Charity Wisdom

Christmastide — Epiphany (December 2019 – January 2020)

Charity Wisdom from our Founders

Mary and Child, Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Mount Saint Vincent

Mary and Child, Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Mount Saint Vincent

Christmas: as the days’ light slowly increases, we celebrate Christ, Word made flesh, God’s greatest gift to us. We honor Mary as the bearer of our hope and peace. We share the call to make Christ known as Savior of all nations (Epiphany).

From centuries ago, the words of our founders still resound, full of wisdom and insight for today. Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac show us how to live in the light of Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Jesus eternal wisdom,
Jesus brightness of eternal light,
Jesus by whom all things are governed…
Jesus Prince of Peace.

Keep in the company of Mary and Joseph who are seeking a lodging for him in Bethlehem and offer him your whole heart as a place of rest and welcome.

Beg our dear Lord to be born in your heart as he was in the manger for our Salvation. (Anna Maria Seton, Elizabeth’s daughter)

St. Vincent de Paul

The lights of grace, which the Sun of Justice spreads in our souls, reveal and penetrate to the very depths and most intimate part of our heart, which they stir up and prompt to produce marvelous things.

When God wants to communicate himself, He does it effortlessly, in a perceptible, very pleasant, gently, loving way; so let’s ask Him often and with great confidence for this gift….let’s pray to Him, but let’s do it with great confidence.

St. Louise De Marillac

You will learn from Jesus, my dear Sisters, to practice solid virtue, as He did in His holy humanity, as soon as He came down upon earth. It is from the example of Jesus in His infancy that you will obtain all that you need to become true Christians.

 

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Charity Wisdom from our Friends

The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the com­munity, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.  (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, Ch. 2, II, 88)

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Foundational hope demands a foundational belief in a world that is still and always unfolding….To stay on the ride, to trust the trajectory, to know it is moving, and moving somewhere always better, is just another way to describe faith.

This is the Good News the angels gave Mary and the shepherds in a very specific and concrete way. We can now trust that history – and our small roles within the larger story – is moving in a positive direction. We who know the end from the beginning, who trust the Christ Mystery, must participate in the movement toward union.              (Richard Rohr, OFM)

 

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I find it thrilling to reread this text: “The Lord, your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives you the victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing, as on a day of festival.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

This is the joy which we experience daily, amid the little things of life, as a response to the loving invitation of God…. (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, #4)

 

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The shattering mystery of the Incarnation is that God stands with us in our pain, anxiety, joy and longings. This gritty theology requires us to take risks and act.  (John Gehring, “The Sacrament of Encounter,” America, 11/11/19)

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Dec. 31: The old year is over. Whatever we waited for this year either came or it did not. One thing is sure: if what we wanted did not come, something surely came in its place. The temptation is to count the change as loss. Julian of Norwich, the 13th century anchorite, wrote that even sin “was behovable” – necessary, important in life, part of our growth and an opportunity for union with God. And, not to worry, she says, for “all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

If we are still waiting for something, we must remember that the New Year is waiting for us, too, with fresh challenge, virgin promise, rude discovery and confirming triumphs. Open your hearts to life’s new hurdles and simmering victories now. Life is waiting for your gift.  (Joan Chittister, OSB, Sparks of Advent Light)