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Nativity: The birth of the Christ Child has to occur in the soul


Botticelli | Public Domain

Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP - published on 10/09/19

In this month of the Rosary, take a moment to reflect on the Third Joyful Mystery.

Here in time we make holiday because the eternal birth which God the father bore and bears unceasingly in eternity is now born in time, in human nature. Saint Augustine says this birth is always happening. But if it does not happen in me, what does it profit me? What matters is that it shall happen in me. – Meister Eckhart

Jesus Christ is born! The eternal Word by which all things were made has entered creation. God speaks a new mystery: he has become like us in all things but sin. Through the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, the Word Incarnate has taken flesh.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:1-7).

The King of Kings enters the world in poverty, reminding his every disciple that to be a follower of Jesus means to be a beggar. Helpless, a child who needed a mother to change and bathe him, our God enters into our human estate and transforms it by the grace of faith. To have faith is to become like a little child, looking always up to God above to care and sustain.

Pope Benedict XVI writes, “For you the Savior is born: through the Gospel and those who proclaim it, God now reminds us of the message that the Angel announced to the shepherds. It is a message that cannot leave us indifferent. If it is true, it changes everything.”

Like Meister Eckhart before him, Pope Benedict understands that the nativity of the Christ Child has to occur in the soul.

We must go, like shepherds, to see the Infant King, allowing his reign to change the very shape of our lives. St. Irenaeus puts it this way, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, of his boundless love became what we are, that he might make us what he himself is.”

God has become very close to us. We must respond, allowing this proximity to convert our souls. If he is born, my life must look like he has been born!

Many cannot see the King in the Infant. They would have preferred his birth to have been more noble, his reign to have been not in the hearts of the humble, but a more impressive conquest of the proud. And yet only the life and death of the simple Christ could change the very substance of our lives. Only the hope of Bethlehem, only the hope of Christmas, can transform our worn and weary world.

During the month of October, Aleteia is offering a short reflection on each of the 20 mysteries of the Rosary. Follow it here.


Read more:
When Padre Pio celebrated Christmas the baby Jesus would miraculously appear

RosaryRosary Reflections
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