The Cave became Heaven

On the Nativity of the Lord 2010

“The Cave became Heaven”

The Eparch’s Message

“Your Nativity, O Christ our God, has shed the light of knowledge upon the world.” St. Augustine said: “I want to know only two things: God and the human soul.” With Christ’s Nativity we are given full knowledge of both God and the human soul. In Jesus, born in a manger, God has appeared to us in His reality, as pure Love, and Man has appeared to us in his real dignity as Son of God. In Jesus, who is at the same time God and man, the Son of God and the Son of Man, we know who God is and who Man is.

The book of Genesis describes the image of the human being, man and woman, in the state of grace, as willed by God when he created them. True human life, in its highest form, is the life that God gave to our first parents, as they came out pure from God’s hands. “Let us make Man in our image and likeness”, he said (Genesis 2:7). “And he blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so Man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). All creation came to be by a word of God, Man alone is a divine breath, an authentic image.

But unfortunately this image and likeness were spoiled by sin; and if we look at the humanity today, what do we see? Atheism, materialism, relativism, and secular humanism are the most popular philosophies of today. Marriage, as the permanent union between a man and a woman as willed by God since he created them, is under attack. Divorce and cohabitation without the Sacramental Mystery of Matrimony, abortion and the extremely high numbers of births out of wedlock threaten the family at its very core. Alcohol, drugs, lack of chastity, violence and suicide are epidemic. Is this what God intended when He created Man?

Paradise described in the book of Genesis as the image of Heaven, in which Man and God were living in friendship, in which Adam and Eve used “to hear the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze” (Genesis 3:8), is no more a paradise; it became a lonely place, empty of God’s glory, because of Man’s sin. And Heaven was closed for human beings.

With Jesus’ birth, Heaven was reopened; Bethlehem’s cave became Heaven. In Jesus human nature was restored to its original purity.

To celebrate in a Christian way the Nativity of our Lord, we have to ask Jesus to come into the cave of our soul to transform it, by His presence, into Heaven. “If anyone is in Christ, said Paul, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). And he said to the Romans: “Do not conform yourself to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (12:13)

Then we will be born again with the Divine Infant; then we will be restored to the true image of God; and then we will have on this earth some of the days of Heaven.

I wish to all of you a Blessed Nativity!

+ Archbishop Cyril S. Bustros

Eparch of Newon