Regal and Victorious Presence of the Divine Infant

How similar is today’s world to that of the first Christmas! Everything seemed on the point of collapse; nevertheless, souls scattered over the earth awaited a restoration. Will we not also be visited by an event that will free us from our present horror?

A Child is about to be born in Bethlehem! What can we say about this event? When the Word became incarnate and dwelt among us, what was the state of humanity? It was most certainly very similar to our present situation.

In a pagan world, some souls awaited a restoration

Despite the sin of Adam and Eve, there was a kind of patriarchal innocence of the first ages of humanity, the vestiges of which became increasingly rarer throughout history. And one or another person in varied places still reflected this primitive righteousness. These were a handful of isolated people who did not know each other, because they had no contact, and consequently did not form an ensemble, but were nostalgic for a past so distant that perhaps they did not have even a shred of knowledge about it. They looked at the state of humanity of their time, which displayed a terrible decadence, most evident where power and vigour was then greatest: in the Roman Empire.

This was the quintessential, latest and maximum product of progress. However, it would not last long due to its depravity, and would soon meet the inglorious end of being trampled underfoot by the barbarians, whom the Romans despised and regarded as destined to be their slaves, but who would eventually subjugate them.

This mighty empire ruled over a rotten world. And if it dominated with such ease, it was largely due to its remnants of soundness. Devouring the world, the empire swallowed the rottenness; upon swallowing its conquests, these then killed the conqueror. All the vices of the East flowed like torrents into Rome and overwhelmed it. Thus, transformed into a cesspool, a sewer, it in turn spread the same corruption with greater breadth and magnitude.

However, certain souls oppressed by this situation felt that something was about to happen and understood that either the world would end or God’s Providence would intervene. The adversity and anguish of these souls reached its limits on Christmas Eve. An era was coming to an end, already in its death throes, although with the appearance of peace, and no one had any idea of what the solution might be.

Yet on that Christmas Eve, so terribly oppressive for everyone, there was a spotlessly chaste couple in a grotto in Bethlehem; the Virgin Spouse was to be a Mother. In that grotto, while they prayed in deep recollection, the Child Jesus came to earth!

Authentic adoration

The shepherds, who recalled the former righteousness, seeing the Angels singing and announcing to them the first news – “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will” (Lk 2:14 Vulg.) – were overjoyed and went out in search of the Manger, bringing their simple gifts to the Child Jesus. It was the first magnificent act of adoration, which we might well call the act of adoration of tradition.

They represented a tradition of pastoral rectitude. Leading a modest life, outside the rottenness of that civilization, the shepherds were the first to hear the proclamation of this great event: “Puer natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis – For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given” (Is 9:6).

A little later, at the other end of the social scale, a caravan also arrived; it was another marvel. A star moved across the horizon and, from the depths of the putrid mysteries of the Orient, wise men, magi, wearing the royal crown, set out from their respective kingdoms.

Let us imagine that, at a certain moment, these great monarchs met and revered one another. No doubt each one would have told the others where he came from, and the three would have rejoiced to see that they were united by the same conviction, the same hope and the call to traverse the same path. Finally, they arrived together at the grotto, carrying the three treasures of their respective countries: gold, frankincense and myrrh. And they rendered another adoration to the Child Jesus. It was no longer the tradition of the humblest, but of the loftiest.

This is what is interesting about tradition: it is so all-embracing that it has its own way of residing in every social class. In the bourgeoisie it is manifested simply in stability; in the nobility, by continuity in glory; in the common people, through continuity in innocence. Now, these kings, the pinnacles of the nobility of their respective lands, brought with their royal dignity another high honour: that of being magi. They were wise men, they had studied in a spirit of wisdom and, at the moment they received the order “Go to Bethlehem and there your hopes will be fulfilled,” their spirits were prepared because of everything they knew about the past.

Persecution soon breaks out

“The Slaughter of the Innocents”, by Giotto di Bondone – Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padua (Italy)

Immediately, the persecution was unleashed. In my opinion, it would not be reasonable, in these circumstances, to meditate on Christmas without taking into account the slaughter of the innocents – a tragedy that so closely follows upon the heavenly peace, the magnificent and supernatural serenity of the “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht”. That cruel slaughter stained with blood the earth that would later become sacred, because that Child would pour out His Sacrosanct Blood upon it. No sooner had He manifested Himself than the murderous sword of the mighty was raised against Him; as these wonders were being affirmed, the hatred of the wicked rose up against them like a mob.

The killing of the innocents is often considered in a humanitarian way. There is no doubt that this consideration has some relevance. They were innocent and they were killed; they were children slaughtered in a cowardly manner. However, this just and compassionate appraisal blurs, in the modern and naturalistic spirit, the most important consideration: that massacre was the foreshadowing of the deicide, for, having received the information that the Messiah was born, the king of the Jews intended to kill Him and, to do so, had all the male children murdered!

Although they were not fully aware that He was the God-Man, in one way or another their intention was to strike, if not God, at least His envoy.

The world agonizes yesterday and today

How similar our life is to that of the men who lived on the eve of “Puer natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis”! The world today agonizes as it agonized on the eve of Our Lord’s birth. Everything is bewildering, madness and delirium. Everyone is seeking that which is increasingly slipping away from them, such as well-being, a comfortable life and vile pleasure – the thirty coins with which each one sells the Divine Master, who implores the defence and the enthusiasm of those whom He has redeemed.

It is very probable in these conditions that some man on the vastness of the earth is lamenting as he watches the world fall apart; it is the debacle of Christendom, or, alas, the terrible crisis in the immortal Holy Church, founded and assisted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, in such great decline that, if we believed her to be mortal, we would be led to say that she is dead.

I ask myself: will we not be visited by a tremendous event, perhaps one of the greatest in history – though infinitely small in comparison with Holy Christmas – which will also free us from all the horror in which we find ourselves?

What to give and ask of the Child Jesus?

“The announcement to the shepherds”, by Maître de Jacques de Besançon – National Library of Spain, Madrid

Coming before the Manger, God willing, we shall celebrate Holy Christmas, and bring our gifts to the Child Jesus, as the Magi and the shepherds did. But what should we give Him? The best gift He wants from us is our own soul, our heart! The Divine Infant desires no other gift from us but this.

Someone will say, “What a paltry gift, giving myself to Him!” Not so! If Jesus receives us into His divine hands, He will convert us into wine as He did with the water at the Wedding at Cana, and we will be transformed. Let us say to Him: “Lord, change me! ‘Asperges me hyssopo et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow’ (Ps 51:7). Thy gift, O Lord, is the creature who asks Thee: sprinkle me, cleanse me!”

Now this gift we should offer through Our Lady’s intercession, for how can we offer something like ourselves except through Her? And if we do everything through Her, why not also ask Our Lord for a gift through His Mother? Without doubt, the fundamental gift we ought to implore is this: “Lord, change the world! Or, if there is no other way, shorten the days by fulfilling the promises and threats of Fatima! But for those who still persevere, at least, Lord, have pity on them, shorten their days of affliction and bring the Reign of Thy Mother as soon as possible.”

While we are singing “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” and the other sacred carols of Christmas, there is one thing we should keep clearly in mind. The memory of the event that occurred two thousand years ago is very beautiful and very good, especially because we have the conviction that Our Lord continues to be present in His Holy Church and in the Holy Eucharist, and that His Mother aids us from Heaven. On earth, however, we must ask for the regal and victorious presence of the Divine Infant!

We can even formulate this request in another manner: “Ut inimicos Sanctæ Matris Ecclesiae humiliare digneris, te rogamus audi nos! Newborn Lord, resting in the arms of Thy Mother as on the most splendid throne that an earthly king has ever had or ever will have, we beseech Thee: deign to humiliate, debase and punish the enemies of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, beginning with the most terrible; and these are not the external, but the internal ones! Divest them of their influence, their prestige, their numbers and their capacity to do harm.”

In short, let us ask for the most exquisite form of Our Lord’s victory: the crushing of His adversaries and the victory of His Blessed Mother! 

Taken, with adaptations,
from: Dr. Plinio.
São Paulo. Year XXIV. N.285
(Dec., 2021); p.8-10


Prayer Before the Nativity Scene

O Divine Infant, here kneeling before Thee is another son of the Church Militant, brought by the grace obtained by Thy divine and heavenly Mother. This combatant is here, above all, to thank Thee.

Dr. Plinio in December of 1989

I thank Thee for the life Thou hast given to my body, for the moment in which Thou didst breathe into my soul and for Thine eternal plan concerning me, according to which I should occupy, by divine design, a certain place, however modest, among the ensemble of men, so as to compose the immense mosaic of human creatures destined to ascend to Heaven.

I thank Thee for having marked my path with struggle, so that I could be a hero, and for the strength Thou hast given me to pray, to resist and to drive away the devil.

I thank Thee for all the years of my life spent in Thy grace, as well as those lived outside of it, but which were brought to an end by Thee at the moment I abandoned the path of sin and returned to Thy friendship.

I thank Thee, Child Jesus, for all the arduous efforts which, with Thy assistance, I have made in combating my defects, and for not losing patience with me, preserving my life so that I would still have time to correct them before my death.

And if there is one thing I would like to ask of Thee this Christmas, Lord Jesus, it is this, paraphrasing a verse from the Psalm: “Do not take my life in the middle of my days” (Ps 102:23). Do not shorten my days in the middle of my life’s work, and grant that my eyes may not be closed by death, that my muscles may not lose their vigour, that my soul may not lose its strength and agility, before I, by Thy grace, have overcome all my faults and ascended to all the interior heights that Thou didst destine for me to attain, and have rendered to Thee, by heroic deeds on Thy battlefield, all the glory that Thou didst expect of me when creating me! So be it. 

Prayer orally composed by Dr. Plinio
on December 23, 1988 with slight adaptations
for the written language



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