Christ's Birth was the victory of the true Light over the darkness of evil and sin.-Pope Benedict XVIFather Z pointed out this morning that the Octave is meant for the Church to reflect on the feast in eight different ways, and today we examine 'the consequences of discipleship,' as Father succinctly put it. I was about to paraphrase it, and say 'costs' but something it me. I realized that 'costs' has such a negative association in common language, and it comes to mean we lose something in the end. There is no downside when everything is said and done through following Christ, if one takes the broader view. Christ opened the gates of Heaven for all that desire Him by coming into the world and shedding His blood for us upon the Cross. I like that Father Z used the word 'consequences' in this context, since it does remind us that our earthly mission will not be easy. Christ told the disciples that they would be mocked and tormented, just as the crowds did to Him.
My parents recently heard an interesting homily. The priest pointed out that the battle is already won. Now, he wasn't denying Hell or anything like that. The idea was exactly what the Holy Father said, in that we have been given grace so that we might be cleansed of sin and come into union with God.
If it wasn't for the battle already having been won, then I doubt we'd ever have any saints. I mean, it's hard already, and darn-near impossible without grace. Willpower isn't enough (hence grace...God is far ahead of us on that count). St Stephen and countless more in the centuries since-especially the last century- have been martyred, while others have borne great loss and suffering. But, they did it, and were crowned amidst the angels. And, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.