Appreciating the Mystery and Transcendence of God

St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen

1 John 2:22-28; John 1:19-28

With all the Sunday Masses I’m celebrating these days, I’m probably reciting what is popularly called the Nicene Creed more often than at any other time in my life. Like a lot of common prayers and other expressions of faith, it’s easy to take for granted. It’s easy to forget that the words of this profession of faith took years, even centuries, to be written into the form we now know.

It was through God’s revelation and the discernment and work of men like St. Basil and St. Gregory that the Church came to discern and articulate the nature of Jesus (fully human and fully divine), the relationships between the persons of the Holy Trinity, etc. Yet even with a creed, much of this remains a mystery. Even with revelation, we still struggle to fully comprehend the immensity and profundity of it all. So as we recognize and give thanks for the grace of revelation, we must always do so with humility.

In this Christmas season we especially celebrate God’s immanence in the Incarnation. But we can never forget that God is also transcendent.—JC