A Deep forgetting and Remembrance Anne Lastman There are moments in life which help to…
“Peter,” The Holy Father, Pope Francis, without breaking the line of promise “You are Peter the rock and on you I will build my church” where each and every “Peter” during Holy Midnight Mass continued the ritual and held the little infant child in his hands and at the appropriate time places him in his manger, his bed, to lay his head and rest.
The little baby, like all babies who are born, takes the first breath and needs to be comforted before being clothed in swaddling clothes and placed to sleep gently from the home with his heavenly father to his home with his mother (womb). the journey has been long. He was laid in a bed of hay lovingly made up by his earthly father Josef, who would be his father for a time, for his formative years during which time to teach him the Torah.
The circumstances of his birth were different than the modern birth of a child. Not a sterile room but for him a manger surrounded by animals/beasts, who must have wondered what these preparations were for.
How interesting that strips of cloth were used to bind him for the protection of this little human infant and yet later same cloth used to bind the same one as a victim in death. That night though, the birth of this child was different. Shepherds tending their flock were alerted to something momentous see. There was a child, a mother and standing on the periphery a father and the shepherds knew that this birth was different and had brought with them a lamb as gift for the child and parents.
But it wasn’t only shepherds who were woken from their sleep to see this new babe, but the heavens opened up in an explosion of joy and lit the sky with the music of the spheres. Songs of Joy and praise at such a birth. These heavenly inhabitants (angels) had never seen such a birth before. Such glory invested in a human child. Never had they seen the ultimate creation. The ultimate human child, the ultimate birth. On the night the son of glory left his place of belonging (with his father) and entered a place as a creation of his own belonging, fully and without changing of the nature but without a certain stain which touched every other human infant. They saw him as he slept in arms of his mother, his earthly father and a gently but lovingly made makeshift crib.
He allowed himself to be wrapped in very humble clothing, not like a human prince in garments of luxurious purple and gold satins but with strips of poor cloth which swaddled him by his mother and then the glory of being really human, being breastfed with the food made by his own mother’s body and gently laid in that manger and slept as a newborn. He didn’t see poverty surrounding him, but a bed made of straw where he rested, watched over by his mother, father, and the stable inhabitants and billions of stars which acknowledged his birth.
His mother kept these things in her heart, for when the time for his leaving came, this place of pain which he had come to repair and heal, his mother remembered this night of glory, and as she gathered the sleeping infant and held him ever so tightly against her breast a single tear fell onto his own little face, and as she held him, she warmed him even more with her motherly warmth and mantle to protect him against the cold seeping through cracks in the stable walls. The cold of the night in the winter of his birth, but also the coldness of the day of his death, the coldness which had filled his body in death and she again covered him again in the hope of keeping him warm for just a little longer, warm for just a little longer..
At this distant day, the future, she again laid him to sleep not in a manger kept warm by the surrounds but now in the coldness of death. She, his mother had given birth to him in the silence of the night but now she had to place him again gently in a crib of death, covered in his white garment of death, shroud. Not swaddling cloth but shroud. She had completed her promise to the father of all, God “Let it be done according to thy will.” Her “Yes” had given her baby a body and life and she his mother, now covered him in his cloth of death and again laid him in his crib. This time not warm and comfortable but a cold slab.
It was in an instant of immovable time that a long-shut door was opened by the raising of the flaming swords at the gates of Eden to allow a little child to walk through into time and once his task was completed, return to his father’s house leaving the gates forever open to his own creation.
Into that stillness of time, he again opened the doorway for him and his brothers and sisters who live in time to re-enter. He opened that long ago shut and protected gate (flaming sword) which had been shut in earthly and heavenly time due to sin, and now reopened for all time because a woman had said “yes” and an infant was born, in humble beginnings, unknown, unrecognisable in order to again lead his own creation through the gate. Mankind, again in the presence and company of an infant walking first through the humble stable and then in silence of a different stable (tomb) finally emerging with the song of the angels because the time of silence had ended.