When the king of heaven was born, the heavens knew that he was God because they immediately sent forth a star; the sea knew him because it allowed him to walk upon it; the earth knew him because it trembled when he died; the sun knew him because it hid the rays of its light.
St Gregory the Great
What has been revealed to us through this Christmas Season? We have one more day left as our Season ends Monday, January 10th with the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. What graces have you received? Our Gospel last week speaks of Mary at the manger keeping "…all of these things, reflecting on them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) When did you feel most alive during the past few weeks? This can tell us how the Holy Spirit is moving in our lives.
Even as I write this I can think of a grace I received in the last few minutes. There is a short Internet piece that a friend shared that I found inspiring. I write this on the Optional Memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus, a new feast here in the United States, but celebrated for centuries in Italy. This tender clip culminates in the most powerful, healing name one could hear or say.
To the City and the World
Every year on Christmas Day the Pope gives an address that summarizes his intentions for both the City of Rome, of which he is the Bishop, as well as the world, for which he is Pope, the Patriarch of all the Churches. In it he usually focuses especially on those situations in the world where there is great suffering. Here is the tail end of this year’s Urbi et Orbi Message. The full text can be found at:
Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, on this Christmas 2011, let us then turn to the Child of Bethlehem, to the Son of the Virgin Mary, and say: "Come to save us!" Let us repeat these words in spiritual union with the many people who experience particularly difficult situations; let us speak out for those who have no voice.Together let us ask God’s help for the peoples of the Horn of Africa, who suffer from hunger and food shortages, aggravated at times by a persistent state of insecurity. May the international community not fail to offer assistance to the many displaced persons coming from that region and whose dignity has been sorely tried.May the Lord grant comfort to the peoples of South-East Asia, particularly Thailand and the Philippines, who are still enduring grave hardships as a result of the recent floods.
May the Lord come to the aid of our world torn by so many conflicts which even today stain the earth with blood. May the Prince of Peace grant peace and stability to that Land where he chose to come into the world, and encourage the resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. May he bring an end to the violence in Syria, where so much blood has already been shed. May he foster full reconciliation and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan. May he grant renewed vigour to all elements of society in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East as they strive to advance the common good.May the birth of the Saviour support the prospects of dialogue and cooperation in Myanmar, in the pursuit of shared solutions. May the Nativity of the Redeemer ensure political stability to the countries of the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and assist the people of South Sudan in their commitment to safeguarding the rights of all citizensDear Brothers and Sisters, let us turn our gaze anew to the grotto of Bethlehem. The Child whom we contemplate is our salvation! He has brought to the world a universal message of reconciliation and peace. Let us open our hearts to him; let us receive him into our lives. Once more let us say to him, with joy and confidence: "Veni ad salvandum nos!"(Come to save us!)
- Pope Benedict XVI
Thanks to all who gave me presents and cards for Christmas. I'm always humbled by people's generosity. If I'm not able to get a thank you to you personally, please accept my gratitude for all you do for me and the parish. May you have the happiest year yet in 2012.
- Yours in Christ, Fr Ed