Friday, December 25, 2009


Thoughtful words from Archb Fulton J Sheen on Christmas. Bishop Sheen was a professed member of the Carmelite Third Order and also the most renown preacher in the world of his time. His great love was the Catholic missions and he was well aware of the missionary power of Carmelite contemplatives such as St Therese. He exchanged many letters with Carmelite Sisters in New Albany, Indiana. In one of the letters, fully preserved in his Rochester archives, he writes very revealingly to the Carmelite prioress, "Your prayers and sufferings do more good than all our preaching and our heroic actions. We make the noise; we get the credit; we enjoy the consolation of a victory seen and tasted. You are responsible for it and yet you cannot see the fruits - but you will, on that day when the Cross appears in the heavens and every men is rewarded according to his works." He also wrote, "I want to cling on the Carmel for I love its love of Jesus. I refuse to give it up, and like the blind man of Jericho, I shall go on shouting out to you continually to cure my blindness and my ills." (after "Archb Fulton Sheen's St Therese: A Treasured love story").Text below adopted from "Advent and Christmas with Fulton J. Sheen" compiled by Judy Bauer.  

O come, let us sing to the Lord,  let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!...O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. (Psalm 95:1-7)

A Child is born. "To some He comes on this Christmas Day even in the remorse that follows "There is no room"; to some He comes when their hearts are saddened by a life that has been taken away, and can be gladdened only by a Life that is given; to some He comes when their hearts like conscious mangers cry out "Lord, I am not worthy"; to others He comes as their study of science reminds them that the only star worth studying is the Star that leads to the Maker of the Stars; to others He comes when their hearts are broken, that He might enter in to heal with wings wider than the world; to others He comes in joy amidst the Venite Adoremus of the angels; to others He comes because they are so young they can never remember another Christmas - but to each and everyone he comes as if he had never come before in His own sweet way, He the Child who is born, He....Jesus the Saviour, He Emmanuel, He, Christ at Christ's Mass on Christmas - MERRY CHRISTMAS!! (The Fullness of Christ)

Picture represents 'Nativity' by Antoniazzo Romano

"O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all other women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth, who has guided you...Your praise will never depart from the hearts of those who remember the power of God. May God grant this to be a perpetual honour yo you, and may He rewards you with blessings" (Judith 13:18-20).

As we gather about the crib of Bethlehem, we feel that we are in the presence of a new paradise of Beauty and Love, ...and the name of that Paradise is Mary....And if we could have been there in that stable on that first Christmas night, we might have seen that Paradise of the Incarnation, but we should not be able to recollect whether her face was beautiful or not...for what would have impressed us, and made us forget all else, would have been the lovely, sinless soul that shone through her eyes like two celestial suns...If we could have stood at the gates to that Paradise, we would have less peered at it as into it, for what would have impressed us would not have been any external qualities, though these would have been ravishing, but rather the qualities of her soul - her simplicity, innocence, humility, and above all, her purity...Christmas takes on a new meaning when the Mother is seen with the Babe. In fact, the heavens and the earth seem almost to exchange places. Years ago, we used to think of the heavens as "way up there". Then one day the God of heavens came to this earth, and that hour when she held the babe in her arms, it became true to say that with her we now "look down" to heaven. (Manifestations of Christ)

As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive (Corinthians 3:12-13)

He who refuses to forgive others breaks down the bridge over which he himself must pass, for everyone has need to be forgiven. The Divine Law is that only those who forgive will be forgiven. It is much easier to forgive the weak who have injured us or those who are beneath us in dignity than it is to forgive the powerful or the better or the nobler...In this truth is hidden the explanation of why the Divine who came to bring forgiveness to humans was crucified at the moment of greatest forgiveness. Though the Divine forgiveness comes to those who forgive, nevertheless, some say: "I cannot forgive myself". As Cardinal Newman answered: "No true penitent forgets or forgives himself; an unforgiving spirit towards himself is the very price of God's forgiving him." Of course, no person can forgive himself. He can only be forgiven by Him whom he has injured. (Walk with God)

May the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and  body be kept sound and blameless. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

If Christ is the Prince of Peace...then how do we reconcile these other seemingly contradictory words of Our Lord: "Do not think that I come to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword"; and "Think you, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation..."
The explanation of these apparent contradictions is to be found in the words He addressed to His Apostles the night of the Last Supper in which He made an important distinction between two kinds of peace: "My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, do I give unto you"; and "These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress; but have confidence; I have overcome the world." There is a difference, then, between His Peace and the peace of the world.
It is evident from these words that Our Lord offers a peace and a consolation that he alone can confer, a peace that comes from the right ordering of conscience, from justice, charity, love of God and love of neighbour. (The Cross and the Beatitudes)