I've really been digging St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation lately. I read it a couple years ago for a class on early church history, and just read it again recently for my Christology class. Fortunately, my second time through, I was prescient enough to use a different color highlighter, so I can see how my thinking changed, what was important or appealing to me at different times, etc...
This is a fabulous little book, and so for the edification of all 4 people who read this blog, I'm going to post some of my favorite quotes. If you haven't read it yet, you should. If you've read it before, pick it up again. You can't go wrong with this one.
- ...the renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning.
- ...it was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down, our transgression that called out His love for us, so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us. It is we who were the cause of His taking human form, and for our salvation that in His great love He was both born and manifested in a human body.
- For the solidarity of mankind is such that, by virtue of the Word's indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all.
- The Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father, Who could recreate man made after the Image.
- Men had turned from the contemplation of God above, and were looking for Him in the opposite direction, down among created things and things of sense. The Saviour of us all, the Word of God, in His great love took to Himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, halfway. He became himself an object for the senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might apprehend the Father through the works which He, the Word of God, did in the body.
- For this reason was He born and manifested as Man, for this He died and rose, in order that, eclipsing by His works all other human deeds, He might recall men from all the paths of error to know the Father.
- ...even in death He preserved His body whole and undivided, so that there should be no excuse hereafter for those who would divide the Church. [Why hello there, 2nd use of the Law!]
- If you see with your own eyes men and women and children, even, thus welcoming death for the sake of Christ's religion, how can you be so utterly silly and incredulous and maimed in your mind as not to realise that Christ, to Whom these all bear witness, Himself gives the victory to each, making death completely powerless for those who hold His faith and bear the sign of the cross?