Friday, December 22, 2006

The Only Person Ever Pre-announced

"History is full of men who have claimed that they came from God, or that they were gods, or that they bore messages from God-Buddha, Mohammed, Confucious, Christ, Lao-tze, and thousands of others, right down to the person who founded a new religion this very day. Each of them has a right to be heard and considered. But as a yardstick external to and outside of whatever is to be measured is needed, so there must be some permanent tests available to all men, all civilizations, and all ages, by which they can decide whether any of these claimants, or all of them, are justified in their claims. These tests are of two kinds: reason and history. Reason, because everyone has it, even those without faith; history, because everyone lives in it and should know something about it.

Reason dictates that if any one of these men actually came from God, the least thing that God could do to support his claim would be to pre-announce His coming. Automobile manufacturers tell their customers when to expect a new model. If God sent anyone from Himself, or if He came Himself with a vitally important message for all men, it would seem reasonable that He would first let men know when His messenger was coming, where He would be born, where He would live, the doctrine He would teach, the enemies He would make, the program He would adopt for the future, and the manner of His death. By the extent to which the messenger conformed with these announcements, one could judge the validity of his claims."

(excerpt from “Life of Christ,” Chapter 1, by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)

As we celebrate Christmas this year, remember the reason for the season. Amid the hustle and bustle to see family and "enjoy" all the pleasures we have now, remember how the Greatest came in the most humblest of ways. May God be with you and us all for evermore.

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." - Luke 2:14

Buon Natale!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Home for Christmas

I absolutely love Aaron Neville's adaptation of Please Come Home for Christmas. The words and the music sum up my feelings right now. They are completely full of soul, full of New Orleans, full of sorrow, and full of hope. That is what I feel right now with my relationships and in my hopes for the future.

However, a more pressing thought though comes to mind. Listen to the song (provided in the clip). Now picture that is the city and of the community that it once was before Hurricane Katrina. Picture it singing those words to those who have left the city for a laundry list of reasons. It might seem like a cliché, but this is at the heart of why New Orleans should be rebuilt.

Why should we — those who have grown up, who have been raised in its eclectic way of life — not return? Would it not be turning a cold shoulder on a dear friend? What of the nation to the region? The city is still in shambles, and to prove this you need only to do a web search for recent images of the city. There are hundreds upon hundreds of homes still rotting away. Progress has not been made, and all levels of government have completely dropped the ball. The city and the region is quickly being forgotten. How can the nation forget so quickly? The people of the region are not asking for a handout, rather they are pleading for a hand up.

Read the words below; think of "the City that Care Forgot." Pray that those who grew up in New Orleans, the place of their birth, and who love it with such a passion and a conviction that defies reason at times, will return. My Aggie peers should understand this driving conviction, I hope. It is something so, so dear.

Pray that the nation as a whole will not let this situation pass into a darkness of not understanding, this struggle of those along the Coast. For when trouble strikes those untroubled and deaf to the pleas, only then will they think it matters most.

Don't dismiss something you don't know. Use it as a challenge to learn of a love that was once, perhaps to you, unknown.

Please Come Home for Christmas

Bells will be ringing the glad, glad news
Oh what a Christmas to have the blues
My baby's gone, I have no friends
To wish me greetings once again

Choirs will be singing Silent Night
Christmas carols, by candle light
Please come home for Christmas
Please come home for Christmas
If not for Christmas, by New Years night

Friends and relations, send salutations
Sure as the stars shine above
But this is Christmas
Yeah, it's Christmas, my dear
It's the time of the year to be with the one you love

Oh won't you tell me
You'll never more roam
Christmas and New Year will find you home
There'll be no more sorrows
No grief and pain
Because I'll be happy, happy once again

Ooo, no more sorrows
No grief and pain
Because I'll be happy, Christmas, once again.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Celebrating the Smallest of Miracles

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein

It is an odd thing to feel so much joy well within my heart all the while having quiet pain develop within. There is something to say of the joy one feels when being with one’s true friends. The airs of all other things evaporate at the sight of genuine friendship. The smallest of miracles that I celebrate today is the gift of friendship, of having the honor to associate myself with a cadre of people devoted to Christ. There is something to be said of being able to find such a precious jewel amid the darkness of college life. For it is dark out in the world, but through those friends the Light shines through.

As for the quiet pain that is growing, it is the strain of my patience within my heart. It is my failings that keep me from banishing the pain. I do not charge it to be of any great significance in comparisons to others' pain, for that would be too selfish of me. Rather, I see of it as something to find growth within, to explore and to find grace within. How are we not to love but feel pain at times? Our greatest example of love also shows the greatest of pains, that of our Lord's Passion.

Yet, I do not wish to speak of that subject at current, for last night—amid that cadre of friends I spoke of--we had a "private screening" of The Nativity Story (we fourteen were the only ones there at the late showing). What struck me was the spiritual strength of Joseph portrayed. Movies like that one make you think, even meditate, on the mystery of our Lord's birth. What love must that have taken for the both of them, Mary and Joseph? That love and compassion overflowed in the film.

Then there are the quiet moments among friends. Such was the case the night previous when a group of us went out for pizza rolls. That communal feasting allows the love of friendship to come forth from the shadows, to joke and jest in such a loving way that no soul is emotionally injured. What love is this! Amid all these things there are affection and charity. Acts of kindness, whether recognized or not, come forth to work with love. These are the smallest of miracles I speak about.

I am reminded of the Deacon Switzer's homily from yesterday evening's daily Mass. He implored us not to wait for the miracles to help bring us into a fuller life, rather we are to be active in our lives and allow the Lord to work within us and create within us the miracles of life.

So, I will say again. I am thankful for the presence of those among me. Without them my faith would not be as strong, my love of the world—here and the next—would be not as great, and my determination to not stray from the path be not as resolute. Praise be to God!