The state of world events is so uncertain that it is impossible to know the conditions in which we will celebrate Christmas or what the New Year will bring. This is a Christmas in which South Africans are filled with uncertainty, trials and insecurity.
One could rightly ask: “Is it proper to have these concerns during Christmastime? Shouldn’t we have only consolations, joys and satisfactions during this season?”
To answer this question, we should consider the first Christmas night. Saint Joseph and, above all, Our Lady were filled with inexpressible joy in the grotto in Bethlehem.
However, before the Child Jesus was born, they suffered affliction. They had spent the night seeking a dignified place for Our Lord’s birth. Saint Joseph was humiliated seeing that his spouse would have to deliver the Christ Child in a stable where animals ate. While there could not have been a more stupendous event that evening, neither could there have been humbler surroundings.
The manger was all Saint Joseph and Our Lady had to offer the Child Jesus. Thus, the evening was filled with unfathomable joys, but also had its sufferings.
Although the Christ Child knew that Providence had dictated the conditions of His birth, it is possible that Our Lady and Saint Joseph did not know. They could have been filled with doubts concerning the reasons for their poor surroundings, perhaps even attributing them to a wrongdoing of their own. Though faultless, Saint Joseph, who was most responsible for providing for the Holy Family, probably asked Our Lord’s pardon for the lowly accommodations he had furnished for His delivery.
Nevertheless, the evening’s joys overcame all its sadness’s to such an extent, that the latter were completely forgotten.
We should celebrate Christmas in the same manner, though we be concerned with the crisis in the Church and breakdown of society and aware of our insufficiency to face these calamities.
Realizing that we are chosen to follow Our Lady throughout these troubling times should fill us with joy and overcome the sadness we endure for our personal failings and the godlessness that surrounds us.
At the feet of the new-born Christ Child, we should thank Him for having called us to this struggle and these times. We should realize that we are only capable of resisting through His Redemption for which His birth was a necessary condition. We ought to express this gratitude through the intercession of Our Lady, the Universal Mediatrix, and Saint Joseph.
We should ask Saint Joseph, Our Lady and the Christ Child for a soul continually mindful of Our Lady’s words at Fatima: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph!” Thus, we will be able to overcome all sadness and advance joyfully in the fight, seeking heroism and even sacrifice.
Thus, South Africa Needs Our Lady prays that Our Lady grant you this indomitable joy for Christmas and bring you ever closer to her and her Divine Son!
The above message is adapted from a Christmas greeting delivered by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in 1980. It has been translated and adapted without his revision. —Ed. (Picture of the Author below)