Our message is inspired by the first page of the Gospel of St. John, in that prologue which is the theme of the sublime poem that sings of the mystery and reality of the most intimate and sacred union between the Word of God and humanity, between Heaven and earth, between the order of nature and that of grace, which shines forth and becomes a spiritual triumph from the beginning of time until its consummation.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. […] all things were made through Him […]. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:1, 3-5). There was a man named John, who came to bear witness to the light. He was not the light, but only a witness who invited people to welcome the light. […] With this simple and elementary doctrinal and historical evocation comes to us the announcement of Christmas and of Bethlehem.
“Vidimus gloriam eius”
These sacred words resound everywhere in a beautiful symphony, instantly diffusing sweetness and beauty, and then bursting forth in the fullness of that great work which is the threefold poem of Creation, Redemption – at the price of the Blood of Christ – and the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. All this is offered as a treasure of divine doctrine and as a source of perfect life on earth to the souls and peoples who know how to profit from it.
In the first place is the splendour of the Heavenly Father glorified in His Son, who invites us to admire the ineffable relationship between the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. Then the second John, the Evangelist, hastens to tell us of the manifestations of the Trinity in favour of mankind, in favour of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, and of every soul: Vidimus gloriam eius – We have beheld His glory.
The prologue closes with these words, taking on a tone of glorious acclamation: Vidimus gloriam eius. What glory? The most sublime glory of the Word who existed in principio et ante sæcula and who, in becoming Man, as the only Son of the Father, appeared full of grace and truth. Mark well these two words: grace and truth. […]
Jesus invites us to contemplate the truth in Him
For souls created by God and destined for eternity, it is a natural thing to seek and discover the truth, the primordial object of the interior activity of the human spirit.
Why is the truth said? Because it is God’s communication, and between man and truth there is not a merely accidental relationship, but a necessary and essential one. […]
However, what is most important to retain and understand is that the ability to know the truth represents for man the sacred and very grave responsibility to cooperate with the plan of the Creator, the Redeemer, the Glorifier. This especially concerns Christians who, by virtue of sacramental grace, bear the evident sign that they belong to the family of God. Here we are presented with the highest dignity and responsibility imposed on man – and even more on every Christian – to honour this Son of God, the Word made flesh who gives life both to the composed human being and to the social order.
Jesus offered thirty years of silence for men’s imitation, that they might learn to contemplate in Him the truth; and three years of incessant and persuasive teaching, that they might see in Him an example and a rule of life. […]
Indeed, Christ’s words confront every man with his responsibility to accept or reject the truth; inviting each one, with persuasive force, to remain in the truth, to nourish his personal thoughts with truth, and to proceed according to the truth.
We are facing a plot against the Commandments
These Christmas greetings which we wish to formulate are therefore a solemn invitation to live according to the fourfold duty to contemplate, honour, speak and practise the truth. […]
In proclaiming these basic demands of human and Christian life, a question arises from the heart and from the lips: Where on earth is respect for truth? Are we not at times, and even too often, faced with a brazen and insolent anti-decalogue which abolishes the “no”, that “you shall not” which precedes the clear and precise formulation of the five Commandments of God’s Law that come after “Honour thy father and thy mother”? In practice, is not life today a rebellion against the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Commandments – “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness” – as an effective diabolical conspiracy against the truth?
Nevertheless, the Commandment of the Divine Law that Moses heard on the mountain remains always valid and clear: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour” (Ex 20:16; Dt 5:20). This Commandment, like the others, remains in force with all its positive and negative consequences: the duty to speak the truth, to be sincere, to be frank, that is, to conform the human spirit to reality; and, conversely, the sad possibility of lying and the even sadder fact of hypocrisy, of slander, which can obscure the truth. […]
Let us turn our gaze to Bethlehem
Dear children, we come again before the scene of Bethlehem, before the light, the grace and the truth of the Incarnate Word who will draw everyone to himself.
The silence of the Holy Night and the contemplation of that scene of peace are most eloquent. Let us turn to Bethlehem with a pure gaze and an open heart. Alongside this Word of God made Man to save us, alongside this “goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour” (Tm 3:4), […] let us place our trust in God and in the light that comes from Him. Let us confide in men of good will, joyful that our words will stir in every upright heart a pulsation of manly generosity. ◊
Excerpts from: ST. JOHN XXIII.
Christmas Radio Message, 22/12/1960 –
Translation: Heralds of the Gospel