Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent Reflection 1: Christmas: God makes Himself known ...

Here is Dom Luiz Carlos Eccel's marvelous and simple Advent pastoral reflection, Natal: Deus se dá a conhecer..., in English:

God reveals Himself only to the little ones who have a pure and simple heart and who seek Him with a sincere heart.

Who could imagine that the Most High God Almighty, the Creator of all things visible and invisible, would choose this way to reveal Himself to His loved ones? It was in a cave in Bethlehem, where the animals were kept by the shepherds.

God is Love, says the Apostle and Evangelist St. John. And Francis of Assisi, the creator of the second manger -- because the first was in Bethlehem, about two thousand years ago -- says: "Love is creative." True love is creative and simple: The God of Love reveals Himself to His beloved in such a simple form that many people have difficulty accepting it. Only the simple and humble of heart can understand, recognize and accept it.

Moreover, the Eternal and Glorious God chose simple and humble people, but of great soul and pure heart, to pitch His tent among us.

His first tent was the womb of the Virgin Mary of Nazareth, His mother.

Then He chose the humble home in Nazareth, forming the Holy Family, made up of Himself, Mary and Joseph.

When he turned 30, His tent became all the families who welcomed Him.

Today His tent is the tabernacles in all churches and especially the living shrine that is the heart of people of faith.

His favorite tent will always be the humble and simple ones, the heart of the little ones as it is written in the Holy Gospel.

The Psalmist has also already said that God is revealed to the humble and simple ones who seek Him with a sincere heart, with whom He identifies, and that He looks away from the arrogant and the proud, who seek their own destruction through idolatry of possessions, power and pleasure.

Let's be collaborators of the God of Love, who revealed Himself in Jesus from the womb of Holy Mary, allowing our hearts to be simple and welcoming, tender and fraternal, supportive and warm as the cave in Bethlehem. In so doing, God will continue His mission of making Himself known to His loved ones, giving them His saving love.

All we have to do is love God above all things, as the first commandment of God's law teaches us. He is pure Love. Only when we love Him above everything and everyone can we love everything and everyone with His Holy love, that is true and therefore liberating. It is like receiving the teaching of Jesus: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added unto you."

Only the love that unfolds in concrete acts of solidarity and fraternal sharing is what will create among us the Christmas that is life with dignity for all God's beloved and that will save the world. Help us in this mission of the first living temple of God -- Holy Mary and St. Joseph too.

Have a holy and merry Christmas and a New Year full of God's grace. Amen.

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