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What Does It Mean to Find the Perfect Gift?
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 12-21-17 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 12/22/2017 8:50:27 AM PST by Salvation

What Does It Mean to Find the Perfect Gift?

December 21, 2017

Jesus said many paradoxical things. For example: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Mat 10:39). For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it (Mat 16:25).

The basic rule of life the Lord announces is that when we want something too much, or very insistently on our own terms, we can never possess it. Rather, it possesses us. Only when we let go of our obsessions are we free to enjoy the true gift the Lord is offering. Indeed, many of our insistent and worldly expectations become the cause of our resentments. Some of God’s greatest gifts come to us in unexpected ways.

C.S. Lewis wrote,

Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead …. Even in social life you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making …. Give up yourself and you will find your real self … [but] [y]our real self will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Christ (Mere Christianity Book 4, Ch. 11).

At Christmas we often think of gifts, what to give and what we will receive; but this misses the truest point of Christmas, which is to look upon our Savior, Messiah, and Lord. He became flesh to show us our truer self. In thinking of Him and looking to Him, we find our truest self. The truer self we find, though, may be very different from some of our grander, worldly notions. Indeed, those self-delusions must be lost, pruned away; they must die for our true self to be found.

We have to stoop low to find Christ; we must seek Him humbly, and look for Him in humble places. He is found in Bethlehem, a tiny village in the shadow of the great Jerusalem. Even there He is in no comfortable dwelling, but out in back, down at the lowest end, in a cave behind a house, a place where animals are kept. Having descended into that cave, we must stoop still further, peering down close to the ground into a manger, a feeding trough. There we see Him.

Yes, there He is, devoid of earthly glories but with heavenly light shining through Him! Seeing Him, we see ourselves. Having descended, dying to earthly notions of life, having “lost” our life, we find it; and we see our own truest glory on the beautiful face of Christ.

Scripture says, For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 4:6) And we, who with unveiled faces reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18).

Here is the perfect gift, that we should decrease and He should increase; that dying to our own glories and shedding the masks we like to wear we can now reflect His glories.

Perhaps a picture will help. For this, we turn to the master of light and darkness in painting: Rembrandt. In his “Adoration of the Shepherds” (above right) see how Christ is the true source of light. His light is reflected on the faces of those around Him. This is our greatest glory and our perfect gift, to reflect the glory of the Lord with faces unveiled. To reflect this glory, the shepherds had to journey through the darkness, stoop down low, and die to their expectations of where a King should be born. In the darkness they see Him and they reflect His glory with unveiled faces. The greatest gift, the perfect gift of Christmas, is pictured here. They reflect not their glories, but His.

May the perfect gift of Christmas be yours, be mine, be ours.

TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: advent; catholic

1 posted on 12/22/2017 8:50:27 AM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Monsignor Pope Ping!

2 posted on 12/22/2017 8:51:20 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Thank you, Salvation. Merry Christmas!

3 posted on 12/22/2017 9:00:03 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

Merry Christmas to you and Mr. T, too.

4 posted on 12/22/2017 9:43:48 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Thank you!

5 posted on 12/22/2017 9:48:52 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Salvation

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

6 posted on 12/22/2017 10:06:34 AM PST by themidnightskulker (And then the thread dies... peacefully, in it's sleep....)
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To: Salvation

Excellent article....

It’s a tough thing... losing yourself.

But just as you can’t place new wine in an old wineskin,

The old you must perish in order to make room for the new you.

We have no room for God when we are full of ourselves.

I’ve found in the journey of dying daily or becoming empty,

There are four possible roads:

The first is to have an affair, purchase a new shiny sportscar, get a new job,... to find something that will cause you to rebuild your self identity through self validation. This creates a never ending circle just as a dog chasing its tail, you never find who you really are. Life becomes a roller coaster ride as you feel you are going down low and feel empty, but rather than exit the circle which can only be done at the empty point, you grab hold of something or someone that will take you back to the high point of the circle. Holding on to wealth, pride, status, power,.... are all tools to rebuild the illusion that we are in control and our self-identity is strong.

The second is to just “give up and die.” Not seeking the exit to the circle which can only be found by looking inward and upward while at the low point, many people just commit suicide by stagnating and giving up the journey.

The third is a major journey backward that often happens in society as a whole. The closer you get to no-self or the dead-self, the scarier it gets. Many people, rather than looking inward and upward to find God, look externally to find someone else that they can surrender their individual authority and free will. This is what set up the great surrender of authority to Hitler after the despair of the losses in WW I, the poverty, the great flue pandemic.... This is a natural tendency of mankind. It’s the reason that the Jews were seeking a messiah after being conquered by the Romans. Someone to lead them out of bondage. When on this road, the depression or darkness feels as though you are falling and there is no bottom. Despair is an understatement. This is how the anti-messiah will soon lead the people astray in the upcoming tribulation. (Never surrender your individual free will to another human being. God likes a flat organizational chart where everyone has a direct connection to the Boss through His Son, Jesus. If you have surrendered your free will to another, it is not available for you to surrender to God by going within.)

The fourth path is why Jesus said, “I am not your King on Earth.” You can only find and enter the narrow opening into this path when you are small enough(humble) to fit through the opening. He came here as our Savior to teach us the fourth path. That is why His followers were called “The People of the Way.” The teaching of Jesus in the New Testament are all geared toward teaching us to find the exit point in the circle, go within, and go upward to find God, by following Jesus’ path he came to teach us. Jesus is my Savior as He lowered Himself to my level to “teach me the Way” or “the Path to Follow Him.”

When you follow the “Fourth Path” you find the “great treasure.” It however is just the beginning of another circular path as the journey is long through the maze of many rooms in my Father’s Mansion. If you follow the brightest Light, the Light of Jesus, He will lead you and you will “find your Way” to realizing God.

Blessings All on Your Journey

7 posted on 12/22/2017 10:39:03 AM PST by tired&retired (Blessings)
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To: Salvation

Thank you Salvation for all of your efforts to spread the Good News.

Have a Blessed and Happy Christmas. May Christ’s Light continue to reflect on you.

8 posted on 12/22/2017 11:12:34 AM PST by ADSUM
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Thanks so much!

9 posted on 12/22/2017 5:01:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Wishing you and all your pingees a very blessed Christmas, Salvation.

10 posted on 12/23/2017 7:29:04 AM PST by EDINVA
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