Appleton, WI

Dec 15: In Joy and Sorrow by Fr. Bill

I have suggested this before. Even though you may not be thrilled with poetry, I would encourage you to lean into it. Don’t sell yourself short. You don’t have to understand every word or thought. Sometimes the beauty of poetry touches us, not in the mind, but in the heart, and in a totally inexplicable way. Learn into poetry.

Here is a poem from Jessica Powers (aka Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, a Trappist nun who hailed from the Carmel monastery in Pewaukee, Wisconsin):

The Hidden Christ

I went into the Christmas cave;
There was no Child upon the straw.
The ox and ass were all I saw.
I sought His stable where He gave
His goodness in the guise of bread.
Emptiness came to me instead.
Filled with my Father’s words, I cried
“Where have you his Yourself?” and all
The living answered to my call.
I found Him (and the world is wide)
dear in His warm ubiquity,
Where heart beat, there was Christ for me.
I went back to the Christmas cave,
and glad with the gain of everywhere,
And lo! the blessed Child was there.
Then at His feasting board He gave
embrace. He multiplied His good
and fed in me the multitude.

I confess I cheated and went to Webster’s Dictionary to look up ubiquity, which means presence everywhere or in many places, especially simultaneously.

As we gaze upon the Nativity Scene during this Christmas Season, let us not confine the Lord Jesus to infancy or to creche. Truly, the Lord Jesus can be seen everywhere and in everyone, if we but have the desire of heart and the eyes of love to just look. Truly, the beauty of the Incarnation of the Son of God – this mystery of our Transcendent God taking on our lowly human nature – is that all that surrounds us in the creation and, even more, in the gift of our sisters and brothers in the human family is charged with the divine. St. Athanasius once said that “the Lord God became human, so that we might become divine.” “Where heart beat, there was Christ for me.”

The beauty of Christmas has a lot to do with seeing Jesus in everyone, especially in the vulnerable, the weak, and the small. After all, our Creator God of billions of galaxies, was born among us as an infant. The beauty of Christmas has a lot do with the sacredness of the material, of the flesh.

Remember, too, that the first creche was a feeding trough. Jesus, throughout the ages, still embraces us with the gift of His very Self in the Sacrament of His Most Precious Body and Blood. In Jesus’ feeding of me, He is feeding everyone. And in Jesus’ feeding of everyone, He is feeding me. How intimately we are connected to our Lord Jesus and to each other. This is the beauty of Christmas!

Father Bill +