“But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5)
During this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (Dec. 8, 2015-Nov. 20, 2016), Christmas takes on a more pronounced merciful tone. It is by the coming of the Christ Child into the world that Mercy is made manifest to each and every one of us. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” (Jn. 1:14) St. Thomas Aquinas tells us: “Two reasons are given why that time was pre-ordained for the coming of Christ. One is taken from His greatness: for since He that was to come was great, it was fitting that men be made ready for His coming by many indications and many preparations. (…) The other is taken from the role of the one coming: for since a physician was to come, it was fitting that before His coming, men should be keenly aware of their infirmity, both as to their lack of knowledge during the Law of nature and as to their lack of virtue during the written Law. Therefore it was fitting that both, namely, the Law of nature and the written Law, precede the coming of Christ.”
Having declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has allowed there to be Doors of Mercy opened in various dioceses and shrines of the world. This is the case here at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. We invite all to come and pass through this Door of Mercy and therefore obtain the Jubilee Plenary indulgence (with the usual norms and conditions). Jesus comes as Savior and Physician and He desires to heal us of our infirmities. “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Lk. 5:32) His Holiness, in speaking of this Year, says: “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s Mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in Him.”
Please take a moment this Christmas season to reflect on God’s Goodness and Mercy and imagine yourself fully present at the birth of Christ. His light is burning brightly within each one of us. Christmas is a time when things get so busy that we get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Spend some time feeding your flame so that your light does not grow dim, but instead becomes an eternal flame—a flame which ignites the whole world.
I love these words of Pope Benedict XVI: “…Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not expensive presents that demand time and money.” The Knights are praying that you have the gift of joy this Christmas-tide and during this entire Year of Mercy! I think Pope Francis sums it up nicely: “The birth of Jesus brings us the good news that we are loved immensely and uniquely by God, and He not only enables us to know this love, He also gives it to us, He communicates it to us!”
Christmas is a time of miracles. God wishes us to await the arrival of His Son with expectant faith and hope! Expectante Miracula! (Expect miracles!)
May the Divine Child pour abundant blessings and miracles upon you and your loved ones. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Br. David Mary, K.H.E., and all the Knights