Does God choose the learned, the perfect and the proud figures of our time to bring about the greatest good? Rather, God chooses the small, imperfect and weak souls. It is through the meek and mild that God is able to work the most beautiful of miracles. This is why he chose people like St. Thérèse of Lisieux, co-patron of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, to be his instruments of love in the world. This is why God came into the world as a baby, born of Mother Mary.
St. Thérèse reflected upon this universal truth as she describes her “Little Way” of sanctity in her Story of a Soul:
“Far from resembling those beautiful saints who practiced all sorts of austerities from childhood, my penance consisted in breaking my self-will, in keeping back a sharp reply, in doing little kindnesses to those about me, but considering these deeds as nothing.”
Yet, it was through that “Little Way” of holiness that she ended up impacting millions of people around the world.
The beautiful feast of Christmas also brings out this spiritual truth in a powerful way. It was in a small, humble stable that the King of the Universe arrived as a weak human child. Jesus was born in the tiny village of Bethlehem; a place barely the stature of Jerusalem or Rome. God did not choose to dwell amongst us as a glorious warrior, but a small little babe. St. Augustine further explains the paradox in his Exposition on Psalm 87.
“God chose the weak things of this world to disconcert the strong; and God chose the foolish things of this world to disconcert the wise; and God chose the low-born things of this world and the things that are not (that is, that are not counted), that the things which are might be rendered vain (1 Cor 1:27-28). For He had come to teach humility and overturn pride…He chose to be born of that woman who had been betrothed to a carpenter. So He did not choose important family connections, or this world’s aristocracies would have taken it as justifying their pride…So He chose the weak, the poor, the unlearned; not that He left out the strong, the rich, the wise, the wellborn; but if He chose them first they would imagine they were chosen for their wealth, for their property, for their family connections, and puffed up about these things they would not have received the healthy condition of humility.”
At Christmas, we realize that true power and influence do not come with wealth, connections or even having many things. Instead, it comes from surrendering to God our weaknesses and allowing Him to shine through us, humbly taking the back seat while he takes the driver’s seat.
In the end, the Lord of all creation came to save the world as a small, defenseless child.
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)
Philip Kosloski is the Digital Content Manager for the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (USA) and is also a spirituality writer for Aleteia.org and has been featured on such places as The Huffington Post, Crisis Magazine, The Catholic Herald, Catholic Exchange, National Catholic Register and EWTN Radio.