Friday, December 24, 2010

Finding Christmas Peace

[Repost from previous years]:

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

How to find Christmas peace in a world of unrest? You cannot find peace on the outside but you can find peace on the inside, by letting God do to your soul what Mary let Him do to her body, namely, let Christ be formed in you. As she cooked meals in her Nazarene home, as she nursed her aged cousin, as she drew water at the well, as she prepared the meals of the village carpenter, as she knitted the seamless garment, as she kneaded the dough and swept the floor, she was conscious that Christ was in her; that she was a living Ciborium, a monstrance of the Divine Eucharist, a Gate of Heaven through which a Creator would peer upon creation, a Tower of Ivory up whose chaste body He was to climb "to kiss upon her lips a mystical rose."

As He was physically formed in her, so He wills to be spiritually formed in you. If you knew He was seeing through your eyes, you would see in every fellowman a child of God. If you knew that He worked through your hands, they would bless all the day through. If you knew He spoke through your lips, then your speech, like Peter's, would betray that you had been with the Galilean. If you knew that He wants to use your mind, your will, your fingers, and your heart, how different you would be. If half the world did this there would be no war! 

"King of Kings yet born of Mary
As our Lord on earth He stood
Lord of Lords in human vesture
In the body and the blood
He will give to the faithful
His own self for heavenly food,"

- from "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent" (French Carol)

"The Eucharist began at Bethlehem in Mary's arms. It was she who brought to humanity the Bread for which it was famishing, and which alone can nourish it. She it was who took care of that Bread for us. It was she who nourished the Lamb whose life-giving Flesh we feed upon,"

- St. Peter Julian Eymard

"When we worship you in the form of bread... we always see you as an adult. But every year at Christmas, you reveal yourself to us as a child born in a crib. We stand in silent amazement...

In silent adoration we stand before the mystery, like Mary when the shepherd came and told her what they had seen and heard: 'She kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.'

- Chiara Lubich

"The shepherds - simple souls - came to adore the Infant Savior. Mary rejoiced at seeing their homage and willing offerings they made to her Jesus... How happy is the loving soul when it has found Jesus with Mary, His Mother! They who know the Tabernacle where He dwells, they who receive Him into their souls, know that His conversation is full of divine sweetness, His consolation ravishing, His peace superabundant, and the familiarity of His love and His Heart ineffable,"

- St. Peter Julian Eymard

"Where is the new-born King of the Jews?" inquired the three Magi of Herod, king of Jerusalem. "Where is He?" they repeat in their great desire to find Him. "We have seen His star in the East, and we have come to adore Him. Ah, tell us where He is; we desire so much to see Him; we have made so long a journey in order to become acquainted with Him!"...

But now there is no need of traveling far or of making many inquiries to find Him. He is, as we know by faith, in our churches, not far from our homes. The Magi could find Him in one place only; we can find Him in every part of the world, wherever the Blessed Sacrament is kept. Are we then not happier than those who lived at the time of our Saviour Himself?

- from The Blessed Eucharist, by Fr. Michael Muller, C.S.S.R.

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

The little town of Bethlehem is taken from two Hebrew words which mean "House of Bread." He Who called Himself "the Living Bread descended from Heaven" was born in the "House of Bread" and was laid in the place of food, the manger. The first temptation Christ had in the beginning of His public life was to become a bread King, and to win men by supplying them with food. On one occasion when they attempted to make Him King after multiplying the bread, He fled into the mountains. Rome once rang with the cry: "Bread and circuses." But the Bread that was brought at Bethlehem was an entirely different kind: "Not by bread alone does man live."

The body has its bread. Shall not the soul have its food too? Those who have nourished themselves solely on the bread of the stomach and ignored the Bread of the soul have cried out with some of the bitter disappointment of the Lord Chesterfield: "I have seen the silly rounds of business and pleasure, and have done with them all. I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world and consequently know their futility, and do not regret their loss. Their real value is very low; but those who have not experienced them always over-rate them. For myself, I by no means desire to repeat the nauseous dose."

Merry Christmas! A holy night, a silent night with Mother and child, all is calm, all is bright. This inspiring hymn came to us because an organ in Germany broke down about one hundred years ago.

Without an organ the parish priest in this small country church said it would be a "Silent Night". The organist would compose a melody. The priest would write the lyrics and the choir would just sing the soft praises of this hymn for midnight Mass.

That is all it was meant to be, just a simple hymn sung once and forgotten. Then a snowstorm prevented the man who fixed the organ from coming until the snow melted in the spring. After he finished he noticed the music left on the organ since Christmas night and took it back to Munich. The rest is history. "Silent Night" has reverberated throughout the ages. With its quiet sounds of love and peace it has inspired millions and millions, touching the lives of countless people.

It is the same with a holy hour. We leave it in the chapel like the music to "Silent Night," and God turns our hour of prayer into a never-ending stream of graces for His people. A single holy hour of prayer touches more hearts through God’s grace, than all the people who have ever been touched by "Silent Night". From a single holy hour of prayer God’s graces reverberate throughout the world until the end of time and will continue for all eternity.

This is because of the divine appreciation God has for those who love His Son in the Blessed Sacrament. The Father will spend all eternity thanking you and loving you in heaven because you have honored His Son on earth in the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament is the continuation of Christ’s Incarnation on earth.

Coming to the Blessed Sacrament we find the same humility and gentleness that the shepherds found in "the babe lying in a manger". (LUKE 2:15). The hunger in the heart of God for the love of man is expressed in the profound humility of these two words, Baby Jesus.

How great is God’s desire for intimacy with man! Jesus came as a Babe, because no one is ever afraid to come close to a baby. A baby is lovable in its vulnerability. A baby reaching our for love with open arms is irresistible.

The Sacred Host embodies the Divine Tenderness of the Incarnation. So gentle and humble, so loving and small and vulnerable, the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus saying "Come to Me...for I am gentle and humble of Heart". (Mt. 11:30).

Only the humble hear His voice. Only those with a childlike heart seek His Heart in the Blessed Sacrament. This is why Jesus says: "Let the children come to Me; do not prevent them for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Mk 10:13).

- Excerpts from Letters To A Brother Priest

More can be found here.

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