Tuesday, 27 December 2016 13:07

"...and wrapped him in swaddling cloths."

Written by

“And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” - Luke 2:7

The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the feast of the Nativity as the “Christmas mystery”. “Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest.”

This December, Aid to the Church in Need has 140 projects on-going in the Middle East helping Christians and others in need...

Humility became incarnate in the Feast of the Nativity; the presence of a new-born child is the challenge facing Christians – to embrace the Word made flesh and to move away from the lure of power and earthly glory. True power is for everyone to be “born anew” – to receive “grace upon grace” from the source that is “full of grace and truth” – to become a child of God.

The catechism adds: “we must humble ourselves and become little… Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us.” The mystery is then described as a “marvellous exchange” as we are all invited to be “made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity”.

ACN founder Fr Werenfried van Straaten referred to the fragility at the start of the Christian journey. The Holy Family were not merely poor, they were also unwelcome at their time of need. “As Christmas draws near… [you are reminded] of the unforgettable story of Mary and Joseph, journeying because of an emperor’s whim through the difficult mountain country to Bethlehem, where there was no room for them at the inn. Thus began the story of our salvation.”  He added: “The Christian faith brings us exactly that consolation, that God is so great that he can become so small… that he becomes man.” 

hannaThe charity works with the St John the Merciful Table programme in Lebanon; it is giving meals to hungry Christians and others in great need. This provides sustenance, dignity and a temporary relief to Syrian refugees in Lebanon until they are able to go home.

Hanna and her family are among the hundreds of suffering Iraqis and Syrians who are now able to come together and have a hot meal at the “Saint John the Merciful” Table. The little café serves 650 dinners five days a week. Speaking to ACN, Hanna thanked the charity’s benefactors for helping them to survive. She said: “Thanks be to God, even if we aren’t rich, we are at least happy.”

Women like Hanna and their families were faced with a terrible threat from extremists: “leave, convert or die.” They have been forced to leave their homelands and become refugees. As they cling to their faith, they pray for the day when they can go back home. 

Our Saviour sanctified our flesh by taking it on Himself, and with His last breath He commended us to the care of His Virgin Mother. Day by day He still feeds us at the altar with food of incorruption – His body and His blood.

Article Source: http://www.acnuk.org/feast-of-the-nativity-reflections-on-saints-this-week-25-december-2016 

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a foundation of the Holy See, was promoted by Pope Pius XII and founded by P. Werenfried van Straaten in 1947, to pastorally help the Church in need or those suffering persecution throughout the world. It develops more than 5,000 projects per year in more than 140 countries throughout the world including the building or rebuilding of churches, support for vocations, means of transportation, editing of catechetical material and emergency help for the displaced. ACN seeks to promote prayer, inform and be a source of charity for the poor in the Church and those persecuted throughout the world.

Aid to the Church in Need is author and editor of the Blog "Witnesses of Hope", which can be found on the website www.familiesfullyalive.com