My unknown Jesuit priest who wrote the meditations to which I have been referring on and off in Advent and now, into this Christmas season, also highlights the shepherds as my prayers were led to do these past few days.
Three points from the Jesuit meditations must be shared.
The first one has to do with the particular angels’ message to the shepherds.
Three signs point to a new type of Messiah, not really thought of in the time of Christ, as people were expecting a military one, forgetting the Suffering Servant passages of Isaiah.
The priest notes that the angels tell the shepherds that the signs of Saviour, the Messiah, are “Infant”, “swaddling clothes” and “manger.
All three emphasized that this Messiah had come in humility-as a Baby, in poverty in swaddling clothes, and in great mortification, in a manger.
These signs of this Messiah must have shook the notions of the shepherds, a Messiah who has come contrary to the pride, avarice, and sensuality of the world, notes the Jesuit.
The second point has to do with the fact that the Annunciation came through the message of one angel, but, Father states, legions of angels announced the Birth of Christ. A “multitude of the heavenly army’” writes this priest, came because Christ’s humiliation merited this praise, and “He had repaired the glory of God” by His coming. In addition, Christ “brought peace and joy to men of good will.”
One can hardly imagine these multitudes, these legions of angels praising God.
The third point from the holy Jesuit reveals the unity of thought and action among the shepherds. They decided as a group to go to see Jesus.
Father writes this: “Happy is the religious community where there is a unity of desires and efforts to attain perfecton; when each member animates and encorages the others in doing well; when there is no other amibition than that of excelling in respect, humility, and charity. Does it not depend on you to make the community in which you live like this?”
How I wish…but with Catholics, both liberal and traditional divided by some many opinions and even heresies, can one hope to find such a community in 2016?