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“[Christ] left you an example…that you would follow in his steps” (I Peter 2:21).

A prince had a crooked back that kept him from being the kind of prince he wanted to be. One day the king had a sculptor make a statue that portrayed the prince with a straight back. He placed it in the garden. When the prince saw it, he meditated on it and desired to be like it. Soon people began to say, “The prince’s back is getting straighter.” When the prince heard this, he began to spend hours meditating on the statue. Then one day he stood as straight as the statue. This story is a parable of you and me. God sent us Jesus to show us how we can become who we are meant to be….

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

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“A man was watching his eighty-year-old neighbor planting a small peach tree. He asked him, ‘You don’t expect to eat peaches from that tree, do you?’ The old man rested on his spade. He said, ‘No, at my age I know I won’t. But all my life I have enjoyed peaches—never from a tree I planted myself. I’m just trying to pay the other fellows who planted the trees for me by planting for those who will come after me.”

Let us remember that by our baptism we are committed to caring for others as Jesus did. We do this in many ways. This little story reminds us that we have the joy and privilege of preparing for the generations to follow us, those who will reap the blessings of our life and actions. May all that we do in this new year help others!

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

A story is told about John Ruskin, the 18th-century English writer when he was quite old. He was visiting with a friend and was standing looking out the front window of the house. It was nighttime, and the lamplighter was lighting the street lamps. From the window, one could only see the lamps that were lit, and the light the lamplighter was carrying from one lamppost to the next. The lamplighter himself could not be seen.

Ruskin remarked that the lamplighter was a good example of the genuine Christian. His way was clearly marked by the lights he lit, and the lights he kept burning—even though he himself may not be known or seen.

The Magi followed the star that led them to the humble stable. It has been said that many at the time saw the star, but only a few had the courage and wisdom follow the star that led to Love Incarnate. Are we aware of the Light shining within us, around us, among us—in the lives of our family members, the stranger, those who need us? How brightly does our light shine upon others? Do our actions and words bring light into the lives of all those we meet?

As we begin this new year and celebrate the Epiphany, may we remember to pray for each other, that 2018 may be a year in which we follow the light of Christ and become truly lights shining forth God’s goodness for others?

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

Soon the Christmas trees will be taken down, ornaments put away, and we will be getting back to our regular routines. Will Christmas and its wonderful spirit be forgotten just as easily as taking down the Christmas crèche? If Christmas and Jesus’ coming into the world is to have any lasting significance, we need to be different people, better people, in these days following Christmas.

A woman was seated by a fireplace, thinking about Christmas. The whole thing seemed absurd. Why would God take flesh and live among us? Then she heard a noise outdoors. She saw a dozen geese groping about in the snow—cold and confused. She went outside and tried to herd them into her warm garage. But the more she tried to help them, the more they scattered across the lawn. Finally, she gave us. Then an odd thought came to her. “If just for a minute I could become a goose and talk to them in their own language, I could explain that what I was trying to do was for their happiness.” Then it struck her. That’s what Christmas is all about! It’s about God becoming a human to teach us what is necessary for our happiness. Am I learning this lesson? How can I continue living in the spirit of Christmas giving, all year long?

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

A Hasidic story tells of a little boy playing hide-and-seek with his friends. For some unknown reason, the others stopped playing while he was still hiding. He began to cry. His grandfather came to comfort him. After learning what had happened he said: “ Don’t cry. Maybe you can learn something from this. Life is sometimes like the same game with God…only it is God who is crying. God is waiting to be found, but many of us have gone in search of other things.”

In this time of Advent, we wait. We wait for many things, but most importantly we wait for a renewed awareness of God’s life active in our own. We wait for the simplicity of a child to be reborn in us. We wait to receive the gift of generosity shown by gentle shepherds and faith-filled wise men. We wait for the goodness and provident care of God to be revealed in our daily lives. God is also waiting…for us. God is waiting for us to get our priorities in order, to seek him with all our hearts, to love him as he loves us. What are we waiting for….?

As this Advent season comes to an end with the beginning of the Christmas season, we pray for all of our needs and intentions through Mary’s intercession. She teaches us what it means to wait patiently, to trust in God’s promises, and to seek God in our everyday life.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

One rainy afternoon a mom was driving along one of the main streets in town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly her daughter, Ashley, spoke up from her relaxed position in the back seat.

“Mom, I’m thinking of something.” This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while and was ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. Her mom was eager to hear.

“What are you thinking?’ she asked.

“The rain,” she began, “is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away.”

After the chills raced up her arms, her mom was able to respond.

“That’s really good, Ashley.” Then her curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation?

So I asked, “Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?”

Ashley didn’t hesitate for one moment with her answer: “We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us.”

I don’t know about you, but I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

In this time of Advent, we are caught up in a spirit of waiting. We often forget that while we wait for the Birth of Jesus in our hearts and world, God is also waiting for us….to discover Him in creation, to find him anew in one another, to meet him in prayer. A story might help to demonstrate this:

Once there was a young man who wanted to find God, so he went into a beautiful cathedral. He thought that in this atmosphere he might experience God. Filled with feelings of God’s closeness, he put his head down on the back of the pew in front of him.

A few minutes later he felt a tapping on his shoulder. Looking up, he saw an old woman. “Are you hungry?” she asked. “I could give you a few dollars to get something to eat.” Realizing the risk the woman had taken and the simple love that prompted her offer, the man thanked her and said that he was all right. A few minutes later he left the church, knowing that he had found God in more than one way.

In this Advent season, let us follow the examples given in this little story:

· When we seek God we will find Him.

· When we reach out to others and offer to help another in need, we are acting as Jesus would.

· When we recognize the presence of God in each other, we realize how very blessed we are.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech