He spent the evening before his death discussing optical phenomena with his daughter-in-law.
All of the above might lead us to believe that his celebrated deathbed cry of Mehr Licht! (More light!) was a plea for increased enlightenment before dying. The truth appears to be more prosaic. What he actually said (in German) was:
“Do open the shutter of the bedroom so that more light may enter”.
2:1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2:2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
2:3 All went to their own towns to be registered.
2:4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.
2:5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
2:6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
2:8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
2:9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
2:11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
2:12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”
2:16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
2:17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;
2:18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
2:19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Human nature is like a stable inhabited by the ox of passion and the ass of prejudice; animals which take up a lot of room and which I suppose most of us are feeding on the quiet. And it is there between them, pushing them out, that Christ must be born and in their very manger he must be laid – and they will be the first to fall on their knees before him. Sometimes Christians seem far nearer to those animals than to Christ in his simple poverty, self-abandoned to God.
Source: Watch for the Light
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” – Luke 1:46b-55
When reading this full text, those of us who take the Bible seriously but not necessarily literally may wonder what Mary really said when the angel told her that she was about to become an unwed teenage mother. This could not possibly have been good news for Mary, a poor peasant girl among an illiterate people who never heard of a thing called “virgin birth.”
“I’m what? Pregnant?”
“And you want me to tell people what?”
“You know that in the eyes of all my neighbors, he will always be regarded as a . . . you know what they will call my baby.”
And yet the truth of this text is profoundly present in Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, whose birth will so change the world that the years on earth will be measured as being before and after Jesus’ birth. And Mary’s prophecy in this text is still coming true. People of the light still believe and work for it to this day.
And we remember Mary, with millions still saying, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”
And we will still work for justice as God’s partners, until the poorest and most vulnerable on the earth realize God’s mercy as present “for those who fear God from generation to generation.” God’s strength has and will continue to bring down powerful despots on thrones; God will continue lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry on the earth, filling them with good things.
No matter what actually happened, I know this text is true.
If everyone were holy and handsome, with “alter Christus”shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. If Mary had appeared in Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says, with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head, and the moon under her feet, then people would have fought to make room for her. But that was not God’s way for her, nor is it Christ’s way for himself, now when he is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth.
Source: Watch for the Light
When I am told that waiting seems to belong to the heart of the spiritual life, I’m not pleased, for I want answers, direction, clarity—and I want them pronto. I desire to feel happy and to know what God is up to; I need my life to make sense—now. I’m pleased to live a spiritual life, but I want to be in charge of it and to make it unfold according to my schedule…. There is that old joke about the pilot who comes on the intercom and says, “I have good news and bad news, folks: The bad news is that we’re totally lost; the good news is that we’re making excellent time!” Maybe we’re forced to wait because God wants us seriously to reconsider the course we’ve charted, to stop hurtling down a dangerous road.