The King Has Come in Power and Glory

by Catherine Doherty

The problems the world faced in 1962 when Catherine wrote this Christmas letter to her Madonna House family were, of course, different from those facing us now. But her words continue to speak powerfully—even in our current crises.

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Dearly Beloved,

All around us is the struggle for political autonomy, power, and glory. As a result, the ordinary little people suffer in silence and pray and hope for someone who will come and truly set the world free.

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

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. The shepherds heard these angelic voices, and the kings saw a wondrous star that had arisen.

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 discovery of space. But in the eyes of the Lord, a thousand universes are like a grain of sand. He has made all of the laws which have brought them into existence. They are created by him and are subject to him.

Yet 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, for 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.

Dearly Beloved, on this Christmas Day, my heart goes out in torrents of love to each one of you. 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 ask 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 changes himself into a tremendous lover and desires of you but one thing, that you might love him back by surrendering totally and completely to him.

If, by some miracle of God’s grace, you were to find yourself transported to Bethlehem on this holy night, 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!” Or, “I love you, Lord, so much and no more.” “Yes, I love you Lord, but I find it so hard to grow in love.”

Perhaps others would answer, “Yes, Lord, we do love you!” But before you answer, 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.

We are not kings, or tribal chieftains, or men and women of importance. Nevertheless, we seek to be kings and queens when we glorify our own wills and enjoy our own power.

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.

In this humility, we can tell him that we love him and that we want to be his completely. We can also humbly and truthfully beg him for the grace to do so.

I will pray for this for each one of you for this year before the crib, and then I will ask the Divine Infant for one special gift for each of you.

This is my Christmas present to you. Pauper of the Lord that I am, I have nothing but my love and prayers to give. They are yours in their totality, because you are Christ’s and he is yours, dearly beloved.

I wish that the coming new year be a year of growth in faith; for as you grow in faith, you will grow in love and surrender, and that is really all that matters.

Lovingly yours in Mary,

Catherine

Excerpted from Dearly Beloved, Vol. I, (1989), December 20, 1962, pp. 291-293, out of print