Happy Advent and early Merry Christmas to you all. Our next session falls on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and in anticipation of that, we will not hold our regular online meeting. Please rejoice in the following spiritual exercise as we prepare to welcome our Savior Jesus Christ. God Bless you and may you embrace the hearts of Mary, Joseph and the sweet Christ Child into your heart with overwhelming JOY this Christmas season!
Opening Prayer: The Memorare
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
The Dawn From On High
From the moment Jesus was conceived and then born into the world on Christmas night, He began repairing the ravages of sin upon humanity. He started by spending nine months in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a mystery from the Heart of God almost wholly unfathomable. There He sanctified His own Mother’s womb in a singular way, along with the wombs of all women who would give this sacred space within their own bodies to new life. At the same time, He made reparation for the millions of women (and men) who would violently reject this life-giving partnership with God.
The tiny Babe in the Stable also began making up for the sins we so easily commit through our senses. He chose to be born in the cold, in the un-fragrant smells of the earth, in the rough bed of a manger, as a gentle reprimand to the unbridled drift of our nature toward comfort and pleasure, toward materialism and possessiveness, toward indulgence of every kind. As a sign of contradiction from the beginning, He rejected the trappings of honor and power choosing to be born in obscurity, a powerful remedy to the corrupting influence of our own pride and egoism. The profound simplicity of His entrance into our lives was in direct contrast to the superficial complexities we create in service of our own hubris.
This night’s pure angelic joy and glory also stand against the complicated mix of emotions we now build into Christmas, self-centered moods, and feelings that can threaten the blessings of family gatherings, gift-giving, and rightful expectations. From the beginning, Jesus comes in self-sacrificing service and love. We see the little Babe already at work from the manger, saving the world, reaching to the marginalized first, both the foreigner (the Magi) and the least regarded (the Shepherds), while relying on the alert attention and protection of Joseph and Mary against the so-called powerful of the earth.
The major sufferings of the world today, the destruction of innocence, the fomentation of hate and the explosion of violence, the loneliness, the isolation, the anxiety and fear of our fellow man, the poverty and hopelessness of those who are used as political tools for the power-hungry, the godlessness that destroys the foundations of our communion with one another and leaves structures of sin in its place, are all man-made. But these sufferings have a destiny of encounter with the newly born King of Kings and Prince of Peace. At the appointed time, the reign of this Child will fill the earth, and the Child Himself, fully grown, will fight and win the ultimate battle against the overarching arrogance that stands against God and blocks our eternal happiness.
Amid the darkness that surrounds us, our souls, like the stable holding the Divine Child, are meant to house heaven within, to be a transit point for the traffic of heaven, and to contain the life-giving food of the Savior Himself where others can come to be fed and filled with hope.
The key to conquering the sin and suffering in our own hearts is found in the quiet of the Stable, in the silence of our own interior. The key to peace in the world is hidden there, also.
This Christmas, “Light’s glory is to dispel darkness. Christ has illumined you with wisdom and the fire of his presence. It has been sparked and kindled in you. Let it blaze.” ―( Carryll Houselander)
Questions for silent reflection:
- How would you describe your own soul in light of the Christmas story? Like the stable? Like the crowded inns? Like the palace in Jerusalem where the King, surrounded by wealth and finery nonetheless, was anxious about the potential threat to his power?
- What other contrasts do you see between the First Christmas and the way we celebrate it today?
- Can you recall Christmases where you can say you experienced the authentic spirit of the first Christmas?
- What is the deepest yearning of your heart that you wish to bring to Jesus in the manger this Christmas?
Felicem Natalem Christi from all of us at Facing Our Immortality and Domus Trinitatis
Advent Prayer to be like Mary
Mary, as we reflect on your yes to bring the Savior into the world, we ask that you be with us as we strive to bring Jesus to all those we encounter.
In this season of joyful hope, we turn to you for guidance. May we imitate your loving example, and steadfastly bring peace and justice to our world.
When we are tempted to distance ourselves from another, give us the grace to say yes to charity.
When we are frustrated, let us listen with our hearts to our neighbors.
When we are disappointed, help us seek new solutions as you did when the Inn was full.
Let us embrace our own need for poverty and humility in order to work toward creative solutions for our world as we await the coming of Christ.
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