Christmas Blessings

By Father David Hasser.

Christmas blessings to you all! What a day of joy! With all of God’s promise from the beginning, today begins the age of joy as the world sees His greatest promises come to life! This great day of celebration gives flesh to the hope that we have, allows faith to grow and charity to be restored.

By His coming among us, being with us, Emmanuel the Christ Child gives us hope that we are wed to God. We look at the Star of Bethlehem, and that quintessential light hangs over the Light Himself and leads us to Him. Knowing about THAT star, every star in the sky reminds us of Him and of the reality of our Communion with Him. Every candle light reminds us of Him. The starry Christmas tree lights in the dark remind us of Him. It all reminds us that our hearts are made by and for God Who completely outshines the current creation. His star and all of the stars remind us that we can see as far as Heaven, beyond the limitations we might feel around us. We are reminded that we can make the journey along the narrow path with the Christ Child at our side. We walk to the Heavenly Emmaus speaking with the Lord along the way and entering into Him in every Eucharist. The ornaments that we fondly place upon the tree are memories of people or experiences, and we unite them with the evergreen tree of life and light, with Jesus, with those starry lights of hope. The wonderful compilation of tree, ornaments, lights, the manger, the Christ Child…it all inspires faith in our heart. It all is a public witness of our faith and our hope. It all reminds us to give freely of the charity that we have received. This majestic moment is not a dream; it is a real moment in history, one small light that once lit has illuminated the entire world and has breathed life back into our souls.

When Jesus was born nine months after He took flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, love was revealed. He has moved from resting in His Immaculate Mother to resting in a manger in the hearts of us all. As He rests here and we gaze upon Him, I invite you to contemplate and adore Him in mystery. We know what happens next in His life for thirty-three years. As we celebrate this day of His birth, our eyes can already see the rest of His life with us, and yet our hearts await Him still more. Come, let us adore Him!

Broken, Blessed, and Beautiful

Even though I don’t know what your plan is, I know you’re making beauty from these ashes.

“Broken Hallelujah” by the Afters

Broken, Blessed, and Beautiful: Isn’t this the Paschal Mystery we proclaim? Isn’t this also how the stories of our lives are written?

As we continue to celebrate this Easter season and look to embody this message of hope in daily life, the Alleluia quiets, the joy dims, and life’s daily struggles often begin again to filter and obscure the light. The promise of Spring found in the garden on Easter morning can fade and seem far off come nightfall.

As each of us knows, the landscape of life can shift dramatically, leaving us feeling lost, broken, and discouraged. The friends of Jesus knew this well as it played out before their very eyes. The Paschal Mystery has seasons, as do our lives. Personally I’ve lived these seasons through religious life, single life, marriage, and motherhood. I’ve felt the effects of these shifting sands. The benefit of time and experience has led me to the sure knowledge: God is taking me at my word, as I’ve so often prayed Psalm 51, “Create in me a new heart, O Lord, renew in me a steadfast spirit.” Each season has its own particular challenges and joys, its own blessings and brokenness. While the details of our individual stories may vary, the Author remains the same. He is in ALL the details, the brokenness and the blessing. We are reminded that life is a journey: We are ALL works in progress, perfectly imperfect, forgiven, redeemed, and loved beyond measure by a Wounded Healer.

Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the Risen Lord’s appearance to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Aren’t we like the disciples who walked the Road to Emmaus? To them, and to us, words can barely convey the heartfelt pain, loss, and grief of the past few days. But Jesus walks with these disciples and listens without judgment to their outpouring of emotion, unrecognized, just as He walks with each of us, listens to each of us. We and these disciples are exactly where we need to be.

When they arrived at Emmaus, they invited him with these words, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening!”

And it happened while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

He may have vanished from their sight, but most certainly not from their hearts. This encounter would provide hope and encouragement as these disciples lived out their renewed faith and Easter hope.

May each one of us invite the Risen Lord to walk with us, to stay with us. May we invite Him to open our minds and our hearts, so we may recognize Him, beautiful and broken, in our current circumstances. He will feed our spirits and fill our hearts with blessing.

By Meg
Meg left community after 8 years of serving as a professed religious sister. Discernment and transition were challenging for her, but three years after returning to the world, Meg met her future husband, Mike, with whom she now has three children. At present, Meg is “rediscovering” her love for all things creative, writing poetry, visual arts, and living a healthy lifestyle. She is grateful for the opportunity to offer encouragement to those who have left religious life.