By Hermit Sister M. Beverly
the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...God
said, “Let there be light, and there was light.
God saw how good the light was.” (Gen. 1:1-4)
The words of the opening lines of the first book of
Scripture, proclaim in utter simplicity that God SPOKE
and caused TO BE. God created through a word. Only
God can create out of nothing. What He created came
out of His own inner life full of love, harmony, order,
beauty and rationality. As He Himself said, what He
creates is good, because nature reflects His own goodness.
In the case of human beings, “made in the image
and likeness of God,” the crown of creation,
God saw that they were very good. (Gen. 1:26-31)
At Marymount Hermitage for Christmas, we have the tradition
of placing, under the altar, the Bible open to St. John's
Gospel beside the infant Jesus.
The opening lines of the
Gospel of John allude to the Genesis account and is
a further amplification of it. “In the beginning was the Word; the Word
was in God’s presence, and the Word was God. He was present to God in the
beginning. Through him, all things came into being and apart from him nothing
came to be.” (Jn 1:1-3) John is making the bold proclamation that God created
through THE Word, his only-begotten Son. In Greek, “logos” is variously
used to mean: “word, saying, message, teaching, talk, conversation, account,
reason, grounds, and book.” Most often, “logos” is “word” and,
in St. John’s Gospel, THE WORD refers to Jesus Christ.
In the time St. John was writing, the Greek language, culture and philosophy
permeated the Mediterranean world. “Logos” could and often did refer
to “reason,” the life of the human mind, rational thought. The Greeks
held reason in highest esteem. Philosophy presupposed that human beings sought
life in knowing the truth, in arriving at wisdom. Hence, for John, as a Jew,
to say “the Logos/Reason became a man” (Jn. 1:14), was a shock
to both Jews and Greeks in his day.
Jews for thousands of years
had preserved, at the cost of great suffering in an idolatrous,
polytheistic world, the belief in the one Supreme God.
the all-powerful Spirit, who was totally transcendent. How could THAT God
become a human being, and a vulnerable, weak baby at that?
God become “Emmanuel,
God-with-us”? God as imminent? Blasphemy! To the Greeks, to hear that the “Logos/
Reason,” descended from the realm of the eternal mind, immortal ideals,
transcendent truths, and became “flesh,” became an earthly man?...
Unthinkable! So to both Jew and Greek, “the Word became flesh” was
a totally shocking and novel revelation. The burning question was: Is this true?
Conversion came from accepting the Christian faith, affirming that “Yes,
this IS true.”
This phrase is so familiar
to us as Catholic-Christians, because we say it at Mass
every Sunday in the Nicene Creed. We pray it daily in the
words of the Apostle’s Creed and the Hail Mary. It is hard for us to experience
what an emotional earthquake this variously translated statement is: “the
Word became flesh”... “the Logos became a man”... “the
Word built his tent among us”... “the Logos tabernacled among us”...
for these are all accurate renderings. (Jn. 1:14)
Now, since the miracle of
the Incarnation, the creative, loving Word of God is a
man and his name is Jesus Christ. Human persons, who image
of the Trinity, have the gifts that make us like God: human reason, free
will and an immortal soul. Our minds are made to seek the truth. If our
only knowledge, without faith, we will be without wisdom. Both Pope John
Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have said and written on numerous occasions,
we need faith and reason to live a fully human life.
Faith and reason must be integrated,
so that we have the wisdom to discern the truth about Jesus Christ. A
fully human life means putting our faith into practice.
This Christmas, as we meditate upon the nativity scene,
let us ask the Holy Spirit to enkindle in us a greater
respect for reason, which is
of the mind,
and a greater gratitude for our faith, which is the life of the soul.
As St. Irenaeus said, “the glory of God is man fully alive.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full
of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the
only-begotten Son from the Father...and from his fullness have
we all received, grace upon grace.” (Jn. 1:14-16)
Rebecca Mary and I wish you a joyous and holy Christmas and
2007. As our gift, in gratitude for your charity to us, we are having a novena
of Masses offered for you and your intentions during the Christmas season
by Father Arsenius, a newly ordained hermit in LaPine, Oregon.
ask your prayers for the intention that we find a resident
chaplain. This is the first year
in all 22 years of our life here that we have not had Mass offered in our
chapel on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
please pray for faith-filled, young women, who will share
our vocation of silence and solitude in prayer for the
sake of the Church and the world.
With our love,
Your Hermit Sisters
HERMITAGE NEWSLETTER is
published by Marymount Hermitage, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt
corporation in the State of Idaho.
The Hermit Sisters of Mary are a canonically approved Catholic
community of women hermits following the Rule of St.
newsletter is normally published three times a year and is free.
The newsletter is sent to our relatives, friends and benefactors
so that we might share the spirituality and material progress
of Marymount Hermitage. Please pray that we may be faithful
way of life in prayer and penance, solitude and silence. Any
donations to Marymount Hermitage are sincerely appreciated
and are tax-deductible.