“Lord Jesus Christ, through your Incarnation you accepted a human nature and lived a real, human life. Setting aside the glory of your divinity, you met us face to face in the vulnerability of our humanity.”
This is the beginning of Bishop Barron’s beautiful Prayer to a Suffering Church that concludes his book, Letter to a Suffering Church. While the mystery of the Incarnation holds inexhaustible beauty and meaning, I think it’s valuable today to reflect on this most significant event in light of humanity’s vulnerability.
The Early Church Fathers spoke of our original parents being clothed with the Glory of God. Before the fall, in a real way, Adam and Eve could see God when they gazed upon each other. They were “naked, yet they felt no shame.” Their bodies were impervious to illness, suffering, abuse, and even death.
The very first thing they realized after that original sin was the loss of this invulnerability, they “knew that they were naked.” Eve looked at Adam and saw something radically less than what she had seen moments before, she saw something that could be used and manipulated. And with that realization came the awareness that she could also be used and manipulated. So they immediately made themselves clothes to protect their bodies that were now vulnerable to abuse, suffering, and death.
It was this vulnerable body that Christ clothed himself with at the moment of the Incarnation.