Just popping in to say hope that everyone is having a blessed Christmas and enjoying the octave of Christmas. God willing, we'll be blogging more after New Year's Day.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Greetings Academicians!Here's a nifty report from the Vatican Information Service. I thought it might be appropriate in this Season in which many anti-religionists want Nativity Scenes to disappear.
VATICAN CITY, 13 DEC 2009 (VIS - ANG/CHRISTMAS/... VIS 091214 (530)) - This morning, following his visit to Rome's Sacred Heart Hospice, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and, following a Roman tradition on this third Sunday of Advent, blessed the statues of the Baby Jesus which will be placed in nativity scenes in homes and parishes.
"It is a source of joy for me", said the Holy Father, "to know that your families still conserve the custom of making nativity scenes. Yet it is not enough to repeat the traditional gesture, however important it may be. We must seek to live what the nativity scene represents in the reality of our everyday lives: that is, the love of Christ, His humility and His poverty".
"The blessing of the 'Bambinelli' - as they are called in Rome - reminds us that the nativity scene is a school of life where we can learn the secret of true joy. This does not consist in possessing many things but in feeling ourselves to be loved by the Lord, in making ourselves a gift for others, and in loving one another. Let us consider the nativity scene: the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph do not appear to be a very privileged family, they had their first child amidst great hardship, yet they are full of intimate joy because they love one another, they help one another and, above all, they are certain that God is at work in their story".
"And the shepherds", the Pope asked, "what reason do they have to be happy? That newborn infant will certainly not alter their poverty and marginalisation. Yet faith helps them to recognise in the 'child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger', the 'sign' of the fulfilment of God's promises for all the men and women 'whom He favours', even for them!"
For this reason, Benedict XVI explained, true joy consists in "feeling that our individual and community lives are touched by and filled with a great mystery, the mystery of the love of God. In order to be joyful we need ... love and truth, we need a God Who is near, Who warms our hearts and responds to our most profound expectations".
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
God asks for extreme courage in trusting Him and in loving others. For someone to be united fully to the Holy Spirit, a person must respond with strength that seems to be almost like God’s strength. As impossible as it may seem, the Blessed Virgin Mary did this!
You know, it would have been a lot easier for our Blessed Mother, had she been asked to bring forth Christ in secluded, cloistered security somewhere.
It would have been so much easier for our Blessed Mother ... had she received from the Angel Gabriel at least a guarantee of safety for herself and for the Precious Burden -- Jesus -- growing within her.
But our Blessed Mother did not have it easy just because she said “Yes” to God.
Our Blessed Mother consented -- not only to bear her own Child, Jesus -- but to also bear Jesus Christ into all lives, into all times, in every human being.
When our Blessed Mother said yes to the angel, she agreed to bear Christ into her own life and into everyone else’s life -- not only into secure, protected lives, but also into lives troubled: by poverty, by fears and temptations -- to bear Christ into the lives of people subject to disease, to persecutions, to chance, to accidents.
And while Mary, our Blessed Mother, consented to give birth to Christ, Christ consented to become completely dependent on Mary during His advent into our human lives. Christ was absolutely helpless. He could only go wherever Mary chose to carry Him. Her breathing supplied His breath. His heartbeat was enveloped within her heartbeat.
Today and in the future, Christ is still dependent on human beings. Christ depends on us, like the Blessed Mother, to bring Him forth -- to carry Him into our world as it is right now!
Christ dwells within us through the same Holy Spirit who dwells in the Blessed Mother.
Christ’s dependence on us shows that He places a great deal of trust in us. We must carry Christ in our hearts to wherever He desires to go -- and there are many places Christ may never go ... unless you and I take Him.
That calls for courage. Courage like Mary’s. Courage to be heroic. To be heroically holy!
Many, many people have the idea that they can attain heroic holiness only if God sends them a special revelation, perhaps through an angel; a revelation from God for them to do something awesome.
They can imagine themselves going cheerfully to be thrown to the lions, or to be burned at the stake, or to be drawn and quartered! But if God doesn’t send that mystical revelation to them, they think that God has not called and chosen them to be heroically holy and to bear witness to their faith in Christ to others.
And so, if God seems to let us go on ... carrying out our humdrum jobs ... or doing our household chores day after day; Or if God asks us to continue being patient and gentle towards a cranky spouse or uncooperative children; Or if God asks us to just continue with our daily lives ... and to face the anxieties and perplexities of living in the third millennium -- Then, we are not willing to become heroically holy and carry Christ within us to others. We will not trust God to know His Own Will for us!
At times, it may seem to us that there is no glorious, Divine purpose to our going to work every day, or working around the home year after year. But... it may be that God has placed us right where we are -- because, if it were not for us being there, then Christ would not be there! If our being there means Christ is there, that alone makes everything worthwhile.
The Blessed Mother’s Visitation to Elizabeth shows us this is true! Mary -- carrying the Son of God within her -- set out to Elizabeth’s, proceeding in haste.
If you and I go “in haste” and with eager wills to wherever our life’s circumstances compel us -- because of our faith that Christ desires to be in that locale, with these people, in that situation -- Then, we will find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of Christ’s love within us. And to act as the Blessed Mother acted all her life, saying over and over again to God, ‘Yes -- let it done as YOU say. I am the servant of the Lord!”
Mary’s “yes” was her consent to become a living tabernacle, carrying Jesus Christ, allowing Him to take flesh, and to grow -- in silence, in humility -- within her.
It takes courage to bear Christ to others. It takes courage to trust in God’s word. It takes courage to be holy in today’s world. God asks you and me for extreme courage in trusting Him and in loving others.
For us to united fully to the Holy Spirit, we must respond with strength that seems to be almost like God’s strength. Mary did this!
That’s why we pray with our Blessed Mother on this Feast day of her Immaculate Conception.
May her example help us to realize that we are carrying Christ within us amid all of the troubles, anxieties, uncertainties, and sufferings that we face courageously -- day by ordinary day.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, prays for us sinners ... and teaches us how we have been consecrated by God as living vessels for the Lord Jesus, carrying Him everywhere He desires to be found.