Dear Parents, Students and Colleagues:
Love is the greatest power in the world. It is stronger than any human force and even stronger than death itself. It depends not upon coercion or force but upon inspiration. Love, which is pure charity, is the first law of God. All other laws are rooted in it. Love depends not upon any power in the world. It has its roots and inspiration in God alone. Only the Almighty power of God is capable of inspiring divine love from which all human love flows and without divine inspiration, love cannot endure.
Charity, then, is love of God and of neighbour. This love should prompt us in all that we do for our neighbours. Our intention towards our neighbours should be purified each day with prayer, and that should be a prayer that all things we do might be prompted by the love of God, and no worldly reason, no matter how noble, can take the place of charity. No philanthropic project, no political agenda, no matter how meritorious or stupendous, if not properly rooted in God, can be compared to the widow's mite in terms of real charity or value. In our days when so many causes to alleviate the sufferings of people around the world and at home, or intended to right injustices, it is well to remember prayerfully the words of the Apostle to the Gentiles on charity - that it will avail nothing unless God is part of our plans and endeavours.
Did you ever playfully, but never with more serious intent, ask a little child the question: How much do you love me? The response was prompt and decisive. Do you remember that they were no words spoken in the answer? There was only an eloquent gesture. Little arms outstretched all the way as far as they could. The child was showing that his or her love was boundless. Let us imagine now that we could phrase the same question to Infant Jesus as we knelt before him as he lay in the manger in Bethlehem. How much Lord do you love me? He would give the same answer. The answer would be identical to the little child's response – no words spoken but an eloquent gesture of arms outstretched all the way to show his boundless love in his becoming man, his healing words, his dying on the cross and his promise of eternal life.
My wish for our students above all this Christmas is that they will learn here the true meaning of charity. In learning and living the significance of charity in our lives, our young people will know why we celebrate the Nativity of Christ and how to celebrate it worthily each day.
I close with a quote from Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, of whom I wrote in my last message. It is, I believe, a wonderful testimony of a young Catholic who showed it is possible to rise above the affairs of this world to live a Christian life of charity. He is a model for us all but, especially for youth today who are assailed by so many falsehoods and by those who would lead them astray. I offer it to you as a prayer to consider as you prepare for the Coming of the Christ Child. Let it serve as a source to help us celebrate with true joy our Christmas festivities.
"Each of you knows that the foundation of our faith is charity. Without it, our religion would crumble. We will never be truly Catholic unless we conform our entire lives to the two Commandments that are the essence of the Catholic faith: to love the Lord, our God, with all our strength, and love our neighbour as ourselves. With charity, we sow the seeds of that true peace which only our faith in Jesus Christ can give us by making us all brothers and sisters. I know that this way is steep, and difficult, and strewn with thorns, while at first glance the other path seems easier, more pleasant, and more satisfying. But the fact is, if we could look into the hearts of those who follow the perverse ways of this world, we would see that they lack the serenity that comes to those who have faced a thousand difficulties and who have renounced material pleasures to follow God's law."
"May peace reign in your soul... any other gift we possess in this life is vanity, just as all the things of this world are vain."
A happy and holy Christmas to all and may the Good Lord bless us with peace and joy in his love throughout the New Year.
Brother Domenic, fsc