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For Easter Eve: a reading from Augustine of Hippo

March 30, 2013

From Faith and Life, here is a reading from Augustine of Hippo for the eve of Easter:

When it has been said in the Creed, “Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary,” what comes next, on our behalf? There follows, “Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was Crucified, dead, and buried.” God’s Only Son, our Lord, who was crucified, is God’s Only Son, our Lord, who was buried. As Man, He was crucified; as Man, buried; God was not changed, God was not yet slain, and yet He was slain as to His Manhood. “For,” says the Apostle, “had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” He both showed Him to be the Lord of glory, and confessed Him to have been crucified. He is our Lord, He is the Father’s Only Son, He is our Saviour, He is the Lord of glory; yet He was crucified; but it was in the flesh, and in the flesh alone was He buried. For where He was buried, and when He was buried, then and there His soul was not. In flesh alone He lay in the sepulchre; yet thou confessest that He was “conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,” who is “Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord:” He was “crucified under Pontius Pilate,” who is “Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord:” and He was “buried,” who is “Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.” Only the Flesh lies there, and sayest thou, “Our Lord?” Yes, certainly I say it; for I see the garment, and I adore the Wearer. That flesh was His garment. Let us not despise the mere flesh. When it lay there, then it bought us.

–St. Augustine, Sermon ccxiii.

Such a profound mystery is the Incarnation, but we do not have to comprehend or fully understand it; we simply have to accept the wondrous Gift of our salvation.

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