Born to die

The Eucharist brings Christmas and Easter together, actualizing the birth and death of Christ. A certain romantic tendency has succeeded in making Christmas a wholly human feast of maternity and childhood, of gifts and of good sentiments. In Moscow’s Tetriakov Gallery, the icon of "The Virgin of Tenderness" that depicts her pressing the baby Jesus to herself, bore the caption "Maternity" during the Communist regime. However, experts know what is signified in the Mother’s worried look, tinged with sadness, as if wishing to protect her child from impending danger. The iconographer’s intention is to announce the passion of the Son, which Simeon made her perceive in the presentation of the Temple. . . ."The Word became flesh," writes St. Augustine, "to be able to die for us." He is born to be able to die. In the Gospels themselves the accounts of the childhood are a preamble to the accounts of the passion.