December 29, 2012

Reverent Love and Family Life


The Christmas Mystery raises prayer to the warmth and light of motherhood and family.   These primordial elements of our common humanity God Himself has made sacred by associating them with Himself.   He did so in a singular way when the Word became flesh, when the source of all Meaning entered into the hardships, doubts, fears, and insecurities of our alienated humanity, a painful existence which so needs to be loved.   When Divinity infused our poverty with its treasures, the very relationship of mother to child was endowed in a particular way with new and eternal meaning, a truth that surpasses all understanding.   Here, the unfathomable reality of what it means to be family is disclosed to the eyes of faith and after all these centuries, we have not even begun to penetrate these riches. 

In our efforts to love one another, to renounce what we think we want so that there is room in our lives for family and new life, to be patient with the sorrows we inevitably cause each other, to persevere with one another’s weakness, to defer to one another, to resist contention and false judgment, to speak the truth with love even at the risk of being misunderstood, to share a reason for our hope, to be merciful even to the point of appearing to be taken advantage of; in all of this, when lived out with the same tender reverence that Mary and Joseph showed one another in their own struggles to make a home for the Christ-child; in this very effort, though fraught with all kinds of weakness and inadequacy, failures and shortcomings, trials and hardships, a joyful echo of the Father’s saving whisper into the heart of humanity resounds; a whisper to which faith listens and hears anew, amid angel’s choirs, those divine but distressed cries in the darkness of a cold night wrapped in our swaddling clothes.