23. Have trust

  He did not say you will not have a choice place but, rather, “you will not enter” into my kingdom.

These words you had not understood.  Maybe the explanations given you were mistaken or far from reality, not taking into account the real helplessness and weakness of a little child.  So then, to make you understand better, the Lord had reduced you to helplessness – perhaps the helplessness of being sick and unable to make the least effort of your own, or the still more painful helplessness of somebody struggling without strength in the midst of temptations, when work and suffering seem unbearable,

And little by little, weary of trying so hard but so uselessly, you found yourself thinking of the Crib and the Christmases of the past, and for a time your weariness and your suffering were soothed, as they are always soothed, even in the most hardened of hearts, before the joyful simplicity of a little child.

By becoming so small, so gentle a child, I was crying out to you, have trust, come close to me!  Do not be afraid of me, come to me…  Do not be so frightened in the presence of such a gentle baby, smiling at you and holding out his arms to you.  He is your God, but he is all smiles and gentleness.  Be all fondness, love and trust. (Br. Charles of Jesus, Spiritual Writings).

So now I want you to take a good look at this Crib, in the light of the star that shone before the wise-men to guide them. I want you to understand its lessons.  If people who do not understand it yet want to smile, let them. But do not present to them an aspect of the Crib that will put them off.

This Crib is something so beautiful and so great. This Crib of Bethlehem contains the whole Christ, God and man together, and in the extension of this cradle there is the Workshop of Nazareth, the Passion and the Cross, and all the Glory of the Resurrection and Heaven itself.

In his great love, Christ, the Son of God, chose to pass through a little infant’s helplessness, the only state in which someone is totally given over into the hands of another.

Because he is so helpless, a little child always turns toward his father.  He is too weak and too little to have a will of his own or to want anything that his father dies not want. How touching is this trust in his father.  Have you ever seen that often repeated gesture of a young father pretending to toss his little child out over a cliff?  And the child laughs and laughs because he knows well that no harm can ever come to him from his father.

Like all babies of the world Christ the workman, Christ of the Passion, Christ glorious in his Resurrection, needed the tender watchfulness of the Virgin Mary by his cradle.  He needed the fatherly care of St. Joseph who guided his first steps, and most of all he needed the love of his Father in heaven to whom he was obedient from his birth in the crib to his death on the cross.

Look at the Crib and do not be put off by the childish ways it is sometimes pictured.  That is just the price we have to pay when trying to represent divine realities.  Instead may you see in this Crib only your God who is calling to you to follow him, and to become as a little child in total self-surrender.  Like him may you have toward God a child’s trustfulness.  Like him may you have toward the Virgin Mary his Mother the same pressing need and loving self-surrender of a child who cannot do without a mother at his cradle. How sad to see a cradle without a mother to bend over it.