December 19 Readings

Anniversary PhotoFrom John Main OSB, “Letter Ten: December 18, 1979,” LETTERS FROM THE HEART(New York: Crossroad, 1988), pp. 119-120.

Christmas is a feast that can open the hearts of us all to the presence of Christ. It puts before us the great qualities of innocence and hope that we need if we are to awaken to his light, and it fills us with confidence because it tells us that the old age has ended. The new age, indeed the new creation, has begun and our point of departure for finding it everywhere is finding it a reality in our heart.

Our journey is, then, one to our own hearts. Because all of us are invited to enter this temple and receive this newness of life, we have to recognize this time as a moment to put off everything in us that is dead, everything that prevents us from embracing the mystery of our own creation and entering into the fullness of life we receive as pure gift in God’s eternal act of creation.

The importance of the teaching of the Incarnation is that this mystery of God in his eternal creativity is not only brought closer to us but is really united to us. We no longer need to objectify the mystery that has taken up dwelling in our hearts of flesh. We now know that our awakening to his reality is an imminent possibility for each of us because the awakening is an incarnate encounter. The joyfulness to which this feast should recall us is that this awakening is not the result of our own inadequate resources. It is not our own power or wisdom that leads us but his love that is present as the light of the supreme reality in our hearts. The humility of the child Jesus is our guide and teacher. In his Light we have Light. In his Love we have Love. In this Truth we are made Truthful.

Meditate for Thirty Minutes.... Remember: Sit down. Sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Silently, interiorly, begin to say a single word. We recommend the prayer-phrase "Maranatha." Recite it as four syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently, but continuously. Do not think or imagine anything—spiritual or otherwise. Thoughts and images will likely come, but let them pass. Just keep returning your attention—with humility and simplicity—to saying your word in faith, from the beginning to the end of your meditation.

After Meditation, from John Main OSB, “Letter One: December 10, 1977,” LETTERS FROM THE HEART(New York: Crossroad, 1988), p. 40

Our task is to persevere—not grudgingly or self-importantly, but with simple faith and self-renewing love. The figure of Mary is a central one in our understanding of Christmas. Above all, she is a great example of interiority with a direct meaning for each of us. Just as she carried the human Christ within her, so we must bear and worship Christ in our own hearts, remembering that he is just as truly present within us as he was bodily present in his mother.