Dear … loved ones …
Greetings to you during this season of the birth of the Holy Child, Our Saviour! What deep joy is ours when we take the time to contemplate the truth that God, Our Father in Heaven, Our Creator… “so loved the world that He sent His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but receive everlasting life” (Jn 3,16)
In the quiet of my cell Christmas Eve, and in the early morning silence also, I was looking at an image—a beautiful representation of the Nativity Scene—just the Holy Family—and was filled with amazement as a fresh wave of wonder struck me at what God has done for us. We have grown up hearing about the gift of Jesus and many of the miracles He performed, teachings He gave, and divine wisdom He imparted; the suffering He bore for our sake, the rejection He experienced, the abandonment, Our God, not just a good man, the perfectly innocent One who called us into being out of His unfathomable Love, we have grown up on the receiving end of what has formed the civilization in which we live, and this celebration gives us the opportunity to reflect on the sheer gratuity of God and His goodness—if we are not too distracted by the busyness and commercial aspect.
By the time this reaches you, Christmas Day will be two or so weeks behind us, but the Church gives us an Octave of days for the Nativity, and a season that last well into January—(Our Lord’s Baptism), In fact, it used to be until Feb. 2nd!
So let’s linger by the Nativity Scene… God could have left us with the Ten Commandments—He could have left us with the Law to guide us, and as long as we kept it, we’d know that we are on the right track, “doing our duty” as children who obey. But, Our Father’s love was not satisfied to give us just the Law. He wanted to show us *just how much* He cares about us, so He chose to offer His only Son—first by living with and for us, then by dying and rising again for us. Our Father wanted to attract us to Himself by showing us that He Is love and that “we love because He loved us first” (1Jn4). Our God stooped down to show us that Love is always seeking to go right to the end; “No greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn15)
It has been over four months since I was last arrested, and this makes it the longest I’ve been in jail at one time. For the most part, the milieu has been more peaceful than other times, though in December things became a little more tense on the range. A little calm descended Christmas day and it has lasted somewhat; but I have to learn to live with the tensions that one must expect in jail, and I must really seek God’s grace to live everything with God, and in trust that He gives the strength to guide us in everything that happens and in all the choices we are faced with.
Thankfully, the path is simple; I want to live for Christ who *is Life, so in every choice I’m faced with, I am called to make it in the knowledge that God, who is constantly loving me, is waiting for me to love Him in return. So when the answer does not seem clear, I ask Him to show me how to live Him and love Him in Truth. What is the pint of my life if I am not striving to love, and to go deepen in Love?
Thank God He is forgiving! Many times I fail to love, and He awaits my turning to Him and seeking His mercy, His forgiveness. There is nothing Our good Lord will not forgive if we repent. “No sin is too big for God” as I’ve heard someone say, and I tell the women here, too, who need to hear it.
I pray that as this New Year unfolds, we would all grow more in the awareness of the profound gift we have received in the treasure of our Faith. If our Faith does not seem to be such a treasure, we can raise our hearts and minds in prayer, and ask the One who gave us life, to help to see the path that leads to the fullness of life, the path of Love that leads right to the end, to the good soil that accepts the grains of wheat that we are, where we die so that we can bear much fruit.
all my love and prayers,
Dec 28th, 2012
Feast of the Holy Innocents
Octave of Christmas