Thursday, January 22, 2015

Baby Jesus In Our Midst

This poem was inspired by some of Pope Francis' messages during his recent visit here in the Philippines. I especially like his message during the Mass in Tacloban (Read the full text here.) and the encounter with the youth wherein he spoke about the girl who cried as she asked a difficult question (Read the full text here.).
Let me quote a few lines before I share my latest poem. It's funny that yesterday afternoon, before reading a poem to my eldest son, I shared with him that I used to write a lot of poems when I was young up until I was still single. I didn't foresee that I will write another one a day after I shared this anecdote about myself with him.
From Pope Francis' homily at the Mass in Tacloban:
"In his Passion he assumed all our pain. Therefore he is capable of understanding us"
"...he never lets us down. Father – you might say to me – I was let down because I have lost so many things... It’s true if you say that and I respect those sentiments. But Jesus is there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does not let us down... That is why we have a Lord who cries with us and walks with us in the most difficult moments of life."
"Many of you have asked the Lord – why lord? And to each of you, to your heart, Christ responds with his heart from the cross... Let us look to Christ. He is the Lord. He understands us because he underwent all the trials that we, that you, have experienced."
"And beside the cross was his Mother. We are like a little child in the moments when we have so much pain and no longer understand anything. All we can do is grab hold of her hand firmly and say “Mommy” – like a child does when it is afraid. It is perhaps the only words we can say in difficult times – 'Mommy'."
"He understands us because he endured everything. Let us look to our Mother and, like a little child, let us hold onto her mantle and with a true heart say – “Mother”. In silence, tell your Mother what you feel in your heart."
"Women have much to tell us in today’s society. Sometimes we are too “machistas” and we don’t allow enough space to women. But women can see things from a different angle to us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions we men are unable to understand. Look out for this fact: she is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer. She couldn’t put it into words but expressed it with tears."
"When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something... those left to one side, are crying. Those who are discarded are crying. But we don’t understand much about these people in need. Certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears."
"If you don’t learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian." 

Baby Jesus In Our Midst
I wonder if Mary never felt tiredness or exhaustion from caring for her newborn child.
I wonder if she was always joyful even when she hardly slept at night.
I wonder if she always rushed to his side every time he cried.
I wonder if it was easy for Mary to care for Baby Jesus since she knew that He is the Son of God.
Photo source here.

Or did she also cry silent tears when the answers to her questions she couldn’t find?
Did she patiently bear her pains and troubles when things didn’t seem right?
Did she desperately cling to God’s Words when she was tempted to think that He lied?
Did she fiercely fight her doubts and fears when her heart and mind were wrestling to understand?

Photo source here.

I wonder if we would all rush to hold and cradle a newborn child in our midst
When we remember that the Son of God once came to this world as a child like this.
I wonder if we’ll not think twice of caring and sacrificing for him
When we realize that Jesus was once a helpless child like him.
Photo source here where I learned that Baby Jesus was wrapped
in clothes meant for the dead, specifically Joseph's swaddling clothes.
It made me think: Do we parents die to ourselves
and wrap our babies with our swaddling clothes?
Are we willing to die to ourselves like what Joseph did
throughout his life as the foster father of Jesus?

Do mothers and fathers see the face of Baby Jesus in their own babies?
Do they recognize the opportunity to serve the King of Kings in their midst?
Do they lovingly enjoy His holy presence through a baby that has yet to sleep through the night?
Do they gaze lovingly at Him and bring Him comfort as he cries?

Photo source here.
Or do they look to Mary and ask her how she endured it all?
Do they ask her if she never grew weary or impatient?
Do they ask Joseph if he was always willing to help and serve?
Do they ask for Mary and Joseph’s intercession to do what they feel they can’t?

The truth remains the same whether we see Him or not because of our pains.
His presence remains… trying to penetrate our ignorance, laziness and shame.
Will we joyfully embrace this Holy Child in our midst and all that He brings?
Will our recognition of the Baby Jesus’ presence change the way we see things?
After writing this poem this morning, I thought that maybe one reason Pope Francis loves to "snatch babies" where ever he goes is because he sees the face of Baby Jesus in each one of them. :)

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