I have got to be honest, I am playing catchup !!!! Well what is new in my current situation that I have not be forced to encounter, in so many of my life situations, these many years. So these words from scripture are, for me, full of consolation and hope. " "May The Lord bless you and keep you; may The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; may The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace". I have used these words of blessing so many time over the years and now they have more meaning for me as I face the challenge of entering the twilight of my human existence.
Now, more than ever, I have to rely on the Care of The Good Shepherd, and all those who have accepted the challenge of looking after today's sick, lost, weak, hungry, naked etc. They are the current good shepherds who continue the mission and ministry of He Who entered our human condition as the most vulnerable of all creation, a baby. A baby has no instincts for survival. The rest of those who enter our world as babies have that God given instinct for survival. The Son of God came with no such instincts, he was not afforded special treatment because of He was. "He was like unto us in all things, except sin," and how He loved the sinner. His first visitors, the shepherds, were, the lowest of the low, at the time of His Incarnation. This Revelation of A Mercy-full Creator was first revealed to the powerless, not the powerful. In 2024 we must bring our powerlessness to The Crib and surrender all that pain, agony and alienation to the gentle hands of The Non-threatening vulnerable Infant. We are now encouraged to journey within, and give birth to the inner child. This is another name for The Christ Child. That Presence has chosen you to be His dwelling place. Each one is a walking tabernacle ? What innate dignity is conferred on each human ? We must face challenge of not only discover The Christ Child, but all those that are presented in each crib scene. What you see is what is within you. Yes all those are within your depths. Which presence will be your choice for 2024 as you continue to discover the richness, and mysteriousness of The Incarnation. Each year we are asked to encounter the crib, and The Mystery of The Incarnation and to make what is revealed to us by The Holy Spirit the foundation of our belief in The Epiphany.
The Feast of The Holy Family is a celebration of what the ideal family looks like. The Holy Family had it's beginnings in messiness. Nothing was quite in order for the ideal entrance of The Son of The Creator of all Creation. Why did not That Creative Spirit Who brought all creation into an orderly reality, save some of that creativity plan an ideal entrance and subsequent revelation of He who keeps the whole of creation in existence. For many many years we had a glorious collect prayer for the above feast.
" Teach us the sanctity of human love, and show us the value of family life." This was our prayer, but has taken the prophetic voice Pope Francis to make that teaching a life giving reality. Because of the recognition of the sanctity of love, we are witnessing a revolution in the understanding of the sacramentality of human love. Human love and loving is a sacrament, NOT, a Sacrament. One has a small "s" and the other has a capital "S". I like to see all reality as a sacrament. A sacrament is each and every person, place, event, action that brings us in contact with the realities of life, ultimately with Reality Itself. That Reality we call The Divine, God, Great Spirit etc. "where love is there is God, where there is no love, there is no God, because God is love." My definition of Hell, is, where Love ,is, not". The Gracious Divine cannot send us to hell. We create our own hells, our own prisons, as we live a life that is, death-dealing rather than, life giving. We are each responsible for the heavens or the hells we freely choose to live in. Notice those two words, freely choose. ( Next time let us look at all those actions, those attitudes, those gifts which are at our disposal, empowering us to be life-givers, not death-dealers. Within each and every now-moment we have to choose healthy love, and so fulfill the purpose for which we were created.) May 2024 be for you a sacramental reality. Love, prayers, and special blessings. Great grandpa Joe.