December 2015 - The Crib and Noises of War
Despite our world’s attempts at promises of peace, we live in a time of constant war and noise. Our Lord chose the tranquility of a stable in the countryside for his entrance into the world. Let us follow the example of Our Lady and St. Joseph, enter into the silence of the manger scene, and adore the newborn King.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Not so long ago, the “enlightened” people of the time boasted that a new era was just beginning, an era in which there would be no more wars or conflicts. On the contrary, the brutality of facts has silenced them and not a day passes without talk of war or of noises of war.
Nearly two thousand years ago, Our Lord warned His disciples that a time would come in which these wars and threats of war would be man’s daily bread. In these troubled times, they would have to raise their heads and not yield to the anxiety that could easily overcome them. In this Christmas season, we raise our eyes to contemplate the star that guided the Magi on their way to the manger, and are filled with wonder at the radiant simplicity of this mystery.
The place chosen for the birth of the Savior, away from the vain noises and unsavory dealings of men, offers us an important lesson: God cannot incarnate Himself where covetousness and calculation reign. The soul must learn to turn into itself and offer to God its fundamental poverty without trying to deny or disguise it. God is only waiting for this offering to establish His reign in the soul.
In the manger, we find first Our Lady, recollected in the presence of God, in radiant adoration, placed at the center of the mystery of the divine love. She is the one who comes nearest to it because, never having refused anything to God, she belongs to Him completely. She is the first cradle, the true one, offering to God the homage that is due to Him, the homage of adoration and contemplation, the homage of a love that does not shy away from difficulties and that continues to say “Fiat!” even when the cross comes knocking at the gates of the soul. It is when the cross comes that man usually hides because his petty soul is not yet a crib devoted to the love of God.
Saint Joseph is present, witness of so many beautiful things, Protector of Our Lady and of the Child-God. He is the Father of the souls that come to the crib to drink at the source of grace and to flee a pitiless world where the devil holds them in slavery. Compelled by the revolutionary principles that abhor all that is a reminder of God and His Paternity, souls call to St. Joseph to lead them to God.
We need so much to go to Our Lord!
He is the true center of the crib, He towards whom all eyes converge, He who receives at the same time both the adoration of men and the submission of the lower beings represented by the ox and the donkey; as if the whole of nature were acknowledging that the Child laid down on the straw is its Creator and Lord. The heavens tell the glory of God, says Holy Scripture. Here, this dumb praise is offered by the ox and the donkey. Let us keep in our souls this very simple but too often ignored reality, that creation and creatures manifest God and His glory and that, when the beauty and brilliance of creation seize our souls, our role is to turn to the Creator and to complete our admiration by adoration.
Man stands as the crown of the beauty and brilliance of creation. The Word of God is made a Child, to invite man to return to His intimacy. The Child-God in the center of the crib attracts souls eager for truth, joy and peace. He is Truth, Way and Life. It is in adoration mixed with gratitude that man appeases his anxious soul. When dwelling at length on this spectacle of God become man, a dependent small child, man is able to measure the degree of God’s love for him.
Before this living tableau of incarnated love, the noises of war fade. Man receives the grace of understanding that the only worthwhile war is that which he must from now on wage against the attacks of his pride.
In the footsteps of Our Lady and St. Joseph, he learns to kneel in adoration and he admires, gives thanks, asks for forgiveness and humbly begs the grace of fidelity. He asks with confidence for the strength to follow this Child from the manger to the scaffold. He particularly begs to receive the grace to follow Him in His renouncements, which are as many offerings to the paternal love and which will be, for man, pitched battles against his unrestrained, selfish desires.
War and noises of war must die at the crib, in the spirit of Christmas, which is that of the peace given to souls of good will, those who acknowledge their misery and bring it with humility and confidence to the crib, true Throne of grace.
May this grace of Christmas illuminate every day of the new year. By thanking you for your generosity towards us, we express, for you and all of yours, our best wishes of happiness and ask the Child-God to bless you.
In Christo sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves le Roux