Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let us run to Mary (St. Francis de Sales)

      Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence. 

       --St. Francis de Sales 

 Image source:  Katie M. Berggren, All-Encompassing

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sunday Gospel Reflection, January 1, 2017: Born of a woman...

 Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God 

   We celebrate this weekend the Solemnity of Mary, Theotokos, Holy Mother of God, whom St. Elizabeth called blessed among women (Luke 1:42).  As we learn from the priestly blessing described in the Book of Numbers, to be blessed is to know that the Lord lets his face shine upon you and is gracious to you.  Mary, full of grace, was certainly blessed by God; because of such a blessing, Psalm 67 suggests, God’s way can be known upon the earth and all the peoples may praise the Lord and make known his salvation.

   In Luke’s Gospel, when the shepherds go in haste to Bethlehem, they too are blessed, and that blessing means that they too have seen God’s face shine upon them. They too contribute to making God’s way known upon the earth, and go forth glorifying and praising God. As a result of their visit, Mary’s maternity becomes a locus of contemplation, as she kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. And there is much to reflect upon.  St. Paul reminds the Galatians that since Jesus was born of a woman, he partakes fully of our humanity; Mary’s physical body is thus the link of salvation between God and humankind, ultimately enabling all humankind to participate in the kingdom of God by their adoption as sons and daughters.

   By contemplating Mary’s maternity – as Mary herself did, and must have done at every step of her life journey with her Son – we too can come better to understand how much we are loved by God, who sent his Son into our world, and who sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.  We can, in other words, appreciate more fully how much we ourselves are blessed, and rejoice in the face of the Lord shining upon us, knowing that salvation is ours, and making known that salvation to the ends of the earth…

Image source:  Wordle

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hallelujah (from Alaska)!

 Living in a snowy landscape can be a challenge.  
See how this Alaskan community celebrates our Lord’s coming! 
We dare you to watch the whole thing  
without a glorious smile on your face! 
(Click on the video below….) 

Video source:  Hallelujah Chorus, Handels' Messiah, Quinhagak, Alaska

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Little Lamb (William Blake)

      Little Lamb, who made thee 
                                    Dost thou know who made thee 
     Gave thee life & bid thee feed. 
     By the stream & o’er the mead; 
     Gave thee clothing of delight, 
     Softest clothing wooly bright; 
     Gave thee such a tender voice, 
     Making all the vales rejoice! 
            Little Lamb who made thee 
            Dost thou know who made thee 
            Little Lamb I’ll tell thee, 
            Little Lamb I’ll tell thee! 
     He is called by thy name, 
     For he calls himself a Lamb: 
     He is meek & he is mild, 
     He became a little child: 
     I a child & thou a lamb, 
     We are called by his name. 
            Little Lamb God bless thee. 
            Little Lamb God bless thee. 
--William Blake

To hear this poem performed as a song, click on the video link below:

Image source: William Adolphe Bouguereau, L'Innocence (1893)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Bethlehem is not the end of our journey (Frederick Buechner)

   For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning – not a home, but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last. 

--Frederick Buechner, 
The Magnificent Defeat 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

I've heard about this baby boy... (Hallelujah!)

 I’ve heard about this baby boy 
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy, 
And I just want to sing this song to you. 
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, 
The minor fall, the major lift, 
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah! 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah 
A couple came to Bethlehem; 
Expecting child, they searched the inn 
To find a place for You were coming soon. 
There was no room for them to stay, 
So in a manger filled with hay, 
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah. 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah 
The shepherds left their flocks by night 
To see this baby wrapped in light – 
A host of angels led them all to You. 
It was just as the angels said, 
You’ll find Him in a manger bed. 
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah. 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah 

A star shown bright up in the east 
To Bethlehem, the wise men, three, 
Came many miles and journeyed long for You. 
And to the place at which You were 
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh, 
They gave to You and cried out, Hallelujah. 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah 
I know You came to rescue me. 
This baby would grow to be 
A man and one day die for me and you. 
My sins would drive the nails in You. 
That rugged cross was my cross, too. 
Still every breath you drew was Hallelujah.  
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah 

To hear this beautiful Christmas song 
based on music by Leonard Cohen,
click on the video below: