The intimate union between the Eucharist and the Incarnation
Novena of the Holy Christmas 2002: by H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti
"This year you will understand more how everything starts from and arrives to the Eucharist. In God's plans the Eucharist is the central point towards which each man and the Church must converge and then leave again, comforted by the sacramental grace of the Eucharist, so that everybody can do what he has to do according to God's will and his plans. This year you will understand more the intimate relationship, the deep connection between the eucharistic mystery and the Incarnation". Mons. Claudio Gatti, Bishop ordained by God, began with these words the novena of preparation to the Holy Christmas, focusing his attention on the intimate union between the Eucharist and the Incarnation. A witnessing of this is the circumstance that, in the Christmas period, many times Marisa saw the Child Jesus with the cross behind his shoulders. This matching makes us understand the deep union between the Eucharist and the Incarnation. These two mysteries are intimately united between them. "Which is the best way for preparing oneself to the Christmas? - continued Mons. Gatti - it is to be united with Jesus the Eucharist, to do eucharistic adoration, to receive daily the Eucharist with more faith and love. This is what you have to do, asking to the Mother of the Eucharist the gift of faith that, through her intercession, God will give you, to get soaked like sponges, with faith and love in the Eucharist".
On the first day of the novena Marisa began to live the passion visibly. On her forefront appeared engraved a cross, from which blood came out abundantly; this means that Jesus, the head of the Church, sometimes asks to co-operate through the suffering to some souls called by Him, for some precise plans of his. Marisa's suffering is an impulse to live more intensely the eucharistic relationship, because living Jesus' passion involves living the Eucharistic Mystery. The bishop exhorted the community to accompany with prayers both the divine victim and the human victim, united with an indissoluble embrace and in a deep intimacy, the former for triumphing, the latter to be able to live what the Lord asks her daily: what God asks to Marisa has never been asked to anybody else.
During the novena, the Bishop of the Eucharist commented some passages of the Gospel and led us through the mystery of the Incarnation by marvellous pictures.
Only through the evangelists Matthew and Luke we have some traces of Jesus' childhood. Matthew gives us the long Jesus' genealogy, because he wants to present us Christ as true man. Christ is God who incarnates Himself and assumes the human nature, becoming a man like us. Christ's humanity is made of body and soul, has the will, the sensitivity and the human knowledge. Christ is deeply a man. In the first centuries of life in the Church spread the heresy that Christ only apparently had the body. So the Bishop of love cleared the ground of any doubt explaining the union between the humanity and the divinity of Christ who is true man and true God. As a matter of fact, this is expressed by our community after the consecration. At the moment of the elevation of the host and of the chalice, we repeat, affirm and believe the two principal truths of faith: the unity and Trinity of God; the Incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything comes from the Eucharist, also the knowledge of the Word of God. We need to have Christ inside us to know Christ, to be faithful to Christ, to affirm that Christ is truly man and truly God, as the Church teaches.
Matthew points out Joseph's descent, not Mary's one, because according to the Jewish mentality, the decent is from the masculine gender. But in the Gospel there is a particular that shows us the immediate link with the humanity. " the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ" (Matthew 1,16). Mary is the one who generated, who became mother by work of the Holy Spirit, since she only, the full of grace, the Immaculate Conception, could receive in herself the mystery of the Incarnation and give blood and body to the Son of God.
The bishop explained that, by God's gift, Mary has known her mission since the first moment of her conception, since the first moment of her life. She has been prepared for many years to the announcement of the angel.
We know that during the months of pregnancy Our Lady spoke with the Son of God, who was in her womb. But nobody ever pointed out an other thing: when Mary was in her mother's womb, she adored the Trinity. She adored the one who would have become her Son. She adored the Father who had defined this plan of salvation. She adored the Holy Spirit that would have made her exempt from all faults and would have enriched Mary's soul with all gifts and graces. So Mary has had the use of reason since the first moment of her existence and since that first moment she has loved. She prayed the Lord and she unceasingly renewed her prayer of acceptation of his plans that she manifested externally on the day when the angel Gabriel came to inform her that she would have become the Mother of God: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High" (Luke 1, 30-32). As in Mary's womb Jesus prayed and loved, in her mother's womb Mary prayed and loved.
The Annunciation is the initial moment of the Incarnation. Luke's Gospel doesn't give us that information provided to us by the private revelation, that is Our Lady already knew everything. As a matter of fact, according to Luke it seems that Our Lady is surprised and so she didn't know anything: "But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be" (Luke 1, 29). The apparent inconsistency is compatible with the fact that Our Lady didn't know in which moment the Incarnation would have happened. There is a similarity between the situation lived by Our Lady and the one the bishop and the visionary are living now: like Mary, they also know what will happen, they know the situation will turn over, they know the enemies of the Church will be unmasked, because God doesn't betray, but they don't know when all this will happen.
If there had not been this evangelic narration, we wouldn't have been able to know the marvellous information it contains: in the Incarnation no man co-operated, but only a woman, Mary. Without the evangelic narration, we wouldn't have been able to know the virginal birth of Christ, that Mary has always been virgin before, during and after the childbirth. This is a dogma of faith: who denies Our Lady's virginity, he automatically puts himself outside the Church.
Now let's pay attention to "Mary's upset". Luke affirms that "Mary was upset". The upset is a feeling present in the mind that bursts in the moment the event waited for a long time arrives, to which Our Lady had got ready. To make a comparison with the situation of our community, we can affirm that also the bishop knew that the blow of satan would have arrived and in what it consisted, but he didn't know when it would have arrived. On last November 16, the day he received the letter containing the unjust sanction concerning him, he was upset, because the moment indicated many times had arrived. As from Mary's upset came the redemption, from the bishop's upset will come the renaissance of the Church.
John the Baptist has known perfectly who Christ was since he was still in her mother's womb. The Baptist didn't need any confirmations, but he solicited them for his disciples, who he was trying to address towards Christ and for all the other people.
The difference between the birth of a child and Jesus' birth is abyssal, it is impossible to make a comparison, because for God there are neither past nor future, but only present. A God's action is always present and for this reason Our Lady often affirms that it is always Christmas, it is always Easter. As a matter of fact, we should always sing during the Christmas period "comes into the world for us" and not "come into the world for us". We are present at the birth as the shepherds were present.
The Bishop also spoke about the "doubt of St. Joseph". In Mons. Gatti's opinion we should replace the word "doubt" of St. Joseph with "the suffering" of St. Joseph. Through this suffering God asked Joseph to co-operate for the realization of his plans of salvation. In this moment of St. Joseph's life we are accustomed to see a moment of his weakness, on the contrary Our Lady told us that St. Joseph didn't offend God at all. Being a person who loved and esteemed his wife, there was a laceration in him because he could not understand the incipient pregnancy of Mary. This has lasted for a few weeks.
An other marvellous aspect of Joseph emerged from the comments of the Bishop who loves much the caretaker of the Eucharist. Joseph is the man of the interior silence, not of the material silence, we often confuse them. The interior silence is the detachment from all creatures, from all that is around us: it doesn't mean that a person doesn't pay the necessary attention to all that is around him, but he tries not to let the thoughts of the earthly reality stifle his soul. The interior silence is the capacity of doing God's things with all our will. Jesus, Mary and Joseph spoke a lot with each other, they laughed, joked and opened their heart to each other. The bishop exhorted us to approach Joseph with a different view. Only in this way we'll hear Joseph singing (Our Lady herself said Joseph had a very beautiful voice), speaking, joking and laughing, but also suffering. Joseph knew the Son of God was in Mary's virginal womb, he knew what the Messiah would have suffered, he united himself with Mary's suffering. When the angel appeared to Joseph in the dream and told him: "Do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1, 20), in that moment also Joseph suffered because he was informed that the son of his beloved bride, the one who was entrusted to him, would have suffered. Joseph always answered yes and always did God's will.
Now we get to the central picture of the novena which is surely the one of Christ's birth. The moment of the Incarnation is preceded by great reservedness and respect on Joseph's behalf. The edict was the occasion for which only Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to be registered for the census decreed by the romans. Mary knew that the time of Jesus' birth coincided with the stay in Bethlehem and she told Joseph she would have accompanied him. A husband, who sees his wife at one step from childbirth, doesn't bring her with himself, exposing her to a great effort and to sacrifices. Surely he advices and if necessary orders his wife to stay. On the contrary Joseph had respect and reservedness. Joseph knows that when Mary asks him something it is because she wants to aim at something. He asked nothing, as when he saw the incipient motherhood and even now, when Mary asks him to accompany him, he asks nothing and resists to the questions of the relatives who consider him irresponsible, because he brings with himself, in a journey which was very long and uncomfortable at those times, a woman who would have given birth to a child in a few days. Joseph leaves, Mary accompanies him and this is the second eucharistic procession. The first one had taken place without Joseph's knowledge, when Our Lady had gone to help Elizabeth. During the first journey only Mary adored, prayed, sang, recited psalms in God the Son's honour incarnated inside herself, but in this second journey both these particular creatures adored, loved, spoke of God the child who would have seen the sunlight in a short time.
In Bethlehem there was no room, not so much because they could not be hosted, but because there was not reservedness, to which Joseph cared much. As a matter of fact, in the houses of Palestine there was promiscuity when sleeping, especially in these occasions, there were no rooms reserved to couples, men and women. People slept on mats laid on the ground. Joseph refused this solution, he searched for something that could welcome and protect his bride with more reservedness, this is a great manifestation of respect. Also the shelter where Mary and Joseph had arrived was a sort of caravanserai, they had no money for a room, at most they could have slept under the arcades. This respect of the caretaker of the Eucharist continued, because after finding the cave, natural refuge for the animals, he cleans it, but not because he knows Jesus would have born in that circumstance, since he didn't know the calculation of the months, he had asked nothing. The fact of cleaning is a deed of respect towards his bride. He didn't know that doing this service for her he did it also for the Son of God who was in Mary's womb. The Incarnation takes place in total silence, the men sleep, eat, maybe they are getting drunk and these creatures live in silence the mystery of the Incarnation, Mary directly and Joseph with participation. The virginal birth of Christ didn't happen in the usual way, but Jesus, as He passed through the walls of the cenacle, passed through the virginal flesh of Mary and Our Lady found him on her lap. In that circumstance is done to God the first offer of the Son who incarnated himself to redeem the men. To this offer, on Mary's request, also Joseph participates, who lifts with his beloved bride God the child, the one who came down from on high.
Concluding this article we want to report a confidence of the Bishop taken from the comment done during the novena, which seems to be a pearl that makes us understand how much the Bishop of the Eucharist loves the Gospel. In fact, the Bishop said that after his death he would like to be remembered with the Gospel in his hands. "In the Gospel there is everything - explains Mons. Claudio Gatti - It is useless to search elsewhere. The Gospel has an inexhaustible intensity and depth. Generations and centuries can pass, but the Gospel remains actual and young because it is the truth and the truth is always fresh. The Gospel, which is perennial word, keeps a freshness that can transform people".