A stable becomes home…
The city around me is quiet for a change under the cloak of snow that buried everything with its ten inches of powder; so I am sitting in the front room sipping a cup of tea and finishing the last pages of the Holy Father’s exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.” I came upon this powerful line from Pope Francis and my heart was honestly moved to tears: “Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love.” On the table next to me sits a beautiful little ceramic crèche where the familiar scene of Joseph and Mary gazing on the Christ child draws me into that mystery we continue to celebrate during this Christmas season of the Incarnation (God made man), of Emmanuel (God-with-us), of divine humility (God who chooses poverty), of divine tenderness (God who is a smiling infant).
This line from Pope Francis reawakened in me a sense of wonder and awe before this mystery of what Our Lady was able to do through love, through God’s Love. She brought the “poor swaddling clothes” of her humanity, but was “full of grace,” “an abundance of love,” the Holy Spirit. A stable became a home for God. If she could do this, if God’s love in her heart could transform the ugliness, the poverty, the darkness of that stable into a home, then is it possible He would do the same through me? Through us? Isn’t that the hope and Good News of this mystery we celebrate? Where then are the places of ugliness, poverty, darkness and sin around us? Where is our stable where we can go and bring an abundance of Love with our own poverty and witness again, today, the transforming power of the Incarnation, of Mary’s loving heart, which “turn a stable into a home?” Mary, teach us to believe in the power of God’s love working through our poverty and weakness, give us the hope that Christmas promises.
+ Br. Malachy Joseph Napier
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