Monday, December 24, 2012

“Come Down to Earth, Lord Jesus”

His baptismal name is Josef, and in eighty years Pope Benedict has never stopped imitating the saint: watching over and contemplating the birth of the baby Jesus. As Catholic News Agency reported on Friday, the seven-year-old Josef Ratzinger (left) wrote a letter to the baby Jesus asking Him to “come down to earth.” The boy added, “You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy.”

Given responsibilities of his office and his advancing years, it is possible that The Infancy Narratives, his new publication, will be the Pope’s last book-length project as a theologian and latter-day Joseph. This is a beautiful witness: the leader of the Catholic Church, accused and abused for wielding “power,” reveals himself still a child at heart, tenderly contemplating an infant for eight decades. 

I have just completed The Infancy Narratives, the third volume in the Pope’s Jesus of Nazareth series, though chronologically the first and in his own words “a small ‘antechamber’ to the two earlier volumes on the figure and the message of Jesus of Nazareth.”

As midnight approaches, let us follow the Bavarian child Josef and our beloved Holy Father in praying without ceasing, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come down to earth.”

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