Christ's Swaddling Cloth

It’s a room full of love. Many Netters have fond memories within, the main room of CDL (Centre De L’Amour near Rockland, Ontario) where Mass, formation and evening prayer occur daily. A room of love and memory, but not just memory, since the living bread of the Eucharist resides so often there. I was so happy to return there for December retreat with my team, the place where our Net mission began.

Do you ever get distracted in prayer? I don’t mean so much the giggles of a buzzed toddler distracting you, or the typhoon of air that recurringly buffets in your direction by a rotating fan. I mean losing yourself in the analysis of the problems, events and plans of life. Basically, do you ever struggle between concentrating on Love itself, God, and the business of life? I do.

Beautifully, evening prayer conducted at CDL is prepared in such a manner as to make it easier to enter into prayer or conversation with Jesus. Sweet, blockade to thinking about the business of life; activated. I thought to myself, "Prayer should be as smooth as an oiled bowling lane tonight". Super smooth.               

Twas’ the last evening prayer of our December retreat and Praise & Worship included traditional Christmas hymns, delightfully adjusted to an acoustic setting. Usually a crucifix on a pedestal stands before us, and it was the same this evening. As we started praying an odd distraction surfaced in my mind, or was it a distraction? I began to wonder, wouldn’t it have been lovelier if instead of a crucifix we had before us there was a figure of the baby Jesus?! After all, it would be fitting for the season, I thought to myself. Amidst my disgruntled state, I then realised that Christ’s loincloth on the statue was probably around the same amount of swaddling cloth Christ had been wrapped in after his birth… In that instance, I thought in wonder how great God is to leave so many indications in the Bible story of his redemptive work during Holy Week. He would humble himself immensly in the mager as well as on the cross.               

After the prayer time I went to my brother on team, Peter, and told him about my experience. He shared with me that he too had reflected upon the relationship between the Nativity Manger and the Cross. Peter pondered with me, “Isn’t it striking how adult Christ dying on the cross was just as pure a sacrifice as if infant Christ had been nailed to and executed on the cross?!” Thank you Lord for your perfect sacrifice and for becoming the new Adam that would teach us how to live. This Christmas, we too can humble ourselves, and before the Lord admit with our whole hearts that through Him and only through Him can we experience the fullness of Life.