From a Cattle Stall

“The absolute once ruled the world from a cattle stall.”
​–G.K. Chesterton

​The devil hates that Our Lord was once small. Jesus Christ was incarnate in a virgin’s womb, and thus began the one and great salvation story of mankind. Our Lord was once a baby–what’s more, a baby that wasn’t even destined to be born in a proper bed, but languished in the manger with cows gazing at him in their feed trough. How could Satan possibly understand this, with his bloated pride and hatred for all things small and good?

The most beautiful paradox of our time is that Our Lord cannot be defeated because He is defeat itself. He is great, not because He assumes all power of Heaven and Earth and wields it like some frightening Zeus-god. He is mightier than all because He is tender and tiny.

It is repeated so often that we often forget the magnitude of his smallness. The King of the World was born to a little family, with a little mother and a little father in a little barn because they could not find a room. Our Lord was once a baby. Can we think of any other legend of gods in which we recognize their birth, or their tender humanity?

What’s more, He did not leave us alone when His mission on earth was finished. He still exists, quiet and peaceful and small, like He was in the manger. Today, He rests in every tabernacle, with the culmination of His Passion existing in the Eucharist––His flesh and blood encapsulated in a small morsel of food.

“The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host.”

–Bishop Fulton Sheen

The devil loves what is big: greed for money, our lusts, our prides.

The devil hates what is little, because he cannot understand it, and he cannot defeat it: the Virgin Mary who said “yes”; an infant in a manger; our meek little hearts; our feeble wills.

Our Lord’s life was full of paradoxes, one of which I have written on in the past. But this one, perhaps, reveals most the undeniable truth. This is what paradox does–surprises us with the truth, as Jesus did with his life.

A man dies, then rises from the dead.

An everlasting God becomes a mortal man.

The King of Heaven is born to a virgin.

Our Lord was raised by a man of little account to society who worked with his hands.

The Savior of the world humbled himself, and indeed lowered himself, to where his people are. If we get to the true heart of our faith, we find not a domineering king, nor a father intent on punishment, but a Son whose heritage is the heavens who came to make a home in even the littlest heart.

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