It’s almost Christmas. In a few hours many of us will be at Midnight Mass commemorating the entrance of the Lord of Life into the world. He came as an infant, so that we might not fear him. He wanted to grow up among us, to give us time to get to know him. He played with other children to show them the innocence of life. He died on a cross to show us the cruelty of sin. But in the end, he rose triumphantly to show us the glory of the Father. Christmas is the beginning of a great journey that God takes on through his only begotten Son, not for his benefit, but for our own. He begins this journey to bring us back to him.
Yet, I must confess that as I prepare for Christmas early this morning, the last day before Christmas, I am struck with a mixture of anticipation and sadness. I know that God is good. I have seen it in my own life. I have led a very sinful life and God has been merciful and forgiven me. Even though I have repented of my many sins, I know that there is nothing that I can do to merit his great love at Christmas, when he will come to me in the Eucharist, as he came to Mary and Joseph in the manger. It is only through his great mercy that I will dare receive him in the Eucharist. This fills me with great love and sensitivity knowing that undeserving, God will still love me and give me a chance to love him in return.
But there is the unborn child who will not live to see Christmas. There is the hopeless man and woman who will take his life this Christmas. There is the healthcare worker who will take the life of an unborn child at an abortion mill and whose soul God so much loves and wants to save. What about the parents who have killed their unborn in the womb? Will any of these people feel the presence of love and the source of life this Christmas?
My Franciscan Brothers of Life are a young group. We can’t take the message of great joy to that many people. Our reach is so short. This leads me to wonder, what can I do for the child Jesus? Jesus deserves our all. Yet, he is so humble that he does not ask for much. He only asks that we allow him to love us.
I am reminded of my Holy Father Francis, how much he loved the beloved child in the manger when he set up his famous crib at Greccio. I ask all of you, my brothers and sisters, that I may be a true Instrument of Life for the unborn, for the hopeless who believe their lives are not worth living and most of all for the souls of those who do not understand the sacredness of human life, which God the Father gave as a most precious gift to his only begotten Son.
May the infant Jesus bless you from the crib at Greccio, this year and through your lives.
Br. JR, OSF :christmastree1: