My dear friends in college . . . and beyond,
What a joy it is to be writing to you at Christmastime, when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us! This is the season of Emmanuel, “God with us.” Indeed, God is with us in so many different ways, large and small. He is with us in the Eucharist, in His Real Presence, in His body and blood, in the form of bread and wine. God is with us in the Scriptures, the unfolding story of His steadfast love.
God is with us in the family and friends who have stood by us in good times and in bad and whom we remember with such warn affection, especially at Christmastime. God is with us in the forgiveness He offers in the sacrament of Confession, which serves as a towering reminder of the mercy of our God, who loves us dearly, unconditionally.
God is with us in the challenges and difficulties of life. As we wrestle with these, God guides us and supports us in countless – and sometimes barely noticeable – ways. But God is there. God is with us even in our darkest moments. Rest assured of that.
Of course, God is with us in the good times as well, in the graces that He sends our way, especially during this holy season in which we celebrate His birth. In all the marvelous moments that help us forget our troubles and remember the innocence of our childhood, God is with us. Savor these magic moments of Christmas. Our loving Savior would want nothing less.
Emmanuel – God is indeed with us!
At the outset of this letter, I remarked that it is indeed a joy to be writing to you at Christmastime. For the past three years, it has been a particular joy of mine to organize college-age retreats for our recent graduates of Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial High Schools (and their friends). I think that these retreats have been a huge success in the past, both for the spiritual nourishment that they have provided and for the chance to reconnect with old friends.
I am happy to announce that our next college-age retreat will be held on January 4 and 5, 2015 at Meribah. The retreat begins with Sunday Mass at 4:00 p.m. on January 4, but Meribah’s doors will be open and a warm fire will be crackling in the fireplace from 2:00 p.m. on, just in case you want to arrive early and catch up with former teachers and old friends.
I hope that you can join us for the retreat. You can register by emailing me (SBalletta@chaminade-hs.org) or by visiting my personal Facebook page or the Facebook page for the Province of Meribah. There, you will find a link to register online. I really do hope that you will join us.
Our theme is “Men of Faith,” and we hope to explore various dimensions of what it means to be a Catholic man. So, if you know any college-age guys who might enjoy a retreat like this, even if they did not graduate from with Chaminade or Kellenberg, just let me know. I would be happy to have them join us.
Looking forward to seeing you on the retreat, and wishing you a very Merry Christmas and many blessings throughout the New Year.
On behalf of all the Marianists, know that God is with you!
Peace and prayers,