Monday, January 11, 2010

The Season of Light, Life and Love

Arriving as we are at the end of the great Season of Christmas, here are a few rememberings of this special time of the year. My Christmas began with the celebration of Midnight Mass at the Cathedral. There was a church filled with people and a beautiful time of prayer, music and a sense of great joy and peace.

It is truly a time when we seek the light, not only in our darkened streets but deep within us. The glorious light of God shone round the angels when they brought their message of Good News to the shepherds that night when to us was born a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. The infant the shepherds found cannot be looked upon without one being confronted deeply by the gift of life. And how precious is each of our lives because of it. And of course at the heart of this scene from the Gospels is Love: love which opens its arms to welcome love in return. Right at the very depth of who we are we feel the yearning for what is presented to us here.

Then on Christmas Day there was Christmas Dinner. My mother always worries now whether or not I will get Christmas dinner. She says: "Where are you having dinner?" and the question is loaded with concern. I told her this year that I was having dinner at the Marian Centre and explained to her what that was. She was satisfied. And so was I. The dining room was filled with wonderful people who came there on Christmas Day to share their time with people who have much less of the special things of life than most of us have.

And they were all in the spirit of the Season, and adding cheer all around and in many ways.

Trudy was displaying one of her special talents accompanying the choir that had come to sing carols and brighten the meal with their songs and music.

As you can see, they are pretty happy to be here and their music was lovely.

And we had a great bunch who served the tables and made sure that everyone had what they needed to enjoy their meal.

It is really a great joy and indeed a great hope for me to see the generosity of so many people that comes to the fore at Christmas time, but which is also there throughout the year as people share of themselves to bring happiness to others. This is true Stewardship.

As you can see whe had a full house with lots of people together sharing this special meal on the day the Father gave us the gift of His Son just so that we may have life and happiness for ever.

I served the meat for while and then was allowed to sit down and share the meal with some other people.

As you can see, a good time and a happy time with some good company.

Doreen is on my right. Doreen was visiting from Madonna House in Combermere. Doreen and I have known each other for twenty some years. Ever since I became pastor in Riverview, NB and Doreen was looking after a Madonna House in the parish. It was good to be sharing the day with her and with Nancy who is the Director at the Marian Centre.

One of the Christmas presents we received this year was the appointment of Msgr. Don Bolen, the Vicar General of the Diocese, as Bishop of Saskatoon. It is very special for a diocesan church to be able to give the gift of one of its priests to the service of the larger Church. Msgr Don is a priest of great talents and a deep spirituality. I know that he will be a blessing to the Church in Saskatoon.

Then when I drove home from the Marian Centre in mid afternoon, there was this beautiful winter sun with the shining sun dogs to mark the day. It made me think of Jesus, the Light of our world and a couple of angels, shining with His brilliance on either side in worship and praise. "The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. On those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light has shone."

Then on Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family I went to Martha House for supper. There is always warmth and welcome there. Here you see me with the faces that are very familiar to you all. A new member of the family is Fr. Emile Toupin in between Fr. Norm and myself.

And the wonderful people who make it all happen at Martha house.

A final visit to the Chapel at Martha House with its beautiful creche honouring the infant Jesus who shows us the Love that is God. I will close this post with some of the words of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict in his homily on the Feast of Epiphany:

Manifested in him, in fact, is the wonderful reality that God knows us and is close to us; that his greatness and power are not expressed in the logic of the world, but in the logic of a defenseless child, whose strength is only that of love entrusted to us. In the course of history, there have always been persons illuminated by the light of the star, who find the way and reach him. All of them live, in their own way, the same experience of the Magi.

It is my prayer that each of you will find the way and reach him as did the Magi. And that you will find there Light and Life and Love.


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