December 24th – IV Sunday of Advent

My Dear Friends:

How can one not be in awe as we behold the marvels of God’s love for us?

We gather this Christmas to behold God become vulnerable for us in the Christ child. God not only sent his only Son to redeem humanity, but he took on our humanity to sanctify us, to unite us to the Divine, and to perfect that which our sin had deformed. How can we not be in awe? God becomes totally dependent on a young Virgin and on her husband, a humble Jewish carpenter. The manger elicits a reaction from us: not just the vulnerability of a newborn Child, but the love that surrounds this child from our Blessed Mother and her most chaste spouse.

There in a dark, silent corner of Bethlehem, surrounded by His creation, God humbled himself and took on humanity’s fallen state. St. John of the Cross in one of his poem’s extoled the grandeur of this moment in an exchange between the Father and the Son right before the Incarnation:

Now that the time had come
when it would be good
to ransom the bride
serving under the hard yoke
of that law
which Moses had given her,
the Father, with tender love,
spoke in this way:
“Now you see, Son, that your bride
was made in your image,
and so far as she is like you
she will suit you well;
yet she is different, in her flesh,
which your simple being does not have.
In perfect love
this law holds:
that the lover become
like the one he loves;
for the greater their likeness
the greater their delight.
Surely your bride’s delight
would greatly increase
were she to see you like her,
in her own flesh”.
“My will is yours,”
the Son replied,
“and my glory is
that your will be mine.
This is fitting, Father,
what you, the Most High, say;
for in this way
your goodness will be more
your great power will be seen
and your justice and wisdom.
I will go and tell the world,
spreading the word
of your beauty and sweetness
and of your sovereignty.
I will go seek my bride
and take upon myself
her weariness and labors
in which she suffers so;
and that she may have life,
I will die for her,
and lifting her out of that deep,
I will restore her to you”.

And so it came to pass that the “fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption (Galatians 4:4-5).” There is no greater love story ever written, composed, sung, or thought of as great as the love between our God and humanity. He who is Love Himself created us to love. And when in the beginning that love was rejected and deformed, it was necessary that Love Himself become human to show us how to love.

This Christmas, we are invited to become part of the magnificent exchange between God and his creation that plays out in the manger on that silent night. As Pope Francis told us earlier this month: “Before any Nativity display, even those we make in our own homes, we relive what happened in Bethlehem more than two thousand years ago; and this should reawaken in us a longing for silence and prayer, in our often so hectic daily lives. Silence, so as to be able to listen to what Jesus tells us from the unique “cathedra” of the manger. Prayer, to express grateful wonder, tenderness, perhaps the tears that the Nativity scene stirs in us. And in all this, there is the model of Mary: she says nothing, but contemplates and adores.” (12/9/23)

We welcome everyone to Little Flower as we gather to share the gift of the Eucharist this Christmas. There is no greater gift! We greet in a special way our visitors, many of whom have traveled great distances to join us for this holy day. We pray that you feel at home in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Your priests and religious sisters wish all of you a Blessed Christmas praying that we all become one with the Divine Child born to us on Christmas Day and be awed by the marvels of God’s love.

Merry Christmas!

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