6th September : Our Lady Of Bethlehem

Our Lady Of Bethlehem

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The little town where Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, lies on a ridge five miles south of Jerusalem; the stable cave, venerated from very early times as the scene of the divine birth and the events that followed, is under the eastern end of the great church of the Nativity.  This is substantially the Emperor Constantine’s fourth-century basilica, as restored by Justinian.  On the floor of the cave is a red star, surrounded by an inscription:  “Here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary.”

The mystery of Bethlehem is full of love and sweetness.  It would have been perfectly natural for Jesus to have been born in a palace, but he was born in a cave, in the hold of a rock, into which Mary and Joseph were forced to retire.  It was indeed a sorrowful thing for both Mary and Joseph to have nothing more of earth to offer the King of the World and Creator of the Universe

But Bethlehem had its joys too, most sweet and consoling:  The shepherds, simple souls–came to adore the Infant King; Mary rejoiced at seeing their homage and the willing offerings they made to her Jesus.

Some days later the magi came–we are not sure of the place, since scripture simply says, “the star stood still over the place where the Infant was”; it is in the arms of Mary that they found the Divine Babe.  We may often share in the joy of the Magi; whenever we seek Mary, we find Jesus with her, and when we seek Jesus, we find His Mother, too.  When we seek Him, we know that His conversation is sweet; His consolation ravishing; His peace superabundant; and His love ineffable.

To find Jesus in the arms of His Mother, to unite oneself to Mary’s sentiments as she presses Him to her heart–what ravishing moments.  That wonderful moment in which all else is forgotten, in which we no longer desire anything else, not even heaven–for with Jesus and Mary we already possess Heaven here on earth.

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