Rorate Caeli

A CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: 'A Spiritual Nativity' by Father Konrad zu Lowenstein


The Adoration of the Child by Antonio Correggio (early 16th century)

Every Christmas the light of God’s glory shines anew when the Infant Jesus is born once again spiritually into the world –  Christmas not only being the anniversary or  celebration of His Birth more than two thousand years ago, but a new birth, in a spiritual sense.

This new light, this spiritual birth of the Lord becomes a reality in us, bringing fresh Divine graces to our minds and hearts - and the better we are prepared, the richer and more abundant they will be. 

Now Our  Lord Jesus could have come into this world as Adam did - as an adult, but he came as a Child.  Why? Perhaps precisely because He wanted to be born in us, in our minds and hearts, and wanted to be welcomed by us and in us as a Child – an Infant.

 He would therefore like us to welcome Him as a Child and that we relate to Him as a Child: a desire He expressed in a passage of  St. Mathew’s Gospel: ‘Whosoever receives one of these little ones in my name, receives Me.

What are the virtues He  manifested to us in His earthly life which are precisely those of a child? In the first place, perhaps, simplicity, innocence and humility. Christ as God is simple and innocent: He is simplicity itself; He is innocence itself;  simplicity in being One God; innocence in being Goodness and Holiness incarnate.

Even as a Man, Christ is simple and innocent: His words and His doctrine are simple and understandable to everyone, even to children; and there is no pretension, no danger, not the slightest deceit in Him. As Man He is also humility personified– He Who divested Himself of His Divine Glory to become a man and a slave to be crucified for us. But at Christmas we see Our Lords humility in a special way: the angels sing the hymn of His Glory in Heaven and He is born as an infant on earth – and literally on the earth.

Behold the Glory of the Lord in the highest heavens,' says Don Guéranger: 'who shall see His Glory and not die?  Now, behold the same Lord on earth, in our days. The womb of a Virgin encloses Him –He, Who not even the heavens could contain. His splendour, far from obscuring the Angels, is not even perceptible to mortals. No voice echoes the heavenly words around Him: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts! The Angels no longer say: All the earth is full of His glory;  as  the earth is the theatre of His abasement,  an abasement so profound that men do not know Him…

O God of the Old Covenant, how great Thou art, and who would not tremble before Thee? O God of the new Covenant, how little Thou hast made Thyself, and who would not love Thee? Heal my pride, cause of all my rebellions; teach me to value Thy values. The world was created by Thee a second time through Thy Incarnation; and this creation is more excellent than the first; a hidden work, a triumph in annihilation. I too want to humble myself according to Thy example, and profit from the lessons which a God has come to give me, from such a lofty, exalted place. Cut down, therefore, O Jesus, all my haughtiness; this being one of the reasons for Thy Coming. I offer myself to Thee, as Thou art my Lord: do with me what Thou wilt.'

In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.


'Balulalow' and 'This Little Babe'  music by Benjamin Britten 

from 'A Ceremony of Carols' 

(Lyrics of  'This Little Babe' by St. Robert Southwell,  16th century English priest, poet and martyr )