National Catholic Register


The Infinity Of Littleness

BY Archbishop Fulton Sheen

December 12-20, 1998 Issue | Posted 12/12/98 at 2:00 PM


When we speak of the Incarnation, we mean that the Life, the Truth and the Love of the Perfect God took on a visible human likeness in the Person of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The faith of the humble man tells him: this Child is the Incarnate Word, true God and true man; he is the Creator of the human race become man: he needs milk to nourish him, but it is by his hand that the birds of the heavens are fed; he is born of a Mother, but he is the One who preexisted his own Mother and therefore he made her beautiful and sinless, as we would have done for our own mother if we but had the power; he lies upon straw on earth, and yet sustains the universe and reigns in Heaven; he is born in time, and yet he existed before all time, Maker of the stars under the stars; Ruler of the earth an outcast of earth; filling the world, lying in a manger. The proud man sees only a Babe. But the humble man, illumined by faith, sees two lives in this Babe, in the unity of the Person of God. …

The humble, simple souls, who are little enough to see the bigness of God in the littleness of a babe, are therefore the only ones who will ever understand the reason of His visitation. He came to this poor earth of ours to carry on an exchange, to say to us, as only the Good God could say: “You give me your humanity, and I will give you my Divinity; you give me your time, and I will give you my eternity; you give me your weary body, and I will give you Redemption; you give me your broken heart, and will give you Love; you give me your nothingness, and I will give you My All.” …

The world, which is so bent on power, never seems thoroughly to grasp the paradox that as only little children discover the bigness of the universe, so only the humble of heart ever find the greatness of God. The World misses the lesson because it confuses littleness with weakness, childlikeness with childishness, and humility with an inferiority complex. It thinks of power only in terms of physical force, and of wisdom only in terms of the vain knowledge of the spirit of the day. It forgets that great moral strength may be hidden in physical weakness, as Omnipotence was wrapped in swaddling bands, and that great Wisdom may be found in simple faith as the Eternal Mind was found in the form of a Babe. There is strength—strength before which the angels trembled, strength before which the stars prostrated, and strength before which the very throne of Herod shook in fear. It was the strength of that Divine and Awful Love which shrank from nothing to convince us of God's measure of what is really great and high. …

Thus the birthday of the God-Man is the children's day, in which age, like a crab, turns backwards, in which the wrinkles are smoothed by the touch of a recreating hand, in which the proud become children, and the big become little, and all find their God. Hence I speak not in words of learned wisdom, but in the words of a child. We all go stooping into the cave; we put off our worldly wisdom, our pride, our seeming superiority—and we become as little ones before the incalculable mystery of the humiliation of the Son of God. As such, we creep to the knee of the loveliest woman in all the world, the woman who alone of all women wears the red rose of motherhood and the white rose of virginity, the mother who in begetting Our Lord became the Mother of Men, and we ask her to teach us how to serve God, how to love God, how to pray to God.

This text was excerpted from The Eternal Galilean, by Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Alba House, 1997)