Christmas and Garabandal message


Meditation on the Gospel - Nativity of the Lord and reflection on the message of Garabandal

Praise to God +

Dear brothers,

I hope you are well! As we know, in some apparitions in Garabandal, "Our Mother" carried the Baby Jesus in her arms. What does she have to teach us? It is true that She never said anything about it; however, in her attitude is the answer: "she wants us to welcome Jesus".

At Christmas, many think that it is enough to "open presents"; however, what "Our Mother" wants is that we "open our hearts" to the Lord who comes to meet us.

According to the seers of Garabandal, sometimes "Our Mother" appeared with the Child Jesus; according to them, "a very small baby, still, like a newborn. It has a round face, the same color as the Mother's, a small mouth, a little long blond hair and clothes in the shape of a blue tunic". The reading that we heard at the Holy Mass on Christmas Day, taken from the Letter of the Apostle St Paul to Titus, begins solemnly with the word "apparuit", - it manifested itself. This is a programmatic word, chosen by the Church to express, in short, the essence of Christmas. Before, men had spoken and created human images of God, in the most varied ways; and also, God himself had spoken to men in different ways (cf. Heb 1:1). Now, however, something else has happened: He has manifested Himself, He has shown Himself, He has come out of the inaccessible light in which He dwells. He, in Person came among us. In the ancient Church, this was the great joy of Christmas: God manifested himself. It is no longer just an idea, nor something that can be intuited from words. He "manifested himself", if God knew it, he came to meet us. But now we ask ourselves: How did he manifest himself? Is he really who he is? In this regard, the reading of the Dawn Mass says: "The goodness of God (...) and his love for men" (Tit 3, 4). For the men of pre-Christian times - who, seeing the horrors and contradictions of the world, feared that God himself was not wholly good, but could undoubtedly also be cruel and arbitrary - this was a true "epiphany". , the great light that was manifested to us: God is pure goodness. God is not far from us, but very close. At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God became man out of love for us, to save us.

As "Our Mother" wanted to bring the girls of Garabandal closer to Jesus, it was necessary for her to bring the Child. They said that when She came with Him, She was always smiling, content, happy. When she brought him in, they talked about things like girls and, on more than one occasion, held Baby Jesus in their arms. On one of these occasions, having Loli, the Divine Child, in her arms, she said to the Virgin: "If you want, the Lady can go now, I will take good care of Him". Our Lady also wants to leave us the Baby Jesus this Christmas so that we can receive him in our hearts. But how? Even today there are people who, unable to recognize God in faith, ask themselves whether the ultimate Force that holds and sustains the world is truly good, or if evil is not as powerful and primordial as the good and beauty that, through brief luminous instants, we find ourselves in our cosmos. "The goodness of God (...) and his love for men were manifested": this is the new and consoling certainty that is given to us at Christmas: the Good God loves us, wants to be one of us, wants to be with us! And now he wants to be within us through Holy Communion. He wanted to create us as an overflow of His Love; he wanted to be one of us, to walk beside us and lead us; he wanted to die for us, so that we would never forget the intensity of his Divine Love and, finally, he wanted to become the Eucharist, to live within us. How great is the Merciful Love of God, isn't it? God was a child.

Christmas is epiphany: the manifestation of God and his great light in a child who was born for us. Born in the stable of Bethlehem, not in the king's palaces. In 1223, when Francis of Assisi celebrated Christmas in Greccio with an ox, a donkey and a manger full of hay, a new dimension of the mystery of Christmas became visible. Francis of Assisi called Christmas "the feast of feasts" - more than all other solemnities - and he celebrated it with "ineffable solicitude" (2 Celano, 199: Fontes Franciscanas, 787). He kissed, with great devotion, the images of the boy and babbled words of tenderness to them as is done with children-refers Tomás de Celano.

For the ancient Church, the feast of feasts was Easter: in the Resurrection, Christ broke down the gates of death, and thus radically changed the world: he created a place for man in God himself. Well then! Francis did not change, nor did he want to change, this objective hierarchy of feasts, the inner structure of faith with its center in the paschal mystery. But, thanks to Francis and his way of believing, something new happened: he discovered, in a completely new depth, the humanity of Jesus. This fact of God being man was most evident to him when the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, was wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. The resurrection presupposes the incarnation. The Son of God seen as a child, as a true son of man: this deeply touched the heart of the Saint of Assisi, transforming faith into love. "The goodness of God and his love for men were manifested": this phrase of Saint Paul thus acquired a totally new depth. In the stable boy of Bethlehem, one can, so to speak, touch God and cherish Him. And the Liturgical Year thus gained a second center in a feast that is, above all, a feast of the heart. All this has nothing to do with sentimentality. It is precisely in the new experience of the reality of the humanity of Jesus that the great mystery of faith is revealed.

Francisco loved Jesus as a boy because, in his being a boy, the humility of God became clear to him. God became poor. His Son was born in the poverty of the stable. In the baby Jesus, God made himself dependent, in need of the love of human beings, reduced to the condition of asking for his, ours, love. Today, Christmas has become a celebration of business, whose blinding radiance hides the mystery of God's humility, which invites us to humility and simplicity. Let us ask the Lord to help us to extend our gaze beyond the flashy facades of this time, so that we can find the child in the stable of Bethlehem and thus discover true joy and true light. St. Francis of Assisi had the Most Holy Eucharist celebrated on the manger that was placed between the ox and the donkey (cf. 1 Celano, 85: Fontes, 469). Then, over this manger, an altar was built so that, where once the animals ate the hay, men could now receive, for the salvation of soul and body, the flesh of the immaculate Lamb - Jesus Christ -, as Celano narrates (cf. 1 Celano, 87: Sources, 471). On the Holy Night of Greccio, Francis - as a deacon that he was - had sung, personally and with a resounding voice, the Gospel of Christmas. And the whole celebration seemed like a continuous exultation of joy, thanks to the magnificent Christmas carols of the Friars (cf. 1 Celano, 85 and 86: Sources, 469 and 470). It was precisely the encounter with God's humility that was transformed into joy: his goodness generates the true celebration.

On one occasion when the Virgin Mary hadn't come with the Baby Jesus for some time, Conchita was heard to say: "But how long has it been since she's come with the baby... And he hasn't put on any weight, nothing... It's exactly what even if it was... Where has it been? When the baby isn't coming, where is it, in heaven or in some crib?" The maternal presence of "Our Mother" and the presence of the Child Jesus, invited the girls to deal with them with a simplicity and confidence that we, although older, must imitate. At Christmas, when we contemplate God made a baby for us, we are given the opportunity not only to remember God's great love, but also to become children again in the sense of spiritual childhood, that is, to do in virtue what one child does by nature, which is: above all, trust and abandonment; the daily exercise of being "small". Today, anyone who enters the church of the Nativity of Jesus in Bethlehem realizes that the portal that used to be five and a half meters high, through which emperors and caliphs entered the building, has been largely covered over, leaving only an entrance one and a half meters high. This was probably done with the intention of better protecting the church against possible assaults, but above all to prevent people from entering the house of God on horseback.

Anyone who wants to enter the place where Jesus was born must bow down. This contains a deeper truth, by which we want to allow ourselves to be touched on this holy night: if we want to encounter God manifested as a child, then we must get off the horse of our "enlightened" reason, our pride, our vanity of arrogance. We must lay down our false certainties, our intellectual pride, which prevents us from perceiving the closeness of God. We must follow the interior path of Saint Francis: the path towards that extreme exterior and interior simplicity that makes the heart able to see. We must bow down, walk spiritually, so to speak on foot, so that we can enter through the portal of faith and encounter the God who is different from our prejudices and our opinions: the God who hides in the humility of a newborn child. Let us thus celebrate the liturgy of this Holy Night, giving up focusing on what is material, measurable and tangible. Let us allow ourselves to be made simple by that God who manifests himself to the heart that has become simple.

And at this time, let us pray also and above all for all those who are forced to live Christmas in poverty, in suffering, in the condition of emigrants, asking that the goodness of God in its splendor be manifested to them, that it touch us all, them and to us, that goodness that God wanted, with the birth of his Son in the stable, to bring to the world.

Conchita tells us: "As we liked to make parties for Baby Jesus, we picked up stones. I put them in our braids, Loli, in her sleeves and Jacinta gave them to Him, but he didn't take them, but he smiled a lot.

Mari Cruz said- to him: "I, if you want, will give him sweets that were brought to me and, if you come with me, I will give them to you". doubt, the best gift is our heart, a clean, pure and open heart.

And then, are we going to live Garabandal?

May the Good God, through the immaculate hands of Our Mother, bless you all!

With affection, prayers and my priestly blessing,

Father Viana

Garabandal Apostolate

December 2022