AND BECAME MAN
Nearly everything I love about Christianity is summed up in those words: He became a man. For us.
Before my conversion, I sometimes mused about God. If he did exist, what would he be like? Would he be a distant ruler, an autocrat who took delight in controlling puppets with his endless regulations? Or would he be the warm, fuzzy b.f.f. that some Christians conjured—the blue-eyed, neatly coiffed dreamboat who floated along beside us, making everything peachy?
Neither option was appealing. The first seemed ridiculous. If there was a God, it seemed he would want more from his creatures than staunch adherence to arbitrary rules. On the other hand, if he were too fuzzy and floaty, I wouldn’t be able to stomach it. Were these my only choices—tyrant or cotton candy vendor?
It was in ancient and authentic Christianity that I found my answer and that answer was surprisingly free of the stereotypes to which I’d cynically clung. The God of Catholicism was the source of a truth so rich, so odd, so unlikely, and so profoundly moving that when I actually grasped what it meant—that He became man for us—I could do nothing but drop to my knees.
“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.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 460 (quoting St. Thomas Aquinas))
As if human existence isn’t strange enough, God decided to join us in the muck. As if He hadn’t already given us enough—in His Word as Scripture, through His guidance, by way of His prophets, and in His patient, repeated revelation—He gave us Himself. He whispered to us the most intimate Word He could speak. He became man.
Love one another as I have loved you.
What an amazing teacher He is. Like all good teachers, He knows that the best way to make His point is to get right down to the level of the student. To say, “Ah, yes, this is how you’re seeing things. I know how it looks to you, but let me show you a new way to understand.” The brilliant teacher leads by example, models the way, says, “Look! This is how I do it. You can do it this way, too. Really. You can do this.”
And became man.
How odd. And how perfect.
What are your thoughts? What else can we learn from “and became man”?
Former atheist Karen Edmisten is a convert to Catholicism and the author of After Miscarriage, The Rosary, and Through the Year With Mary. She blogs at Karen Edmisten (The Blog with the Shockingly Clever Title).
Read all the entries in the Blog Series: Credo: Professing the Creed for the Year of Faith.