Humility, Poverty and the Conversion of America

November 23, 2010 09:00 AM

Christmas is a very special time of year for all of us, but especially for pro-life families. We gather together to affirm all that we know is good, to celebrate the birth of our King and to renew our heartfelt emotions toward our beloved friends and relations, most especially our children and our grandchildren. As we do this, we are brought closer to realizing the true meaning of our individual lives—each of which is a precious gift from God. 

I recall one very holy priest explaining to a group of us that each person’s life is a loan from God and that, upon death, that loan is returned to God along with a balance sheet. How we lived our lives will determine how we live eternity. Not a bad thing to think about as we stand before the Nativity scene and realize the immense value of Christ’s life as it pertains to each of us.

As we prepare to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas, let us reflect on the profound words spoken by Pope Benedict XVI one year ago:  
We must seek to live what the nativity scene represents in the reality of our everyday lives: that is, the love of Christ, His humility and His poverty. 
The blessing of the “Bambinelli”—as they are called in Rome—reminds us that the nativity scene is a school of life where we can learn the secret of true joy. This does not consist in possessing many things but in feeling ourselves to be loved by the Lord, in making ourselves a gift for others, and in loving one another. Let us consider the nativity scene: the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph do not appear to be a very privileged family, they had their first child amidst great hardship, yet they are full of intimate joy because they love one another, they help one another and, above all, they are certain that God is at work in their story.
Knowing that Mary and Joseph were shunned by the innkeeper in Bethlehem and were forced to seek other shelter for the birth of Jesus helps us to understand their tangible poverty. It also confirms the fact that happiness and joy in life are not associated with the material world, but rather with and in our relationship with Mary’s baby—Christ the Lord.

The one thing that makes a human being’s life worthwhile has nothing to do with bank accounts, 401Ks, new cars, fancy clothing or presents under a tree. All of these things will pass away, but the life we live and the legacy we leave will never pass away. That is why Christ should be the center of life, not just on Christmas, but on each and every day.

It occurs to me that if we ever want to truly make America a land of individuals who celebrate and affirm life—regardless of race, creed, color, condition or state of dependency—our effort must begin with Christ. If we realize that it is only in Him and His truth that our daily conversion occurs, then we can, through our words and deeds, inspire such a conversion in others.

This is not the hopeless dream of an altruist, but rather the goal of this woman who recognizes that a culture without God is, indeed, a culture of death. It is my humble prayer this Christmas that each individual who reads this will embrace my dream—that we see the hope, the humility and the poverty of the Nativity as the things needed to convert our nation.

May the peace of Christ be yours, and may your Christmas be one that lasts throughout the New Year and beyond.
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