DAILY CATHOLIC     CHRISTMAS ISSUE     December 23-27, 1998     vol. 9, no. 248

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE from
FR. STEPHEN VALENTA, OFM CONV.

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    My dear friends,

         During this holy season wherin we celebrate the Birth of Jesus, we become extremely "gift-conscious." Gifts are given, gifts are received. Whether one gives or receives, the net result is always an experience of joy. There can be more or less joy depending on many things such as, the value of the gift, the degree of love behind the giving or receiving of the gift, the sacrifice entailed, and the like.

          What joy there is within the Heart of God as He pours gifts upon all of His children on earth. There are greater and lesser gifts, but any one gift from Him is greater than the greatest gift that anyone on earth can give. The very gift of life that each person on earth receives is in itself greater than all the man-made gifts put together. What joy should there be in the heart of each one of us for the fact that God has given each one of us LIFE!

          Life is indeed one of God's greatest gifts to us, but is not thee super gift. What could be greater? Asssuredly, it must be the Gift of Jesus for the Gift of Jesus is indeedone of God's greatest gifts, and it could even be considered as one of His choice Super Gifts. Included in this choice Super Gift are included so many other gifts such as Mary, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Holy Father and the like. Even the Gift of the Holy Spirit is included in the Super Gift of Jesus for it was Jesus explicitly Who gave us His Spirit.

          How could there possibly be any greater gift than the Super Gifts of Jesus and the Spirit? There is the super, colossal gift from God given to some to be able to RECEIVE the Super Gift of Jesus and the Spirit. Being given the Gifts of Jesus and the Spirit is one thing; to be able to receive Them is another. To be able to receive these Super Gifts needs for God's Love to to engage in super, colossal giving.

          There are a number of super, colossal gifts contained within the Divine Heart of God. (Note, dear reader, that we should not forget that even God the Father has a Heart. We sometimes forget this when we consider Him to be the God of Justice.) We cannot, within the scope of this Christmas message, consider them all, or even a few others. I would like to consider one, however, which I think is one of the choicest super, colossal gifts, that of the gift of making it possible for each one of us to put ourselves willingly and joyfully UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

          You may ask, "What's so special about this particular super, colossal gift?" Just stop for a moment to consider. If I receive this very special super, colossal gift, look at what it does for me. I am able to make use of the very Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Gifts of Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Piety, Fortitude and Reverence. I am able to grow in all virtues, especially in the Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. I am able, under His influence, to be a channel of grace to others. I am able to be a conduit of healing from Him to others. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit I can patiently carry all the crosses on my shoulder, in fact, I can make use of them in joining them with the suffering of Jesus for the souls in Purgatory, for the conversion of sinners, and for the atonement of sin in the world. The list is almost endless; a list far greater than any material wish-list anyone could draw up.

          It is the Spirit Who reminds us of all the things that Jesus taught and still teaches through His Church. One of these is that we are able to ask God and if we ask, we will receive. What is it that we will receive? Still other gifts. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit we will be prompted just what to ask for and that prompting will not include requests for less best gifts.

          Let me offer you a special "holiday hint" and a short cut for your Christmas spiritual "wish list." If you would like to receive this very special super, colossal gift, go to Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Sincerely, from the depth of your heart, ask her to help you to ask for this gift. She will respond to you most quickly. She knows that time is short, and knows well how important it is in these troubled times for you to be directly and completely under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

          We know what it is to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, television, bad companions and the like. Why waste time with any of these if we have an opportunity to put ourselves under the influence of the Holy Spirit? No matter what, as human beings, we find a need to be under influence. Why not opt for the best!?! There is nothing better in all of live than to live each moment of the day and night under the loving influence of the Holy Spirit.

          I wish you all a blessed, super, colossal Spirit-filled Christmas and a New Year that will dawn for you full of His Loving Influence.

Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


December 23-27, 1998       volume 9, no. 248
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

DAILY CATHOLIC

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