To receive from God, give what you have gotten.
Look for the manger.
This is said as a lesson in the Season of the Manger, one that has become, however, the season of mammon.
The manger can be found not just in Bethlehem but at sites of legitimate Marian apparition.
The manger can be located in the middle of Africa — at the approved apparition site of Kibeho.
Here is a gigantic lesson for our gilded age:
The Blessed Mother said the reason she chose the tiny dirt-poor hamlet several dirt-road hours west of Kigali — in the middle of “nowhere” in Rwanda — is because it is “one of the last places on earth that is pure.”
The purity comes, she said, from the “poverty,” or at least what we define as poverty: people eat what they grow and live in huts with earthen floors. A child will wear the same second-hand t-shirt (given to them by missionaries) for six months to a year. They have virtually nothing material but have simplicity and wholesomeness and are close to God’s Creation, as the Holy Family was so close to nature — to a dirt floor, to animals — in Bethlehem.
What did Jesus wear? What did He eat? What did He leave?
He left no “will” but left us everything.
Fascinating it is how often Mary chose to appear, in a similar way, to peasants and material-poor shepherd children at Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, LaSalette, Laus, Knock, and Medjugorje (which at the time had dirt or concrete floor in thatched huts).
There is as yet no Our Lady of Wall Street.
Always ask yourself, when the temptation to be swank comes, how the apostles lived, what Saint Paul and later Saint Francis chose to do instead of pursuing wealth.
Look at neighborhoods and ask yourself: would Jesus live there? Would He fit in a mansion, or a luxury high rise? Can you see Him disembarking from a limousine?
Look for the Spirit of the Manger.
Some ask why the Blessed Mother doesn’t appear in some place like midtown Manhattan. The answer: she goes where she is comfortable, where she is welcome, where it is deserved, where there is both simplicity and humility. It is not up to God to prove Himself to us. It’s up to us to prove ourselves to Him.
The world’s greatest wealth? It makes it not beyond the grave. Celebrity? It is a vapor upon death.
Give what you have gotten, in whatever way the Holy Spirit leads you to do that, in coming days. And when you do, let Mary put the bow on it. No mall elf is as adept at doing that.
[resources: books of devotion]