Posted by Br David Hawke
on 25 December 2020
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO THE DISTRICT
Season's greetings to Lasallians across the District. I read and hear often that 2020 is a year that we would rather forget but if we stop to think so much has been achieved in the mission across the District albeit in very challenging and unexpected circumstances. Recently I was sent a what's app text which read: "I thought 2020 would be the year I got everything I wanted. Now I know 2020 is the year I appreciate everything I have." Hence, it is with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation that I greet you as this year draws to a close. You have served so well those entrusted to your care and under very challenging conditions. Thank-you.
The leaders of our various nations are indicating that there is hope that we may celebrate Christmas with some degree of normality although I am sure we are all mindful that many Lasallians are unable to celebrate Christmas this year as one would expect given international border and other restrictions; all in place for the safety of citizens.
At this time of the year I take a look at the meditations St John Baptist de La Salle wrote for the Vigil of the Nativity of Jesus Christ and the Nativity of Jesus Christ. I am mindful of our invocation "Live Jesus in our hearts" or as they say in Pakistan "live God in our hearts."
In his meditation for the Vigil of the Nativity De La Salle asks some very challenging questions which could come to mind not only at Christmas but each time we utter "Live Jesus in our hearts."
De La Salle writes: "For how long has Jesus been presenting himself to you and knocking at the door of your heart, in order to make his dwelling within you and you have not wanted to receive him. Why? Because he only presents himself under the form of a poor person, a slave, a person of sorrows?" (Med 85.1).
I wonder who that person is for each of us in our ministry!
And elsewhere in the same meditation. "You often receive Jesus Christ in your heart, but is he not there as though in a stable, finding there only dirt and corruption because you have affection for other things rather than for him?" (Med 85.2)
It is interesting that John Baptist de La Salle selected hymns and spiritual songs to be sung before the catechism lesson and at dismissal time. One of the many hymns he chose is titled; "Hymn on the Birth of Jesus Christ." It reads:
" O God, what marvels you have brought forth. In this one night! An angel brings the news to the shepherds who keep nigh watch. And all of them together, without noise, come seeking this God who has called them.
O God, what marvels you have brought forth in this one night!"
As those shepherds sought the God who called them in the presence of the new born Jesus, may we too this Christmas in our families and communities be very much aware of the presence of Jesus and the gifts he shares with each of us at this time.
May you have a blessed Christmas.
Live Jesus in our hearts!