Christmas: as the days’ light slowly increases, we celebrate Christ, Word made flesh, God’s greatest gift to us. We honor Mary as the bearer of our hope and peace. We share the call to make Christ known as Savior of all nations (Epiphany).
From centuries ago, the words of our founders still resound, full of wisdom and insight for today. Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac show us how to live in the light of Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us.
Charity Wisdom from Our Founders
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON
Jesus eternal wisdom,
Jesus brightness of eternal light,
Jesus by whom all things are governed…
Jesus Prince of Peace.
Keep in the company of Mary and Joseph who are seeking a lodging for him in Bethlehem and offer him your whole heart as a place of rest and welcome.
Beg our dear Lord to be born in your heart as he was in the Manger for our Salvation. (Anna Maria Seton, Elizabeth’s daughter)
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
The lights of grace, which the Sun of Justice spreads in our souls, reveal and penetrate to the very depths and most intimate part of our heart, which they stir up and prompt to produce marvelous things.
When God wants to communicate himself, He does it effortlessly, in a perceptible, very pleasant, gently, loving way; so let’s ask Him often and with great confidence for this gift….let’s pray to Him, but let’s do it with great confidence.
ST. LOUISE DE MARILLAC
You will learn from Jesus, my dear Sisters, to practice solid virtue, as He did in His holy humanity, as soon as He came down upon earth. It is from the example of Jesus in His infancy that you will obtain all that you need to become true Christians.
~ ~ ~ ~
CHARITY WISDOM FROM OUR FRIENDS
The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness. (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, Ch. 2, II, 88)
~ ~ ~
I don’t know when it will happen or what it will look like to reach the tipping point, for the Christ Mystery to come to fullness. All I know is that this meaning, planted in the middle of things, gives us direction, purpose, hope, and immense self-confidence….
Foundational hope demands a foundational belief in a world that is still and always unfolding….To stay on the ride, to trust the trajectory, to know it is moving, and moving somewhere always better, is just another way to describe faith.
This is the Good News the angels gave Mary and the shepherds in a very specific and concrete way. We can now trust that history – and our small roles within the larger story – is moving in a positive direction. We who know the end from the beginning, who trust the Christ Mystery, must participate in the movement toward union. (Richard Rohr, OFM)
~ ~ ~
Dec. 31: The old year is over. Whatever we waited for this year either came or it did not. One thing is sure: if what we wanted did not come, something surely came in its place. The temptation is to count the change as loss. Julian of Norwich, the 13th century anchorite, wrote that even sin “was behovable” – necessary, important in life, part of our growth and an opportunity for union with God. And, not to worry, she says, for “all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” If we are still waiting for something, we must remember that the New Year is waiting for us, too, with fresh challenge, virgin promise, rude discovery and confirming triumphs. Open your hearts to life’s new hurdles and simmering victories now. Life is waiting for your gift. (Joan Chittister, OSB, Sparks of Advent Light)
~ ~ ~
Image: Guatemalan Nativity, by John Giuliani, OSB