Your humility had no beginning, O Lord, for You had no beginning. You were eternally begotten from Your Father. Your very essence is that of Son to the Father. Your humility, therefore, is wrapped up in Your very being, for You have always subjected Yourself as Son to the Father in humble obedience, in loving subjection. While You share in His divine nature—for You are God—Your personhood is that of a humble son, even obeying His fourth commandment by honoring Him with infinite honor and praise.
In this perfect communion between You and Your father, You obeyed the idea of incarnation. My mind can stop right there, Almighty God, and never leave it. You, Who are divine, Who possess all perfections, humbly agreed to become man. Was it the Father’s idea? Or was it Yours? Either You humbly submitted to His will without hesitation or You volunteered the idea as a means to bring Your future creatures closer to Your father.
What master ever became his slave? What painter ever became his own brush stroke? What composer ever became a single note in his own symphony? The idea of God becoming man sounds—forgive me, Lord—ridiculous to my feeble mind. I am tempted by my own prideful worldview to say that becoming man was ungodly. Shall I climb into the chicken coop tonight and perch on the roosting bars next to my hens? Shall I graze the pasture with my goats in tomorrow’s morning sun? Or shall I forage with my honeybees for nectar and pollen amidst the million clover flowers? Such ideas are ridiculous. And yet, the idea of the divine Son of the divine Father taking on the form of a slave (see Phil. 2:7) was not ridiculous? Or was it wonderfully ridiculous, as when I make my toddler laugh by making animal noises or pretending to feed her baby doll with a bottle? Shall I giggle like a child when I think of You becoming man?
I submit to you, dear Lord, that this idea—this divinely silly idea—is so ridiculous that it must have only come from a divine Person. No creature would have come up with it. It is too fantastical. It is far too sensational. Even the ancients would have never had such an idea—that is, of God becoming fully man. No, their ideas were mere hybrids of semblance. Hercules and Achilles were mere mortal men with dashes of divinity, odd mixtures of humanity and the wiles of incontinent gods. Furthermore, the gods of the ancients were different in kind from our notion of You, O Lord. Those imperfect beings were merely partaking in some heavenly chess match of mastering this and that earthly realm and meddling in prurient human affairs. They were never seen as the God of Abraham—the one almighty God. And thus, the notion that the one almighty God would become fully flesh and blood was never even considered. Perhaps, O Lord, no creature could have even conceived of such an idea. Our lives are constrained by logic; Your life is larger than logic.
I venture to guess that even the greatest of the angels who may have existed for billions upon billions of years before the Incarnation (if their existence could be measured in such human terms) would have never even conceived of the possibility. The Incarnation—the true Incarnation as opposed to some silly mythological meaning—could have only come from an infinitely humble mind. Only a mind so great could think of something so small. Only a mind so pure could think of something seemingly defiling to the pure beauty of divinity.
Yes, I see the mere idea (long before the actuality) of the Incarnation as proof of Your existence, O Lord. I cannot fathom any creature being able to see the necessary become the needy, the absolute becoming the contingent, the great I AM becoming that which was not before. You did not come down from Mt. Olympus; You did not come from high to low. You came from complete otherness. You pierced the unpierceable veil that divides the everything from the nothing. I am nothing. You are everything. And You pierced this veil with the same humility that permitted the Romans to pierce Your hands and feet with the nails of my pride. Oh dearest Lord! I tremble at the thought of You making the impassable journey from eternity to time, all to have my anger scourge Your back, my mockery crown You with thorns, and my pride pierce Your hands and feet. And You knew it all.
Truly, only an infinitely humble God could come up with such an idea.
NB: This article is part of a series looking at Jesus through humility.
Conor Gallagher is CEO of TAN Books. He is author of various books and is a proud husband and father of fifteen children. His subjects of interest include family life, philosophy, the spiritual life and spiritual direction. His graduate degrees are from the Catholic University of America.