The  Nativity

A contemplation written by Father Jean-Pierre Medaille, SJ 

In the second place I wish to be filled with the blessings of your loving birth. 
What marvels and wonderful lessons I see in this first mystery of your sacred infancy. 
I see here the tender love you had for poverty, contempt, and suffering 
which you espoused at the first moment of your birth 
and which remained with you to the last breath of your life. 
I admire here the perfect and complete poverty 
in which you willed to be born. 
I see here the beginning of your submission and subjection to the wishes of others
in the obedience you gave to the edicts of an emperor
who was nothing compared to you.
 I adore here the wonder of your infancy,
when, in infinite wisdom, 
you allowed yourself to be guided with the same docility
as if you were an ordinary child.
 O wondrous childhood that teaches us the true way of virtue
which lies wholly in submission to superiors,
and in the obedience of a child
who allows himself to be led without looking for reasons. 
Oh, if only I could imitate particularly your holy childhood, 
If, in imitation of your life as a child, I might never in any way reason 
concerning the direction and the orders of superiors. 
In imitation of your life, as a child, may I never seek my own glory in anything,
may I never make a single choice concerning  my present
or future employment
but await peacefully and accept without resistance 
all the dispositions of your divine Providence. Give me this grace, good Jesus.
Engrave it in my life 
and make me a participant in the other virtues 
which shine out so brilliantly in the mystery of your holy birth."
(from the Writings of Jean-Pierre Médaille, pp. 115-116, written around 1658) 



The birth of the holy divine child in the lowly stable of a Bethlehem cave marks the unusualness of this birth surrounded by elemental forces and real poverty. There was "no room for him in the inn". Yet, he was in a royal city, Bethlehem of the House of David, which gives some indication of his greatness. But, all of this - and more - is hidden in God's choice of a hillside cave outside the Holy City. We see here in his beginnings, how Jesus by-passes the "royal road" - the entrance into the world - by prestige, power, luxury and security. He chose to come to us rather by a way of lowliness, poverty and submission - the "narrow road". Nativity is the feast of poverty, yet paradoxically, it is the feast of abundance. Never before have we known such great Love amongst us!



Jesus' obedience and submission to others is manifest from the very beginning of his life. How graciously he submits to the wishes of others - the edicts of the emperor for a census. Jesus, the newborn King of Peace comes to our humanity, and one of his first actions is to allow another king to exercise lordship over his life. Yet we observe how docile and free this holy family is as they allow themselves to be led and simply co-operate and work within the ordinary circumstances and events of life as they were happening unto them. They did not put up resistance to these political events, but rather they submitted to them and trusted that they were being guided by God. They seemingly did not even look for reasons. It makes me think: how analytical and probing for answers our minds can become when we are beset with unsettling and troubling circumstances that disturb our plans. Yes, we can learn from the example of your nativity how to handle the existence of "evil" in our life. You remained so in touch with life at your Source. That was enough for you. Your utter dependence upon God your Father allowed you to be so free and submissive for He would "bring all things to good" ... though you knew not how and when!



In imitation of Jesus' infancy may we never seek our own glory in anything, but await peacefully and accept without resistance, all the dispositions of God's Providence in our daily journeys. What joy and carefreeness would be ours if we could only live in such close participation in Jesus' docility and obedience to the Father, especially when our nice and tidy plans are being disrupted and thrown into disarray. What surprises will our Christmas Day bring us? What neighbours and strangers will arrive at our doors? Let us pray that we can recognize Christ in all these 'comings and goings' throughout our Christmas week.



"We have not found the answer, we have found the Source and that is enough to start afresh." (St. Augustine)



Carrying Grace     O come Emmanuel. There is room in the inn of my heart for another!



#1 arletteh 2010-12-27 23:49
Through utter poverty, we can find the Source, “ and that is enough to start afresh.” There are so many kinds of poverty. We don’t always see it when poverty comes to visit us .There is poverty of thought, of ideas, of knowing how to proceed, of knowing what to do. There is emotional poverty, lack of energy, of motivation, of purpose, lack of desire, of acceptance, of peace, even, at times, lack of hope. There is material poverty: financial, of resources, of home, separation from family, lack of making a living, a lack of security, inability to communicate, a being removed from one’s regular way of life, the poverty of suffering and illness, a total lack of human support. All of these can be the reason that will draw us back to the Source, “and that is enough to start afresh!” “Nothing do I want!”(Psalm 23) .What an utterly beautiful, humble, poor, simple way of God’s Incarnation, as manifested in the Nativity of Jesus of Nazareth .The Source became one with us.

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