Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Prayer and Fasting
(Vigil of Christmas)

od is lavish in His generosity.  He has bountifully bestowed upon men and women of this age and day many beneficent gifts and graces.  As such we are the custodians of His treasures, and of us He shall exact an account of our stewardship.

Today, as never before, there are opportunities for rebuilding the world according to the divine plan of things.  We are confronted with many problems, but all these grant us opportunities in the form of challenges.

The Church is looking today to Christian homes as the cradles where young hearts may be schooled in the knowledge of God in order that they may renew the face of the earth.  It is not so much the gifts of God to which we look, for these are always present, as god is all-bountiful and good.  it is the use of these gifts that counts.  The proper use of these gifts rests with the servants of God.  To use well the gifts of God some shall have to respond to the call to the religious life, other sons and daughters shall have to meet the challenge of a pagan world and go forth as Christian parents to replenish the earth with new love and life and grace.

To those who have no faith there seems to be a great chasm between the state of marriage and the religious life.  yet this is not true!  For each state, carrying its own duties and privileges, likewise carries its own joys and satisfactions.  Each one of us in every station of life has a vocation, St. Paul assures us.  To the crucifix must all men to go learn the true purpose of life, and all must climb the hill of Calvary, where sacrifice saw its perfection, as all who responded to God's grace were lifted up above the earth; Mary, Magadalene, John, and the Centurion!

Life and love have meaning only in the belief that God is our Father, Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our Sanctifier.  Life takes off its dull, drab cloak of humdrum monotony only when there is purpose behind our every act, and when each day is consecrated to the end for which God gave it to us.

The surest way to enjoy the gifts of God is to place them at His feet and to give them back to Him and to our neighbors in humble acknowledgment of the fact that we are but custodians of God's treasures.  Giving away the gifts of God in fulfillment of the purpose of life is what the mother and father do as they bring life to the world and consecrate their own selves to fashioning more and more God's image in the souls of those entrusted to their care.  Giving away the gifts of God is what the priest, the religious do as they devote their talents to the glory of God and the service of men and bring to souls communion with the life of God.

Today, as perhaps never before, we have opportunities to dedicate ourselves to the rebuilding of a new world of the spirit.

God alone is supreme.  We are his stewards.  May He grant us the grace always to be worthy custodians of His gifts, cheerful dispensers of His bounty, and stewards who need have no fear of rendering an account.  What better time to meditate upon making a return of the gifts than Advent, when preparing for Christmas.


God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, hear our prayer, we beseech You, and grant to Your servants that peace of mind and concord of soul that, using well Your gifts and graces, we may be found worthy in Your sight of everlasting reward.

Adoration of the Shepherds
- Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari