Dear Brother Oblates, Honourary Oblates and Lay Collaborators,
As we begin this wonderful Christmas season, we turn our eyes to Bethlehem – the place where the child Jesus was born. We read in St. John’s gospel that, “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:11-12). Every year, we say yes to this Word which also transforms us and makes us children of the light, children of God.
It is not a coincidence that at the same time as we begin our Triennium preparation, Pope Francis publishes his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The joy of the Gospel). Just as our Superior General, he urges every Christian and every person of good will to accept Christ into their heart because only Christ gives us true joy. I would like to quote from this document a part of the prayer which captures very well the mystery of God’s incarnation:
“Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love. (…) Mary, Virgin and Mother, you who, moved by the Holy Spirit, welcomed the word of life in the depths of your humble faith: as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One, help us to say our own “yes” to the urgent call, as pressing as ever, to proclaim the good news of Jesus.”
May the Virgin Mary help us to hasten our steps to Bethlehem, to encounter the Child who is born for us, for the salvation and joy of all people. May the light of the Bethlehem Night allow us to once again believe in the great miracle that God became human and that true love is possible.
May this love be born in each of us this Christmas! Merry Christmas to you all!
Fr. Marian Gil OMI