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Pope Invokes St. Francis' Vision of the Incarnation
Diane M. Houdek
Published: Monday, December 26, 2011
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The grotto of the nativity at Greccio, Italy.
In his Christmas Eve homily, Pope Benedict XVI focused on St. Francis of Assisi's vision of the Incarnation as the focal point of Christian salvation.

"Francis discovered Jesus' humanity in an entirely new depth. This human existence of God became most visible to him at the moment when God's Son, born of the Virgin Mary, was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. The Resurrection presupposes the Incarnation. For God's Son to take the form of a child, a truly human child, made a profound impression on the heart of the Saint of Assisi, transforming faith into love."

Dwelling on what this says about the humility of God, the pope concluded by saying, "Anyone wishing to enter the place of Jesus' birth has to bend down.... We must set aside our false certainties, our intellectual pride, which prevents us from recognizing God's closeness. We must follow the interior path of Saint Francis the path leading to that ultimate outward and inward simplicity which enables the heart to see. We must bend down, spiritually we must as it were go on foot, in order to pass through the portal of faith and encounter the God who is so different from our prejudices and opinions the God who conceals himself in the humility of a newborn baby."

His message for Christmas was clear: "Let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped. Let us allow ourselves to be made simple by the God who reveals himself to the simple of heart. And let us also pray especially at this hour for all who have to celebrate Christmas in poverty, in suffering, as migrants, that a ray of God's kindness may shine upon them, that they and we may be touched by the kindness that God chose to bring into the world through the birth of his Son in a stable."

Click here for the full text of the Pope's homily at the Vatican website.

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