New Year's Eve ~ Merry Christmas, Day 7


Image credit:  Little Lamb by Jenedy Paige 

Behold, a newborn Jesus who actually looks new born! Find the artist's explanation of the image here

The Holy Father's sciatica is acting up and he won't be presiding over the Te Deum or Mother of God Masses this evening/ tomorrow. 

Te Deum for New Year's Eve: 

The year was awful in all the respects on the tips of everyone's lips. It was deeply unsettling and intensified the sense I have had for years that I am undefended by people from whom I have the right to expect a defense --most unsettlingly in the Church. 

I suspect, however, that in the order of grace this has been not a terrible year, but one of tremendous mercy. It is always a grace to be reminded how profound is our poverty. Papa Benedict once said that when we say Christ is the head of the Church, we tend to think "boss," but we ought instead to think about the brain. If the nerves are severed, we can't so much as lift a pinky finger. To see more clearly where one can't (and shouldn't) put one's security is painful, but a mercy.  It is salutary to know the truth of one's situation.

It is a truism  that at some point (maybe several such points) in a serious and faithful life of prayer, the Lord will lead you through a "desert" experience that teaches you to rely on God alone. Even the good things of God (like the mass) may be taken from you. I have talked to many serious Christians whose prayer lives have gone deep and caught fire in this year in proportion to the material and spiritual supports they usually lean on being taken away or threatened. 

I don't think this was an annus horribilis. I think it was a year of preparation and strengthening for more difficult tests to come.  I say that not as Pollyanna. You can't be sanguine about suffering you see around you or the souls that lose their way in times of trial. But we can remember Gideon and how the Lord whittled his army from 22,000 down to 300. The Almighty likes to work with frail clay and long odds.