~Gerard Manley Hopkins from The Wreck of the Deutschland
- Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
Perhaps it is the mystery of the thing that brings us back, again and again, to read the story. He visited us and never left. We greet Him then and now — we who are nothing but soft sift in an hourglass.
How can this be? God appearing on earth first to animals, and then to the most humble of humans.
How can He be? Through the will of the Father and the breath of the Spirit, the Son was, and is and yet to be.
O great mystery beyond all understanding.
O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum.
O great mystery and wondrous sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord lying in their Manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear the Lord Jesus Christ.