Lent Day 5 - LIFE OF CHRIST, by Fulton Sheen
LENT DAY 5 – Monday March 11
“The manger and the Cross thus stand at the two extremities of the Savior’s life!... Disowned upon entering, rejected upon leaving, He was laid in a stranger’s stable at the beginning, and a stranger’s grave at the end.
It was not so much that His birth cast a shadow on His life, and thus led to His death; it was rather that the Cross was there from the beginning, and it cast its shadow backward to His birth. Ordinary mortals go from the known to the unknown submitting themselves to forces beyond their control; hence we can speak of their “tragedies.” But He went from the known to the known, from the reason for His coming, namely, to be “Jesus” or “Savior”, to the fulfillment of His coming, namely, the death on the Cross. Hence there was no tragedy in His life; for, tragedy implies the unforeseeable, the uncontrollable, the fatalistic. Modern life is tragic when there is spiritual darkness and unredeemable guilt. But for the Christ Child there were no uncontrollable forces; no submission to fatalistic chains from which there could be no escape…
Bethlehem became a link between heaven and earth; God and man met here and looked each other in the face. In the taking of human flesh, the Father prepared it, the Spirit formed it, and the Son assumed it. He Who had an eternal generation in the bosom of the Father now had a temporal generation in time. He Who had His birth in Bethlehem came to be born in the hearts of men. For, what would it profit if He was born a thousand times in Bethlehem unless He was born again in man?
If there were no Cross there would have been no crib; if there had been no nails, there would have been no straw. But He could not teach the lesson of the Cross as payment for sin; He had to take it. God the Father did not spare His Son – so much did He love mankind. That was the secret wrapped in the swaddling bands.”
(Chapter 1, pgs. 45, 48-50, 53)
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