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Christmas Meditation Next to the Child God in the Crib Part 1 - His Majesty

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

 

On the Dignity of the Child Jesus and His Most Holy Mother

Approach with me the crib of the Child God.

As we consider the infinite greatness of His birthplace, we will imagine a spacious grotto as high as a cathedral, with some of the stones arranged, as if by angels, in such a way as to remind us of the arches of the gothic Cathedrals of the Middle Ages.

We can also imagine the manger that served as a cradle for the Child God, the roughness of the wood sanctified by His Divine Presence. It is placed at a majestic point of the grotto; and a heavenly, golden light hovers over Him at that moment.

While still a newborn, the Divine Child lay in His crib with the majesty of a true King: King of all majesty and all glory; Creator of Heaven and Earth; God incarnate made man. From the first moment of His being, while “cloistered” away in His Mother’s womb, He had more majesty, grandeur, strength and power than all men throughout the history of mankind.

Imagine we are seeing all this mysteriously expressed on that Boy’s face. At times, as He moves, that movement reveals His kingly bearing. When He opens His eyes, we know we are in the presence of the Wisdom of the Ages.

A whole atmosphere of holiness surrounds those who approach Him. The very air one breathes has such purity that people do not even approach the place without asking forgiveness for their sins; but at the same time, the holiness emanating from the manger makes them want to amend their lives.

Also imagine Our Lady at the foot of the Child Jesus. She is truly a Queen. Her dignity and grandeur are so naturally a part of her being that even without wearing noble-looking garments, her dignity shines throughout the grotto.

 

 

Majesty Exuding from Sanctity

From where does all this majesty come? Sanctity.

Let us shift our meditation momentarily to consider a more recent example of this type of majesty. We will turn to Saint Therese, the Little Flower. It is written that even as a child she was so dear and imposing that her father called her “my little queen.”

During the process of her canonization, the gardener of the Carmel of Lisieux reported that he once saw a nun working with her back to him: she was Saint Therese. The devil’s advocate* then asked, “How could you know she was Sister Therese when she had her back to you?” The gardener’s response was very significant: “I knew it through the majesty of her bearing, for no other nun had such majesty.”

If Saint Therese was like that, what would Our Lady be like?

Imagine the Mother of God kneeling before her Child’s crib. She is so majestic, transcendent and pure, praying to the Child God. Invisibly, angels sing songs of glory and the whole atmosphere is permeated with so much sanctity as to transform the poverty of the stable into a royal court.

Now we approach the manger, feeling the greatness of the Divine Child. As Catholics, we are worshiping all that is noble, pure, holy and steadfast, to fight and sacrifice all for the glory of God. The Boy before us mysteriously draws to Him all the goodness and grandeur that flow from Him and yet are but reflections of Him. For is it not true that all forms of purity, all forms of holiness, only exist because of His holiness?

Thus, fending away from us sin, error, disorder and chaos, we do not even dare to raise our eyes to that magnificent scene of the Nativity in which order, hierarchy and splendor permeate everything.

 

Click here: Christmas Meditation Part 2 - His Accessibility

 


*The term “devil’s advocate” refers to the popular title of the person appointed by the Roman Catholic Church to challenge a proposed beatification or canonization, according to the process used at the time of this writing.

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 22, 2021

Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God rather for s...

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April 22

 

Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God
rather for sinners than for the just, since
Jesus Christ declares that
He came to call not the just, but sinners.

St. Anselm

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Theodore of Sykeon

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second...

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St. Theodore of Sykeon

Born in the Roman Galatian town of Sykeon in Asia Minor, Theodore was the son of a woman of ill repute, who kept an inn along the imperial highway.

As a child, he was so given to prayer that he would often give up a meal to spend time in church. From an early age he shut himself up first in the cellar of his mother’s house and then in a cave beneath a disused chapel. Later, for a time, seeking to further escape the world, he sought solitude on a mountain.

On a pilgrimage to Jerusalem Theodore assumed a monk’s habit, and though only eighteen years of age, was ordained a priest by his own bishop. His life was most austere, wearing an iron girdle about his body and only sparingly partaking of vegetables.

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he obtained abundant rain after a severe drought.

Theodore founded several monasteries, and ruled as abbot in Sykeon. He was consecrated Bishop of Anastasiopolis, though he deemed himself totally unfitted. After ten years he succeeded in relinquishing his post and retired to Sykeon.

From Sykeon he was recalled to Constantinople to bless the emperor and the senate and there healed one of the Emperor’s sons of a skin disease, reputedly leprosy.

Theodore had a great devotion to St. George and did much to propagate devotion to him.

He died in Sykeon on April 22, 613.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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