Lettera Madre Natale 2013
May Christ be born in us this day and every day: with these sentiments,I wish each onea very
Happy Christmasand joyful New Year.
The Work of Christmas begins …
When the song of the angels has been stilled,
when the star has gone from the night sky,
when the kings have reached their far shores,
when the shepherds have returned to their flocks,
then the work of Christmas really begins:
to find those who are lost,
to heal those who are broken in spirit,
to feed those who are hungry,
to release those who are oppressed,
to rebuild the nations torn by strife,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to bring the light of the Gospel
into the darkest corners of our world.
We pray that we might radiate the light of Christ,
through the kindliness of our presence
and the determination of our purpose,
every day of our lives. Amen.
My dear Sisters,
At the beginning of Advent I suggested, particularly during this time, that we enter more fully into each moment given to us; into a“renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter (us)”.
(EvangeliiGaudium, No 3).
In greeting you for Christmas, I wish to develop this profound thought. The encounter with Jesus began, when in the fullness of time, God sent his only Son, born of a woman and also in Jesus entering our humanity, becoming one of us. Inevitably, this leads us to ponder with Mary, remembering her readiness: “Be it done onto me according to your Word” (Lk. 1,38). We accompany her in these last days of her nine months – a time of anticipation and hope but also a time of deep awareness, of appreciating the present moment in joyful living, as she allows the child within her – the Word, the Son of God, to be fully formed.
“Yet who are we, and who is he? We shall learn this from his dear and holy Mother, who is so happy and full of joy to be with him in the stable … She will make us feel these things, and she will share with us the greatness of her love”. (Rosmini, E.A.60)
And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.(Jn. 1,14)
Here and now, two thousand years after his birth, Jesus – the Word is still becoming flesh and living among us; he encounters us where we are, in whatever place or situation, if we allow him. When we realize this truth in our lives, that Jesus, the son of God, born of Mary became human for each one of us, we are overjoyed; in faith we can truly say, “we have seen with our own eyes, we have contemplated, touched with our hands the Word of life, that life has been made visible and has been revealed to us … so that our joy may be complete.” (cf. 1 John 1, 1-4)
In our desire to communicate this joyful revelation, we are compelled to move from a state of contemplation, to go beyond ourselves and move towards others, because we want to share this experience of a new and abundant life: “I have come that they may have life, and live it to the full” (John 10:10). I become more conscious first of all, of a call to share in a simple way, in reaching out to my neighbour – my community, unafraid of witnessing to what is central in my life:“This joy did not only belong to the contemporaries of Jesus, but is also ours: also today this Word of life makes itself visible and tangible in our daily life, in our neighbour to be loved …in particular in the Eucharist of Christmas, and it fills us with joy”.(CarloMaria Martini)
It implies being aware of ‘the other’ without reservation: the one who is hungry; the one who is thirsty; the stranger in our midst; the one who lacks the necessities of life; the one who is sick… What is my response? The answer to the surprising question about “when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?” is loud and clear for us: “What you did to the leastof these, you have done to me”.(Mt 25:40)
These words from Jesus, the Word made flesh, the King, bring us “to face the shocking reality: Jesus stands at the door and knocks. He asks for help in the form of a beggar, a down-and-out, a man in ragged clothes, someone who is sick, even a criminal in need of our love. Christ stands at the door. He lives in the form of people around us. Will you therefore leave the door safely locked for your protection, or will you open the door for Him?” (Bonhoeffer)
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