Christmas 2014 with Little Sisters

"He came to live among us!" Jn 1:14 - "And the angel said: Do not be afraid, I bring you news of great joy…" Lk 2/10… "A great throng of the heavenly host praised God saying: Glory to God… Peace on earth." Lk 2:13

Everything about faith is expressed in the above. God has come close to us. He did not let our world develop in a meaningless way because He had created it, and creates it, in love. 
When Jesus was born, Palestine was under occupation. Violence was likely to break out at any moment. And yet God loved this world and chose it so as to come close to it. Today, like yesterday, violence seems to have the upper hand and economic laws take precedence over persons, over the cosmos, over life together. The law of the jungle seems to have the last word. The most extraordinary technological advances can rebound against people’s wellbeing. 
Neverthenless, we continue to affirm that God is with us.
We can recall what Etty Hillesum wrote at the time of the extermination of the Jews: "These are terrifying times, my God… I am going to promise you one thing, my God, oh, a mere trifle: I will take care not to bring to today, like so many weights, the fears the future arouses in me; but that demands practice. For the moment, sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. I am going to help you, my God, not to die out in me, but I cannot guarantee anything in advance. One thing is becoming clearer and clearer to me: it is not you who can help us, but we who can help you – and in doing that we are helping ourselves… Perhaps we will also be able to contribute to bringing you to light in the shattered hearts of others. Yes, my God, you seem not to be able to modify a situation that ultimately is inseparable from this life. I do not ask you for an explanation, on the contrary it is for you to ask us for an explanation, one day." 
Etty Hillesum had the intuition that God needed us to transform our world. That it was for us to become promoters of God’s project. 
Even though the media often deal with other things, we are witnesses to the efforts made by many persons in civil society who wish to build or "save" democracy in their country as, at present, in Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Ukraine, but also in many other places. Those men and women who are looking for ways to put an end to wars, those who wish to protect the environment and bring pressure to bear on governments etc. All of these people are agents of new life. We can also see, nearer home in our own neighbourhoods, people who are active in groups and associations, who take time to encounter others, taking them out of their isolation and creating a little more humanity in daily life. 
We might also mention the appeal by Pope Francis to "live in solidarity because it is a way of making history with those who are poor"… Those poor people who are not waiting with outstretched hands for help from the NGOs, for assistance programmes that never materialise… Far from being satisfied with illusory promises… they wish to be agents of their own history… Because all have the right to a land, a house for each family and to work… sacred rights in the very name of the Beatitudes." 28 October 2014 at the World Meeting of Popular Movements 
The Pope constantly recalls the relevance of the Social Doctrine of the Church which which stresses the primacy of the human person. Current events also speak to us of the ways to be invented in order to build this world as God wishes: the Synod on the Family, the text of the 2011 Chapter with our choice to build the common home, experience reciprocal transformations, open up paths of dialogue in order to build a more habitable world with those who no longer find "land" to live on. The spiritual path we set out on with the papers for the 150th anniversary also traces out a path for us to be those religious-apostles, "missionary-disciples" says the Pope, whose "zeal" finds its source in the certainty of being loved by God. 
Who will talk of the closeness of God if we do not manifest it? We have the apostolic and spiritual riches to live it: "To encounter the family ’at home’ has fashioned in us a particular way of entering into relationship. Today, whatever be our way of being close to families, to persons, we are called to cherish this aspect of our inheritance, a respect for the sacredness of the other ’Holy Ground’, in an attitude of humility, openness, listening, dialogue, compassion, with the same sentiments of Christ Jesus, Servant and Saviour." General Chapter 2005 
Yes, God is approaching. The angels also are coming to meet the shepherds. We also must approach one another in that attitude of reciprocity, of transformation by which we believe in each person’s potential. Let us open the door of our house, let ourselves be disturbed, let us offer our listening, our shared prayer. Then we will be, through that and in line with our possibilities, our age and our country, builders of peace, of reconciliation, of the transformation of situations so as, according to Egangelii Gaudium, not just to receive but to be ’a Church that finds new ways, that is capable of going out of itself’. 
Yes, God-Emmanuel: "God with us" needs us in order to make a happy world! 
Glory to God, Peace on earth! Good news that will be a great joy for the people. 
We have that joy at heart. 
Wit the certainty of faith we can bring about the ’revolution of tenderness’ (EG), because we know that we are loved by God. This joy that is revealed to us by Jesus, that comes to dwell in us at the deepest level and which frees us from sin, from sadness, from interior emptiness, from isolation. ’…joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. … I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet, slowly but surely, we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress.’ ». EG 6
"With Christ joy is constantly born anew." Evangelii Gaudium 1
Throughout the year 2015 the "today" of God on earth is confided to us. Let us receive it with joy and hope. 
May these words of Etienne Pernet, filled with faith, light up our path: 
"The name of God is a name of power, the name of Jesus is a name of salvation, the name of Mary is a name of trust." (1895)
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