The Baby in Swaddling Cloths

This is an excerpt from The Infancy Narratives: Jesus of Nazareth, by Pope Benedict XVI:

Jesus in swaddling clothsMary wrapped the child in swaddling cloths. Without yielding to sentimentality, we may imagine with what great love Mary approached her hour and prepared for the birth of her child. Iconographic tradition has theologically interpreted the  manger and the swaddling cloths in terms of the theology of the Fathers. The child stiffly wrapped in bandages is seen as prefiguring the hour of his death: from the outset, he is the sacrificial victim, as we shall see more closely when we examine the reference to the first-born. The manger, then, was seen as a kind of altar.

Augustine drew out the meaning of the manger using an idea that at first seems almost shocking, but on closer examination contains a profound truth. The manger is the place where animals find their food. But now, lying in the manger, is He who called Himself the true bread come down from heaven, the true nourishment that we need in order to be fully ourselves. This is the food that gives us true life, eternal life. Thus the manger becomes a reference to the table of God, to which we are invited so as to receive the bread of God. From the poverty of Jesus’ birth emerges the miracle in which man’s redemption is mysteriously accomplished.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Madonna and Child (1319) Source: Wikipedia.org

Ratzinger, J. Pope Benedict XVI. (2012). The Infancy Narratives: Jesus of Nazareth. NewYork: Image.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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15 Responses to The Baby in Swaddling Cloths

  1. SaintlySages says:

    Brings to mind the Miracle at Greccio: the finest Christmas present ever. God bless!

  2. Merry Christmas to you as well!

  3. Me says:

    Merry Christmas!

  4. liturgy guy says:

    Great excerpt Terry. Thank you for sharing. Talk about profound:

    “The child stiffly wrapped in bandages is seen as prefiguring the hour of his death: from the outset, he is the sacrificial victim…(t)he manger, then, was seen as a kind of altar.”

  5. dgcree says:

    What a beautiful picture St. Augustine paints of the Christ chidl – He gave himself to us and for us !
    Terry, I hope you and your family Have a Blessed Christmas and are blessed with an abundance of Peace and Joy in the coming year.

  6. Merry Christmas Terry! (a.k.a. 8Kids! I still like to call you that sometimes – it is so cute.)

    I love the Lorenzetti brothers btw. They were amazing artists – and a good picture to go with the post.

  7. Pingback: A Baby in Swaddling Cloths | The Average Catholic

  8. onetenthblog says:

    Reblogged this on One Tenth Blog.

  9. Thank you for your blog, it’s one of my favourites. Just letting you know that 8 Kids and a Business has been recognised for an award a over at 1catholicsalmon.
    In Christ.

  10. ImeldaImelda says:

    This is a beautiful meditation. Thanks for sharing. :-0

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