"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, December 25, 2015

Fr. Campbell- We Who Believe

Fr. Campbell- We Who Believe

Words from the Book of Wisdom speak prophetically of the Birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ:

“While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, your almighty Word, O Lord, leapt down from your royal throne” (Wis.18:14,15).

These words remind us of the great mystery of the Incarnation, when “the Word became flesh”, and of the Birth of Our Lord on Christmas Day. We who believe in the Son of God made Man welcome Him once more on this celebration of the Feast of His Nativity.

On that first Christmas night Jesus was born into a cold, hostile world. But He did not protest being born in a manger, though the kings of the earth are born in luxurious palaces. He was welcomed by shepherds, simple believers to whom the angels announced His birth. He was safe and secure under the protection of St. Joseph, the quietly obedient servant of the Lord, kneeling before Him in adoration. And He was at home in the arms of Mary, His sinless and Holy Mother.

God wanted so much to be with us that he became one of us. It was His delight to be among the children of men (Prov.8:31). Jesus was like us in all things but sin. As a tiny baby He was completely dependent upon Mary. Mary was all things to Him – life, nourishment, warmth, security, His comforter and teacher. There was nothing He needed that she could not give Him. In fact, we could say that the Son of God, having forsaken, in His Humanity, the celestial Paradise, found Paradise once again in the arms of His Mother. According to St. Louis Marie de Montfort:

“God the Son came down into her virginal womb as a new Adam into his earthly paradise, to take his delight there and produce hidden wonders of grace” (True Devotion to Mary, 18).

It is not in the nature of God to hate, or kill, or be cold and indifferent towards His creatures. It is in the nature of God to love. “God is love,” says St. John (1Jn.4:8b). This is why when we despise other human beings, injure them or insult them, we distance ourselves from God, and even make it impossible for God to remain with us. We become strangers to God. God can relate only to those who love others. He does not feel at home with those who cheat, and steal, and use others badly.

Mary and Joseph and the Divine Child were not welcomed in Bethlehem. Imagine how hurt God is when He finds that people even now do not welcome His Divine Son, and are doing everything they can to make Him feel unwanted. The world would no longer have us say “Merry Christmas.” The world would no longer have us sing the beautiful carols and hymns of Christmas. Manger scenes are no longer welcome in public places, while the symbols of false and pagan religions are now replacing those that represent love, truth, and peace.

Jesus was a “homeless person” in this world: “The foxes have dens, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Lk.9:58). Well, how about Nazareth, where He grew up with Mary and Joseph? The Nazarenes wanted no part of Him. They took Him to the brow of a hill, where they intended to throw Him off the cliff, “But he, passing through their midst, went his way” (Lk.4:30).   

Why is there no peace, but constant war? Because those who reject the Gospel of peace are not “men of good will”. There can be no peace for such men, but only constant war, and immeasurable suffering for the innocent.

Love others, be kind to them, help them in their need, and you will find a friend in God. He will feel comfortable in your presence, and He will delight in preparing a place for you in Heaven. When you get there you will find your place decorated with all good things, and more beautiful than any Christmas tree.

Christmas is a time for giving gifts as a symbol of our love. God loves to give gifts. His greatest gift to us to us on this day is that of eternal life. Christmas is for us. It is our birthday too. Although the world does not know Him, and even His own did not receive Him, to those who did receive Him “he gave the power of becoming sons of God; to those who believe in his name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn.1:12,13):

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that those who believe in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn.3:16).

The world does not love us, but we are no longer “of this world”. Pope St. Leo the Great declared: “… the Faithful, once having been regenerated in the font of Baptism, are born, on this Day of Christmas, together with Christ; just as they are crucified together with him in his Passion, and have risen together with him in his Resurrection, and in his Ascension are placed at the right hand of the Father. For every believer, no matter in what part of the world he may be living, is born again in Christ; his birth according to nature is not taken into account; he becomes a new man by his second birth; neither is he any longer called of the family of his father in the flesh, but of the family of our Redeemer, who unto this was made a Son of Man, that we might become the Sons of God” (Sermon 6, On the Nativity of our Lord, Ch.2, as quoted by Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year).