"Walking in the way and the love of the Lord"
Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm
all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!
As I sang this song in the grotto where Our Lord Savior Jesus Christ was born, the words came to life. I had just waited in line to visit the birth place of Jesus. As I waited in line, I started down the stairs and into the grotto; you could feel the presence of Our Lord. A chill started to fill the air. Was it the coolness of the grotto or was it the Holy Spirit which was all around us. I imagine it was a little of both. I waited in anticipation, just as we wait during advent. I took the stairs, one by one. As I waited, I could see everyone in deep prayer. Wondering, what will I do as I touch the birthplace of Our Lord? What will I say to him? I couldn’t wait to get there. As I arrived to the birthplace, we were each given time to kneel down and touch the star which was the spot of Jesus’ birth. I knelt, I reached out and I cried. I cried and kept saying thank you, thank you, thank you. All the thoughts and ideas that I thought of as we came down the stairs were gone and all I could do is say Thank you. As I stepped back into the grotto, our group gathered and we sang Silent Night. I couldn’t even get the first line out, I broke down and cried tears of Joy.
These are the tears of joy we should feel each and every day. The tears of Joy Our Lady of Medjugorje promises us, “if you knew how much I loved you, you’d cry for joy.” These tears of joy our gifts from Our Lord, if we knew how much He loved us we would cry tears of joy. We were given such a big gift on Christmas day, we were given Jesus. Jesus who loves us, who guides us and who forgives us; Jesus who comes to us every time we go to Mass in the Eucharist; let us give back to Jesus. Let us say Thank you.
This Christmas and throughout the year, let us say Thank you. Let us say thank you by giving to the Lord.
What better way to say thank you, than to give gifts to others. Let us share His love with others. So give your love! Give of yourself! Share the love and sweetness of Jesus through the light of your eyes. Give that loving look, give those kind words and give that good deed. Be like Jesus to others, give that Love.
What better way to live Christmas each and every day. Live in His love, share in His love and feel the peace and joy in His love.
Challenge: Be like Jesus to others
“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou
By: Fr. Thomas Rosica
Standing in the middle of the present day city of Nazareth is the mammoth Basilica of the Annunciation, built around what is believed to be the dwelling of Mary. In a grotto-like room at the heart of the basilica is a small inscription on an altar. It reads, "verbum caro hic factum est," here the Word became flesh. There, it is believed, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and her response changed the world forever.
Imagine yourself in Mary's place, asked to say "yes" to a divine plan so vast, so profound and so seemingly impossible that you cannot comprehend it. "How can this be?" she asks, bewildered. She is rooted in the faith of her ancestors, and yet now an angel has appeared in the midst of everyday life, extending a startling invitation. "You have found favor with God," the angel says, "and you will conceive and bear His Son." Will she accept?
It is Mary above all others who can teach us what it means to live by faith, and how to respond when God's providence disrupts the daily course of our lives, overturning its rhythms and expectations. Despite her fears and uncertainty over how this promise could be fulfilled, she still answered "Yes." Are we able to respond to God this way?
When we reflect on the Annunciation to Mary, and her acceptance of the angel's message, we also reflect on our own vocation -- our own calling from God. In the Lord's Prayer, we pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" -- an echo of Mary's "Be it done unto me according to your word." Each time we commit ourselves to embracing God's call and accepting His will, we mark a new point on the path of our relationship with Him. For the rest of her life, Mary pondered her extraordinary encounter with God, turning the weight of the angel's message over and over again in her heart. From the manger to the cross, Mary's life was radically changed -- her relationship with God profoundly deepened -- the moment she said "Yes."
Mary received and welcomed God's Word in the fullest sense -- becoming impregnated with it, and bearing it to the world. Angels might not appear in our doorsteps, but we do encounter God in each of our daily prayers, and he whispers to us a similar invitation: Will we accept His love and bring it joyously to those around us? Will we trust in His providence, even when we can't see the path ahead? Amid the noise of everyday life, will we listen for and embrace his call?
When making his pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Annunciation, Pope Benedict XVI offered this prayer to the humble Virgin of Nazareth. It speaks for all of us who likewise seek to accept God's will with joy:
Mary, Mother of the "Yes," you listened to Jesus, and know the tone of his voice and the beating of his heart. Morning Star, speak to us of him, and tell us about your journey of following him on the path of faith.
A question for today:
When have I felt that God was calling me to something greater than myself? When have I succeeded, and when have I failed, in accepting His will? What was the outcome of those situations?
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox
Saint James, pray for us that we may be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did. Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were. Amen