UNBORN WORD of the day


IN THE GRACE OF CHRISTMAS – A HINT OF ALL THE GRACES TO FOLLOW
December 25, 2007, 12:07 am
Filed under: Christmas

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The plan for the life of Christ on earth, and for our salvation was, as St Paul says, “a plan for the fullness of time” (Eph 1:10). The birth of the Savior manifests this perfectly. But there is also a fullness in Christ Himself, as St John tells us in the prologue to his gospel: “And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16). Surely His pregnant mother, Mary, received “grace upon grace” while carrying Unborn Jesus. And unborn John the Baptist received his full share of (Unborn) Christ’s Grace during Mary’s Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth (Lk 1:41-44).

At His birth Christ offers Himself as a gift to each person, and within this gift of Himself is contained an overflowing gift of Grace for each one of us. Figuratively speaking, we only need to go up to the newborn Christ and ask Him to give us our Christmas present of “grace upon grace”. It is ours to claim if we are Christ’s.

There are a 1,000 ways to understand the fullness of Christ and His gift of Grace for the Christian. In relation to the Church, St Paul refers to “the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:23). So in the Grace of Christmas we find a hint of all the graces to follow – if we will follow.

Here is an incomplete summation of that plentitude of graces Christ offers you while He is yet “a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). The following lists are expressions of the Graces God wants to pour into our lives. From Bethlehem Christ pours forth an endless wave of gentleness in the manner of supernatural Grace towards each soul. The following lists are not legalistic counting, rather they point to the “countless” ways God reaches out to us, to bathe us in His embrace of Grace:

7 sacraments of the Church – all of which were instituted by Christ Himself – beginning with Baptism which incorporates us into this beautiful Life of Christ. Also, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony.

7 gifts of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-2).

12 fruits of the Holy Spirit – Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-Control and Chastity (Gal 5:22-23 Vulgate trans.)

3 theological virtues – Faith, Hope and Charity (I Cor 13:13).

4 cardinal virtues – Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance (Wis 8:7 and numerous other scriptural references).

So the newborn Baby in the manger comes to offer us fullness of Life: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).


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