Rorate Caeli

He became a child

The medieval theologian William of Saint Thierry once said that God – from the time of Adam – saw that his grandeur provoked resistance in man, that we felt limited in our own being and threatened in our freedom. Therefore God chose a new way. He became a child. He made himself dependent and weak, in need of our love. Now – this God who has become a child says to us – you can no longer fear me, you can only love me.

With these thoughts, we draw near this night to the child of Bethlehem – to the God who for our sake chose to become a child. In every child we see something of the Child of Bethlehem. Every child asks for our love. This night, then, let us think especially of those children who are denied the love of their parents. Let us think of those street children who do not have the blessing of a family home, of those children who are brutally exploited as soldiers and made instruments of violence, instead of messengers of reconciliation and peace. Let us think of those children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatized in the depths of their soul. The Child of Bethlehem summons us once again to do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children; to do everything possible to make the light of Bethlehem touch the heart of every man and woman. Only through the conversion of hearts, only through a change in the depths of our hearts can the cause of all this evil be overcome, only thus can the power of the evil one be defeated. Only if people change will the world change; and in order to change, people need the light that comes from God, the light which so unexpectedly entered into our night.

Benedict XVI
Midnight Mass (click for all papal Christmas texts)


  1. " can no longer fear me, you can only love me. --
    With these thoughts, we draw near this night to the child of Bethlehem..."


    "O come, O come",
    The waiting said,
    Where pink turns green
    And purple, red.

    Where fasting turns
    To festive feasts
    And midnight whispers
    Come from beasts.

    Where slate, gray, skies,
    Tint brown, clouds, glow,
    Full and fraught
    To burst with snow,

    And burdened mules,
    Who trod the roads,
    Can finally rest,
    Take off their loads.

    Where families cut
    Down Balsam fir,
    To scent their homes
    Like incensed myrrh.

    And men, once dark,
    Living in danger,
    Shed tears and kneel...
    The feat of the manger!


  2. Anonymous11:23 PM

    'For the child that was squandered, a Child is born'
    - GK Chesterton 'The Nativity'.


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