21. Look at the crib

Perhaps you were all the more disappointed because you had put so much of yourself into these efforts to do great and beautiful things; probably you had the most upright and purest intentions and set to the task with your whole mind, heart and will.

If you had not experienced these apparent failures you would not be a true disciple of Jesus who died on the cross, betrayed and forsaken by those he had loved and called his friends, those he had guided and prepared by sharing everything with them and by keeping them close to him in his love.  You would not be a true daughter of Brother Charles who died, “violently and painfully killed,” after he too was betrayed by one of those he deeply loved, without a friend or a follower to receive the teachings of his last hour.

You had put your whole self into your effort and were so proud and happy each time you felt you had in some way succeeded.

You wanted to present the Lord the results of your enterprises, coming happily to him, your hands full.  But you forgot to turn towards Jesus, your only Model.  He could show you only hands pierced by the nails of the cross, or the callused hands of a workman, or again the tiny, helpless hands of a newborn baby in a crib.

Perhaps you did not really stop to look at the crib, or maybe you just looked at it disdainfully, as an adult who thinks that the crib is for children and that outside Christmastime it has no real meaning.  

You looked longer at the cross. There you found something bigger and more satisfying, but perhaps you were seeking after suffering and abjection still with a certain pride. It is so easy to believe ourselves heroic as soon as we have suffered a little with courage.