From Christ and the Human Life
Above the portal of the ancient cathedral in Lisbon is found a marvelous portrayal of the Blessed Mother and her child. Mary, the image of purity and divine grace, is not bent over the child: she is looking far, far away, as if she were contemplating the deepest meaning of the Incarnation of the divine Spirit and as if she were surveying the immeasurable consequences of the event upon which shone the star of Bethlehem. What is that deepest meaning? It becomes clear to us when we hear from the streets the cries of newspaper vendors calling out the latest news. This latest news is basically age old and constantly repeated: the cold or hot war of everyone against everyone else. Its simple cause lies in the fact that man with his intellectual gifts squanders his superiority of mind – his intelligence and passion – on animal disputes and purposes. In contrast to this, the mystery of the Incarnation brings us an eternally new, uniquely real message – a message that points to the sole fundamental solution of the problem facing all mankind: pure spirit penetrates dust-born life, leaves aside all temptation, accomplishes the whole Passion of the divine Spirit in an unspiritual world, and returns to eternity pure. But we plunge right and left into every temptation, every challenge, every folly – and the wages of sin are paid to us every time, without fail. But we will not admit that we are constantly being punished because we are constantly falling from our God-given calling; that is, because we are constantly confusing the temporal and Earthly with the Heavenly and the eternal.