Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Reflection on Christmas 2015

1. As a seminarian at Saint Vincent, I often helped proofread student papers.  Not all of them showed outstanding knowledge of grammar and punctuation. 
2. I would often feel compelled to say politely “Commas are our friends!”
3. Recently I noticed a comma in one printing of the words of Elizabeth to Mary at the Visitation
          “Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”
          “Blessed are you who believed, [COMMA - PAUSE]
that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”
If we read the sentence with a pause, we can appreciate the hidden causality.
Not only is Mary blessed because she believed but her believing is what makes the promise of the Lord come about for her and for the whole world.
Her faith allows the incarnation to take place, which is the source of our joy this evening.
4. Faith is living and effective. 
Believing makes things happen. 
Faith is a prerequisite for the outpouring of grace. 
Notice in Scripture how the Gospel writers tell us that Jesus was not able to perform many miracles in certain places – particularly in His own hometown – because of their lack of faith.
He could not perform miracles because no one was seeking them, no one was open to them. 
The people had become so familiar with Jesus that they did not see anything special in Him and they did not desire what He had to offer. 
At the same time, the miracles of Jesus all take place because of some need in the life of a man or woman or child who came to Jesus crying out “son of David, have pity on us!”
5. Jesus came into our world, humbling Himself to be born in a manger where
animals feed, the smell of sheep and donkeys hanging in the air. 
In order to proclaim the birth of the Messiah, the angels had to leave the glory of heaven and hover over a barn, singing “Glory to God in the highest!” to shepherds, not nobles or merchants.
In order to pay homage to the great King of Creation, the wise kings of the East had to kneel in the stable, dragging their fine robes through the filth.
My experience of helping a friend this past summer clean a barn…dung, skeletons, dirt, mold, garbage…
Sometimes life is messy.  Coming to meet Jesus Christ face to face means travelling a road that is not always pleasant, requiring us to become more humble and focus on what is most valuable.  What we become accustomed to or believe to be important is taken away but faith, hope and love endure.
6. Along the road of life, every human need, each of our own wounds and
sufferings, is an experience of our souls crying out for the healing power of Jesus Christ, who came into our world to heal the brokenness of humanity.
Jesus was not afraid of the messiness of life.  He embraced it in order to redeem it.
We speak of some situation as a “disaster waiting to happen” or a person as an “accident waiting to happen.”
Why do we never say something is a “miracle waiting to happen?”
In fact, every human need is an opportunity for the power of God’s grace to work in us in a remarkable way.
7. Readings of the first two weeks of Advent brought to mind the importance of
spiritual growth. 
Saint Paul says, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love,” “conduct yourselves to please God even more.”
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “Do not become drowsy!”
Faith is not a one-time statement of commitment. 
There are no comfortable plateaus in an authentic spiritual life.
Complacency is the enemy of grace.
Spiritual growth in daily dialogue with the Lord is the key to holiness, lasting joy and peace and, ultimately, eternal salvation. 
8. At Christmas, we come before the newborn savior with the awe and wonder of a
little boy memorized by a brand new train set whizzing around the Christmas tree, asking the Lord Jesus to give us an increase in faith, the courage to grow in our spiritual life, to forget the people who have hurt us in the past or the people upon whom we might desire to seek vengeance, and to abound in faith and love.
Because Mary believed, Jesus was born!
Christmas is a reminder to believe and to love, for our needs and our deep faith combine to form an invitation for Jesus to be born anew in us and to work great and miraculous things.
May we in the New Year ahead have even more faith, hope and love, and experience the goodness of the Lord in abundance. 
Christ is born!  Come let us adore Him!
Christ is among us.  He is now and always will be!

No comments: