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He Is Born and Nothing Will Ever Be the Same

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Fr-Lawrence-Lew-OP

Canonry of St. Leopold - published on 12/23/14

How deep, how vast, how reckless is His love for us

Something strange is happening!

Come with me, now! Up, up to the Great Courts of Heaven, where ’round the Eternal Throne of God Almighty, a strange, hushed silence has fallen. The Great Hymn of Praise, uninterrupted since the beginning of Time, has ceased for a moment.

And now an odd tremor breaks the silence; a gentle wave rumbles throughout Paradise.

The Seraphim and Cherubim, soaring aloft on their wings, have fallen quiet; they turn their angelic gaze to see what’s happening.

The Hosts of Heaven, with quizzical expressions, look to each other: One to another, the celestial voices whisper:
"Is it true?"
"Is He really going to do it?"
"Is it even possible?"

And Gabriel the Messenger looks on and smiles.

Now come with me, to the gloom of the Abode of the Dead, the Limbo of the Patriarchs. Here, in Hades, from the beginning of the world, Adam and Eve and all their descendants have been languishing, waiting, endlessly waiting, in darkness and despair.

But listen now! That same tremor, growing ever stronger, rumbles by, and a strange sensation rouses the tired, sad, dreary inhabitants, barred from Paradise by our First Parents’ Sin.

Look there! Eve our mother, for the first time in centuries, lifts her weary head and looks to Adam: "Could it be, do you think? After all this time?"

Unused to speaking, Adam looks up from the dust, a small glint in his eye, a sad smile on his face: "He said He would.
Remember, in the Garden; He promised!"

And over there, Moses, Elijah, and the prophets, pondering their life’s work, nod to each other and dare to hope.

Now, let us go down deeper still, to the darkest bowels of Hell itself: even here this same tremor, now a mighty roar, passes by shaking the very foundations.

See!  There stands the Devil, Satan, the Fallen Prince; and, for once, he stops gazing at himself and barks to the nearest demon: "What was that?"

Fear has struck the demon dumb. Satan scowls; and then, an idea so terrifying that it makes his cold blood run colder, dawns on him: "No," he growls, "No! It couldn’t be; He wouldn’t dare!"

"Not for them!" . . . "Not when He wouldn’t do it for me."

Come back with me now back to the Earth, where an odd stillness falls over the land. Most people notice nothing; life goes on. But Nature raises her eyebrow. Something strange is about to happen.

Watch closely. Midnight comes; the Old Day dies; the New Day begins. And then, with the force of a rushing wind, with a power beyond imagining, with a thundering, deafening silence, the Wave that rushed out from Heaven strikes the Earth.

And in an instant, and forever, everything, everything is changed.

Christ is born!

And from the Angels high in heaven, to the humble barnyard animals, all creation gasps and, with wonder and awe, stands mute as it marvels: Christ is born!

For there, in the stable of Bethlehem, on the cold, cold ground, the God Who made Man is now Himself MADE Man.

The Lord of heaven and earth lies before them, a newborn child.

Christ is Born!

The very God Who fashioned all flesh has now robed Himself in that flesh.

Christ is born!

He Whose power controls the universe now lies helpless. He Whom the heavens could not hold is held in His Virgin Mother’s tender arms. And everything is forever changed.

And then the hushed silence that filled the astonished Universe explodes into the Greatest Cry of Joy ever heard. The celestial choirs barely believing the miracle they behold find their voice and sing even louder: "Glory to God!"

Glory to God – Who could love so much that He becomes one with his creatures.

Glory to God – Who is so great that He could become so small so that even the smallest of His children can reach out and touch Him.

Thundering back and forth across the Universe, the shouts of joy and wonder echo down even to the Land of the Dead. And on those who dwelt in the Land of Gloom a Light shines. A great shout erupts! A wild cheer tears through what only moments before was the endless night of sad weeping and regret:

"The curse," they roar with delight "the Ancient Curse that doomed us is broken!" "Our Savior is born!"

The prophets beam with joy; Adam and Eve link arms and dance. The time of waiting is finally at an end. The Lord has kept His promise; the Messiah has come!

And in the nether reaches of deepest Hell, even the shrieking of the fallen angels cannot drown out the Cosmic Shout of Joy, the Hymn of All Creation.

Christ the Savior is Born!

And the Devil wails aloud: "No!" he bellows, "It’s not possible. It’s not fair!"

But the Gentle Voice of Heaven heard for the first and only time ever in Hell’s black Halls reminds him sadly: "But you’ve made your choice. You had your chance; now my people shall have theirs."

But sly Satan speaks softly now: "Oh, but Lord, they don’t deserve it! See how they treat you! They are not worthy of such a gift!"

And the Lord God smiles and says: "No, they’re not. But I love them."

And on the Earth, a mother holds her child . . . and thus unfolds the Great Story, the Story of our Salvation, a Story so improbable that no human fantasy could have conceived it, the Story of Emmanuel, God-Among-Us.

God has set aside His Glory to become one of us. And together with all Creation we stand wide-eyed and wondering how such a gift, how such Love could come to us.

And right here, right now, spread out before us is the whole of our Salvation, the entire sweep of the panorama of God’s Love . . . from the humble manger which sheltered Christ’s Holy Birth, we look up, wonder upon wonder growing in our eyes, gratitude swelling in our hearts, to behold the Cross on which Christ’s Holy Death gives us Birth to everlasting life.

From the wood of the manger, made a rough bed for God’s humanity, to the wood of the Cross made the Throne from which Christ reigns, we gaze with astonishment, the astonishment of child on Christmas Morn. And we ask: "Why? Why would He do this for Us? Why lay aside the Glory of Heaven? Why endure the suffering, the humiliation, the indignity, the unutterable smallness of becoming a man? Surely not because He had to!"

Seated on His Throne of Glory, surrounded by the Host of Heaven, God could have saved us, wiped out Adam’s Sin, restored us to holiness with the blink of an eye.

With the snap of a divine finger, He could have dispatched an Angel from heaven to redeem us, to make us whole.

So why? Why the scandal of being born in a stable? Why the marvel of the Incarnation?

Because He didn’t just want us to be saved . . . He wanted to save us Himself with His own Hands, with His own Body, with His own Blood.

Because He wants to be close to us, to share in absolutely everything that is ours: all our struggles, all our pains, even death; to share all that it is to be human, so that one day we could share in everything that is His!

For He wants us to know how deep, how vast, how reckless is His Love for each of us.

This is the Eternal Mystery; this, the Great Secret; this, the reason for the Divine Condescension. That is why God became man, leapt down from heaven, became Emmanuel, God with Us.

Two thousand years have passed. Christ was born. And He longs to be born today, so that those who live NOW in the Land of Gloom, might NOW see His Great Light. 

He waits to be born in you, to shine through you. You, His lampstand, His heralds.

You, His voice, His Hands, His Temple, His Home.

To be born in you so that you may say, with your words and with your life, to everyone you meet: Christ is born!

The Healer of the Breach has come, taking our flesh to make of His flesh the bridge to God.

When He came the First Time in the Flesh, He was born in small, insignificant Bethlehem, and lived His entire Life in the small enclosure of the Holy Land.

Tonight, when Christ comes again in the Flesh, in the Eucharist receive Him and become His New Bethlehem so that He might be born in you. Become, like Bethlehem, small and insignificant in the eyes of the world so that Christ might find a home in you.

And let Him make you into His New Holy Land, so that, as once He walked and spoke and loved in Palestine, He may walk and speak and love through you.

So that, through you, His New Home, Salvation may break forth into the World today, because today Christ wants to be born in you.

Prepared for Aleteia by the Canonry of Saint Leopold. Click here to learn more about the Canons Regular of St. Augustine.

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Christmas
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