How many of us, in our good-hearted way, have ridden past the stable on the high horse of our opinions and convictions, leaving the Child behind, not realizing he was there? How many of us have stood up for what we believed, even in defiance, but were not awake to the fact that we were riding past a miracle – the miracle of life and love? ~Alfred Delp
“We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
There’s nothing romantic about the Christmas story. If anything, it offers a slice of a brutal world in which a child is born on the street, so to speak, with next to nothing in the way of rights and security, and not even a home. He whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas said, even as a grown man, “I have nothing. I am nowhere at home. Even at night, I have no place to rest or lay my head”.…But now this man from Nazareth comes to us and invites us to mirror God’s image, and shows us how. He says: you too can become light, as God is light. Because what is all around you is not hell, but rather a world waiting to be filled with hope and faith. ~Jörg Zink, excerpt from Doors to the Feast
“Since 1928 I have understood clearly that God wants our Lord’s whole life to be an example for Christians. I saw this with special reference to his hidden life, the years he spent working side by side with ordinary men. Our Lord wants many people to ratify their vocation during years of quiet, unspectacular living. Obeying God’s will always means leaving our selfishness behind, but there is no reason why it should entail cutting ourselves off from the normal life of ordinary men who share the same status, work and social position as we.
“I dream — and the dream has come true — of multitudes of God’s children, sanctifying themselves as ordinary citizens, sharing the ambitions and endeavours of their colleagues and friends. I want to shout to them about this divine truth: if you are there in the middle of ordinary life, it doesn’t mean Christ has forgotten about you or hasn’t called you. He has invited you to stay among the activities and concerns of the world. He wants you to know that your human vocation, your profession, your talents, are not omitted from his divine plans. He has sanctified them and made them a most acceptable offering to his Father.” ~St. Josemaria Escriva; Christ is passing by, #20
Love, indeed, is the source of all good things; it is an impregnable defence, and the way that leads to heaven. He who walks in love can neither go astray nor be afraid: love guides him, protects him, and brings him to his journey’s end. …Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it, and by your progress in it, make your ascent together. ~From a sermon by Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop
We are called to prove in our own lives that Christ is born, that God is with us. But we are constantly in danger of going about our business without Christ. We keep to our old ways of life and do not allow God to enter our daily affairs.…We will always have to struggle to make sure that Jesus enters our lives, and that he lives on earth, not only in heaven. This is the fight of the church in the world. We are placed in the restlessness and the anxiety of a world fraught with evil, but we have a battle cry and the joyful news: “To us a child is born!” (Isaiah 9:6). ~Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
Lord, today we celebrate the entrance of Saint Stephen into eternal glory. He died praying for those who killed him. Help us to imitate his goodness and to love our enemies. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
O child, Creator of all! How humbly you lie in the manger. You who rule powerfully in heaven! There the heaven of heavens cannot contain you; here, however, you are held in the narrowest manger. There, in the beginning of the world, you decorated the earth with green grasses that produced seed, with fruit-bearing trees that produced fruit, you ornamented the heavens with the sun, the moon, and the stars, the sky with winged birds, the waters with fish, you filled the land with reptiles, draft animals, and beasts; here, however, in the end of the world, you are wrapped in swaddling clothes! O majesty! O lowness! O sublimity! O humility! O immense, eternal, and Ancient of Days! O small, temporal infant whose life is not yet one day upon the earth! ~Adam of Dryburgh
The Friends of Little Portion Hermitage pray that all of our friends and benefactors have a blessed Christmas Season and a New Year filled with the peace and joy that comes from a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ’s true greatness is that he is coming. Without this final future the whole of Christian faith would really be nothing. If only our hearts were completely gripped by this! Surely, in light of what is wrong in today’s world, we should all stretch out our hands toward that which is to come, so that at last the world may be redeemed from all its horrors and the dawn of the new day may break. We are placed on this earth in order to proclaim, in the midst of darkness, this message: The Morning Star has risen in my heart, in our hearts, and soon will rise over the whole of the darkened world. Repent! Believe in the gospel! He who is coming is near! ~Eberhard Arnold, When the Time Was Fulfilled