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.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!

This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Adult Faith Formation and Culture Change
By Dr. James Pauley
Free This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most important publications the U.S. Bishops have ever written: Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us . The ideals and principles expressed in this document are deeply convicting and can be summed up with these stirring words: “adult faith formation is essential to who we are and what we do as... Read more
From the Shepherds: Catechesis in the Light of the Papal Magisterium of Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium - An Access to the Church’s Mission
By Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst
Free Looking back on the past and on the development of the church since the Second Vatican Council, there are two well-known and profound documents, which have brought the biblical call for evangelization into our pastoral consciousness: Evangelii nuntiandi in 1974 and Evangelii gaudium in 2013. Both apostolic letters have reflected on the manner in... Read more
Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Reflection on Discipleship
By Peter J. Murphy
Do you feel the Holy Spirit working? Do you sense that deeper calling, that desire for renewal, that burning within your heart? Yes, it is the same burning that the disciples on the road to Emmaus felt as their Lord and Savior journeyed with them. Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us was written twenty years ago as a prophetic and challenging... Read more


Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now