The Five Marvels of the Incarnation
By Denis the Carthusian
The writings of Denis the Carthusian are among my favorite writings to read. It is one of the books I chose to keep with me during my move to Alabama. It was no small task for me to pick five small plastic containers of books to remain with me, while the rest of library went into storage. Denis’ Spiritual Writings were one of the books that made it into one of my bins. Denis was born at the very beginning of the 1400s, and was one of the most popular spiritual writers of his time. In section 48 of the book he writes on the Incarnation of Christ, and he speaks of some of the marvels of the Incarnation. It is through Christ's Incarnation that we are able to enter into the beatific vision in eternity, which was closed off prior. There are five of these "marvels" Denis presents and I wanted to post them up here for anyone who wants to contemplate them. I think they are worth meditating on for spiritual enrichment. Each one of them are so rich and deep that you can meditate on them for some time.
“The first marvel is that despite the infinite distance and disproportion between the uncreated and uncircumscribed Word of God and uncircumscribed humanity, the two came together in one Person.” This is certainly something to ponder that a God who is so far above us bridged this insurmountable gap.
“The second marvel is that out of two natures complete in act and essence, a single person emerges.” As we know, Christ has a human nature and a divine nature, but is a divine person. Yet, neither of his two natures are diminished in any way, as Denis says here, they are complete in their act and essence.
“The third marvel is that human nature in Christ maintained its own proper actions and passions, although it subsisted not in a human, created person but in a divine person.” Here we see that in Christ even though He has a true human nature, it was united not in a created person as a normal human being, but in a divine person.
“The fourth marvel is an eternal, unchangeable and perfect Person, is truly generated in time, and without any change in Himself, or any assimilation of something new into His own nature.” This mystery has always been hard for us to understand. Christ took on His human nature in time through His Incarnation yet remains unchanged in His Person.
“The fifth marvel is that a Virgin conceived and bore a child without the loss of virginity; a thing that never happened before.” Here we see the importance of Marian devotion being attached to Christ’s Incarnation. Indeed it was a miracle that she conceived Our Lord and was a Virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus Christ.