The novena of the Holy Birth that we are living these days is a liturgical itinerary that supports us in our effort to prepare for the celebration of the great "event" that took place twenty centuries ago: it invites us to meditate on the profound aspects of the mystery of the Incarnation and to welcome it in our life.
We are preparing to live an extraordinary event during Christmas of this year 1999. Indeed, on Christmas Eve, which is upon us, the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 will begin, for which the Church has been preparing with faith for a long time, and this gives additional vigor to our expectation.
At the end of this time of Advent, the liturgy highlights the expectation of the whole of creation. It is as if after 2000 years, creation felt renewed joy at the arrival of him who in his fullness even more perfectly restores the primordial harmony upset by sin.
2. Dearest Brothers and Sisters! Let us begin to live the saving event of Christmas with intense participation, by beginning the Jubilee Year with profound joy. In the poverty of the manger let us contemplate the great "event" of the Incarnation: God became man to come to each one of us. Let us allow this great mystery to transform our existence during the whole time of grace of the Jubilee. Let us relive the moving and exalting experience of the shepherds, who promptly welcomed the announcement brought by the angels, and went without delay to adore the Savior, thus becoming the first witnesses of his presence in the world.
3. The Virgin Mary, who was the first to prepare a worthy dwelling for the promised Messiah and continues to give him to the world today, teaches us to open -- more than that -- to open wide the doors of our heart to the message of light and peace of Christmas.
With such sentiments and in the context of spiritual joy for the imminent opening of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, it gives me pleasure to wish each one of you my most affectionate best wishes, extending these heartfelt sentiments to all those oppressed by suffering, to those who must bear the heavy consequences of war, and those who find themselves in particular difficulties. I hope that, during the coming festivities, all will experience comfort from the Lord's presence, expressed by significant acts of love and solidarity.
In that little town, my son, where they knew us together,
you called me mother; but no one had eyes to see
the astounding events as they took place day by day.
Your life became the life of the poor
in your wish to be with them through the work of your hands.
I knew: the light that lingered in ordinary things,
like a spark sheltered under the skin of our days --
the light was you;
it did not come from me.
And I had more of you in that luminous silence
than I had of you as the fruit of my body, my blood.
On a French battle field in World War I, German and Allied soldiers huddled behind their trenches hoping to survive just one more day. It was the night of December 24th, and the sounds and smell of death were all around them.
In their cold wet trench, they heard the rattling of machine gun fire as chunks of dirt flew before them. The sharp report of rifle shots, the deafening explosions of artillery shells.
They were wet cold and covered in filth, much of it, their own. Their feet were numb from cold, and bloated from the cold water flowing in the trench. Wanting to move, to stand up and find a warmer, drier place, they held themselves fast for fear that even moving would bring death.
The world was going mad, and death reigned.
Then, softly, almost unnoticed, a single voice was barely heard:
Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht!
Soon, more voices joined it, slowly matching, then overcoming the din of battle.
Alles schlaft, einsam wacht.
Suddenly, their voices were joined by another:
Round yon virgin mother and child! Holy Infant, so tender and mild.
A crescendo of song overcame the noises of war, until the battle slowly ended and only the song remained. Sleep in Heavenly peace, sleep in Heavenly peace.
From the German lines a voice cries out:
Answered by: Merry Christmas
Then a soldier, beyond all reason, raises his head above the trench, and leaving it, walks, unarmed toward the others lines. A soldier from there soon does the same. In the middle of no man's land, they embrace. Soon, they're joined by others. Bread, coffee, tea and chocolate are exchanged. Pictures of families are shown, children are shown and missed. Without speaking the same language, they communicate their hope, their dreams. Brothers in arms form different nations embrace and console each other. As the sun rises over the horizon, they return to their trenches. Soon the battle will begin again, soon, the death will begin again.
But they have received a gift greater than any they ever received or will ever receive. The gift of hope.
But off in a corner somewhere, there is something plain. It isn't colorful, in fact, it looks sort of run down and plain. But every once and awhile, this draws ones attention. Maybe it was put there haphazardly, as an unthinking reaction. Maybe it was placed there out of love and devotion. But however it got there, it slowly touches us, drawing us to it. Though hardly the most extravagant thing in the house, it can't be passed with a thought being given to it.
The Christmas creche, the nativity scene, begun by St. Francis of Assisi to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas, slowly, silently, draws us back to the true meaning of Christmas. And when we come out of the 'trench' of life we have set ourselves in, and contemplate the birth of a small, vulnerable child 2,000 years ago, we are filled with a great gift. Hope!
On December 25th, we'll be back in the trenches. The kids will be up early making a bee line to the tree and the gifts, families will be cooking and cleaning getting ready for their guests. But as we attend Mass, we can look and meditate on the creche, and find hope in a world gone mad.
Merry Christmas. May the Peace that only Christ can give, be with you and yours. Now and forever.
I certainly am not one to think that there may not be some computer glitches that may affect thousands of people somewhere somehow in uncomfortable ways. Human beings, what they are, are bound to err somewhere in the world. However, I don't believe it will be the end of the world.
The best preparedness that we can have is a spiritual one. To go to confession, to make sure that we are in the state of grace, to pray more, to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to love and honor others as Jesus would want us to do! These things are far more important than food and water.
Certainly, one would be wise to make some material preparations. Store extra water, food, blankets, etc. But note that I said "reasonable." A Christian should avoid all anxiety and nervousness about the future. Why? Simply because Our Lord said: "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." "Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself." "Look at the birds of the air. They neither toil nor spin and yet the Father feeds them."
St. Paul once wrote: "Virtue lies along the middle road." Either extreme is to be avoided.
And so, dear reader. I thank you for reading my articles on this excellent web site which is faithful to God and the Church. I wish you every grace and blessing during this Christmas Season and New Year. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will."
I pray you will enjoy the beauty, the real beauty of Christmas which is the birthday of Jesus. Christmas Peace comes from union with God and love for God.
There is a great deal of deception and hate in our world. People hold grudges for many, many years. They break the 10 Commandments, as if they never existed.
Peace is having a right relationship with God and with one another, as far as we are able.
May your Christmas be the holiest, the happiest you have ever had. And may the baby Jesus cuddle and coo in your heart and fill you with His love.
God bless you!
The year 1999 has been significant in so many ways. In addition to the tremendous response to the "hits" on the Catholic-Internet Network, we have another success story. In 1999, through the generosity of a benefactor, all of the messages to the world given to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart between September 1990 and June 1995 were published in a magnificent volume entitled: "I Solemnly Tell You..." If you have not obtained a copy of this volume I encourage you to contact MIR-A-CALL Center at the DailyCATHOLIC offices in California.
"I bring you good tidings of great joy!" How consoling it is to reflect on those words of the angel from the first Christmas. Great joy indeed! Our God has chosen to live among us, to bring us new hope, new light. As Christians, as Catholics I strongly believe we should extend the spirit of Christmas everyday of the year. We could easily subscribe to that famous Gift List that anyone can afford every day of our life. These gifts are: The Gift of Listening; The Gift of Signs of Affection; The Gift of a Note; The Gift of Laughter; The Gift of a Game; The Gift of Doing a Favor; The Gift of a Compliment; The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition; and, most importantly, The Gift of Prayer.
I would like to share with you a Christmas story. We all remember the story of how a new star led the wise men from the East to the manger in Bethlehem. A few days after the wise men found Jesus there was a meeting of all the angels who had been involved in placing the new star in the sky, which had been named "The Star of Bethlehem." The angels gathered to discuss what should be done with the star, now that it had fulfilled its purpose. It was no longer needed. What to do with it? There was endless discussion among the angels, with first one proposal and then another. Finally it was decided unanimously that the Star of Bethlehem would be broken into billions of little pieces and one tiny piece would be put in the eye of each baby at birth. Our task is to look for that piece of star in every person's eye. It is truly there if only we look for it.
Christmas is a time to glory and revel in the Birth of Christ. Let us sing with the angels, adore with the shepherds, give with the Magi and join each other in silently turning the stable of our existence into a glorious place to worship the New Born Son, Jesus Christ.
My prayer for each and everyone of you is as follows: "God of time and of eternity, with Christmas joy we praise you for the blessings of the year gone by and for the New Year we have begun. Your Son comes among us to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim a year acceptable in Your sight. Knit us in harmony and love. Fill this new year with mercy and compassion, with prosperity and accord as we join the angels in proclaiming Your praise: 'Glory in Heaven and Peace on earth, now and forever.' "
Please continue to pray for the spiritual success of this wonderful ministry of MIR-A-CALL Center and the DailyCATHOLIC. Tell your friends about this magnificent ministry which has literally reached tens of thousands of people. May God bless you abundantly this Christmas and through the coming New Year of the the New Millennium of 2000. This is my HOPE! This is my WISH! This is my PRAYER! for each and every one of you.
Sincerely in Christ,
It strikes me that many may be anxious with the turning of the new millenium, some perhaps even down-hearted because events that have been foretold have not yet happened, or have happened in such a way that we have not seen nor understood them. The best remedy for all such disappointments is Our Lord. We must all spend time with Him, quietly before the Tabernacle, or when He is present in the Monstrance, and give Him our hearts with all of our concerns, anxieties, even fears. Give Him also your joys and laughter, for nothing happens to anyone without God's knowledge and care. Yes, even the sufferings come from Him in that He permits them to happen for the good of our soul, for our very salvation.
Let us join together this Christmas and make it a holy occasion as we've never done before. How many of us thought we'd be here to see in a new millennium? Yet, God has chosen to let us live at this time, and what a time it is! The last time the millennium turned, the crusades were not yet underway, and the world was plunged into the Dark Ages.
Are we any better off today? Only we can answer that question, and for each person the answer will be different. The one constant, the only constant, throughout history is God. He is, and He always will be, and it is on Him alone that we can count.
Together, let us be as the shepherds were in Bethlehem, called by angels to go and adore the Christ Child. Let us have childlike faith, unquestioned confidence in Him, presenting ourselves, our heart, our wills, as the finest gift we can give to Him, Who has given us all!
To each of you a Holy Christmas and a New Year filled with all His Graces and the guiding hand of Our Beautiful Heavenly Mother who gently but firmly nudges us ever closer to her Divine Son.
And we remember who gave us this "job" which is truly a labor of love at the DailyCATHOLIC. This Christmas will be special before we ever reach Christmas morning for we'll begin at 2 p.m. watching His Holiness John Paul II open the Holy Door to officially usher in the much-anticipated great Jubilee Year 2000; then drive down to San Diego to the Little Flower Chapel in La Mesa to venerate the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux who is spending Christmas Eve and Christmas in this little corner of paradise. We'll stay on for Midnight Mass at the Chapel and then trudge home tired and worn out but exhiliarated. How can anyone be less when they get to spend the evening with Jesus and His little flower?
Christmas day could naturally be a letdown after such a high the night before, but that won't happen because having Jesus with one's heart and soul each and every day means we are constantly celebrating Him, constantly adoring Him as the shepherds and Magi did, constantly seeing with His Blessed Mother Mary's eyes and heart because Our Lady has slowly but surely taught us all how to see and welcome her Divine Son by living and praying with and from the heart. You see, there's a method to her madness after all as she has been proving over and over from Rue de Bac in the early nineteenth century right up to the eleventh hour of the second millennium. And we finite beings, being the impestuous, impatient animals we are, want everything spelled out for us, everything prophesied to us. Why should we know any more than Mary and Joseph who trusted in God to provide, even if it were only a stable outside Bethlehem?
Thus our wish and prayer for all our readers which have been vast - beyond our wildest expectations - would be to trust in God with that childlike faith that the simple shepherds extended and the mighty kings exhibited. We could feel mighty ourselves with the impact of having exceeded five million visits for the year. Had someone told us that last year we wouldn't have believed it since we still don't have a dime to spend on advertising and promotion. But, because this ministry is not ours but the Holy Spirit's and we the caretakers, anything is possible with God. Because of that we are humbled and grateful that God has allowed us to be His vehicle for whatever purpose He so desires and we willingly give our fiat anew to do with us what He will. That is the greatest Christmas present we can all give Him this Christmas Eve and Christmas morn, one that will gain great dividends over the course of the year - the course of a lifetime - the gift from each of us of our fiat to God. He would expect nothing more, and definitely nothing less of His children.
We will take a week or so off to celebrate Christmas with the family, to recollect our thoughts and catch up on correspondence as well as begin a streamline project to make the DailyCATHOLIC all the more viable and inspiring, and easier to access and read in 2000. You will never know how grateful we are for your continued readership and enthusiasm in sharing the concept of the DailyCATHOLIC with others. It is through you, guided subliminally by the Sanctifier, that He blesses this publication with increased visits as we strive to fulfill Our Lord's words in Mark 16: 15, to "Go out into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature."
May you and yours have a blessed Christmas of sharing and giving and may you receive all the wealth of His graces in the coming Jubilee Year 2000. For each and everyone of us, we can only achieve these graces by being the willing manger for welcoming and holding the Christ Child.
There's the virgin birth in all of us