By Mary Sayad
***The sign by which the shepherds will recognize the Saviour is that they will find "the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger." No sign of power accompanies the birth of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, God become man will make Himself known first of all by His poverty, His humility, His weakness. As a small child wrapped in swaddling clothes, He is at the mercy of those who press around Him. He depends on them. He cannot resist anyone. He is unable to exercise His will, nor can He defend Himself. As He appears in His birth, so will He appear in His passion, and that is how He wants me to be.
Jesus calls to Him the little children: "Suffer the little children to come unto Me...for of such is the Kingdom of God." He takes a little child and places it near Him: "Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it."
The adult disciple of Christ does not have to strip himself of the human qualities that a child does not yet possess. But he does have to strip himself of his adult faults and assume all the positive qualities of a little child.
In Christ's eyes the soul's ascent towards God is also a descent. It consists especially in making oneself small. "He that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater." In the Church of the child of Bethlehem, in the Church of the lamb, there exists an invisible hierarchy of humility.
Jesus prefers the poor and simple means --- those which the child itself makes use of. He could have had manna sent down from Heaven, but it is with a young boy's five barley loaves and two little fishes that He feeds the multitudes in the desert." And yet these loaves and fishes must be brought to Jesus; He must give thanks over them, and distribute them with His own hand to the disciples. Simple means --- the child's poor provisions --- will be efficacious, if they are blessed by Jesus.
In His discourse after the Last Supper, Jesus calls His disciples "little children." Not just "children" but "little children." The word implies both the notion of kinshiip and of deep affection, and also the notion of a particular solicitude towards individuals who are not yet mature. Master, You who called Your disciples "little children," I remind You that I have not the perfection, nor the strength of Your maturity as Son of God. Grant that I may be led. For the sin of the first man was that of no longer wanting to be led, hand in hand, by the Father in Heaven. I have the weakness of childhood; grant me the docility and complete confidence of a small child.
For whosoever follows the lamb's little way, the way of childhood begun at Bethlehem --- for him all that is small becomes great.
The lamb is a symbol of simplicity, innocence and purity. "If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with Me," Jesus says to Peter. I can have a part with Jesus only if I am pure. But He alone can make me pure.
****© JESUS A Dialogue With The Saviour by Lev Gillet, "A Monk of the Eastern Church" originally published 1963 in Belgium
Over two thousand years ago, simple, ordinary people were the first to visit the new born child of the Virgin Mary. Born in a cave in a remote town of Bethlehem, the news of the birth of Jesus was heralded by a host of angels to shepherds. Because of His great love for us, God sent His only Son to be our Savior. This was truly an awesome miracle and a mystery that would forever change the world.
Our Blessed Mother was the most perfect woman ever created. Jesus was and is the most perfect son. Saint Joseph, Jesus' foster parent was a holy and humble man; a man obedient to God's Will. Let us all model our family life to the Holy Family's life. We can't be perfect, but we can make a conscientious effort to love, respect and honor each other in the true Christian spirit. Parents and grand-parents have a responsibility to rear their children with both the love and fear of God. Children learn by the examples we set for them. Attend mass regularly, receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist frequently with devotion. What a privilege to become one with Jesus through the Holy Eucharist!
O Jesus, I humbly implore you to grant your special graces to our family. May our home be a shrine of peace, purity, love, labor and faith. I beg you, Jesus, to protect and bless all of us, absent and present, living and dead.
O Mary, loving Mother of Jesus, and our mother, pray to Jesus for our family, for all the families of the world, to guard the cradle of the newborn, the schools of the young and their vocations.
Blessed Saint Joseph, holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your prayers in all the necessities of life. Ask of Jesus that special grace which he granted to you, to watch over our home at the bed of the sick,k and dying, so that with Mary and with you, heaven may find our family unbroken in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.
My gift to all of you is a gift of love and a message to love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength and patiently accept His Holy Will. You will find a deep peace that our world cannot offer you. A peace that is a priceless treasure and a peace that is contagious!
May you be blessed with a joyful Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year!
Continue to pray for our troops, their families, and for world peace. Thank you.
Your companion in prayer,