Why would the Lord and Master of all creation choose to be born in an humble stable _ a place where even the poorest of the poor would not be born?
Neither God nor the Church condemn wealth. But, both God and the Church condemn the abuses that are often occasioned by the possession of wealth.
There is a peculiar spiritual blight that has attacked the once great Catholic Church. Suddenly, as if the Church had never done anything for humanity through Her ministers and generous laity, Her critics dutifully dismantle everything the Church has accomplished and pretend to be the "New Pentecost."
In the first place, the duty of the Church has always been the preaching of the Gospel to all nations. Without exception, all mankind has an obligation to hear the Gospel and to embrace it. This does not exclude kings and heads of States.
The Gospel is for all men without exception.
Our Lord never condemned wealth nor did he condemn the rich who possess this wealth. But, He did point out how difficult it was for such as these to enter the kingdom of heaven.
And, truly, experience does bear out the impossibility without the grace of God for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. However, this does not mean that, therefore, the rich should be despised, or that their wealth should be taken away from them by force of law or at gun-point.
To point to the Church with an accusing finger that She caters to the rich and ignores the poor is the vilest of calumnies. It is a calumny concocted by the very people who are guilty of such distinctions.
The hypocritical gesture of Montini (alias `Paul VI') in giving the United Nations the papal pectoral cross and tiara _ to be sold in favor of the poor _ is yet another incident of that traitor to the Church. While these symbols of spiritual authority sit in some profane store awaiting a wealthy `trophy hunter,' I wonder how many of the `poor' benefited from this generous gift?
The sign that would lead all mankind back to God was the sign of humility as expressed in the humble poverty of the stable. The lesson, obviously, has not been learned by the majority of mankind.
Economic poverty was not the lesson intended by God by choosing to enter His creation as a human being and laying in a manger. This was a lesson in spiritual poverty. It was a lesson in humility.
The King of kings was born, not amid luxury and comfort, but in a stable where only the barest of necessities were provided for beasts of burden.
The proud Talmudist Rabbi cannot perceive beyond the surface of this visible poverty the invisible richness of spiritual elevation to a supernatural state. The materialist and the superficial name-only Catholic are in the same category.
How odd: The anti-Christ Phoenician has some pagan natives in China make figurines of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi to be sold by anyone who wants to make a monetary profit. These Nativity Sets are bought mostly by Catholics who display them for at least a week or so. None of these people is ever brought closer to the Incarnate Word of God, nor to the Blessed Virgin Mary or any of the other personages depicted in the figurines.
The purpose of the Bethlehem stable is to teach all humanity that peace and prosperity are spiritual qualities that cannot be measured by their material possessions, or lack thereof.
That this first message of God continues to be ignored just as it was almost two thousand years ago, we might take a concrete example.
The Friary chapel in Rochester, NY is nothing more than a converted two-car garage. Actually, a stable of the twentieth century. It cannot boast of any material splendor. Yet, it is the only House of God in the immediate area.
God resides here. It beckons all those who are drawn to genuine Catholicism in a true spirit of poverty: humility. The rich in material goods most certainly find this stable not to their taste. Even the economically poor would rather sit in the impressive temples of heretics than kneel humbly before their Divine Lord residing in the tiny tabernacle.
Yes, Bethlehem was a test of values and of faith. Many have failed this test and have built temples not to honor God as much as to honor themselves and their wealth (often ill-gotten). For this reason, God has allowed them to fall into every kind of error in matters of faith and morals.
Our churches became empty because God has moved out. He has left the vain to their vanities. He has taken up His abode once again in a stable.
This is the Bethlehem of the 20th century, located in the town of Greece, NY
This stable out-ranks in beauty even the grand edifice of St. Peter's in Rome. For, amid all the pomp and splendor, God is not honored nor worshipped _ only Man. But in the stable of Bethlehem we find God residing as He promised, never abandoning His Church in its oneness, holiness, universality and apostolicity.
What a great hidden treasure in a time of anxiety and confusion! Truly, the powers of hell cannot prevail against it _ though they try. This stable stands ready to receive the weary pilgrim, where the wayfarer can drink deeply of pure, unadulterated Faith and commune with Jesus Christ in the Tabernacle. It is poor, so that the poor of spirit can find it; it is poor so that the proud will pass it by.
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