At the time of Jesus’ birth, the whole world is in movement. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to be counted in the census, reminding us that the world today is also traveling toward its definitive encounter with God. The journey of the Holy Family toward the moment in which God enters the world from the womb of Mary, in the Person of Jesus Christ, for all human eyes to see, reminds us that we too are moving on our own journey through this life, in company with millions of others, to our own definitive encounter with God.
Mary and Joseph found no comfort, no welcome, no shelter, no understanding from the world on this journey. They followed and were supported by heavenly inspirations and light, the presence of angels, and their own profound faith in God’s never-changing goodness and His ever-present Providence. This was their strength and consolation.
We also should not expect too much help from the world on this journey. The world has no space for God. No time. No real interest. It offers only distraction and a kind of movement which keeps the human heart in confusion, apprehension and vague unhappiness. The world is full of activity which often has no ultimate meaning. This activity spends the precious moments allotted to us to find our way home to Our Heavenly Father.
God enters our world in the fullness of time because He can no longer wait to be with us in Person. But Christmas also comes because mankind, in the persons of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men, seek God as well; because the intense, hidden longing of their souls has not been misinterpreted to them by the false prophets of the world. Their interior has not been cluttered with distraction. It is unfettered by illusion. God is their inner life and moves them in a mutual, eager longing, in silence, in poverty, in simplicity, in penetrating light and redeeming love.
Mary and Joseph “walk the way of perfection” to Bethlehem because they know God and are the friends of God. They call us to follow this way with them, a way which holds difficulty, discomfort, the contempt of the world, but which brings us to be the friends of God, as the psalmist says: “He who walks the way of perfection shall be my friend.” -Ps 101 Jesus silently stirs our hearts and beckons us to the embrace of true friendship with Himself, promising to make known to us all that He has heard from the Father. –Jn 15:15 This happens in God’s way, in His time and by His choosing. And it brings us the most precious gift of all, God Himself as a tiny baby depending on us to love Him, to care for Him and nurture His life in ourselves and in others.
In Bethlehem, two longings meet: the longing of God and the longing of man. Two longings answer each other and fulfill each other. May our poor and lowly souls this Christmas be still as the stable in Bethlehem at midnight, ever ready to receive our Lord in humble awe, in mutual longing. May we be the ones to be wrapped tightly with the gifts of Christmas peace, light, love and joy. And may that Divine love which becomes incarnate in Bethlehem, radiate outward to all mankind through our oneness with the Holy Family in this sublime mystery. May this Christmas find us and those we love and hold dear, numbered in the heavenly census, as citizens traveling joyfully forward to our celestial Fatherland.
United with all of you in the joy and light of the greatest gift of the Most Holy Trinity this Christmas: our Savior and Beloved.
Sr. Anne Marie, SOLT
At this time when Mary and Joseph are following an inner vision, the three Kings are following an extraordinary star, and angels are appearing to shepherds near Bethlehem, we take time to see with the eyes of our souls the great Gift that comes to us in the Person of Jesus, our Savior.
We may think this is old news: that Jesus comes to save us. But it seems that in the world today, the same world that lay in darkness at the Advent of Christ’s birth, we have even less appreciation of our need to be saved. And this primarily because we do not see things as they really are.
Man has tried over the ages to save himself. And though often well-intentioned, he continues today in this fruitless endeavor. It is easy for us to see this in great realities, examples from history that show us the simple truth: that “if the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labor.”
There are striking examples in recent history. Prohibition came about because of the recognition of the great evils that come from the abuse of alcohol. It was a human campaign against the destructive forces of alcohol. It was motivated by a noble concern for the dignity of person. And yet, it also spawned great evils, not the least of which was the entrance of organized crime into the procurement of liquor, probably resulting in more graft, corruption and death, than ever before.
“Women’s Liberation” is another obvious example. It was a necessary challenge to the injustice present, and still present in the world in relationship to women. And yet, at the same time, without Christ at it’s center, it too has spawned the great evils of abortion, promiscuity, rising rates of unmarried pregnancies, venereal disease and sexual abuse, to name only a few. Ironically, perhaps the greatest evil to come from godless feminism, is the depersonalization of woman into an object, a commodity.
Today we also see man trying to break the ordered boundaries of creation and the barriers of physical health. And we see him as well trying to conquer death. We are well aware of the ways in which this kind of activity opens doors to unprecedented kinds of evil, threatening the very existence of mankind. Yet these victories over the flesh and death, are victories Christ has already won for us. And they can only be had in Him.
The last century witnessed the rise and fall of more social, political and cultural ideologies than almost any other era in time. Though some of these visions of man contain noble goals, the 20th century, overall, was marked by what one author called “mega death.” Millions upon millions killed in war, genocides, persecutions, ethnic cleansing, etc.
We know there is no philosophy or ideology that can make sense of the world, nor explain man’s innate desire to know goodness and exist forever, unless it sees everything as coming from God and going back to Him. Even when our natures, oriented as they are to goodness, try to move to fulfillment, there is no hope outside of Christ. Our world has too often been a tragic witness to this.
At a personal level we often also live our lives in this way. We do not see things as they really are. We do not see ourselves or others as they really are, because we do not live in Christ the way we should. And therefore we do not even really seek the saving power of Christ in our lives. Instead we try to save ourselves and others, in so many ways.
We use our words to try and save ourselves, instead of going to the Word to be saved by it.
We try to save ourselves and others by our work, our apostolates. But we often forget that the work belongs to God, and will only be made fruitful in Him.
We use relationships to try and save ourselves from one difficulty or another, instead of striving to live in communion with the Triune God who gives us every real relationship.
We form human alliances that pit us against others, in order to save ourselves (and who can count the number of evils this breeds), instead of living the Covenant God has given to us.
We seek to save ourselves by standing in judgment over others rather than loving them and escaping our own judgment by living God’s charity which He promises covers a multitude of sins.
We try to save ourselves from our addictions and only end up replacing one with another. We do the same with our weaknesses. We spiritualize them in an attempt to still our consciences rather than seeking and depending upon God’s merciful grace. Our real self, which we hide from ourselves, nevertheless dogs us into our life of prayer and charity toward our neighbor, especially those we live with. So we try to heal our brokenness with all sorts of self-help programs instead of letting God help us.
Our blindness runs very deep. We are not even aware of the many ways we stay outside of the whole salvation Jesus comes to bring us. He not only wants to free us from sin, but from worry, from resentment, from wounds and hurts that keep us bound to the past, from loneliness, from narrowness, from boredom, from indifference, from blindness, from selfishness, from our suspicions, our doubts, our negativity and fears, from self-sufficiency, from everything that leads us to spiritual starvation. He comes to give us life, and the more abundant life!
Jesus knows how hard it is for us to truly acknowledge our need to be saved. He knows how our pride blinds us. He knows how difficult it is for us to approach Him unguardedly. So He comes to us as a tiny baby, and as babies are able to do, draws us to Himself and commands our attention and affection by His beauty and littleness. There is no other human being we take as easily to ourselves as a little baby. There is no other that disarms us and wins our heart and our affections so quickly. There is no other creature that draws the good from within us, all that is human, the way a baby does, and most importantly, the way the Baby Jesus does.
May each of us this Christmas be given, and receive in all humility, the eyes of the Shepherds, the determination of the Wise Men to follow the vision of the Star, and the heart and soul of Mary and Joseph who so eagerly saw and so completely received the magnificent love come to us Incarnate in Christ Jesus our little Lord and mighty Savior.
Come Lord Jesus. Come to save us! Do not delay!
Sr. Anne Marie, SOLT
On July 15, 2013 during SOLT’s Extraordinary Chapter four women professed first vows. These new spouses of Christ have given themselves to Him through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, according to the Constitutions of the Sisters of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). SOLT is a Society of Apostolic Life of Diocesan Rite.
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Read the latest Gray Robes, highlighting our SOLT Seminarians at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. Please pray for the six men preparing for ordination to the transitional diaconate this JULY 16, 2013.
SOLT Gray Robes 2013 Spring Semester
God bless you and Our Lady keep you!
The latest SOLT Mission magazine has arrived! Read all about the vocation journey of a Belizean sister, reflect on the Year of Faith, hear from one of our lay missionaries from Nuevo Laredo, and more! Click on the link below to download it!
The latest copy of Grey Robes, the newsletter for our brother seminarians up in Detroit. Find out all the latest, including stories about our seminarians, information about their education and formation, and a brief teaching on Marian Consecration. Read it all and more, by clicking on the link below! Happy reading, and God bless you!
Good news! The latest edition of the “Grey Robes” (the publication of our seminarians) has arrived!
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