Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Born! Today we rejoice after a period of penance and waiting. We are exuberant because Christ is in our midst and because His birth signifies God's great love for us. While celebrating, we cannot forget the plight of those who have had a difficult year. We remember those who have died, those who have lost a loved one, those who have suffered economically, and those who find it difficult to rejoice for many reasons. May this holy season draw us nearer to the newborn Christ and help us to care for those who need us as a visible presence of God's love. Finally, may we continue to seek Him always, especially in the Most Holy Eucharist, as so beautifully described by Sir John Betjeman in his poem "Christmas:"
"...No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine."
God bless you now and always.
Sincerely in Christ,
Christ is Risen!
Our Paschal joy this year is tempered by news out of Sri Lanka. There our Christian brothers and sisters were mercilessly attacked as they announced the good news of the resurrection. It is an unfortunate reminder of the presence of terrorism in our lives, even in our churches and holiest places. We pray for all persecuted persons that God will change the hearts of their persecutors and that they may live in the peace we believe all deserve. May those who died rest in peace and those who were injured recover from their injuries. This year may our focus be on our persecuted brethren and their plight.
Sincerely in Christ,
Dear Members and Supporters:
2018 was a momentous year for our Society. Over 17,000 people learned about our mission through the internet and social media. We also grew to 6 members through the ordinations of Fr. George and Fr. Hyacinth. Also, our first honorary member of the College of Consultors was appointed.
We had 3 candidates request entry by submission of application with a further 3 awaiting review. We also added 3 priest companions who are members of other religious groups.
Hopefully, 2019 will bring even greater success and more opportunities to preach the message of the Mercy of God. May Our Lady of Mercy bless our Society and its members and supporters, as well as intercede for us to Her Holy Son.
On this sacred day we celebrate Our Lord’s birth. For on this day “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). We are profoundly grateful that over 2,000 years ago God came to us to dwell with us and to show us the way. Like the star followed by the shepherds the message of Our Lord must guide us. It must guide our thoughts, inspire our hearts, and inform our actions so that we can live in Him.
This is the true meaning of this feast. St. Paul of the Cross gave us a superb admonition about this day when he said: “Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the heavenly Father, where you will be reborn each moment in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.”
May you be renewed by this holy day and may we all celebrate Our Lord’s birth in our thoughts, hearts, and actions. And may God bless you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
Today we echo the words of the hymn that “the strife is o’er, the battle done; the victory of life is won.” We ended our Lenten observance and enter into the joys of the Pascal season. We often think of Lent as the time when we do our most difficult spiritual work. However, we know that because of the resurrection our work has just begun. Like the women in the tomb and the holy apostles we are now compelled to share the good news of salvation with others, “lest even the stones cry out” (Luke 19:40). We are all responsible now of proclaiming the message of hope, of mercy, of love, and forgiveness. We are also compelled to invite others to a full life in Christ through the reception of the Holy Sacraments, which strengthen us on the journey. This message cannot come from the clergy alone. At our baptisms we entered the faith with the expectation we would live it ourselves as well as share it with others. May God give us the strength to live out this call and the wisdom to do it well.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
“There in a manger lowly lies He who reigns above the skies. The ox and ass in neighboring stall see that Child the Lord of All.” These beautiful words from the hymn “Puer Natus in Bethlehem” remind us of the perplexing nature of our faith. We worship Our Lord who has come to us as a baby born in a manger. He who came as the most vulnerable chose His birthplace in the humblest of places. For this we rejoice, as God is willing to come to us wherever we are found. In the lowliest of places, in the lowest points of our lives, at our most desperate we are supported by Emmanuel, whose very name means that God is with us (Matt. 1:23).
This year has not been without difficulty. Our nation and our world continue to experience strife, divisions, and calamities. In spite of this, we remember the words of C.S. Lewis that “the Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God." And so we rejoice that even in strife we have been claimed by a God who profoundly loves us. And who left us Himself in the most excellent way: thorough His very Body and Blood in the Eucharist. How truly unworthy are we to receive him body, soul, and divinity into ourselves, yet how fortunate we are that he came to dwell within us.
May the Christ Child dwell within you always and may you be blessed by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Merry Christmas!
Sincerely in Christ,
CHRISTMAS PASTORAL: 2016
DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST:
As we progress in this new Church year and this new calendar year we acknowledge that 2016 was a challenging year for Americans. A divisive election, violence throughout the world, and uncertainty made us reflect on our core values. Sometimes the problems of the world seem insurmountable. But we then remember that we are not of this world. In all things we must aspire towards sainthood and an eternity with God. This is not an easy path—it is a marathon and not a sprint. But we are comforted by the words of Saint Augustine “You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.”
Let us then reflect on the littleness of an infant. Our Lord became “incarnate by the Holy Spirit, of the Virgin Mary: and was made man” first in the form of an infant. How easy it is to love a God who came to us as something so fragile, sensitive, and most in need of care. Infants, like God, give us hope and deserve our love and devotion. Through our understanding of Our Lord’s infancy we can grow to understand His progression to manhood and eventual suffering on the Cross. As Our Lord grew, so does our faith and understanding of the complexities of our faith.
It is understandable, then, why so many pious devotions like the Infant of Prague, the Holy Infant of Atocha, Santo Niño de Cebu, etc. have grown among the faithful with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Christ Child helps us to see God, as Christ Jesus, as vulnerable like us and helps us understand His mission as man. I commend you to the Christ Child and hope He will bless you and your family abundantly now and always.
To the Most Reverend Bishops, Reverend Clergy, and Faithful in Christ:
We are still grieving from the horrific news reported early Sunday morning from Orlando. This tragedy shakes us to our very core as a nation and makes us ask “how long, O Lord?” (Ps. 13) How long will we receive weekly reports on the news about mass shootings? O God, how we long for your peace which “surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) to give us comfort!
The news is all the more heinous because it was perpetuated out of hatred towards a group of people. Gay and lesbian individuals continue to be the focus of much violence, often times with hatred wrapped in religious language. Yet we know these actions are not of God, for “whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). As Christians a core tenant of our faith is to love for “we love because He first loved us” (1. John 4:19).
As we reflect on the terrible events of Sunday, let us pray for the victims. May God have mercy on them and may they rest in peace. Let us pray as well for their families and friends, that God may comfort them during this difficult time. We also pray for the injured, that they might receive healing. Finally, let us ask God to soften our hearts that we may love more and promote peace in our communities and in the world.
Sincerely in Christ,
The News Portal of the Society of Mercy.