Thursday, December 31, 2020

God on earth, God among men

“God on earth, God among men, not in the fire and to the accompaniment of trumpets, not on the smoking mountain…giving laws, but communing in bodily form, gently and kindly, with those like himself. God in flesh…so that, related to us by his flesh, he can lead all mankind back to God.”

The Mystery of the Incarnation
Christoph von Schönborn

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Glory to God in the highest

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

He is Emmanuel!

For us Christians, darkness ends when we see in our brothers and sisters, in everyone, especially the poor, the very presence of Jesus himself. This is the true celebration of Christmas – to proclaim our faith in the Emmanuel, the God-who-is-with-us, the God-who-is-in-each-and-everyone of us. The question for us this Christmas is not only “who is Jesus for us?” but “where is Jesus in our fellows?” He is Emmanuel!

Monday, December 28, 2020

The darkness has ended

A teacher once asked his students: how can you tell that the night is over and the day has begun? A student replied: is it when from a distance I could see a tree and I can tell whether that tree is an apple or an orange tree? The teacher said, not yet. Another student volunteered: is it when from a distance I could see an animal and I could tell whether it is a cow or a horse? The teacher said, not quite. The students chorused, then tell us how. The teacher said, it is when from a distance you could see a person and you can already see in that person the face of a brother or a sister. When that happens, surely, the darkness of night has ended and the brightness of day has begun.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Word of life…made visible


Our joy would be full, as the beloved disciple assures, if we preach what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes… and touched with our hand, the Word of life…made visible (I John 1:1,3-4).

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Christmas Joy

Can there be Christmas Joy in a time of pandemic? 

In many homes and communities, including some of our own, we have seats and spaces now empty, reminding us of loved ones we have lost this year. There would be no Christmas parties because money has been sparse due to loss of jobs and economic contractions. Because of travel and movement restrictions, the elderly would sorely miss the visits and embrace of their loved ones. Protective masks would hide the brilliant smiles of people singing carols, like “lights hidden under a bushel basket” which could not fully illuminate these dark December nights. 

How can there be Christmas Joy in a time of pandemic?

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas is about the gift

 Some of our fondest memories of Christmas are from our childhood, when Christmas trees seemed to tower over us, when a few pieces of candy seemed like an abundance of sweet things in our little hands.

 When we grew older, we realized that Christmas is not just about feasting on delicious food, but sharing food that feeds the hunger of our bodies and satisfies the hunger of our souls for fellowship and friendship; that Christmas is not about exchanging material gifts, but about the gift of presence, of time, of conversations, of simply being together as our Brothers, with family and friends.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The God who is “closer to us than we are to ourselves”

We are in the midst of preparinf to celebrate Christmas, still struggling against this virus, protecting ourselves and our loved ones by keeping charitable distance from one another. Our song of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is muffled by masks and face shields.

Saint Paul exhorts us to behold with “unveiled faces” (2 Corinthians 3:18) the glory of God. 

Yet this year, we adore the beauty of the newborn King with covered faces. While our celebrations may be sparse and simple, we take hope and consolation in commemorating the birth of the Emmanuel, the God who is “closer to us than we are to ourselves” (St. Augustine, Confessions III, 6, 11).

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Christmas tree

Saint Boniface preached the Gospel to the people and used a little fir tree as a tool of evangelization. 

Pointing to that tree he said,   

“This little tree, a young child of the forest, shall be your holy tree tonight. It is the wood of peace… It is the sign of an endless life, for its leaves are ever green. See how it points upward to heaven. Let this be called the tree of the Christ-child; gather about it, not in the wild wood, but in your own homes; there it will shelter no deeds of blood, but loving gifts and rites of kindness."

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Advent - December 22

“From the hour when Gabriel saluted her, the little girl in Nazareth, she had had to seek for Him through faith: to believe that he was in her; to believe that this little child whom she rocked to sleep was God; that it was God whom she taught to walk, to speak, to hold a spoon.”
― Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

Monday, December 21, 2020

Advent - December 21

“Every work that we do should be a part of the Christ forming in us which is the meaning of our life, to it we must bring the patience, the self-giving, the time of secrecy, the gradual growth of Advent. This Advent in work applies to all work, not only that which produces something permanent in time but equally to the making of a carving in wood or stone or of a loaf of bread. It applies equally to the making of a poem and to the sweeping of a floor.”

― Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Advent - December 20

“Christ must be born from every soul, formed in every life. If we had a picture of Our Lady's personality we might be dazzled into thinking that only one sort of person could form Christ in himself, and we should miss the meaning of our own being.

Nothing but things essential for us are revealed to us about the Mother of God: the fact that she was wed to the Holy Spirit and bore Christ into the world.

Our crowning joy is that she did this as a lay person and through the ordinary daily life that we all live; through natural love made supernatural, as the water at Cana was, at her request, turned into wine.”

― Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Advent - December 19

“In this great fiat of the little girl Mary, the strength and foundation of our life of contemplation is grounded, for it means absolute trust in God, trust which will not set us free from suffering but will set us free from anxiety, hesitation, and above all from the fear of suffering. Trust which makes us willing to be what God wants us to be, however great or however little that may prove. Trust which accepts God as illimitable Love.”

― Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

Friday, December 18, 2020

Advent - December 18

“The sense of the joy in anything is the sense of Christ.”

― Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Advent - December 17

 “Most people know the sheer wonder that goes with falling in love, how not only does everything in heaven and earth become new, but the lover himself becomes new. It is literally like the sap rising in the tree, putting forth new green shoots of life.”

― Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Advent - December 16

Advent is the season of the seed:

The seed, Christ said, is the word of god Sownin the human heart.
The advent, the seed of the world's life, was hidden in Mary.
Like the wheat seed in the earth,
the seed of the Bread of Life was in her.
Like the golden harvest in the darkness of the earth,
the Glory of God was enshrined in her darkness.
Advent is the season of the secret,
the secret of the growth of Christ,
of Divine Love growing in silence.
It is the season of humility, silence and growth.
This time of advent is absolutely essential to our contemplation.
If we have truly given our humanity to be changed into Christ,
It is essential to us that we do not disturb this
time of growth.
It is a time of darkness, of faith.
We shall not see Christ's radiance in our lives yet;
It is still hidden in our darkness;

~ from THE REED OF GOD by Caryll Houselander

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Advent - December 15

It was Christ who chose the stable to be born in and who continues to choose unlikely places. In each of us, just beyond the noise of our outward life, there is some place of silence and darkness, an emptiness where, if we have courage enough, we are alone with ourselves. In this place of silence, we know that God alone can fill our emptiness, God alone can content us, God alone is our peace. And in this secret place of the soul, Christ wants to be born in us, that through us, God may live in this world again and make it new ... make it young and childlike ... make it true and pure. In this dark place of our heart, Christ wants the light of the world to begin to burn and from its burning to radiate, until it shines back from the face of humanity. Here it is that the light begins to shine in darkness and the life of the world begins again. It is easy to see that the world is wounded, hard to see that its healing begins in our own heart.

~ Caryll Houselander

Monday, December 14, 2020

Advent - December 14

We are fully in the midst of Advent.We cannot go through Advent without mention of one of my favorite books of all time, The Reed of God by 20th century British Catholic and spiritual writer, Caryll Houselander.

I am your reed, sweet shepherd, glad to be.
Now, if you will, breathe out your joy in me
And make bright song.
Or fill me with the soft moan of your love
When your delight has failed to call or move
The flock from wrong.

Make children's songs, or any songs, to fill
Your reed with breath of life;
But at your will, lay down the flute,
And take repose, while music infinite
Is silence in your heart; and laid on it
Your reed is mute.

~ "The Reed of God" by Caryll Houselander

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Advent 13


If you listen with the inner ear of your soul? 
The hype ends and the hush enters in. Less hype, more holy.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Our Lady of Guadalupe


Mary’s appearance to Juan Diego as one of his people is a powerful reminder that Mary—and the God who sent her—accept all peoples.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Advent 12


The Light is coming, and He is grace, and His grace is light — and always: Grace is weightless.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Advent 11


This season where there are no heavy burdens, no crushing pressures, no more things or stuff or lists to carry. Love always lightens us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Advent 10


This is a season to look for the light, to be the light, to be a Light Poker, poking holes in the dark and stoking an ardent flame of light — and to actually: live light.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Immaculate Conception


"I must also pray, she said, for the conversion of sinners. I asked her many times what she meant by that, but she only smiled. Finally, with outstretched arms and eyes looking up to heaven, she told me she was the Immaculate Conception. During the fifteen days she told me three secrets, but I was not to speak about them to anyone, and so far I have not.”

Saint Bernadette

Monday, December 7, 2020

Advent 9

The practice of Advent is participating in the ancient expectancy of the Messiah — and ardently expecting Him again.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Advent 8

The question Advent is really asking us is this: 

How can we blaze with ardent participation in the reconciliation of all things —— and the ardent anticipation of the Lord in all things?

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Friday, December 4, 2020

Advent 6


Advent is about the practice of ardent participation in the Kingdom of God — and the ardent anticipation of the King.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Advent 5

Advent is about the practice of ardent participation in the Kingdom of God — 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Advent 4

And the Second Advent will be the consummation of all things — and that now begs our anticipation.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Advent 3

The First Advent of Christ began the reconciliation of all things —and that now begs our participation.