Rosary Crusade Clarion
Devotional bulletin of the Rosary Crusade in Canada

December 2001 Issue #12

Mother and Babe

Christmas is the season in which eyes and hearts are drawn in memory and in love to a Babe who was born in a cave under the floor of the world, the Babe whose birth shook the world to its very foundations. It is the hour of the stupendous mystery of Omnipotence wrapped in swaddling bands and laid in a manger. Divinity is always where the world least expects to find it. No one in the world ever would have thought that He who threw the fiery ball of the sun into the heavens, would one day be warmed by the breath of oxen. No one in the world would ever have suspected that hands which could tumble planets and worlds into space, would one day be smaller than the huge heads of the cattle. No one in the world would ever have thought that He who could make for Himself a canopy of stars, would one day be covered by the roof of a stable. And yet such are the ways of God. In order to confound the power of the world He comes, in the weakness of a child, and in order to set at naught its pride, He makes His bed in straw. He made the world as His Home, and then on the first Christmas Day He decided to come into it, but the world received Him not, and thus the story of Christmas is the story of a God who was homeless at Home.


But while we pay this primary act of adoration to the God who brought heaven to earth, there is danger that some of us may forget just how the Child came into the world: in fact, certain modern forms of Christianity speak of the Babe but never a word about the Mother of the Babe. The Babe of Bethlehem did not fall from the heavens into a bed of straw, but came into this world through the great portals of the flesh. Sons are inseparable from mothers, and mothers inseparable from sons. Just as you cannot go to a statue of a mother holding babe, and cut away the mother, leaving the babe suspended in mid-air, neither can you cleave away the Mother from the Babe of Bethlehem. He was not suspended mid-air in history, but like all other babes, came into the world by and through His mother. While we adore the Child, should we not then venerate His Mother and while we kneel to Jesus, should we not at least clasp the hand of Mary for giving us such a Saviour? There is a grave danger that, in celebrating a Christmas without the Mother, we may soon reach a point here we will celebrate Christmas without the Babe, and these days are upon us now. And what an absurdity that would be; for, just as there can never be a Christmas without a Christ, so there can never be a Christ without Mary....

Almighty God never launches a great work without exceeding preparation. The two greatest works of God the Creation of the first man, Adam, and the Incarnation of the Son of God, the new Adam, Jesus Christ. But neither of these was accomplished without characteristic Divine God did not make the masterpiece of creation, which was man, on the very first day, but deferred it until He had laboured for six days in ornamenting the universe. From no material thing, but only by the fiat of His Will, Omnipotence moved and said to Nothingness, "Be"; and lo and behold spheres fell into their orbits passing one another in beautiful harmony without ever a hitch or a halt. Then came the living things: the herbs bearing fruit as unconscious tribute to their Maker; the trees, with their leafy arms outstretched all day in prayer; and the flowers opening the chalice of their perfumes to their Creator. With the labour that was never exhausting, God then made the sensitive creatures to roam about, either in the watery palaces of the depths, or on wings, to fly through trackless space, or else as unwinged to roam the fields in search of their repast and natural happiness. But all of this beauty, which has inspired the song of poets and the tracings of artists, was not in the Divine Mind sufficiently beautiful for the creature whom God would make the lord and master of the universe. He would do one thing more: He would set apart as a choice garden, a small portion of His creation, beautify it with four rivers flowing through lands rich with gold and onyx, permit to roam in it the beasts of the field as domestics of that garden, in order to make it a paradise of the most intense happiness and pleasure possible to earth. When finally that Eden was made beautiful, as only God knows how to make things beautiful, He launched further the masterpiece of His creation, which was the first man, and in that paradise of pleasure was celebrated the first nuptials of humanity - the union of flesh and flesh of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve.

Now if God so prepared for His first great work which was man, by making the Paradise of Creation, it was even more fitting that before sending His Son to redeem the world, He should prepare for Him a Paradise of the Incarnation. And for four thousand years He prepared it by symbols and then prophecies. In the language of types He prepared human minds for some understanding of what this new Paradise would be. The burning bush of Moses inundated with the glory of God, and conserving in the midst of its flame the freshness of its verdure and the perfume of its flowers, was a symbol of a new Paradise conserving in the honour of its maternity the very perfume of virginity. The rod of Aaron flourishing in the solitude of the temple while isolated from the world by silence and retreat, was a symbol of that Paradise which, in a place of retirement and isolation from the world, would engender the very flower of the human race. The Ark of alliance, where the tables of the law were conserved, was a symbol of the new Paradise in which the Law in the Person of Christ would take up His very residence.

God prepared for that Paradise, not only by symbols, but also by prophecies. Even in that dread day when an angel with a flaming sword was stationed in the first garden in creation, a prophecy was made that the serpent would not eventually conquer, but that a woman would crush its head. Later on Isaias and Jeremias hailed that holy Paradise as one which would encircle a man....

And thus, as we gather about the crib of Bethlehem, we somehow feel that we are in the presence of a new Paradise of Beauty and Love and Innocence, and the name of that Paradise is Mary. God laboured for six days and produced Eden for the first Adam; now He laboured anew, and produced the new Eden, Mary, for the new Adam, Christ. And if we could have been there in that stable on that first Christmas night, we might have seen that Paradise of the Incarnation, but we should not be able to recollect whether her face was beautiful or not nor should we be able to recall any of her features, for what would have impressed us, and made us forget all else, would have been the lovely sinless soul that shone through her eyes like two celestial suns, that spoke in her mouth which only breathed in prayer, the soul that was heard in her voice, which was like the hushed song of the angels. If we could have stood before that Paradise we would have less peered at it, as into it, for what would have impressed us would not have been any external quality, though such would have been ravishing, but rather the qualities of her soul -her simplicity, innocence, humility, and above all, her purity. So completely would all these qualities have possessed our soul like so much divine music, that our first thought would have been, "Oh, so beautiful," and our second thought would have been, "What hateful creatures we are."

Tell me why should not that Paradise of the Incarnation be spotless and pure? Why should she not be immaculate and stainless? Just suppose that you could have preexisted your own mother, in much the same way that an artist pre-exists his painting. Furthermore, suppose that you had an infinite power to make your mother anything that you pleased, just as a great artist like Raphael has the power of realizing his artistic ideals. Suppose you had this double power, what kind of mother would you have made for yourself? Would you have made her of such a type that would make you blush because of her unwomanly and unmotherlike actions? Would you have in any way stained and soiled her with the selfishness that would make her unattractive not only to you, but to your fellow man? Would you have made her exteriorly and interiorly of such a character as to make you ashamed of her, or would you have made her, so far as human beauty goes, the most beautiful woman in the world; and so far as beauty of soul goes, one who would radiate every virtue, every manner of kindness and charity and loveliness; one who by the purity of her life and her mind and her heart would be an inspiration not only to you, but even to your fellow men, so that all would look up to her as the very incarnation of what is best in motherhood? Now, if you who are an imperfect being and who have not the most delicate conception of all that is fine in life, would have wished for the loveliest of mothers, do you think that our Blessed Lord, who not only pre-existed His own mother, but who had an infinite power to make her just what He chose, would, in virtue of all of the infinite delicacy of His spirit make her any less pure and loving and beautiful than you would have made your own mother? If you who hate selfishness, would have made her selfless, and you who hate ugliness, would have made her beautiful, do you not think that the Son of God who hates sin would have made His own mother sinless, and He who hates moral ugliness, would have made her immaculately beautiful?

I plead, therefore, for a Christmas in which the Babe is not an Orphan, but a Child of Mary; I plead for a religion which breathes respect for Motherhood, and vibrates with a love for that Mother, above all mothers, who brought Our Saviour into the world. If there is any man or woman looking for a test as to what constitutes the divine religion on this earth, let him apply the same test he would to the judgment of a man. If you ever want to know the real qualities of a man, judge him not by his attitude to the world of commerce, his outlook on business, his kindness and his genteel manners, but judge him rather by his attitude to his own mother. If you want to know the quality of a religion, judge it exactly the same way, that is, not by the way it seeks to please men, but rather by the attitude that it bears to the Mother of our Blessed Lord. If you find a religion which never speaks of that Woman who gave us our Redeemer; a religion which in its liturgy and its devotions is silent about that most beautiful of women; and in its history has ever broken her images and statues, then there certainly must be something wanting to the truth of that religion, and let me add even to its humanity.

Our Blessed Lord could hardly be expected to look "with favour on those who forgot His Mother, who nourished Him as .a Babe, carried Him into Egypt, caressed Him as a Child, and stood at the bedside of the Cross when, with almost His last breath, He tenderly called her “Mother.” Really one of the great inconsistencies of the modern world is its sentimental and almost commercial attachment to “Mother’s Day.” And its complete forgetfulness of the Mother of mothers, the Mother of our Lord, and the Mother of men, without whom all motherhood lacks a Christian ideal. I can understand why a man should love his mother, but I cannot understand why a man who calls himself a Christian and a follower of Christ should not have a very deep and intense love for His own Mother. I repeat, therefore, that a quick test for the divinity of any religion is its outlook on the motherhood of Christ. And if you want to know just how intense and deep and loyal our love is to that sweet Mother, then place your hands over your heart.

Christmas takes on a new meaning when the Mother is seen with the Babe. In fact, the heavens and the earth seem almost to exchange places. Years and years ago, aye! Centuries ago, we used to think of heaven as “way up there.” Then one day, the God of heavens came to this earth, and at that hour when Mary held the Babe in her arms, it became true to say that with her we now “look down”, to Heaven.

In these days when Mother is separated from her Child, which is Birth control, and a husband is separated from his wife, which is Divorce, we plead for the return of the Ideal Mother and we address her:

With our forlorn and cheerless condition, Sweet Queen, we pray thee, give us patience and endurance. When our spirit is exalted or depressed when it loses its balance, when it is restless or wayward, when it is sick of what it has and hankers after what it has not, when our mortal frame trembles under the shadow of the temper, we shall call on thee, and ask thee to bring us back to ourselves, for thou art the cool breath of the immaculate, the fragrance of the rose of Sharon – thou art the paradise of the Incarnation – thou art our Queen – our Mother – our Immaculate Mother, and we love thee!

- From Moods and Truths, by H.E. Fulton Sheen


Puer natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis …
et vocabitur nomen eius mani consilii Angelus.

A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us...
and His name shall be called the Angel of great counsel

-Introit from the Mass of Christmas Day.



We celebrate Christmas by the giving of gifts to family, friends, and the poor. In this we do well, for our Saviour asked that we prove our sincere love for Him, whom we do not see, by demonstrating our love for the neighbours we do see. Preserve such a noble motive in your gift-giving this Christmas.

Jesus came into the world, not to receive Himself our material gifts, but to give to us His most precious grace.    Angel choirs summoned faithful shepherds to adore the newborn King.  They saw and believed in the birth of the Messiah.  They did not bring riches to lay at His feet, but they went away with a heavenly joy - a gift of the Holy Ghost, whereby He comforts men in the possession of a firm faith and deep love of God. The grace that the infant Jesus gave, was the beginning of eternal life, for them, and for us. Yes, this grace will also be ours this Christmas, if we draw near to the third joyful mystery of the rosary, with faith and love.  So let us pray with the words of the liturgy of Christmas Day: "Grant we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that, as the new-born Saviour of the world is the author of our divine generation, so He may also Himself be the giver of immortality. " Amen.

United to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,
Emanuel Herkel
Fr. E. Herkel