Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Birth of Jesus, revealed to St. Bridget

Over the past week, we have posted a few articles related to the temporal generation of the Son – on Mary’s pregnancy [here], on the miraculous birth itself [here], and on the rational perfection of the Child conceived [here].
In these articles, we showed that our Lady did not suffer any pain when giving birth to her Son, that the physical closure of her virgin womb remained intact even in the very act of giving birth (for Christ passed through without causing any harm to her virginal integrity), and that the Christ Child already knew all created things and loved each of us in his humanity from the very first moment of his conception (thus, while an infant, he was already a rational man).
While all of these articles were firmly rooted in the magisterial teachings of the Church and in the doctrines of the Church Fathers, it is always good to compare our theological insights with the lived faith of the great saints. We will not be the least surprised to discover that the mystical revelations given to St. Bridget of Sweden (surely, one of the greatest saint-mystics of the Church) wholly confirm all that the saint-theologians have taught and all that the Magisterium has declared.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about
The following is taken from the revelations given to St. Bridget regarding the Nativity of our Lord – for a biblical proof that Christ really was born in late December, please look to the excellent article by Dr. Taylor Marshall [here].
“When I was present by the manger of the Lord in Bethlehem I beheld a Virgin of extreme beauty wrapped in a white mantle and a delicate tunic through which I perceived her virginal body. With her was an old man of great honesty and they had with them an ox and ass. These entered the cave and the man having tied them to the manger went out and brought in to the Virgin a lighted candle which having done he again went outside so as not to be present at the birth. Then the Virgin pulled off the shoes from her feet, drew off the white mantle that enveloped her, removed the veil from her head laying it beside her, thus remaining only in her tunic with her beautiful golden hair falling loosely over her shoulders. Then she produced two small linen cloths, and two woollen ones of exquisite purity and fineness which she had brought to wrap round the Child to be born, and two other small cloths to cover His head, and these too she put beside her. When all was thus prepared the Virgin knelt with great veneration in an attitude of prayer; her back was to the manger, her face uplifted to heaven and turned toward the East.
“Then, her hands extended and her eyes fixed on the sky she stood as in an ecstasy, lost in contemplation, in a rapture of divine sweetness. And while she stood thus in prayer I saw the Child in her womb move; suddenly in a moment she gave birth to her own Son from whom radiated such ineffable light and splendour that the sun was not comparable to it while the divine light totally annihilated the material light of St. Joseph's candle. So sudden and instantaneous was this birth that I could neither discover nor discern by what means it had occurred. All of a sudden I saw the glorious Infant lying on the ground naked and shining, His body pure from any soil or impurity. Then I heard the singing of the angels of miraculous sweetness and beauty. When the Virgin felt she had borne her Child immediately she worshipped Him, her hands clasped in honour and reverence saying: ‘Be welcome my God, my Lord, my Son.’
“Then, as the Child was whining and trembling from the cold and hardness of the floor where He was lying, He stretched out His arms imploring her to raise Him to the warmth of her maternal love. So His Mother took Him in her arms, pressed Him to her breast and cheek, and warmed Him with great joy and tender compassion. She then sat down on the ground laying the Child on her lap and at once began to bestow on Him much care tying up His small body, His legs and arms in long cloths, and enveloped His head in the linen garments, and when this was done the old man entered, and prostrating himself on the floor he wept for joy. And in no way was the Virgin changed by giving birth, the color of her face remained the same nor did her strength decline. She and Joseph put the Child in the manger, and worshipped Him on their knees with immense joy until the arrival of the Kings who recognized the Son from the likeness to His Mother.”
Lessons from the Revelations of St. Bridget
1) Though the unborn Child did truly weigh something in her womb and also he took up space (so that she was “heavy” and “showed), the Blessed Mary was not under a heavy burden in her pregnancy. Notice that, even in the moments just before giving birth, our Lady was able to prepare things herself and needed no assistance.
2) Mary was awake, aware, and at prayer when the Child was born. She did not suffer any contractions or the other pains associated with delivery. Neither was she exhausted or wearied.
3) Christ came forth from our Lady in such a way as to cause no harm whatsoever, for he did not damage the integrity of her womb’s virginal cloister.
4) The exact manner of the miraculous birth of our Savior is beyond man’s comprehension, but can be compared to light. We ought not to seek too specific an understanding of the mechanics of this mysterious birth – “So sudden and instantaneous was this birth that I could neither discover nor discern by what means it had occurred.”
5) The birth of our Savior was not bloody or violent, there was no afterbirth or defilement, but he came forth in all purity and cleanness. In a later place, St. Bridget specifies that, throughout his infancy, the Child never had tangled hair or any other such defect.
6) The Christ Child is truly man, for he was cold and shivered – he longed for the touch of his Mother. St. Bridget is by no means so carried away with Christ’s divinity as to forget his humanity, through the whole revelation the Child is seen to be both perfect God and perfect man.
7) Mary and Joseph recognize the Child as true God and worship him. Indeed, the theologians and mystics emphasize this point – Mary and Joseph knew who Jesus was all along, and they did not receive him as only a frail child but (as he truly is) the Son of God.

The revelations given to the mystic-saints confirm what the theologian-saints have taught and what the saintly popes have defined. How can any doubt the wondrous miracles associated with Christ’s Incarnation and Nativity?