Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Families driven from their homes (Fr. Ron Rolheiser OMI)

  Today, the Christ-Child can be seen in the countless refugee children who, with their families, are being driven from their homes by violence, war, starvation, ethnic cleansing, poverty, tribalism, racism, and religious persecution.  They, and their families, best fit the picture of Joseph and Mary, searching for a room, outsiders, powerless, uninvited, no home, no one to take them in, on the periphery, strangers, labeled as aliens.

--Fr. Ron Rolheiser,
Facebook, December 10, 2017

Image source: Kim Young Gil, The Flight to Egypt, https://thejesusquestion.org/2016/01/04/maria-von-trapp-plus-seven-artists-on-jesus-the-refugee/ (To view other powerful images of the Holy Family as refugees, visit this site!)

Monday, December 30, 2019

Put on that perfect bond of love (Kerry Weber)

  Although I carried them and birthed them, my children, ultimately, are not my own.  They come from the God, and my job is to guide them back to God. 

  And the only way to manage this is, again… that over all our efforts, all our qualities, we must put on that perfect bond of love.  We are asked to think a little less of ourselves.  To teach our children to listen and to obey, and then to let them go their own way, even if we don’t understand it.  To hope that whatever anxiety they cause us, that we’ll find them exactly where they’re meant to be.  To believe that ultimately, we’ll be reunited with them in our Father’s house.

  There are so many pressures on families these days, and it is all too easy to run around filled with anxiety or bitterness; to provoke each other; to become discouraged.  And, in our grasping and searching and wandering, we long for some feeling of control.  But today’s readings urge us otherwise:  We are asked to let the peace of Christ control our hearts.  Which means that we must let go of who we thought we were in order to fully become who Christ asks us to be.  It means that we must stop insisting we will do things, as my son says, by our own, and instead recognize that all we are we owe to the one who keeps reaching out to us, taking our hand, even as we try to pull away – the one who guides us and stands beside us, with every step we take.
--Kerry Weber      

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The holiness of the family (Sister Wendy Beckett / Janet McKenzie)

   No matter how deep the love, every human being is essentially a mystery.

   If the Holy Family did not always understand one another, the mutual love and dependence was unshaken.  [In this painting, Janet] McKenzie makes it beautifully clear that here is a family unit, three individuals bound together.  We notice that both Mary and Joseph look, not at us or at each other, but at Jesus.  Highlighted by the glancing sunlight, Joseph’s body language makes it unmistakably clear that he is devoted, body and soul, to the support of his beautiful wife, resolute to share with her the extraordinary responsibility of raising the child Jesus to manhood.

   The silent awe that Joseph feels is that of any young father faced with the wonder of raising a child.  Mary’s immense dignity, her majestic inwardness, is surely that of a young mother holding her gift from God.  The closeness and the sense of unexpressed devotion, which gives any family its stability, are here made visible.  The artist wants us to see the Holy Family as writing large for us the holiness of the family, any family, our family.
--Sister Wendy Beckett’s
Meditation on Janet McKenzie’s
The Holy Family

To read Sister Wendy Beckett’s complete analysis of this beautiful painting, click here.