Christ Triumphs through Humility | A Christmas Homily by St. Josemaria
“This day shall light shine upon us; for the Lord is born to us.” This is the great announcement which moves Christians today. Through them it is addressed to all mankind. God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul.
We stop in front of Mary, Joseph and the Child, looking at the Son of God who has taken on our flesh. I remember now I made a visit — for a very special reason — to the holy house of Loreto, Italy, on August 15, 1951. I said Mass there. I wanted to say it calmly and reverently, but I hadn’t counted on the crowd’s fervor. I had forgotten that the faith of the people of the region and their love for the Madonna meant there would be a huge crowd for the feast of the Assumption.
Their piety was not always entirely correct in its expression, at least from the point of view of the Church’s liturgical regulations. When I would kiss the altar in accordance with the rubrics, three or four local women would accompany me. It was distracting, but certainly moving. I also noticed that above the altar in that holy house, which tradition says was the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, these words were written: “Here the Word was made flesh.” Here, on a bit of the earth on which we live, in a house built by men, God dwelt.
The Son of God became man, and he is perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: “perfect God and perfect man.” There is something in this mystery which should stir Christians. I was and am moved. I should like to go back to Loreto. I go there now in thought and desire, to relive those years of Jesus’ childhood and consider once more those words: “Here the Word was made flesh.”
Iesus Christus, Deus homo: Jesus Christ, God-man. This is one of “the mighty works of God,” which we should reflect upon and thank him for. He has come to bring “peace on earth to men of good Will,” to all men who want to unite their wills to the holy will of God — not just the rich, not just the poor, but everyone: all the brethren. We are all brothers in Jesus, children of God, brothers of Christ. His Mother is our mother.
There is only one race in the world: the race of the children of God. We should all speak the same language, taught us by our Father in heaven — the language Jesus spoke with his Father. It is the language of heart and mind, which you are using now, in your prayer — the language of contemplation, used by men who are spiritual, because they realize they are children of God. This language is expressed in a thousand motions of our will, in the clear insights of our minds, in the affections of our heart, in our commitment to lead a virtuous life, in goodness, happiness and peace.
You must look at the Child in the manger. He is our Love. Look at him, realizing that the whole thing is a mystery. We need to accept this mystery on faith and use our faith to explore it very deeply. To do this, we must have the humble attitude of a Christian soul. Let us not try to reduce the greatness of God to our own poor ideas and human explanations. Let us try to understand that this mystery, for all its darkness, is a light to guide men’s lives.
As St John Chrysostom said: “We see that Jesus has come from us, from our human substance, and has been born of a virgin mother; but we don’t know how this wonder came about. Let us not waste our energies trying to understand it; rather, accept humbly what God has revealed to us. Don’t try to probe what God has kept hidden.” If we have this reverence, we will be able to understand and to love. The mystery will be a splendid lesson for us, much more convincing than any human reasoning.
“Christ Triumphs through Humility” is an excerpt from the homily given by St Josemaria Escriva on December 24, 1963. The homily is published by Scepter Publishers in the book “Christ is Passing By”.