Christmas Message from Brother Domenic
One night this past year we fell asleep in one world and we woke to a different world.
In this world, the magic of Disney had disappeared;
The romance of Paris was gone;
New York no longer stood tall;
The Great Wall could not protect;
The Bells of Rome rang amidst silence;
School became virtual.
Hugs and kisses had become weapons, and the simple act of not visiting family and friends was now an act of love.
In this new world, we have come to realise the limitations and worthlessness of power, money, and fame. In the face of the challenges of this new world, we understand that we have failed to grasp what is important in the end. We have been taught a tough lesson.
It seems that the Creator of all is telling us – "When you humans are ready to come back to the truth of the world; remember that you are not gods. Remember that learners are never greater than their teachers; remember that you are my children, and I am your Father. You have spoiled your children; abandoned the poor, and have failed the old and infirm. You speak of a Great Reset, but I proclaim repentance, renewal for all things are restored in me."
And yet, despite you, my created world continues in its beauty and faithfulness. It is you, those created in my image and likeness, who must discover again this beauty and faith.
To discover again this beauty and faith, perhaps we need to understand that action and suffering are the chief means for learning hope. In Pope Benedict's encyclical letter entitled - Saved in Hope (35), we find the following, which I share with you today.
All serious and upright human conduct is hope in action. This is so first of all in the sense that we thereby strive to realize our lesser and greater hopes, to complete this or that task which is important for our own onward journey, or we work towards a brighter and more humane world so as to open doors into the future. Yet our daily efforts in pursuing our own lives and in working for the world's future either tire us or turn into fanaticism, unless we are enlightened by the radiance of the great hope that cannot be destroyed even by small scale failures or by a breakdown in matters of historic importance. If we cannot hope for more than is effectively attainable at any given time, or more than is promised by political or economic authorities, our lives will soon be without hope. It is important to know that I can always continue to hope, even if in my own life, or the historical period in which I am living, there seems to be nothing left to hope for. Only the great certitude of hope that my own life and history in general, despite all failures are held firm by the indestructible power of Love and that this Love gives them their meaning and importance, only this kind of hope can then give the courage to act and to persevere.
Four candles slowly burned. The ambience was so soft, one could almost hear them talking. The first candle said: I am peace. The world is so full of anger, and fighting nobody can keep me lit anymore. The flame of peace went out completely. The second candle said: I am faith. I am no longer wanted, so it doesn't make sense that I stay lit another moment. Just then, a breeze came by and blew out the candle of faith. At this, the third candle began to speak. I am love. People don't understand my importance, so they simply put me aside. They even forget to love those who are nearest to them. Waiting no longer loves flame went out.
Suddenly a child entered the room and saw the three unlit candles. Why aren't you burning? You're supposed to stay lit. Seeing this, the child began to cry. And the fourth candle answered from the darkness. Don't be afraid, I am hope. While I am still burning, we can relight the other candles. Crying, the little child took the candle of hope and lit the other candles. True, the greatest of these is love. But the flame of hope should never go out of our life. Without hope, we cannot find peace, and faith, and love.
Dear Incarnate God, you are our light and salvation. You are our hope. Please come into our hearts this Christmas. Guide us to you as you guided the poor shepherds and the Magi and give us your wonderful gifts of peace, faith and love. With our hope in you, Child of the Most High God, help us to be an instrument of your love to a world that needs you. May the God of hope fill you with the joy and peace as you trust in him, the Christ Child, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. A happy and holy Christmas to all.
Brother Domenic, fsc
- Winter 2020