THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

Sunday within the octave of Christmas

30 December 2018

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Dear Friends,

This Christmas season we welcome Jesus into our lives. We have spent the previous Advent Season in repentance and penance, and now through the grace of God, Jesus has come once again into our hearts and souls. With Mary, we receive the prophecy of Simeon. The love of God for us draws us to ever greater love for Him. Our love for Jesus is like a sword that cuts deep into our souls. The true spiritual life is a life of extremes. We begin with the joy of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion; we struggle and sometimes fail to keep the Life of Christ within us and drive Him out through sin, then we begin again in repentance. The joy of love is soon replaced by the sorrow of loss and regret. We struggle to break this cycle and have our souls always remain filled with the love of God.

The greater our love grows, the greater becomes the sorrows as well as the joys. To live a life where Jesus is living through us means that we are rejected by the world as He is rejected by the world. The world will welcome us at times as Jerusalem welcomed Jesus with praise and glory, only to cry out for our blood a short time later.

Having died to ourselves to allow Jesus to enter in and live within us, we are now asked to die to the world. Sacrificing the pleasures of this world is not easy, but it is still not the most difficult part. In this life we share love with those around us. This love causes us to desire that they too enter in and live the life of Jesus Christ. When we see those whom we love reject Life by rejecting God, it is as if a very part of our souls dies. If they turn against us and hate us, we must hang patiently upon the cross with Jesus and pray, "Heavenly Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing."

As we advance in the spiritual life, we find a resemblance in our lives with those who followed Jesus before us. Mary is the first and greatest follower of Jesus Christ. If we are to truly follow Him, we, of necessity, imitate her. To truly form the Life of Christ in our souls, we first approach nearer to the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Therefore, we look for the prophesies told to her to begin to appear in our own lives.

The prophecy to Mary was that a sword would pierce her soul. In her and in us the sword pierces the soul not the body. Physical pains and sufferings are as nothing compared to the pain in our souls when we truly see and understand that "Love is not loved." God so loved the world, but the world does not love God.

Jesus loves us, and because Mary loves Jesus, Mary loves us. Mary loves Jesus perfectly, and so she is our guide in the spiritual life in leading us to Jesus. Our love grows by degrees. These various degrees are not always so clearly defined as we advance and then fall back only to advance again. We find active times and passive times, when we must labor, and when we quietly sit still and allow grace to work within us. The humble life of Jesus shows us this, through His hidden and His active Life here on earth. We see the same thing transpire in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This also must be our lives. We must have hidden and quiet times of our lives as well as active and busy times.

There are many times when we passively receive love, and there are active times when we are called upon to actively give love. To love God means that we must love Jesus because He is God. If we truly love Jesus, we must love all that He loves. Jesus loves us so much that He sacrifices Himself for mankind, even though mankind rejects Him. This unrequited love is the most painful suffering of Jesus. Mary, in loving Jesus and living in Him and for Him, suffered this same piercing sword of not being loved in spite of loving greatly. Because Jesus loves mankind, Mary loves mankind. Because Jesus suffered greatly for the love of men, Mary suffered greatly for the love of men.

If we are to be true followers of Jesus and Mary, we must also become great lovers of men, even though most men are undeserving of this love. Because of this, we must suffer a little of the sting of the sword that pierced the soul of Mary. Seeing this and knowing the result, may we not lose courage, but draw ever nearer to Mary to receive her help and guidance as we pass through the pain of love. With her we look upon Jesus Christ and willingly take up a part of His suffering for ourselves.

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