The date is December twenty-fifth, but to the humble man, it is Christmas; the manger is a throne; the straw is royal plumage; the stable is a castle; and the Babe is God. He found Wisdom because he was foolish, Power because he was weakness, and the Infinite, Immense and Eternal God, because he was little – for it is only by being little that we ever discover anything big.
He lies upon straw on earth and yet sustains the universe and reigns in Heaven; He is born in time, and yet He existed before all time; Maker of the stars under the stars; Ruler of the earth an outcast of earth; filling the world, lying in a manger. And yet the proud man sees only a Babe. The humble, simple souls, who are little enough to see the bigness of God in the littleness of a Babe, are therefore the only ones who will ever understand the reason of His visitation. He came to the poor earth of ours to carry on an exchange; to say to us, as only the Good God could say: You give me your humanity, and I will give you my Divinity; you give me your time, and I will give you my eternity, you give me your weary body, and I will give you Redemption; you give me your broken heart, and I will give you Love; you give me your nothingness, and I will give you My all.
The world misses the lesson because it confuses littleness with weakness, child-likeness with childishness, and humility with an inferiority complex. It forgets that great moral strength may be hidden in physical weakness, as Omnipotence was wrapped in swaddling bands; and that great Wisdom may be found in simple faith as the Eternal Mind was found in the form of a Babe. There is strength – strength before which the angels trembled, strength before which the stars prostrated, and strength before which the very throne of Herod shook in fear.
Thus the birthday of the God-Man is the children’s day, in which the proud become children, and the big become little, and all find God.
-Archbishop Fulton Sheen, The Eternal Galilean
(ABOVE PICTURES) In 1913 sculptor and designer Joseph G. Cowell sculpted this marble statue for a side altar in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, IL. Fulton Sheen was ordained, September 20, 1919 and on that day in the presence of this very same statue, Sheen promised to offer Mass to the Blessed Mother every Saturday. The statue is currently in the ladies chapel of the Peoria Cathedral.
“When I was baptized as an infant, my mother laid me on the altar of the Blessed Mother and consecrated me to her. As an infant may be unconscious of a birthmark, so I was unconscious of the dedication-but the mark was always there. When I received my first Holy Communion at the age of twelve, I made the conscious dedication of myself to Mary. Though I cannot recall the exact words of my prayer, it was certainly to the motto which I chose for my coat of arms as bishop: Da per matrem me venire (Grant that I may come to Thee through Mary). When I was ordained, I took a resolution to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist every Saturday to the Blessed Mother, renewing my feeble love of her and invoking her intercession. All this makes me very certain that when I go before the Judgment Seat of Christ, He will say to me in His Mercy: “I heard My Mother speak of you.”
-Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Treasure in Clay