PROGRESS IN HOLINESS: WORKS AND FAITH
“Recalling the deeds performed by the Saviour of the human race brings us great profit, dearly beloved – if what we venerate as something believed we also take on to be imitated. In the arrangement of Christ’s mysteries, there are both effects of grace and influences from doctrine, for we follow in the example of his works the one whom we acknowledge in the spirit of faith. Those very first things which the Son of God experienced in being born of his Virgin Mother set us on the road to progress in holiness.
HUMAN LOWLINESS AND DIVINE MAJESTY
There appear to those of an upright heart in one and the same Person both human lowliness and divine majesty. Whom the cradle shows to be an Infant, heaven and heavenly things call their Maker. That Boy with a small body is Lord and Ruler of the world. He who is encompassed by no limits is held in the arms of his Mother. But it is in these things that the healing of our wounds and the raising up of our abasement rest, for, unless such diversity had come together as one, human nature could not be reconciled to God.
A PATTERN FOR OUR CONDUCT
Our remedies, then, have established for us a rule of living, and a pattern has been given for our conduct, a pattern from which medicine can be applied to the dead. Not inappropriately, when the brightness of a new star had led three wise men to worship Jesus, they did not see him ruling over demons, not raising the dead, not restoring sight to the blind or mobility to the lame or speech to the dumb, nor in any action of divine power. They saw him, rather, as a Child – silent, at rest, placed in the care of his Mother – in a situation where there appeared no indication of power.
From this lowliness, however, a great miracle was presented. Consequently, the mere sight of that Sacred Infancy to which God the Son of God had adapted himself was bringing to their eyes a preaching that would be imparted to their ears. What the sound of his voice was not yet presenting, the activity of sight was teaching them. For the entire victory of the Saviour, the one that overcame the devil and the world, began in humility and ended in humility.”
– Pope St Leo the Great, 5th century