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By Fr. Peter M. Stravinskas, Crisis Magazine, March 25, 2020
Fr. Peter M. Stravinskas is the founder and superior of the Priestly Society of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman. He is also president of the Catholic Education Foundation and editor of The Catholic Response.
On this solemnity which celebrates the high-water point in the history of salvation, permit me to explore with you three Latin expressions.
The first is, verbum caro factum est: “The Word became flesh.” We find this line, of course, in the Prologue to St. John’s Gospel, and the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus is God’s last and definitive Word—a word spoken in the flesh. The doctrine of the Incarnation is the central teaching of Christianity, however, if one were to survey Catholics leaving churches on Sunday mornings by asking, “When did the salvation of the world occur?” the vast majority would give the Protestant answer by saying, “Calvary”. And they would be wrong, as are Fundamentalists and many other Protestants today, because our salvation began at the Annunciation when “Verbum caro factum est.” Indeed, the whole Christ-event is salvific: From His conception in the womb of His holy Mother to His ascension to His heavenly Father’s right hand. We are saved by the flesh, the Body of Christ. As we heard to today’s Second Reading, “a body you have prepared for me.” Here we come to the second: ….