I can believe it when I hear that some saint or another preached the entire Gospel using just the mysteries of the rosary. Last week, during the nativity, I thought about how the baby is squeezed during birth. This squeeze is a good thing: it expels fluid from the baby’s lungs and gives the baby an adrenaline rush to help get him doing the dozen things that have to happen when a baby transitions from life in the uterus to life on the outside.
And when I thought about Jesus being squeezed out during birth, I suddenly connected his birth to his statement that it’s easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.
I know my mind is like a Cuisinart, and you hit “frappe” to see what happens when you throw everything in there. But the next thing to pop into my head was St. Paul writing that Jesus, though God, didn’t deem equality with God something to be grasped at. That He gave Himself, He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave.
Who is richer than God? And yet God became a man, squeezed himself through that narrow opening like the camel through the eye of a needle, divested Himself of everything in order to become one of us, one like us. Like an animal.
(Yes, even born in a smelly stable — I wonder sometimes if Satan didn’t act to harden the hearts of people in Bethlehem so Jesus would come to these disgusting spirit-animal hybrids as an extra insult: You love these animals? Here ya go.)
Digression aside, Jesus left aside the riches of Heaven in whatever form those take, in order to bring us into the kingdom of God. Maybe you can reverse it: maybe the camel has to go through the eye of the needle in both directions: He divests himself of everything in order to come to us, and then loses even the little He has in dying for us. And why? To get us into the Kingdom of God.
And it begins with the tight squeeze of being born, of having the excess fluid forced from a helpless body and entering a world of light, smells, sounds, gravity, chill, hunger and neediness.