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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

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St. John of Kanty


Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24
Psalm 25
Luke 1:57-66

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christmas presence

"All who heard stored these things up in their hearts, saying, 'What will this child be?' " —Luke 1:66

I hope you're more excited than you've ever been for Christmas — more excited than when you were a little child waiting to open your Christmas presents. The excitement I'm talking about is not primarily an emotion but an expression of faith. It's not based on Christmas presents but on Christmas presence. The Lord is present. We can see Him setting the captives free, healing the sick, and working miracles. We sense His presence within us, as He purifies our hearts and turns them to Himself. We see the Lord present in the Church, His word, and the sacraments.

Although our sins blind us to His presence, we experience His presence sometimes and know by faith that He is with us always even "until the end of the world" (Mt 28:20). Today, although we may feel as if we have a hundred things to do, we should stop everything for a while. We must be Mary rather than Martha (see Lk 10:38ff). If we let Him quiet our hearts, we will understand the words of the hymn "Silent Night." When all is calm, all will be bright with a deep awareness of God's presence. As we sit quietly at Jesus' feet (Lk 10:39), the business and busy-ness of Christmas which have left us jaded will give way to an awareness and awe of Christ's presence. We will be as a little child (see Mt 18:3). We will enter the kingdom of God and be excited about Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, give me an awe of You which is the beginning of Christmas (see Ps 111:10).

Promise:  "He will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver." —Mal 3:3

Praise:  "O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God."

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Hearing God, or our audio tape AV 45-1 or video tape V-45.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2008

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