Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/26/2013 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The world pauses at a crèche and ponders the mystery. Love is born.

On the day called Christ-Mass, the whole world pauses - at a manger, a crib, a crèche - before a baby. The Nativity of the Lord touches every man, woman and child. The world is presented with the Christian proclamation that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We are invited to be begin anew. Love is born on Christmas Morn and the whole world can be Born Again.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/26/2013 (7 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Christmas, Nativity, Christ Child, Manger, born again, reborn, new birth, getting saved, Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas, Joy, Joy to the world, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - The world pauses at a crèche and ponders the mystery. Love is born. The whole world is offered the gift of being born again, of becoming children of God.  

This year my wife and I will travel to our oldest daughter's house in Richmond. In her graciousness and hospitable love, she is hosting the family. Most of our adult children will be there. Our oldest son, his wife and two of our six grandchildren will come from the West Coast for New Years Eve.

Things grow simpler as I age. I think that is one of the many graces of aging, it clears away the clutter. The older I get the more I love Christmas, the real Christmas, the Feast of Love Incarnate, in all of its implications and promise.

I rejoice to be alive in this new missionary age of the Catholic Church. I draw encouragement from the fact that in an age which seems to have lost the gift of faith, and with it the ability to perceive mystery, the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus still captures such attention and evokes such a response. 

But it does - precisely because of what it truly means.

The hunger and thirst for love is still present, in the heart of every single man and woman, even if hidden or denied. We simply cannot live without love. Blessed John Paul wrote in his first encyclical letter: Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.

What Augustine called the restless heart beats in every chest and opens all men and women to eternity. The hunger and thirst so evident among the men and women of this moment discloses a pattern for our evangelistic work in this new missionary age. We are not called to wag our fingers but to open our arms.

We should have as a driving passion of our life that all men and women receive the greatest gift, the child born in the manger. This year I am moved by the astonishing fact that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word through whom the entire universe was made, chose to come among us as a child, a baby.

The Almighty God became vulnerable, even dependent in a sense, revealing the depth of His love in what Pope St. Leo called the condescension of compassion:

He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So He, who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.

I spent precious time in prayer on Christmas Eve morning. I was drawn to memories I forgot I had so close to my heart, the birth of each of our five grown children. One paramount experience came from the recesses of those memories I did not know I still had. It gripped me in the place which the Bible calls the heart, the seat of decision and emotion.

I remember being stunned by how new they were. I marveled at their new little fingers, the newness and tenderness of their skin, and the crystal clarity of color in those wondrous eyes! I recalled the experience of love so evident in their vulnerability. It came back to me, and I wept. I recalled the words of Jesus about becoming children:

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me. (Matt. 18: 2-5)

Every Christmas we are reminded that we can begin again. The crèche where heaven came to earth is a promise. The Gospels proclaimed at the Vigil and the Midnight Mass of Christmas root the Nativity of the Lord, in the family history and lineage of David and tell the story of the Birth of the Savior.

They remind us that all of the aspirations, hopes, prophecies and promises of the Old Testament are fulfilled in the birth of this Child, the One named Jesus; born of the Virgin whose name was Mary. The Mass of Christmas day uses the Gospel of St. John to unpack the deep mystery in these words:

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.. AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US (John 1)

Johns' Gospel contains the mature reflection of the early Church on the significance of what we celebrate on Christmas.  The words rendered in English dwelt among us can be literally translated - He pitched His tent among us. The God of the whole universe who dwelt in inaccessible light, whom no man had ever seen and lived, became a man. He became a vulnerable baby. He became one of us, and made His home with us. He continues to live with us as we live our life in Him.

St. Paul, writing to the Christians in Corinth told them that in Jesus the Christ, God has given us all His greatest YES: As God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not yes and no, but YES has been in him. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. (2 Corinthians 1:18-20)

The Eternal Word entered time and opened it to eternity.

The YES of God is now given to the whole world in this newborn King. Love is born on Christmas Morn and in Him the world can begin again. God is more than an idea; more than the summit of all the aspirations of the human heart. He is more than a first mover who got it all started and remains distant. God can be known and wants to be in communion with us. He gives Himself to us. He became a child and invites us to do the same; to be born again. 

God is love, wrote the beloved Apostle John. (1 John 4:7-9) Love gives Himself away to the beloved and the beloved is transformed.  God so loved the world He created out of love - that when it became separated from His Love through sin, He did not stop loving. The all - powerful God who made both heaven and earth became a vulnerable baby and chose to give Himself to His creation in order to create it anew. He sent the Incarnate Word, His Son, through whom He made the universe, as a helpless, dependent and vulnerable child.

He became like us, so that we can become like Him. As sons and daughters in the Son, we can live for eternity in an intimate communion of love in, through and with Him. The separation between the entire human race and the One who fashioned us for Himself has now been bridged. This Child whom we adore is our Redeemer, Our Savior, and Our Deliverer. He is the first born of a new creation. We are born again in Him.

On the day called Christ-Mass, the whole world pauses - at a manger, a crib, a crèche. The Nativity of the Lord touches every man, woman and child. The world is presented with the Christian proclamation that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The whole world is invited to be begin anew. Love is born on Christmas Morn and the whole world can be Born Again in Him.

Let me conclude with words of invitation from one of the early Fathers of the Church:

What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for ´we no longer know Christ according to the flesh´, but He dwells in us spiritually and the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us. (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Merry Christmas! Celebrate, laugh, love and share the Good News.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


Anarchy in Chicago! Weekend of crime tears city apart Watch

Image of The weekend of July 18 saw the death of five people and the wounding of 47 in Chicago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There were 47 shooting victims in Chicago this weekend, five of which ended up being fatal, statistics from the Chicago Police Department report. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chicago officials met on July 21 to discuss the city's recent surge in gun ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 3:5, 7-12
5 At Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
57 My task, I have said, Yahweh, is to keep your ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-52
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 8:28-30
28 We are well aware that God works with those who ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 27th, 2014 Image

St. Pantaleon
July 27: St Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter