Thursday, December 24, 2009

Advent with Archb Fulton Sheen

There was no room in the inn
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered...All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilea to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of david. he went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child...And she gave birth to her forst-born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)

"Mary is now with child, awaiting birth, and Joseph is full of expectancy as he enters the city of his own family. He searched for a place for the birth of Him to Whom heaven and earth belonged. Could it be that the Creator would not find room in His own creation?
   Certainly, thought Joseph, there would be room in the village inn. There was room for the rich; there was room for those who were clothed in soft garments...But when finally the scrolls of history are completed down to the last word of time, the saddest lines of all will be: "There was no room in the inn". No room in the inn, but there was room in the stable. The inn was the gathering place of public opinion, the focal point of the world's moods, the rendezvous of the worldy, the rallying place of the popular and the successful. But there's no room for outcasts, the ignored, and the forgotten. The world might have expected the Son of God to be born in an inn; a stable would certainly be the last place in the world where one would look for Him. The lesson is: divinity is always where you least expect to find it. So the Son of God-Made-Man is invited to enter into His own world through a back door." (Bishop Sheen Catechism)

For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich (2Corinthians 8:9)

We must not make the sentimental mistake of thinking Our Lord was just a poor man. He was a rich person who became a poor man. Rich He was in His divine nature because He was God, and Lord of heaven and earth. And yet despite that richness he became poor, principally because He became man. That is poverty of the worst kind, because it is limitation. 
   He who was born poor in a stable could have been born rich in a palace by the Tiber. Roman legions might have guarded Him at His birth, instead of an ox and an ass. no one would have expected that he who made the gold of Caesar's throne would be born on a bed of straw; nor that He who made the warmth of the sun would be warmed by the breath of oxen; nor that He who owned the earth would be homeless on the earth. it is no wonder then that the first to come to His crib were the rich Magi and the poor Shepherds. Two things happened to them - the rich lost their avarice, for they gave their wealth to the poor; the poor lost their envy, for they learned that there is another wealth than that which the rich give away. (Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity).

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; the patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8).
Those who are patient stay calm until the right moment; and then cheerfulness comes back to them. Theyhold back their words until the right moment; then the lips of many tell of their good sense (Sirach 2:23-24).
Accept whatever befalls you, and in times of humiliations be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation. (Sirach 2:4-5)

The Greek origin of the word patience suggests two ideas: one continuance, the other submission. Combined, they mean submissive waiting; a frame of mind which is willing to wait because it knows it thus serves God and His holy purposes. A person who believes in nothing beyond this world is very impatient, because he has only a limited time in which to satisfy his wants. 
Patience is not something one is born with; it is something that is achieved. Sight is a gift of nature, but seeing has to be won. So it is with self-possession and patience; such a virtue is developed by resistance and control. There are many who excuse themselves, saying that if they were in other circumstances they would be much more patient. It makes little difference where we are; it all depends on what we are thinking about. What happens to us is not so important, but rather how we react to what happens. Tribulations tries the soul, and in the strong it develops patience, and patience, in its turn, hope. (Way to inner Peace)

And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they carried Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord: as it is written in the law of the Lord ‘Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’,  and to offered a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons: And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do fro Him according to the custom of the law, he also took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. (Luke 2:22-32)

There are some flowers that open in the evening; Simeon, the old man, was one of those flowers. Imagine the ecstasy of this old man when he embraced this child, and his first words were. "Now I am ready to die". He then speaks to the mother and notice how he looks backwards and forwards; he looks backwards to the people of God of which he was a priest and says, "This is the glory of thy people, Israel, this Babe." Then he looks forward, "This is the light which shall give revelation to the Gentiles." In other words, he saw in this Babe, the maker of a new covenant, but he also saw in Him a sigh to be contradicted by the very people to whom He came to bring salvation. So that this Christ who was born was not just someone who came by surprise; he's related to all of the people of God through the centuries. (The Bp Sheen Catechism)

...more to follow....