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SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS | We bring Christ into the world when we let Christ into the weak points of our lives

There are certainly external issues we need to fight, but we also need to address the internal darkness

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Merry Christmas!

St. Ambrose once said, “Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith.” Let’s think about how we might bring forth Christ in faith.

Two themes pervade the readings for Christmas week — “savior” and “light.” “Savior” indicates that we need to be saved from something; “light” indicates that there is darkness that needs dispelling. When the angel says to the shepherds, “I proclaim to you good news of great joy,” it’s good news precisely because there’s a problem!

Whether we’re thinking physically, politically or culturally, there’s certainly darkness in the world. It’s interesting to note, though, how the feast days immediately after Christmas address the darkness. St. Stephen (Dec. 26) was the first martyr; St. John the Evangelist (Dec. 27) was exiled; the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28) were killed as Herod sought to destroy Jesus. In other words: cancel culture is not a new phenomenon! I say that not to make light of contemporary forms of cancel culture but only to point out that the Church has seen this kind of cultural darkness before.

A strong temptation for us, however, is to find the darkness only “out there.” The truth is there’s also darkness inside of us. For most of us, our time and energy is best spent fighting the darkness where we have the most influence: inside of us.

Isn’t it interesting, then, that so much of our time and energy is spent on talking about the darkness “out there?” It’s a skillful temptation precisely because it’s true that there’s darkness in the world. The temptation is to focus our attention on the places where we have the least influence, rather than giving our energy to the places where we can have the most influence.

A recent work of cultural and spiritual analysis says that Jesus took all the sickness of the world upon Himself so that He could develop “spiritual antibodies” to them within His own body. Then, when we become members of His body, Jesus shares those “spiritual antibodies” with us. Many of the saints throughout the history of the Church are great examples of this. Consider Sts. Paul, Ignatius of Loyola and Therese of Lisieux. All of them had issues that had to be overcome and, in Christ, they found the healing of those issues. They let Jesus into their weak point. It became a strength for them. And, through them, it became a strength for the Church.

That’s a great pattern for us! We want to bring Christ into the world. Good! But the most effective way to do that is to let Christ into our lives. The most important and powerful way to do that is to let Him into the places where we’re weak, where the darkness is inside of us. When we let Christ into our lives, then He comes into the world again through us. Then the words of St. Ambrose are fulfilled in us: “Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith.”

May it be so in each of us this Christmas and throughout the coming year. Merry Christmas!

From the Archive Module

SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS We bring Christ into the world when we let Christ into the weak points of our lives 9237

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