“You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2: 12).
Dearest Brothers and Sisters of the Calabrian Family,
May love, peace, and joy of the Child Jesus remain always in our hearts.
Christmas is near, and in the excitement of the last days of the year, we are invited to set aside a bit of time and heart to contemplate what it is happening around us.
As it was revealed in that time so to us it is revealed today, in a very significant way, the things manifested to the shepherds in Bethlehem, since Christmas is the celebration of this great event that happened for all mankind: the birth of the Savior.
I consider the announcement of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds a very relevant and meaningful message for my life, and I hope, with this letter, to share my experience with all the members of the Calabrian Family. “Don’t be afraid; I am here to give you good news, great joy for all the people. Today a Savior has been born to you in David’s Town; he is the Messiah and the Lord. Let this be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2: 10-12).
Such sensational news, an announcement of great joy, done with solemnity to indicate the birth of a Savior, is finally reduced to an apparently insignificant sign: “you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes”. Something is not working and escapes our forma mentis (way of thinking). Such a great announcement should be followed by a great event... but it is not! This is the great mystery of God and the deep meaning of Christmas: “a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes”.
Our meeting with this baby, wrapped with swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, makes us more humane and enlightens today our life. This baby shows the choice of God to dwell in fragility. It is a God who explains through this sign what is the meaning of fragility and the meaning of taking care of the others’ fragility: that is, to become waddling clothes of a concrete love that embraces and welcomes.
Today there are many kinds of fragility in which God dwells and reveals himself, and which we meet and see with our own eyes every day. We are invited to wrap them with the swaddling clothes of love and tenderness, and to take care of them.
The fragility of the baby of Bethlehem is a manifest call to look at the fragilities of each one of us, the same that Jesus has embraced and loved since the beginning, and it is a call to go and meet the situations of fragility and the wounds of today’s men, as often Pope Francis reminds us to do.
Also Fr. Calabria was in love with the fragile humanity of the incarnate Jesus. His preferences and his mystical attitude were originated from the manger of the crib, and passing through the Eucharist, were reaching the cross. He, too, was able to recognize Jesus in the small child whom he picked up from the shabby clothes, and in many other people whom he welcomed with great tenderness and took care of.
We, the members of the Calabrian Family, today must not get us dazzled by great and sensational things, so that we can discover the marvel of God dwelling among us. He reveals himself in the simplicity and smallness of a baby.
In this Christmas season let us try to look at the baby lying in the manger and wrapped with swaddling clothes, in order to build a new world and a new society, in which love and respect for all is reigning, and there is no room for hatred and violence; this should be sign and prophecy of a full love, which makes visible the paternity of God that has come to dwell among us.
May the contemplation of Jesus in the manger, on this Christmas, make us more human, less judges and jury, capable of smiling and tenderness and full of joy. Along this way that God has chosen to dwell among us we will accompany Him with trust and hope.
I wish all of you and your families a Holy and Merry Christmas. Pray for me. God bless you.