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Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Poor and the Weak Ennobled and Empowered by the Poverty of the Manger

By St. Augustine
But why the Lord should first have chosen low-born men, few in number, inexperienced and unrefined, when before his eyes he had a great crowd who, though certainly few in comparison with those poorer people, were still many in their kind: the rich, the high-born, the learned, the wise, whom he also gathered in afterward -- well the Apostle explains the secret: God chose the weak things of the world to disconcert the strong; and God chose the foolish things of this world to disconcert the wise ...

For he had come to teach humility and overturn pride. God had come in humility; in no way would he here first seek the high and mighty when he had come so humbly himself. In the first place, because he had chosen 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. He did not choose to be born in a most important city, but he was born in Bethlehem of Judah, which is not even favored with the name of a city. Those who live in the place today call it a village; it is so small, so tiny, it is virtually non-existent . . .

So he chose the weak, the poor, the unlearned; not that he left out the strong, the rich, the wise, the well-born; 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, without which no one can return to that life which we would never have fallen from had it not been for pride.
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