One of the most important documents written by any church in any century was Lumen Gentium (“Light of all Nations”), the dogmatic constitution on the nature and mystery of the Church from the Second Vatican Council. In its first full chapter, all the baptized are called to share in the common priesthood of the faithful (see I Pet. 2:9-10), thus sharing in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. But then a powerful little paragraph occurs: “From the wedlock of Christians there comes the family, in which new citizens of human society are born…thus perpetuating the People of God through the centuries...The family is, so to speak, the domestic Church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of faith to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care any religious vocation.” (LG 11). And so what happens in the home is what should be happening in the life of the church – the preaching of the Word of God by both word - prayer and reading of the Bible - and by example - modeling for our children an exemplary life of holiness and generosity. By doing this, each child will grow into his/her unique vocation to which God is calling them, whether this be a mother, a father, a teacher or a nun, a plumber or a priest. Life in the Spirit begins in the family and is nourished in the family. - - - Fr. Jim
Something happened to us this Advent. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t prepare for it. We didn’t know it was coming until right before it came. Snow fell. Snow fell softly and silently. Snow fell in blankets of white, clean and fresh, bright under a quarter-moon sky. It fell on a house where a man’s intelligence is being lost to him, slowly giving way to cancer, and his dreams are turning to life beyond. It fell on houses where people are putting up colorful lights and preparing for holiday guests and cheerful dinners. It fell on a house where a family is weary of the strain of alcoholism that sows its sinister seeds of destruction. The snow fell gently and completely and left no one untouched. The snow became a sacrament, a visible sign of the invisible. It was a sacrament of God’s grace. Not changing our lives all at once, the snow left us a little more quiet, a little more reflective, and a little more reverent. The white snow made us aware of all that is not white and clean and fresh, and of all that could be. The snow covered things that are always seen, and made us aware of things that were not seen before. Perhaps, we think, we might even see roses in December…?...Or a baby born in a cow trough…?... And still, and even moreso, the snow invited us to play, and laugh, and sled down its slopes. It invited us to take long walks in it, and gaze at it through a window. It made us feel once more alive again in a different kind of way! The snow … that is … the snow of God’s grace.
Merry Christmas! - - - Father Jim
Fr. James Chamberlain
Pastor of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church