December 14, 2008

The Magnificat, continued

No one can celebrate
a genuine Christmas
without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud,
those who, because they have
everything, look down on others,
those who have no need
even of God -- for them there
will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone
to come on their behalf,
will have that someone.
that someone is God.
Emmanuel. God-with-us.
Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God.
Oscar Romero


Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3), and it is an odd blessing unless you think carefully about it. It is ironic, too, that we spend this holy season, well, spending. Most of my friends are poorer than they were six months ago, but, in truth, none of us are really poor. We have more than enough. For us, perhaps, the task of Advent is to hear Mary's song as instruction and as warning. If we are forever full our ourselves, if our souls are as crammed to the rafters as the inn at Bethlehem, the Christ may pass us by, and we will not know what Christmas really means. "Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God." Without emptiness, there can be nothing to fill. Without an understanding of how needy we really are, there can be no way for us to receive the Gift.

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