Deep beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a small cave where an altar has been built to commemorate the exact spot where Jesus was born. This spot has been venerated since the earliest days of Christian faith.Over the centuries several churches have been built over that cave where Joseph and Mary found refuge awaiting the birth of the Word made Flesh. “There was no room for them in the Inn,” as the SacredScriptures recall, but the cave where the animals found shelter was sufficient.
The animals have long departed that little cave and the altar built over the holy place is beautifully decorated with silks and linen, multiple candlesticks and hanging lamps with flickering lights illuminating the place where the Son of God was born.
Several worn marble steps lead down into the cave from the nave of the Crusader era church. A certain dexterity is necessary to maneuver the descending steps, crowded with pilgrims …not always devoutly…making their way to the sacred spot. Coming to the altar of the Incarnation many kneel and bend to venerate with a kiss or a tender touch the silver star which marks the place where the Eternal God came to dwell among us in human flesh.
Christmas Eve never comes that I don’t recall the treasured moments I have been blessed to venerate that same spot, to kneel and kiss that silver star, recalling that this is the place where Jesus was born. This is the spot where God came down to earth. This is where our human flesh took on the dignity of the Divine, and the hope of eternity shone forth commemorated by that silver star.
The great pandemic which continues to seize us all has made us rethink everything, perhaps even our faith. But the celebration of Christmas reminds us of God’s presence, of Jesus’s love and the humble…initially indiscernible way…in which He comes to be with us.
May these Christmas days, as unusual as they are, be an occasion for all of us to consider—even in the midst of such uncertainty—the many blessings we have received, the reshaped priorities we have set and the graced encounters we have had with the presence of God and the joy He surrounds us with in one another.
Peace and blessing,
From my heart to yours in the hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Christmas Mass Survey/Volunteers
November 24, 2020
Christmas Mass Survey:
Please log on to our Facebook page and complete our 2020 Christmas Mass Time Survey! This will help us to track (and pass on to you) which Christmas Masses are expected to be at capacity and aid in your celebration planning. Click Here
Reminder that we need volunteers tomorrow, Wednesday, November 25 at 1pm to set up the Activity Center for Thanksgiving day Mass. Your generous support is greatly appreciated!
John Paul Two, We Love You!
October 22, 2020
“John Paul Two, We Love You!”
Today is the Feast of Saint John Paul II. As a dear friend of mine said, “He was the Pope for the whole world!” Indeed the influence of his teaching and witness changed the world order: Communism fell, the confusion in the life of the Church after the Second Vatican Council was corrected as he traveled the world proclaiming Christ crucified and risen from the dead. He knew, in a very powerful way, his role as Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter was to confirm the brethren in unity and faith and proclaim Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, though whom the truth of the human person can only be fully understood. Saint John Paul II certainly deserves the appellation “John Paul the Great. We will not see his likes again in our lifetime. May his prayers strengthen the Church and the Christian faithful in this confusing moment.
Today is the feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux, popularly known as “The Little Flower.” Pope Saint Pius X called her, “the greatest Saint of modern times.” Her reminiscences of her childhood and her reflections regarding her own spiritual journey were recorded in a notebook she called The Story of A Soul. Commanded by her sister Pauline, the Mother Superior of the Carmelite convent she entered when only fifteen years old, Therese provides an outline of what she terms “the little way’ of love. Soldiers carried copies of her spiritual diary with them into battle during the most devasting war the world had ever known in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Her universal appeal and “little way” prepared Pope Pius XI to canonize her in 1925.
This short film by Bishop Robert Barron, gives an introduction to Therese’s immense contribution to the life of the Church and her insights in being a disciple of Jesus. Enjoy this moment as we celebrate her feast!
Feast of the Archangels Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
September 29, 2020
Today, September 29, marks the feast of the Archangels Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. During these often troubled and difficult days, here’s a reminder for us all, from a saint of our own time:
“May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle that the Letter to the Ephesians speaks of: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).
The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of Saint Michael the Archangel (cf. Revelation 12:7).
Pope Leo XIII certainly had this picture in mind when, at the end of the last century, he brought in, throughout the Church, a special prayer to St Michael:
‘Saint Michael the Archangel defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.‘
Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”