Meditation: December 2 Third day of the novena in honor of the Immaculate

– The Magi meet sweetness

– Herod’s Wrath

– The Land of the Sweet

“BLESSED are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5). The Magi saw this beatitude accomplished in Bethlehem, many years before the day on which Christ pronounced it. It is likely that when they reached the threshold of the door, they were surprised to see the atmosphere which surrounded the one they intended to venerate. Perhaps they imagined they would find other great monarchs of the time, eager to meet the long-awaited savior. Instead, all they see is a child lying in a manger with its parents. Only a few shepherds came forward to offer the few gifts they had. Such was the procession which accompanied the Messiah.

The Magi had left many things behind them, at least for a time, to follow the path that led them to Christ: comfort, earthly goods, personal projects… They now realize that to discover the Child King, they must also drop something much deeper: their conception of the exercise of power and royalty. They were looking for someone powerful, and they find a helpless little child. They understand that the king in the manger does not impose himself by force, but by gentleness. He does not dominate, but assumes the fragility of human nature in order to bring us closer to him.

“It is not the violent who inherit the earth, it ultimately belongs to the meek: they have the great promise, and so we must be sure of God’s promise, that meekness is stronger than violence” [1]. This scene in the manger probably changed the patterns that governed the lives of the Magi. Who knows if they will now exercise their kingship differently, based on what they saw in Bethlehem. Perhaps they were also surprised by the attitude of the Virgin Mary. “If anyone deserves to be important, it’s her,” they reportedly concluded. And instead, they saw the familiarity of the Mother with her son. It was precisely because of her gentleness that she accepted the divine promise in faith and allowed herself to be transformed by God. We can ask him, on this third day of the novena in honor of the Immaculate Conception, to obtain for us from God this same gentle and humble attitude.

WHEN Herod heard that the Magi were looking for a king of the Jews, he “was overwhelmed, and all Jerusalem with him” (Mt 2:3). He was afraid that the one these mysterious characters were looking for would be a competitor for him and his offspring. The danger for his kingdom being great, he decided that this child could no longer continue to live. This is why, under the pretext of wanting to venerate him, he asked the Magi to tell him where he was as soon as they discovered him. But when he learned that they had gone another way, he “went into a violent rage. He sent to kill all the children up to the age of two in Bethlehem and in all the region” (Mt 2, 16).

Herod, in addition to the fear of losing his power, indulges in anger. He believes that it is through violence that he will keep his kingdom. And although this gesture could be considered a manifestation of his temporal power, he actually lost something much more important: the peace, the confidence that his people could have had in him. “A moment of anger can destroy many things; you lose control and don’t value what’s really important, and that can ruin your relationship with a sibling, sometimes desperately. Because of anger, many brothers and sisters no longer speak to each other, they turn away from each other. It is the opposite of kindness. Kindness unites, anger separates. [2].

Meekness sees difficulties in their proper context, it helps us not to pretend that people or circumstances always conform to what we expect. Meekness does not seek to dominate others, but to facilitate the journey of their hearts towards God. So, if someone upsets us, this virtue helps to prioritize the relationship, knowing that unity is above differences. This does not mean, however, that meekness leads to apathy, that is, to living in indifference to what is happening around us. In fact, its characteristic note will sometimes be, as Saint Josemaría said, rebellion: “I don’t want to protest against everything without giving a positive solution, I don’t want to fill my life with disorder. I rebel against all of this! I want to be a child of God, to associate with God, to behave like a man who knows that he has an eternal destiny and also to go through life doing as much good as possible, to understand, to forgive, to live together… that is my rebellion! » [3].

AS SOON AS JOSEPH heard from the angel that they wanted to kill Jesus, “he took the child and his mother, and went into Egypt” (Mt 2:14). This situation seems to contradict the beatitude that the Lord will later proclaim on those who will be the heirs of the earth. This time, the humble were forced out of their places, while Herod’s wrath spread throughout his territory. At first glance, it seems that the strongest has won, the one who wants to impose himself by violence.

But bliss is not so much about a physical place as about something far more precious. “The sweet is the one who “inherits” the most sublime of territories. He is not a coward, a “lazy person” who finds comfortable moral ground to stay out of trouble — none of that! He is someone who has received an inheritance and does not want to disperse it. The meek is not someone complacent, but the disciple of Christ who has learned to defend another land. He defends his peace, he defends his relationship with God, he defends his gifts. [4]. As the psalmist says: “Lord, my portion and my cup: on you depends my fate. The share which is due to me is my delight; I even have the most beautiful inheritance! (Ps 15, 5-6). The territory that, in the end, the meek will end up possessing is God himself.

The Virgin Mary knew how to live this moment of danger with gentleness because she trusted in the Lord. Logically, she must have experienced weariness and uncertainty, but she accepted these difficulties with serenity, without losing her peace: she knew that nothing escapes God’s plan. Jesus was certainly able to witness his mother’s gentleness in many ordinary circumstances. So when he later says, “I am meek and humble in heart,” we can assume that he learned it in part from Mary. This is what “drew the gaze of the Most Holy Trinity to the Mother of Jesus and our Mother” [5]

[1]. Benedict XVI; Meeting with priestsFebruary 23, 2012.

[2]. Pope Francis, General audienceFebruary 19, 2020.

[3]. Saint Josemaría, Meeting with young people in PeruJuly 13, 1974.

[4]. Pope Francis, General audienceFebruary 19, 2020.

[5]. Saint Josemaría, furrowNo. 726.

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Meditation: December 2 Third day of the novena in honor of the Immaculate

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