The Enormous Smallness of God: Weekly Message for 01-10-2023

Dear Friends in Christ,

In C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle, the stable plays a prominent role. To fully understand why, one must read the book, but let’s just say that by novel’s end all heaven is compassed in a single stable. One of the characters notes that the stable’s “inside is bigger than its outside.” Lucy replies: “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”

I mention this because January can, perhaps, seem anticlimactic. The festivities are over. The New Year has come and gone. Everyday life, humdrum and gray, is with us once more. But Christmas means that there is no more “everyday” life. Christmas means that all existence is, whether we realize it or not, “charged with the grandeur of God” (Gerard Manley Hopkins).

Yet it is a peculiar grandeur. All heaven is contained in a stable. All heaven is contained in the appearance of what is no longer bread and wine. All heaven is held within our hearts. This, we might say, is the enormous smallness of God: so great that littleness leaves him undismayed.

As we continue our journey with the Lord – in January, in February, on good days and on bad – we remember the words addressed to the shepherds on that first Christmas: “And this will be a sign for you: ‘An infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.’” Divinity has entered every nook and cranny of our lives and of our world. This is the sign of God’s power. This is the sign of God’s love. This, in all its apparent insignificance, is the enormous smallness of God.

God bless you,

Fr. John Pietropaoli

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