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Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Jesus is the Lamb


It’s easy for me to anticipate Christmas and the birth of Jesus in forgetfulness of His sacrifice that we celebrate every Sunday.  It’s also more difficult to remember our call to mortification, let alone to accept the little sufferings I might face or the little acts of selflessness I am challenged to offer.  As I remember the coming celebration of Jesus’ birth in anticipation, I try to remind myself of St. John of Cross as he encourages us:

To endeavor always to incline oneself,

  • …  not to that which is easier, but to that which is more difficult;
  • …  not to that which is tasty, but to that which is more bitter;
  • …  not to that which is more pleasing, but to that which is less pleasing;
  • …  not to that which gives rest, but to that which demands effort;
  • …  not to that which is a consolation, but to that which is a source of sorrow;
  • …  not to that which is more, but to that which is less;
  • …  not to the lofty and precious, but to the lowly and despicable;
  • …  not to that which is to be something, but to that which is to be nothing;
  • …  not to be seeking the best in temporal things, but the worst,
  • …  and to desire to enter in all nakedness and emptiness and poverty through Christ in whatever there is in the world.

And while I try to endeavor as St. John suggests, it helps to seek the humility of Christ as well with the Litany of Humility:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

  • …  From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
  • …  From the desire of being loved…
  • …  From the desire of being extolled …
  • …  From the desire of being honored …
  • …  From the desire of being praised …
  • …  From the desire of being preferred to others…
  • …  From the desire of being consulted …
  • …  From the desire of being approved …
  • …  From the fear of being humiliated …
  • …  From the fear of being despised…
  • …  From the fear of suffering rebukes …
  • …  From the fear of being calumniated …
  • …  From the fear of being forgotten …
  • …  From the fear of being ridiculed …
  • …  From the fear of being wronged …
  • …  From the fear of being suspected …
  • …  That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
  • …  That others may be esteemed more than I …
  • …  That, in the opinion of the world,
  • …  others may increase and I may decrease …
  • …  That others may be chosen and I set aside …
  • …  That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
  • …  That others may be preferred to me in everything…
  • …  That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

In this way, I think I can better appreciate and celebrate Christmas, the arrival of the Suffering Servant who came to set us free.

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Broken Hearts, Broken Homes


On this Second Sunday of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.  This week we focus on the obedience of Noah and Abraham in their covenant relationships with God.  And today, we focus on sin as a broken relationship.

I grew up in what I think is a typical Catholic family.  The third of six children, we celebrated Sundays and the Holy Days.  Much like many other families, we prepared for Christmas in the usual ways: buying presents, decorating the tree, etc.

I have many fond memories of Christmas, but for some reason I always associate Christmas decorating with turmoil.  I think this is because my childhood home seemed to fill with arguments and discord when it came time to decorate the tree.  And so now, while my wife looks forward to the Yule decorations with joy, my overriding emotion is a sense of dread because of this baggage from my childhood.  It’s not an egregious brokenness, but it’s mine.

My brokenness is not just a sign that my relationship within my family of origin was less than perfect; it also hinders my efforts to enter into a more complete union with my wife.  This is like sin.  Sin is not only the result of my turning from God, it is also a symptom of that broken relationship and causes further deterioration.  Sin begets sin.

Just as my divine relationship is incomplete, so is that within my earthly family.  Each family is, after all, composed of human beings.  But my role as father and husband is not to dwell on the imperfections of the family but to seek to draw my family closer to perfection through a closer unity with God.

Day 12-2

The best way to strengthen my family is to grow closer to God.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

Day 12-1a

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