Dom Paul Delatte, in unison with the entire tradition of the Church, says that when “God created the world, He was thinking of His only Son, the One of whom it would once be said: ‘Ecce homo’. He was thinking toward the alliance He would make with nature which was the fruit of his hands and was so beautiful.” It was indeed a beautiful creation, but, you already know the story too well. Creation, especially human nature, did not remain long in this beautiful condition. Nevertheless God didn’t want to let us the last word.
Sin has turned us into slaves. God would come to restore us and to save us. How? The answer is right there, in the crèche. A little Baby! He is “beautiful above the sons of men and grace is poured abroad in His lips”, as Psalm 44 says. And the prophet Simeon says that “He is light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” But this is not all. He also will be a sign of contradiction.
He is a sign of contradiction to the spirit of the world which seeks first its comforts and its well-being. What is wrong with this? Everybody likes comfort. There is nothing bad. Nothing bad? As long as you consider that is not a due and you enjoy it as a means, there is nothing bad, that’s true. But the fact is that pleasures call for more pleasures and if you don’t counterbalance your comfort with the spirit of mortification, you will easily slip toward dullness and laziness. There are the first steps before more serious sins. In the poverty of the manger, Jesus is already a sign of contradiction to the spirit of the world.
He is also a sign of contradiction to human reason. The Incarnation? How can our reason accept it? The Athenians was right when they told Saint Paul they would hear him again later. They were right if one keeps human reason enclosed in the small quiver which rationalists have relegated it to. The existence of a God-man contradicts all the pre-conceived ideas of reason. Then, if you add the fact that this God-man died on a cross, it is truly a stumbling block, and utter foolishness. Does every man on earth have to bow in front of the Baby of Bethlehem? In the nudity of His human nature, He was already a sign of contradiction to human reason.
Finally, He is a sign of contradiction to each one of us. He is a sign of contradiction because He reveals to us our true nature, still good and beautiful, but stained by sins. As long as we approach Jesus and let Him restore our nature by His grace, we can recover our original condition. Then we can truly be called children of God. As Saint Paul says in the epistle, we are no longer slaves but sons and consequently heirs. For this reason, we have to know God. Today’s epistle is from Galatians, chapter 4 verses 1 to 7. But the following verses are also interesting: "But then indeed, not knowing God, you served them, who, by nature, are not gods. But now, after you have known God, or rather are known by God: how turn you again to the weak and needy elements, which you desire to serve again? You observe days, and months, and times, and years. "
We have known God through His Son. This knowledge is precisely our sign of contradiction, because knowing Him, we return again and again to the slavery of sin. In a certain way, our sins are more grave than the sins of those who don’t know God. We don’t live under the Law, neither under the regime of nature but under the new regime of the grace. We are of the race of Jesus Christ, heirs with Him of the celestial good. But if we are not found just at the day of the visitation, our inheritance will be lost forever.
Now we have a choice. We can accept Jesus Christ and be united to Him by the link of charity, or we can reject Him and be contradicted by Him. And this choice comes at every moment of our lives. He is never definitive. In fact, it will be at the time of our death. But do you know when it will come? Because we cannot know, it is now that you have to make the good choice and to renew it every day, every hour, every minute of your life.
May Our Lady help us to make the good choice. We should always listen to her. We cannot find a better adviser.