Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/26/2013 (3 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The world pauses at a crèche and ponders the mystery. Love is born.

On the day called Christ-Mass, the whole world pauses - at a manger, a crib, a crèche - before a baby. The Nativity of the Lord touches every man, woman and child. The world is presented with the Christian proclamation that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We are invited to be begin anew. Love is born on Christmas Morn and the whole world can be Born Again.

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/26/2013 (3 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Christmas, Nativity, Christ Child, Manger, born again, reborn, new birth, getting saved, Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas, Joy, Joy to the world, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - The world pauses at a crèche and ponders the mystery. Love is born. The whole world is offered the gift of being born again, of becoming children of God.  

This year my wife and I will travel to our oldest daughter's house in Richmond. In her graciousness and hospitable love, she is hosting the family. Most of our adult children will be there. Our oldest son, his wife and two of our six grandchildren will come from the West Coast for New Years Eve.

Things grow simpler as I age. I think that is one of the many graces of aging, it clears away the clutter. The older I get the more I love Christmas, the real Christmas, the Feast of Love Incarnate, in all of its implications and promise.

I rejoice to be alive in this new missionary age of the Catholic Church. I draw encouragement from the fact that in an age which seems to have lost the gift of faith, and with it the ability to perceive mystery, the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus still captures such attention and evokes such a response. 

But it does - precisely because of what it truly means.

The hunger and thirst for love is still present, in the heart of every single man and woman, even if hidden or denied. We simply cannot live without love. Blessed John Paul wrote in his first encyclical letter: Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.

What Augustine called the restless heart beats in every chest and opens all men and women to eternity. The hunger and thirst so evident among the men and women of this moment discloses a pattern for our evangelistic work in this new missionary age. We are not called to wag our fingers but to open our arms.

We should have as a driving passion of our life that all men and women receive the greatest gift, the child born in the manger. This year I am moved by the astonishing fact that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word through whom the entire universe was made, chose to come among us as a child, a baby.

The Almighty God became vulnerable, even dependent in a sense, revealing the depth of His love in what Pope St. Leo called the condescension of compassion:

He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So He, who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.

I spent precious time in prayer on Christmas Eve morning. I was drawn to memories I forgot I had so close to my heart, the birth of each of our five grown children. One paramount experience came from the recesses of those memories I did not know I still had. It gripped me in the place which the Bible calls the heart, the seat of decision and emotion.

I remember being stunned by how new they were. I marveled at their new little fingers, the newness and tenderness of their skin, and the crystal clarity of color in those wondrous eyes! I recalled the experience of love so evident in their vulnerability. It came back to me, and I wept. I recalled the words of Jesus about becoming children:

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me. (Matt. 18: 2-5)

Every Christmas we are reminded that we can begin again. The crèche where heaven came to earth is a promise. The Gospels proclaimed at the Vigil and the Midnight Mass of Christmas root the Nativity of the Lord, in the family history and lineage of David and tell the story of the Birth of the Savior.

They remind us that all of the aspirations, hopes, prophecies and promises of the Old Testament are fulfilled in the birth of this Child, the One named Jesus; born of the Virgin whose name was Mary. The Mass of Christmas day uses the Gospel of St. John to unpack the deep mystery in these words:

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.. AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US (John 1)

Johns' Gospel contains the mature reflection of the early Church on the significance of what we celebrate on Christmas.  The words rendered in English dwelt among us can be literally translated - He pitched His tent among us. The God of the whole universe who dwelt in inaccessible light, whom no man had ever seen and lived, became a man. He became a vulnerable baby. He became one of us, and made His home with us. He continues to live with us as we live our life in Him.

St. Paul, writing to the Christians in Corinth told them that in Jesus the Christ, God has given us all His greatest YES: As God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not yes and no, but YES has been in him. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. (2 Corinthians 1:18-20)

The Eternal Word entered time and opened it to eternity.

The YES of God is now given to the whole world in this newborn King. Love is born on Christmas Morn and in Him the world can begin again. God is more than an idea; more than the summit of all the aspirations of the human heart. He is more than a first mover who got it all started and remains distant. God can be known and wants to be in communion with us. He gives Himself to us. He became a child and invites us to do the same; to be born again. 

God is love, wrote the beloved Apostle John. (1 John 4:7-9) Love gives Himself away to the beloved and the beloved is transformed.  God so loved the world He created out of love - that when it became separated from His Love through sin, He did not stop loving. The all - powerful God who made both heaven and earth became a vulnerable baby and chose to give Himself to His creation in order to create it anew. He sent the Incarnate Word, His Son, through whom He made the universe, as a helpless, dependent and vulnerable child.

He became like us, so that we can become like Him. As sons and daughters in the Son, we can live for eternity in an intimate communion of love in, through and with Him. The separation between the entire human race and the One who fashioned us for Himself has now been bridged. This Child whom we adore is our Redeemer, Our Savior, and Our Deliverer. He is the first born of a new creation. We are born again in Him.

On the day called Christ-Mass, the whole world pauses - at a manger, a crib, a crèche. The Nativity of the Lord touches every man, woman and child. The world is presented with the Christian proclamation that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The whole world is invited to be begin anew. Love is born on Christmas Morn and the whole world can be Born Again in Him.

Let me conclude with words of invitation from one of the early Fathers of the Church:

What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for ´we no longer know Christ according to the flesh´, but He dwells in us spiritually and the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us. (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Merry Christmas! Celebrate, laugh, love and share the Good News.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More U.S.

Suffering, Struggle and the Christian Revolution Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery ... continue reading


Live the Easter Way! The Holy Spirit which Transformed the Early Church Enlists Us! Watch

Image of Candle by candle, the light of the Resurrection illuminates the world around us as He who is the Light of the World fills it with His radiance.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I just watched Pope Francis preside at the Easter Vigil at the Basilica of St Peter. His homily on encountering Jesus and finding our own Galilee was beautiful. Now, I am about to depart for the Easter Vigil at my parish in Chesapeake, Virginia. I will greet the ... continue reading


Holy Saturday: God has Died in the Flesh and Hell Trembles with Fear Watch

Image of Holy Saturday Byzantine Icon. This is a day which presents to those who approach it in contemplation, an opportunity to probe the mystery of life and death. It is a day to enter into the deeper mysteries of the faith with the millions and millions of those who have gone before us.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all ... continue reading


The Birth of Catholic Evangelism Watch

Image of I recently interviewed Jeff Cavins  for my weekly show  on Ave Maria Radio.  Jeff, who is nationally known for his study guides to the Bible, has just taken a job as Director of Evangelism at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  It's a significant point in this nation's Church history that an apologist/educator with EWTN origins has taken a significant job inside an archdiocese.

By Deal W. Hudson

In spite of being ignored, and in some cases blacklisted, several of the hosts of EWTN radio and TV shows grew ministries of their own in the evangelistic Catholic style of Mother Angelica's still-prospering network. Jeff Cavins is one of the most successful of ... continue reading


Good Friday: Behold the Wood of the Cross Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This is Good Friday. This is the day when the whole world stands still. We recall the great Sacrifice offered on the second tree on Golgotha's Hill. There, the one St. Paul calls the New Adam (1 Cor.15), in the perfect obedience of love, did for us  what we ... continue reading


Finally Justice! Small town city manager gets 12 years in jail on corruption charges Watch

Image of Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo's party came crashing down when it was revealed in 2010 that Rizzo was giving himself an annual salary and benefits package of $1.5 million.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bell, California is a small town with less than 36,000 people. That didn't stop City Manager Robert Rizzo, along with his friends, from awarding themselves hefty raises and drawing yearly salaries as high as $1.5 million. It was fun while it lasted - now Rizzo ... continue reading


FORCED BESTIALITY: Evil teenage girls sexually assault autistic boy - and record it for posterity Watch

Image of Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bush along with her 15-year-old accomplice are accused by the St. Mary's County sheriff's department on numerous charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an episode shocking for its sheer cruelty, two teenage girls in Maryland are now in custody after they repeatedly abused a 16-year-old autistic boy - eventually making him perform sexual acts with a family pet - and recording it all on their cell phones. LOS ... continue reading


HOW LONG BEFORE THE SYSTEM BREAKS? Working Americans increasingly made to pay for those on welfare Watch

Image of Those who work in America are increasingly being made to pay for those who don't -- in the manner of an over-burdened ox.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're an American who awakes each day to begin a day of toil you have no interest in, take heed: There are only more reasons to hit your pillow in frustration each night as you drift off to sleep. You are an endangered species, and the media has not rallied ... continue reading


Ron Paul warns Feds may stage 'Waco styled' raid Watch

Image of Cliven Bundy has been fighting with the Bureau of Land Management for 20 years over his cattle and grazing rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Cliven Bundy, his family, their supporters, and myriad militiamen forced federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management to back off of the Bundy's Nevada ranch and release hundreds of captured cattle, one politician warns that the feds could be planning ... continue reading


What does this say about America? More people getting food stamps than women working full-time Watch

Image of There were only 15,678,000 women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 1969.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a distressing figure that shines a most unflattering light on affairs here in the United States. According to recent statistics, those  participating in the food stamp program, or SNAP outnumbered the number of women who worked full-time, year-round ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 10:34, 37-43
34 Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-9
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Reading 2, Colossians 3:1-4
1 Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 20th, 2014 Image

St. Marian
April 20: When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter