Practically Speaking: Visiting the Crib

Authored by Patty Norris in Issue #33.4 of The Sower

With beautiful simplicity, Holy Mother Church reminds us that this miraculous birth we are about to celebrate stands as the fulcrum point of all history. Our Blessed Lady is about to give birth. In every Catholic Church, the faithful (and not so faithful) parishioners and those without a parish are drawn to the Christmas Crib. Why? Modernism and moral relativism have chipped away at the faith of many. Scandal and apathy have hardened many hearts. Life, at its beginning and end, is no longer protected or cared for. The family is attacked in its very definition and spousal love is no longer fruitful or faithful in many homes. Why do they still come, seeking shepherds and angels and looking with longing at the man and woman and their baby?

This Christmas Story speaks of all that this world finds laughable—chastity, virginity, miracles, commitments and promises fulfilled. Perhaps we are still drawn to Bethlehem, the “House of Bread” because we believe that Mary’s son was also God. We still want what He had already given his Mother, the gift of his very life that is sanctifying grace, before he was even born. In Mary, we begin to see the truth of the great exchange we experience in the Eucharist, through the incarnation, Jesus receives his humanity from his mother’s flesh, while as her redeemer, He makes her a partaker in the divine life. We see eternity, the beginning and the end.

We begin the Church year in advent both remembering the long preparation for Christ’s first advent in the Old Covenant and preparing ourselves for his second advent. Sometimes we assume that everyone understands the necessity of the Incarnation. I think we assume too much.

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