Christmas night. A holy and wise hermit prays, kneeling for hours in the holy cave in Bethlehem. In the cave, that 400 years ago had hosted our newborn Christ. The hermit is none other than the great Church Father, St. Jerome, who recorded what had happened.
That night the saint had left his hermitage, which is close to the Holy Cave, and decided to stay up all night and pray in the Holy Manger.
His heart was full of gratitude for the great gift of God who descended to Earth, becoming man to save us from the slavery of sin, from the tyranny of the devil and the claws of death!
Complete silence prevailed that night in the sacred area ...
Suddenly he hears his name in a soft voice:
The Saint surprised ... looks around puzzled ... nothing ... nobody was there.
-Jerome! The same voice was heard ...
Yes! It was coming From the Holy Grotto ... and made his heart tremble, shocked.
-Jerome, What gift will you give Me tonight for My feast?
It was Truly the sweet voice of Jesus.
The saint burst into tears:
Oh Lord, You know that for You, i left everything: The Palace of the Emperor, the greatness of Rome, comfort. My heart, my thoughts, everything to You is directed! What can I offer you? I have nothing!
-And Yet, Jerome, there's something more that you can and should offer Me ... It will please Me more than any other offering, and this I want ...
The Saint thought ... spent a few minutes and then dared to whisper..
-Lord, I cannot think of anything ... Tell me Lord, what else can i offer You that I cannot think of it myself?
A Short time of silence passed and the voice of Christ was heard again:
-Jerome, Your sins I want. Give Me your sins!
- My sins? What will you do with my sins Lord?
-I want your sins so that i can forgive you them,that's why I came to the world, Jesus answered and a deep silence prevailed.
Shocked, St. Jerome began to shed tears, tears of gratitude, that flooded the Holy Cave all night long.
He left us the practical advice to remember every Christmas ,that the best gift to offer our Savior is our repentance for our sins. This is the best celebration of the feast ...