Posted December 24, 2010 in Advent and Christmas:
The King Has Already Come

by Catherine Doherty.

All around us is the struggle for power, political and otherwise. Every country and each political party within that country seeks its own glory at the price of someone else’s. As a result of this, people suffer and pray and long for someone who will come and truly set them free.

The tragedy is that half the world doesn’t know, and the other half has almost forgotten, that the King has already come.

He came as a spring breeze, as a gentle wind in the summer comes to refresh us. He came as the mysterious whispers of the night when tree talks to tree, and grass whispers to grass, and flowers sing to flowers.

He came in the dark of night, humbly, the Child of poor folks. He was born in a cave. His first human contact was the gentle hands of his Mother. His first sense impressions were the gentle whisper of the straw in which he lay, and the sound of the ox and ass chewing their cuds.

The only people who came to render him homage on that holy night were the humblest of the humble—the shepherds of Israel.

The only mysterious signs of his heavenly origin were the angelic choir and a strange light in the sky.

How far removed is his gentle coming from our centuries-old wars and struggles for power which still continue. But make no mistake: the Child who lies in the manger, listening to the sound of the straw and the munching of animals, possesses all power and glory.

He has dominion over life and death and not a hair of your head falls but he knows it and wills it. Even as you read my words, your life lies in the palm of his hand. Nothing escapes his dominion, and his will reigns supreme over a thousand universes.

Man prides himself on his exploration of space. But in the eyes of the Lord, a thousand universes are like a grain of sand. They are created by him and are subject to him.

Yes, it is the same Child in that manger, the same humble Carpenter of Nazareth, the same Man who walked barefoot in Palestine and died naked on a cross, who possesses all power and glory. He is an eternal King to whom nations and universes are but a footstool.

Note how he rules, the Just One. A bruised reed he will not break. A sinner before him finds mercy; gentleness shines in his footsteps; in all he does love sings its eternal song.

As I kneel before the Crib in the Madonna House chapel, I ask the Lord of Hosts, the King of Power and Glory, who lies before me—a little Child—that you might meet him in both guises.

I pray that you might know the Child and the King, the Man and the God in one person. I ask that you might know him who is a tremendous lover and desires of you but one thing: that you love him back.

If, by some miracle of God’s grace, you were to find yourself transported to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, and Christ the Child were to ask you directly, as he did to Peter, "Do you love me?" what would you answer him?

Could you answer like Peter: "Lord, you know that I love you?" Or would you have to say: "Yes, I love you, Lord, thus far, but no further."

Perhaps you would answer, "Yes, Lord, I do love you!" But before you answer this, you would have to be very sure that you understand what he understands by love: a total surrender, a total consecration, a total dedication.

That’s what he considers love, and that is what it truly is. That’s how he loved us.

Let us beware of ourselves and let us implore Emmanuel, the Child, who is King of love, of gentle power, and of hidden glory, to teach us the one virtue which will bring us to our knees before his face—the virtue of humility, which is only another word for truth.

For even though most of us are not kings or tribal chieftains or men and women of importance, in our own little ways, we so easily seek to be such when we glorify our own wills, impose them on others, and enjoy our own power.

It is only when we are humble that we can tell God we love him and we want to be his completely. We can also humbly and truthfully beg him for the grace to do so.

Adapted from Dearly Beloved, Vol. 1, (1988), December 20, 1962, pp. 291-293.


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