Child again this Christmas

Rev. Robert Brucciani, District Superior, December 2017

First step

God made man to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this world. The first step we can make to this end is to see how poor and helpless we are before Him. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of St. Matthew (Mt 18:1–5):

At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who, thinkest thou, is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus, calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them. And said: amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.

So if we wish to enter the kingdom of heaven even here below we should become as children.

Attributes of a child

A child is naturally humble because he knows that he is no greater than his mother or father. A child naturally trusts his mother and father because they provide for all his needs. A child is naturally innocent—knowing no evil for he is sheltered from the world. A child naturally loves his mother and father because they are the world to him. And a child naturally learns from his mother and father because they are the lens through which he sees the world.

Now, all these attributes should be ours too in relation to our heavenly mother and Father. They should be natural to us, but alas, the effects of original sin mean that our intellects are darkened and wills are weakened. Mankind needed a Redeemer to dispel the darkness of ignorance and to procure the strength of will that we might abase ourselves before Him, that we might trust Him, beg forgiveness of Him, love Him and learn of Him.

It was for this reason, that God became man. Our catechism states so clearly:

God the Son was made man to redeem us from sin and hell, and to teach us the way to heaven.

Our Lord’s classroom

As any good teacher will know, the best way of teaching virtue is not with a whiteboard, it is not with a big stick or an iPad, it is teaching by example. And when we celebrate the feast of Christmas as we should, we allow Jesus to teach us by example. By entering into the joyful mystery of the Nativity, we enter into Our Lord's own classroom where He teaches us how to be small again. This is the first lesson He gives on earth: He teaches us how to be sons and daughters of God the Father, brothers and sisters of Himself and also how to be children of Mary.

It is not possible to become more humble than God. No greater humility is possible than for God to join Himself to His creation—especially in such a manner: He was not born in a palace, but a humble stable, in a poor town, in a country occupied by a foreign power, in a race which had been punished for its infidelity.

As a child, He chose to entrust Himself to Mary and Joseph—His food, warmth, clothing, shelter and protection all came from them.

As a child, He showed us His innocence, His freedom from sin.

As a child, he teaches us how to love: totally, unselfishly, devotedly and affectionately.

And finally, as a little child, He teaches us that we should learn from our parents—our earthly parents and our heavenly parents: God the Father and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Let us ask the Child Jesus that we might learn His lesson well this Christmas. May we become children like Him so that our hearts become a refuge in which He may dwell, a refuge to console Him for the coldness of His welcome into His creation two thousand years ago, and to console Him for the bitter coldness of the world today.

Thank you dear faithful for your generosity over the last year. It is no secret that our struggle for personal sanctity and our struggle for Catholic tradition demands that we give more each year. In the end, our Divine Friend would have us give everything following His example of course. May He bless you abundantly and give you true peace.

In Jesu et Maria,

Rev. Robert Brucciani

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