Photo: Felix Carroll
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Dec 21, 2007)
Our Lord came as a child because, by being human like us, He could begin to take on Himself the whole experience of our human condition, except for sin. This embodiment of God as a vulnerable human being is precisely the meaning of the Incarnation.
Saint Faustina is one of the saints to whom our Lord revealed His total vulnerability. We can begin to understand, through her experiences with the Christ Child, God's purpose in making Himself so small — and human.
"Jesus, You are so little, and yet I know that You are my Creator and my Lord." And Jesus answered me: "I am, and I keep company with you as a child to teach you humility and simplicity."
We often find it difficult to realize Christ's vast ability to communicate His tremendous interest in our salvation. He made Himself so small that we often miss what it is He is trying to communicate. We can't totally comprehend His humility, or why He would allow Himself to be so vulnerable. It's contrary to our understanding of power and influence. We need the insights of others to help us grasp this unique mystery of the Incarnation that was required for our salvation.
I heard a voice in my soul: "Meditate on the mystery of the Incarnation." And suddenly the Infant of Jesus appeared before me, radiant with beauty. He told me how much God is pleased with simplicity in a soul. "Although My greatness is beyond understanding, I commune only with those who are little. I demand of you a childlike spirit."
Our Lord invites us, too, to become simple and humble children before Him even as He allows Himself, as the Babe of Bethlehem, to become continually vulnerable to us. This is especially evident at Mass when He comes to us in the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine. He silently awaits our visits before the tabernacle. He extends that desire to relate to us through the daily events of our lives, regardless of our difficult circumstances.
All of our life's exigencies — whether in joys or sorrows, successes or failures, or seeming lack of control and shifting mood swings — are grist for the mill of His reaching out to us. But it's only in simple and childlike trust that we can yield ourselves to His purposes for our lives, accepting His plan and not our own. He made Himself an example for what is to be our attitude and response toward all the events that He permits.
The Blessed Mother was telling me to accept all that God asked of me like a little child, without questioning; otherwise it would not be pleasing to God. At that moment, the Infant Jesus vanished, and the Mother of God was again lifeless, and her picture was the same as it had been before. But my soul was filled with great joy and gladness, and I said to the Lord, "Do with me as You please; I am ready for everything, but You, O Lord, must not abandon me even for a moment."
Our Lord had to yield and surrender in response to His Father, and we see the depths of His love in that surrender. It was childlike, not childish. Nothing about it was sentimental or rigidly conforming. He invites us to follow His example and that of St. Faustina by surrendering to His love. We can then be ready for everything that comes from our loving Redeemer, who — by His very nature — cannot think or act in any way other than by loving.
Christmas conveys to us the value of having an open heart and mind for what He may be trying to teach us by His coming in the flesh. This value is what He tried to teach St. Faustina.
I want to teach you spiritual childhood. I want you to be very little, because when you are little, I carry you close to My heart, just as you are holding Me close to your heart right now.
The great and the powerful people of our world may not grasp this call to spiritual childhood that our Lord wants to extend to each of us. Blessed are those who are aware of His deep desire to be united with us, and who yield to Him at every moment. This childlike trust and generosity of heart become their gift to the Christ Child, from whom they are able to reap abundant spiritual fruit throughout the remainder of their lives.
Brother Leonard Konopka, MIC, is on the staff of the Marian Seminary in Washington, DC. He also provides spiritual direction, retreats, and seminars. Brother Leonard has a leaflet available that has a series of meditations on the five wounds of our Lord. The meditations are intended for use while praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. Click here to order Contemplate My Wounds. He also has a CD available with the meditations on the five wounds, interspered with the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. Click here to order A Musical Interlude.