Christmas reflections

A merry and very blessed Christmas to all of you!

1. For the recessional for today's Mass of the Dawn at the Cathedral, the hymn was "Good Christian Men, Rejoice". If you've not heard it, seek it out. The tempo is charming, and there was a lyric that really struck my heart: Now ye need not fear the grave. Christmas is so beautiful! God become man, and fully revealed to the world, no longer hid in the womb of his Mother, this Incarnation is what makes possible the sacrifice of this man's life which made possible our salvation. Our salvation can indeed be found in the Nativity, as this hymn so joyfully proclaims.

2. From Pope Benedict's homily today: "To awake, then, means to develop a receptivity for God: for the silent promptings with which he chooses to guide us; for the many indications of his presence. There are people who describe themselves as "religiously tone deaf". The gift of a capacity to perceive God seems as if it is withheld from some. And indeed – our way of thinking and acting, the mentality of today’s world, the whole range of our experience is inclined to deaden our receptivity for God, to make us "tone deaf" towards him."

This selection from our Holy Father is a good explanation for the Spirituality Year in which I am at the seminary. We have a media fast this year--we're not allowed the use of cell phones, landlines, internet, tv, radio, etc. Basically all electronics. Only on the weekend may we use these. And on Sunday their use is only for communication--eg no tv on Sunday. The whole point of our media fast is to help us awaken to God's voice in our lives. The guy who is using his cell all day, with the radio or the tv on in the background all day, is not terribly likely to be listening to see if God is calling him to a priestly vocation. It is much too easy to distract ourselves with all the super-cool gadgets we have. If I have my phone with me, I can text people all the time and never have to face silence, which may have include an encounter with my conscience or with God. Our media fast is truly a good.

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