I know many of you are struggling financially in the slavery of this precipice of the marxism and communism. Others are struggling with family members who have been robbed of the tools for salvation or various other crucibles in your personal or family life.
I've had several conversations with people who have expressed bewilderment. They are living a life in the cavern of Christ's Church, in the constant service of trying to consecrate yourselves and the people you love in the Truth so they can always approach Christ with the finest gifts or play your best for Him. The suffering seems grossly misappropriated and God's relief and miracles have evaded you.
The election of a Pope who is pulling a rug out from underneath the Deposit of Faith and Sanctifying Grace as the devil is unchained has added to the bewilderment. There's more discouragement in faithful Catholic families than I've ever experienced. I have many friends who opine the period we are living in as the darkest hour in the history of the Church. It certainly is the darkest hour in our lifetime.
The trip to the stable and the struggle to be present there was a bit more challenging.
But the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome It.
I had a bit of an unnecessary challenge over the last week. I somehow managed to hurt my knee. I was still mobile until Wednesday when I did too much walking on my way home from work and found myself on the ground, unable to walk on it with ten minutes to make a train.
I managed to get home with some help but with things to wrap and many last minute things to do - and living with two 20-year olds who had things of their own to accomplish and places to be, I found myself on the couch in excrutiating pain and helpless. They kept checking on me every few hours, coming home and helping - but there were several times I waited several hours for a glass of water or other assistance. I couldn't make it to Mass and haven't been out of my jammies for three days. I toyed with going to the emergency room but with a knee injury you get whoever is on call. The outcome depends on who you pick. So I struggled through and have an appointment this morning.
Kneeling on the steps at South Station, all I could think of is - "Really Lord? Are you kidding me? Give me a break. I have enough and had enough. I sacrifice to what You ask of me and have given up much. Least you forget, here are some bullet points. In spite of it all, I work hard to bring those around me into Your Light and love. Enough already."
I whimpered and limped and made it home. The youngest two helped finish last details and our family centralized our celebrations at my oldest daughter's home where there was much joy and love and celebrating the gift of my seven month old grandchild.
I thought of all of us as I watched It's a Wonderful Life and prayed that each of you found it's beauty and truth in your own lives: The blessings of the many who have helped us along our way and the differences we have made and continue to make in the lives of others. The love and joy in every day life in spite of it all.
I love the scene where George comes home after his awakening. The banister of the old house comes off in his hands again but instead of his usual exasperation, this time he kisses it.
These days when Our Blessed Lord slumbers in the Manger and His people come to Adore Him are so precious. I go there with the communion of Saints several times a day to sit and observe. I sit in the light of the North star, smell the hay, feel the dampness, hear the animals. I see my relatives who have passed from this life. I pray in Adoration, watch others bring their finest gifts or play their finest tunes. I intercess for all of our struggles. I will sometimes place a person in the manger beside Christ. Rest or sleep in the arms of an angel.
You will always come back and kiss that banister.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.