Bulletin – December 2016
“So the faith was planted: so must it be restored”
Eight Pond Place – Oyster Bay, NY 11771
The Mission and Birth of Christ
Taken from a sermon by The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
Copyright © 2003 The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
…..Man was in need of a Savior after Adam fell into sin. But there was no Savior to be found. He was in need of someone to open Heaven and to close Hell. But there was no creature who could do this. For such a thing would require a man who was more than a man. It would require a man who was at the same time God. It would require a man in order to represent men, and it would require him to be God so that His merits would be infinite. It would require an Incarnation. Thus, being grieved by man’s plight, the Son of God was moved to save him. St. Louis tells us:
Deeply grieved, He beholds His vessel of honor broken, His image defaced, His masterpiece ruined, His representative on earth overthrown. He listens tenderly to his groans and wails. He is moved with compassion upon seeing the sweat of his brow, the tears in his eyes, the labor of his arms, the sorrow of his heart and the affliction of his soul. [St. Louis de Montfort, The Love Of Eternal Wisdom (Bayshore, N.Y.: Montfort Publications, 1960), p. 18.]
…..It was then, as St. Louis explains, that the Son of God called a great council of the Blessed Trinity. He says:
It seems to me that this amiable Prince now calls to council for a second time the Blessed Trinity, for man’s restoration, as He had already done for his creation. In this grand council there seems to be taking place a kind of contest between Eternal Wisdom and the justice of God. [Ibid., p. 18.]
…..The Son of God pleads the cause of man. He acknowledges the sin of man and the justice of his punishment. He sinned and he brought his fate upon himself. He was told what he had to do. He was cautioned not to eat of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil . . . . For in what day soever,” God had said to him, “thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.” (Genesis 2:17) Despite this warning, man ate of the tree and proved himself a disobedient and ungrateful wretch. This is what man returned to God for all the gifts God had bestowed upon him.
…..Yet, the Son of God says, what a great pity it would be “were such a perfect masterpiece to remain for ever the slave of the devil, and were millions and millions of men to be lost on account of the sin of one man.” [St. Louis de Montfort, op. cit., pp. 18-19.] How wonderful it would be “to fill those places in Heaven left vacant by the fall of the rebel angels, and what great glory it would give to God, both in time and in eternity, were man to be saved.” [Ibid., p. 19.] But,
seeing that there is nothing in the whole of creation capable of atoning for the sin of man, of satisfying divine justice and appeasing the wrath of God, and, nevertheless, wishing to save man whom He loves, Himself finds an admirable means of doing so. Drawn by an unheard of and incomprehensible excess of love, this lovable and sovereign Prince offers Himself in sacrifice to His Father in order to satisfy Divine justice, to calm Divine anger, and to redeem us from the slavery of the devil and the flames of Hell, and to merit for us eternal happiness.
…..His offer is accepted. A decision is reached and adopted: Eternal Wisdom, the Son of God, will become Man at the appropriate time and in preordained circumstances. [Ibid., p. 19-20.]
…..In preparation for the Incarnation and “at the appropriate time” –
>when the time appointed for the redemption of mankind had come, Eternal Wisdom built Himself a house — a worthy dwelling-place. He created and formed the Immaculate Mary in the womb of St. Anne, which He did with even greater delight than He had taken in creating the universe. It is not possible to express, on the one hand, the ineffable communications of the Blessed Trinity to this most fair creature, and, on the other hand, the fidelity with which she corresponded with the graces of her Creator. . . . O Mary! Masterpiece of the Most High! Miracle of Eternal Wisdom! Prodigy of the Almighty! Abyss of grace! Only He Who created thee — and this I say with all the Saints — knows the height, the depth and the breadth of the graces He has conferred upon thee! [Ibid., p. 54.]
…..Thus, “in preordained circumstances” God sent the Angel Gabriel to Nazareth. He told the Virgin Mary that she was full of grace, that the Lord was with her and that she was blessed among women. He announced to her that she had found favor in the eyes of God and that she would conceive a Son. His name would be Jesus. He would be great. He would be the Son of the Most High God. He would be a King. He would reign forever, and His kingdom would have no end.
…..The humble Virgin gave her consent, and the Incarnation took place. Shortly thereafter the Blessed Virgin went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also with child. The Son of Mary would save the world. The Son of Elizabeth would prepare the world for Mary’s Son. When Elizabeth heard the sweet sound of Mary’s voice, she and the young John the Baptist greeted the Mother of God and her Divine Son. In the depths of his mother’s womb, St. John the Baptist did the only thing he could do to greet Mary and her Son. He jumped. He leaped for joy. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. “And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.” (Luke 1:42-45)
…..Then it was that the Mother of God uttered her humble and prophetic Magnificat. “And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49) Thus, every time we say our Rosary we fulfill this prophecy fifty times, for in our generation we call her blessed every time we say the Hail Mary.
…..In a short while the decree went out from Caesar Augustus to enroll the whole world. Mary and Joseph dutifully made their way to Bethlehem to be enrolled. “And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered.” (Luke 2:6) The Son of God was born of a human Mother. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger upon a little borrowed straw. But He didn’t mind one bit. The manger and the arms of His Mother were to Him Heaven on earth.
…..The Eternal Father was very pleased to see this sight. And so He sent an angel to certain shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem. The angel told the shepherds the good news. A Savior had been born. He could be found lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. The other angels in Heaven were also very pleased at the sight of Jesus in the manger and in the arms of His Mother. They knew that redemption was at hand. The greater glory of God was to be secured by this Infant and the gates of Heaven were to be opened. Thus, a multitude of the heavenly host appeared and praised God “saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.” (Luke 2:13-14)
…..When the angels departed, the shepherds hastened to the manger. To their eternal delight it was as the angel said. They found the Divine Infant lying in the manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes, and with Him were Mary and Joseph. Later the shepherds could not refrain from sharing the good news. “And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:18-19)
…..The tiny Infant lying in the manger is the Son of God and the Son of Mary. He is the Savior of the world. He is the only Savior. There is no other. No one goes to the Father except by Him. But He invites all to come His way. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Yet, here at Bethlehem He is a helpless Infant. He owns the universe but has become poor. He is omnipotent but has become weak. He is omnipresent but is now confined in the space of a manger by swaddling bands. And He lies on a bed of borrowed straw. One day He will lie on a bed of wood. He will be fastened to it not by swaddling bands but by cruel nails. For He has come among us to take away our sins. As the good Sisters sing in their singularly beautiful Christmas album A Traditional Christmas,
The Christ Child comes from Heaven,
This calm and starlit night
To lie within a manger aglow with God’s pure light,
To lie within a manger aglow with God’s pure light.
O Infant Holy born so lowly,
O living gift from Heaven above,
O gift from Heaven above.
What sorrow He will know in giving us His love,
What sorrow He will know in giving us His love.
How cold, how poor and lonely,
The manger where He lies,
The Son of the Creator Who rules the earth and skies,
The Son of the Creator Who rules the earth and skies.
O dearest hope for our salvation,
From this night a new life begins,
A day of joy begins,
For He has come among us to take away our sins,
For He has come among us to take away our sins.
…..With all our troubles and difficulties, with all our hardships and disappointments, with all the sufferings that come our way in this vale of tears, yet do we have the Divine Infant to console us. We have the Divine Infant Who loves us with an everlasting love. And we have His Blessed Mother for Our Blessed Mother. I guess life really isn’t so bad after all. So I say to you, at this most blessed and holy time of year, may your hearts be warmed by the fire that burns in the little Sacred Heart of Jesus. May you find peace and security under the mantle of His Blessed Mother. Go to her. Go to Him by her. She invites you to her side as she kneels before the manger of her Jesus. “Take Him,” she says. “Take Him into your arms. Take Him into your hearts. For He has come among us to take away your sins.”