Thursday, December 21, 2006


The Franciscan students left last week and most of the ITI students will leave today. There has been a profound quieting - a stilling that has occurred here. It is appropriate as we prepare, in the stillness of our hearts, for the coming of the King. We simply cannot receive him in noise or activity. The hustle and bustle surrounding Christmas can be the greatest obstacle to Christmas. Our hearts must be like that cave 2000 years ago - still, receptive, listening. On that stille nacht, heilige nacht of so long ago the entire universe waited in silence for the advent of the One. Waiting, watching, longing to receive the Son of God made man. So must our heart be. Let us not forget that without this humble babe we would still be lost in our sin - slaves with no hope to receive what is our deepest desire - union with God.

It is ok that the cave of our heart is dirty and smells. Our heart is the very place he chooses - wants - to be born. He knows he is not coming to a palace. He could have been born in one if he so desired...He chose a humble cave. The point here is not to wait until your heart is a palace to invite the King. he wants to be born in the humble confines of your heart. There he can make it into a fitting palace for himself.

Once born in our heart, we must bear him to the world. Our Lady becomes our example here. With her deep love of God and her humility, she was the "handmaid of the Lord" ready and accepting of all that her loving God had for her. How many people want to ride a donkey nine months pregnant? How many would be willing to bear their child in a stable? When you knew how special the child was? And yet, if Jesus was born in a palace, it would be very difficult to call him my Savior since I wasn't born in a palace. God desired to reach down to the lowest - to save all. Mary's suffering came from God asking her to let him reach down to the least brethren through her. For God to reach all, he needed Mary to ride that donkey and give birth in that stable, and, later, to immolate herself at the foot of her Son's Cross.

See, God asks of us, the baptized and confirmed, to do the same thing! He asks us to love him and trust him enough so that he can "reach down" into humanity through us for the salvation of the world. To do so, we must expect there to be trial and suffering just like Our Lady as we bear Christ to the world.

So let us then prepare our hearts, this Christmas, for the coming of the Savior with silence and stillness resolving that when he is born in us we will bear him to the world no matter the cost.


Anonymous said...

That was beautiful, and challenging! Thank you for the reminder during this busy time to be still and open our hearts to Jesus and bring Him to others! Merry Christmas Debbie, Mike Felicity, Cody, Zach, Eli, and Baby! We miss you and we love you!
PS. Grace is jealous that you are now "winning" with no. 5 on the way!! Love, The Swanke family

Michael Lee said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Frohe Weihnachten!! We miss all of you very much! We hope you had a fantastic and holy Christmas. We love you.

Oh, and I am sure you will catch up! ;-)