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Seeking The Burning Babe Who Sets Our Hearts Aflame

We are all pilgrims seeking to find the love we are made for. Christmas is a reminder that the one who is Love is already seeking us. He came from the heights of His glory from all eternity to dwell in the utter poverty of a cold cave and the muck of this fallen world. He emptied Himself, so that we could find Him. We do not need to seek lofty heights. To find Him, we often need the smallest of places, like a consecrated host that has become His body, blood, soul, and divinity. We must be willing to walk away from the things of this world to walk the way to the cave where He lay.

The Lord loves best the hidden and unexpected places of the world. We like pomp, prestige, and power, but He seeks us in the lowly places. He knows that our eyes must be turned from those tendencies, so we can find His loving gaze. He wants to set our hearts on fire with His love, but so often we seek to fill our hearts with the things of this world. We all do it, which is why conversion is a moment-by-moment process. We all wound His Sacred Heart by our sins.

St. Robert Southwell wrote a beautiful poem on the burning love of Christ worth reading over the family hearth as we make merry this Christmas celebrating the birth of Our Savior. St. Robert lived 1561-1595 during the Protestant Reformation in England. He went into exile in order to study as a Jesuit priest. He was arrested in 1592 upon which he was imprisoned. He endured three years of brutal torture and was eventually tried and convicted as a priest. He was sentenced to death. On February 21, 1595 he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn where he won the martyr’s crown at the holy age of 33. Pope Paul VI canonized St. Robert Southwell with the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970.

I found St. Robert Southwell’s Christmas poem “The Burning Babe” in Joseph Pearce’s anthology Poems Every Catholic Should Know. It seems fitting for the times we live in. In this age of confusion, division, war, and darkness, we can feel as though we are shivering in the snow with very little heat. The world grows more and more hostile to Christ by the day, even in some quarters of the Church. The poem is a reminder of the Babe who burns with love for each one of us.

Christ’s birth reminds us that Our Savior has come into the very depths of night and the darkness of human sin in order to give us hearts of flesh that burn for love of Him. Perhaps our hearts have grown weary by it all. The Lord simply asks that we come to Him. He is our rest. He only asks that we give Him everything we have, even if it seems very little to us. He wants our hearts freely given. He is the one who will set them aflame.

Read more at Catholic Exchange 

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