The Ninth Day of Christmas

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“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.'”

Do you sometimes feel like John the Baptist when he spoke these words?  I know I do.  We may feel like we’re living in a spiritual desert when we turn on the television or pick up the newspaper and are faced with the reality of modern life.  It can be overwhelming.

It took the city of Saint Louis less than an hour to record the first two homicides of 2010.  We read daily of the loss of life in the Middle East.  And the abortions.  Thousands of American babies murdered every single day and it’s hardly noticed.

There is much work to be done.  So much that we do feel like “voices crying out in the desert.”  But it’s a new year and a new beginning and that always inspires hope because we know that with God anything is possible.  So rather than make a “new year’s resolution” that you may or may not be able to keep, maybe a better idea would be to resolve to make things better this year in our respective corners of the world.

I recently attended a dinner with Archbishop Robert Carlson.  He gave us a very simple challenge.  Imagine if each of us would bring one person back to the Church.  What a difference that would make!  We can do that.  Then God can take it from there.

Mary, the Mother of God

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Today we celebrate the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of God.  No, we don’t worship Mary as some of our separated brethren might think.  We worship only God.  But how can we worship Him and not hold His mother in the highest regard?  After all, even before she was born, God chose her to bear His son.

But even the Almighty Creator of the universe had to depend on Mary’s saying “yes” to a plan that must have seemed outrageous to such a young girl.  But she had the faith to submit to God’s will and bear the Son who would save us all.

One of my favorite songs at this time of year is called “Mary, Did You Know?”, especially when it says, “Mary, did you know that when you kiss your little baby that you kiss the face of God?”  What a great line.

But couldn’t you say the same thing to any mother?  Jesus is present in all of us and every little baby’s face is the face of God.  As you celebrate this special day, look at a baby, at a mother, or especially at an expectant mother and recall this simple line.  It says so much in such a few words.

God bless all mothers, and especially our Blessed Mother, whose feast we celebrate today.

[Full disclosure.  My oldest son and my youngest son both informed us on the same day that we would again become grandparents next summer.  As you might imagine, I’m especially aware of the miracle of birth during this Christmas season.  God’s face is definitely part of our Christmas celebration this year.]