“Hail and Blessed be the Hour and the Moment in which the Son of God was born …”
Dear Apostles of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Christ came in darkness. It was His very mission. He came when the darkness was deepest, as His grace comes so often now. The very depth of our darkness is a kind of compulsion to the immensity of His compassion. The cave was excessively cold. The Sacred Heart of the Babe of Bethlehem came to break the bands of the long frost, to loosen the blossoms of the earth and to cover it with fruits and flowers. There were five spiritual presences in the Cave of Bethlehem: Poverty, Abandonment, Rejection, Secrecy and Mortification. They began with the Infant Jesus in the Cave and followed Him to the Tomb.
Even, now, what are all the heresies which concern a holy life, but the dishonoring of these five spiritual presences? Jesus was passive when men abandoned Him. When He offered Himself to them, they rejected Him. The circumstances of the Infant’s birth were the Son’s choice and Mary knew well beforehand what He had chosen. The poverty of the crib was the heroism of Mary’s obedience. She saw deep into its significance. Light from Heaven shone about them and Mary entered into a blissful ecstasy. She looked upward and beheld those abysses in God, which these outward things prefigured; She looked inward and contemplated the greatness of the mystery and, like a shaft of intense desire that cannot be recalled, it reached the Heart of the Babe and, at once, She felt the touch of God and was utterably calm. Jesus lay upon the ground on the skirt of her robe and She bowed down to adore Him. Twice had her pure desire drawn Him from His home of predilection: once from the bosom of His Father, and once from her created bosom. It was as if the sweet will of Mary were the time-piece of the divine decrees. She was no longer the tabernacle of the hidden God. God had changed His position toward her. She was suddenly clothed in a new purity as Jesus magnified her spotlessness by the manner of His Nativity, as He had done before by the manner of His Incarnation.
Mary looked upon Jesus’ Face and grew more like Him just by looking. His hands were outstretched to her mutely asking to be taken up in her embrace. Her first act was an act of adoration as She gathered Him into her arms. As at the moment of the Immaculate Conception and in the hour of the Annunciation, so it was at the Nativity.
St. Joseph stood for Jesus visibly in the place of the Eternal Father. The human Soul of Jesus must have regarded him not only with the most tender love, but also with deep reverence and an inexplicable submission. His holiness cannot be described as there is no term of comparison. Joseph drew near to the new-born, Jesus, that he might adore Him before he commands Him. The Babe sanctified him anew.
Mary is not only a sovereign creature; She is the representative of all creatures. In her first act of adoration of the Divine Infant, She officially inaugurated all the manifold Catholic devotions to the Sacred Humanity: to the Sacred Heart, the Precious Blood, Blessed Sacrament, to the Infancy of Christ and to the Passion of Christ. She was ready to endure for us those Dolors with which She was to travail with us, her second born. Mary climbed from the Cave to the Eternal Father, from the offering of herself to Jesus to the offering of Jesus to the Father. For, if the first thought of a Mother is for her Child, is not the second for its Father? Thus, were we present there in our Mother’s hands and in Our Savior’s Heart:
… At Midnight, in Bethlehem, in Piercing Cold!