Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Our Narrowness

He who was one in substance with the Father stooped down to share the substance of his mother and thereby took on himself our fallen nature, our human condition. Thus, the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth, we too might be born again by a spiritual birth.

Nothing about his birth took place outside our human condition. What we really celebrate today is that Jesus continues to be born in the narrowness of our lives, taking on our very earthy humanness in order to give his love to the world through us, through our flesh and blood. The British mystic, poet, and spiritual teacher Caryll Houselander puts it this way:

The reason why we are where we are this because it is here in this place that Christ wants to be born; it is from here that he wants his life to begin again in the world. The reason that we are with these particular people is because it is precisely to these people that Christ wants us to give his love. This year we are his trustees for these people; he has put his love for them into our hands, into our hearts. We did not choose this place—Christ has chosen it. We did not choose these people—Christ has chosen them.

We are asked one thing: to have the humility and courage to open the secret place of our heart to Christ, conscious though we are that it is as derelict as the stable, and that his light will reveal the mouse and the spider.

It may have been puzzling, even to Mary, how Christ was giving his life to the whole world in the obscurity of Bethlehem, but it was enough for her that this was his way. It still is, and he himself is the Way, the only way to our peace.

We have truly received love upon love, grace upon grace; but we truly receive only by sharing: by sharing so great a gift from our own narrowness and darkness. Infant born in Bethlehem was not afraid of our narrowness and darkness, but precisely from there draws us and the whole world into his superabundant Light and Life.

Taken from Father Dominic's homily for Christmas Day.