It was wonderful to see the young families at the Christmas liturgies here at Notre Dame, because the tiny infants with their gurgling, spluttering and crying, remind me that the Word of God was made flesh in just the same fashion. It is oft said that God speaks in the silence, and yet true as that may be, the miracle of Christmas is that we recognize that Jesus humbled himself to become a dependent human child, and that He too had to express His needs and reactions in inarticulate gurgling and burbling. The Word of God, spoken eternally by the Father, which entered into the silence of nothing to create the universe, now entering into the incoherent babble of humanity to redeem that universe.
Hearing the archetypal vocation call of the Prophet Samuel in the Mass readings recently, I was reminded of this element of my vocation. God is calling persistently to Samuel, but he, hearing a voice, reasonably assumes that it is Eli who is calling him. After all, he understands that his ministry to the Lord in the Temple, is under the direction of Eli, and in obedience to him. Before he can open himself to respond to God's call, he must first realize where the call isn't coming from. We can be so rationally certain about what is possible and reasonable, and then be at a complete loss when our certainty leads us to bewilderment when the reasonable and possible don't work out. If God writes straight with crooked lines, let us also consider that perhaps He also speaks clearly with befuddling babble.
Mr. Cathal Kelleher, C.S.C., is in his first year of temporary vows with the Congregation of Holy Cross. He is currently studying in the M.Div program at the University of Notre Dame. Cathal is originally from Kilkenny, Ireland.