr. Is 7,14) It’s a prophecy about the long-expected Redeemer. It somehow already describes the Messiah as both God and man. As such, this Messiah can rightly be called “Emmanuel,” meaning, God with us.

But this virginal conception and birth of our Savior can also be taken to mean that like Mary, we too can virginally conceive the very Son of God, our Redeemer, since in the first place he actually wants to be born in us. That’s because as image and likeness of God, we are meant to share the very life, nature and power of God as shown and made available to us by Christ.

We may not be virgins in the natural and physical sense of the word, but, yes, we can be virgins and capable of the virginal conception and birth of Christ if like Mary, we give our whole self to God’s will for us.

And that will is none other than that we be one with Christ, as fully as we can, to such an extent that we can be “cor unum et anima una” (in one heart and one soul) with Christ, and because of that, we also can be “cor unum and anima una” among ourselves.

We should just try to echo the same response of Mary, “Be it done to me according to your word,” because this birth of Christ in us requires a divine and supernatural intervention. It cannot take place through some natural process alone.

We need to process this truth of our faith about ourselves very slowly, because it will obviously astound us to think that we are supposed to be one with Christ. Who, me, one with Christ? We most likely would be tempted to say, tell it to the Marines!

But that’s just the naked truth about us, whether we like it or not. We cannot be any other if we just bother also to know why it is so. An expression that is relevant to this matter is ‘alter Christus,’ another Christ. And it’s worthwhile to know what it is all about.

We are supposed to be ‘alter Christus,’ the goal and ideal that is meant for us, though we need also to do our part, free beings as we are, to achieve that status. God, our Creator and Father, wants us to be that way, though he does not impose it on us without our consent that should also be shown with deeds and not just with intentions or words.

We are supposed to be ‘alter Christus’ simply because, if we have been created in the image and likeness of God, and Christ is the Son of God who is the perfect image and likeness that God has of himself, then we can only conclude that we have to be like Christ.

We need to do everything to pursue that goal of assuming the very identity of Christ. For this, a strong faith is needed. And it should give rise to the appropriate action on our part, so that little by little we think, speak, and do as Christ would think, speak, and do. We should react to the different situations of our life the way Christ would.

So, at Christ’s birth on Christmas, let’s see if we can allow Christ to be born in us too! He wants it. We should also want it!

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