Written by Sherry
Sunday, 23 December 2007 09:21
My pastor reported to us at Mass this morning that several very remarkable - apparently miraculous - healings have occurred in our congregation in the past few days. Without identifying anyone involved, he reported that someone with 4th stage cancer had the disease suddenly vanish and another man, who was expected to die at any moment of heart disease, suddenly got better and walked out of the hospital with his family to celebrate Christmas at home.
Dickens didn't have a corner on dramatic Christmas turn-arounds. Sometimes we get a glimpse of the great river of redeeming grace flowing through this world - often through the prayers, penance, self-offering, charisms, vocations, and sacrifice of millions of ordinary people around the world - who offer themselves to God to be used as instruments of his amazing love for others.
I know that this is a very tough time of year for many of us. Our struggles, suffering, loneliness or personal and spiritual darkness seems to be in vivid contrast to the endless jolliness that our culture insists upon. And I suspect that most of us will go through at least one experience of sadness or darkness at Christmas in our earthly lives.
But how many of us have also experienced great blessing, healing, renewal, restoration, or forgiveness at Christmas? Those moments are just as real as our sad times and more real - because they point to - are the first fruits of - our ultimate destiny in Christ, that for which God created us, became man for us, died for us, rose and ascended for us.
As John Henry Newman wrote:
God intends, unless I interfere with his plan,
that I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness
He looks upon me individually,
He calls me by my name,
He knows what I can do ,
what I can best be
What is my greatest happiness
and he means to give it to me.
Sometimes in life, we progress toward that happiness like Frodo and Sam trudging, obediently in darkness through the darkness, and sometimes we are refreshed with stays in Rivendell or Lothlorien. But all the while, a relentless work of redemption is taking place in us, through us, around us, for us - and sometimes we are given glimpses of the joy and endless life in Love that lies before us.
Anyone else have a hopeful Advent or Christmas story to share?