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Born In A Manger, To Be With Us Forever
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Dec 23, 2006)
Jesus Christ, in obedience to the Father, comes to give Himself to us. His obedience is worth pondering because it is an act of His mercy, which remains forever and cannot be limited. Jesus responds in obedience out of love for His Father. Jesus came so that we may share in Their unique love. By sending us Jesus, the Father extends His love for humanity and desires to be with us all in His Kingdom forever.
Can any experience in life ever surpass or equal our human and emotional response when we feel loved and can reciprocate that love? Nothing can quite surpass being totally accepted by another. We cannot help but abandon ourselves to the reality of receiving total affirmation. Ultimately, to be in the presence of a loved one in total silence must be experienced because words alone would intrude on what is being communicated.
Jesus came in order that we may experience that same silence with Him and observe what love the Father has for us. Christ also showed to what extent He was willing to prove His love. No one has ever manifested as much love for us as Jesus did by His coming. When we deepen our understanding of His mercy, the Holy Spirit can instill in us a greater capacity to be merciful to others. When we become aware of the degree of Christ's mercy, it can lead to a greater trust in Him.
Furthermore, our own experiences of unconditional love are only a faint reminder that this is precisely why Jesus could not remain aloof or distant. He couldn't keep away from those He loves. Neither can we. He could have continued to give His requests through saints and prophets, as in the Old Testament, but that may not have increased our desire to be in relationship with Him.
Jesus had to overcome the gulf that existed in our knowing Him. As opposed to upward mobility, Jesus was more interested in "downward mobility." He wanted to come down in order to know and be known, to touch and be touched, to love and be loved — in order to be followed and obeyed. He also knew we couldn't love Him as He expected unless we knew Him. He had to make Himself known. When God reveals Himself to us He becomes irresistible. When we are grateful for whatever He sends our way, we become irresistible to Him.
When Jesus makes Himself known, we in turn want to let others know about Him. Such was the trait that St. Faustina had. She helps us to understand Him. She writes of Jesus in her Diary:
You have indeed prepared a tabernacle for Yourself: the Blessed Virgin. Her Immaculate Womb is Your dwelling place, and the inconceivable miracle of Your mercy takes place, O Lord. The Word becomes flesh; God dwells among us, the Word of God, Mercy Incarnate. By Your descent, You have lifted us up to Your divinity. Such is the excess of Your love, the abyss of Your mercy. Heaven is amazed at the superabundance of Your love. No one fears to approach You now. You are the God of mercy. You have compassion on misery. You are our God, and we are Your people. You are our Father, and we are Your children by grace. Praise be to Your mercy, that You have deigned to descend among us (1745).
Be adored, O God of mercy,
Because You have deigned to descend from heaven to earth.
Most humbly we adore You
For Your having vouchsafed to exalt all mankind.
Unfathomable and incomprehensible in Your mercy,
For love of us You take on flesh
From the Immaculate Virgin, ever untouched by sin,
Because you have willed it so from all ages.
Heaven is astounded that God has become man,
That there is on earth a heart worthy of God Himself.
Why is it that You do not unite Yourself with a
Seraph, but with a sinner, O Lord?
O mystery of God's mercy, O God of compassion,
That You have deigned to leave the heavenly throne
And to stoop down to our misery, to human weakness,
For it is not the angels, but man who needs mercy (1746).