Thursday, December 25, 2008

Today, today a Savior has been born!
A Savior has been born to us.
He is Christ the Lord, Christ the Lord, Jesus Christ the Lord!

Christmas blessings to you! This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Today we celebrate a miracle and an unfathomable reality... God incarnate... God becoming human... God being born "according to the flesh" into our messy and mundane world. What an amazing reality!

Jesus is called by many names... Wonder-Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace... Light of the World. There are two names on which my prayer is focused this morning - Prince of Peace and Light of the World.

Last night some members of the Marianist Family gathered at the Immaculate Conception Chapel at UD at 5pm for the First Vespers of Christmas. The homily given by one of our Marianist priests focused on peace.... Our homily at Mass last night, given by another Marianist priest, focused on the awesome reality (and challenge) of God taking on flesh and what that means for us now...

As Marianists we believe that we are called to continually bring to birth Jesus and to nurture the life of Jesus in this world like Mary did - as individuals, but mostly as community. Yes, Jesus was born once over 2000 years ago... but that event should play out, so to speak, each day in every interaction...

Our world, our nation, our families and our lives need the Prince of Peace and Light of the World in more ways than I can adequately put into words. With so many people having lost their livelihoods... people sleeping in the streets... people mourning the loss of a loved one to violence... war and armed conflicts... endemic disease... unjust regimes and institutions...

It is into this world that Jesus came... and continues to come. In celebrating this day, we don't just celebrate something from 2000 years ago... exchanging presents and feasting on great food... Today we also recall that WE are to be Christ-bearers... We are to carry and make present the Peace and the Light. If not us, who celebrate this day, then who? And if not now, then when?

Yes, this is the day the Lord has made... may the joy of this day enliven us to bring forth into our world Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World.

Many blessings to all who read this,
Sr. N

Sunday, December 07, 2008

For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits
Truly, my hope is in you!

So... it's been nearly a month since I last posted. Where has the time gone?! I ask that question a lot, don't I? I guess it never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes and how there never seems to be enough hours in the day or days in the week...

Today, though, as we enter the final stretch of Advent and start our reflection on the "O, Antiphons" I knew I wanted to write before Advent ends. I really like Advent. In praying for the light of Christ to pierce the darkness of our world... in union with Mary who boldly said "yes" and then pondered God's actions... there is a lot to which I can relate... challenges for my growth in faith and in bringing the light of Christ to dark places... (both within and "out there")

As you may recall, in 2006 and 2007 I had the great joy of going on silent retreats for a week during Advent at the Trappist Monastery of Gethsemani. What a grace & blessing! This year Advent has not quiet been so quiet and reflective. With traveling, meetings, finishing up my semester course (research paper & oral final exam), holiday gift exchanges/parties, spending time with our 2 visiting Marianist Sisters from India who were here learning English for the semester (wonderful women!)...

The challenge this year has been to draw upon the grace that comes from the small moments of quiet and the opportunities for personal meditation and actually making that time a priority in the over-scheduling I tend to do. I've learned that the grace of Advent doesn't just come from a week of silent retreat... it also comes in the enlightening conversation with a friend or the 15 minutes of praying with Scripture before heading to community morning prayer ... in reflecting on the day before I fall asleep... All can be (and are) moments of Advent grace. The stillness required to recognize and respond to the grace does not necessarily mean external stillness or silence. It is more so an interior posture that is not dependant upon an exterior silence. And so, in the midst of the craziness that is the end of the semester in a university community, I say, "my soul in stillness waits."

Many Advent blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N