The first phrase of this week's Collect merits attentive consideration: Deus, qui in Filii tui humilitate iacéntem mundum erexísti. It is by the utter humiliation of the Son that the world, cast down by the machinations of the devil and by sin, is raised up and rendered capable of communion with the Father. In the Incarnation, and in the bitter sufferings of His blessed passion, the Son emptied Himself; it is the mystery of his kenosis, that is, of His terrible abasement, His becoming, as it were, nothing, and all of this or our sakes.
Universal and Particular Import of the Liturgy
All that is said in the sacred liturgy in a universal sense can be applied in a particular sense as well. The graces the Church asks for herself universally, belong to each of her children. How necessary it is, then, to apply the texts of the liturgy to one's own life and experience, lest they remain remote and without any impact on one's here and now.
The Word Hidden and Despised
Any soul cast down and brought low by the world, the flesh, and the devil, can hope to be raised up by the humility of Christ. There is no degradation that cannot be turned into an exaltation by the effect of the Passion of Jesus Christ. The psalmist says, "My soul lies in the dust; by Thy Word revive me" (Psalm 118:25). The Word, by which the soul cast down into the dust is quickened and raised up, is none other than the Word made flesh, the Word brought, as it were, to nothing in the humiliations of His bitter passion, death, and burial. So disfiguring were the humiliations of Our Lord's passion that He became as one unrecognizable:
There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him: Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. (Isaias 53:2-3)In the Most Holy Eucharist
The extreme humiliation of the Son in His passion, His self-emptying, and utter hiddenness, though completed in history, and swallowed up in the glory of the resurrection and ascension, remain, nonetheless, mysteriously present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The Word made flesh hides Himself beneath the appearances of a fragile piece of bread, nearly weightless, and translucent. One cannot contemplate the Sacred Host without, at the same time, seeing the humility of the Son, by which we are raised up.
Sacrament of the Divine Humility
Mother Mectilde speaks often of the anéantissement, the ennothingment of the Son of God in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The Eucharist is the sacrament of the divine humility. It is the descent to the altar of the Word made flesh, the crucified Word, the glorious Word, risen and ascended into heaven. There, upon the altar, the substance of a little piece of bread becomes the very substance of the Body and Blood of Christ, leaving only the appearance of bread to serve as veil concealing the awful Mystery. (Read entire post.)