And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Today the Magi bow before the Christ Child, offering their gifts to The Gift of God the Father: Jesus. For us, this Christmas has been filled with gifts from the Father. The most unexpected surprise was the invitation from Mother Dolores Marie to spend Christmas with our sisters in Alabama! It was a wonderful way to welcome Our Savior, back at our old home. It had been several years since our last trip to Our Lady of the Angels, so it was a grace-filled time seeing Mother Angelica and catching up with all our sisters, as well as meeting the newer members of the community. We had hoped for a cold Christmas, but we didn’t get one. We did, however, get lots of rain. Thankfully, all was fine at the monastery, and our prayers were with the many people who suffered from flooding and tornadoes on Christmas day.
Since being in San Antonio on foundation we have been keeping our monastic Christmas traditions, but it was so beautiful to see them in their proper setting in the choir chapel. Here Rev. Mother Dolores Marie reads the Gospel of the Nativity at the Office of Readings, flanked by novices bearing candles.
On the altar is an old statue of the Infant Jesus, with a relic of the Crib of Our Lord. Before beginning the Office of Readings each of us venerates the relic and then Rev. Mother blesses the community with it. This is one of the sweetest traditions at the monastery.
Another great gift which our Lord gave us was walking through the Holy Door as part of the Year of Mercy inaugurated by Pope Francis. Bishop Baker gave the huge bronze doors, which welcome visitors to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the special designation of being Holy Doors, which means that you can gain the plenary indulgence as part of the Year of Mercy when you pass through them. But he also designated the chapel doors on the cloister side as well, so we were able to gain our first Jubilee Year indulgence at the monastery. [Click here to learn more about the meaning of the Holy Door, and how to gain a plenary indulgence as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.]
On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.
– Pope Francis
As most of us prepare to go back to the monotony of our daily routine after the Christmas holidays, let’s not forget that the Father is full of surprises, and He likes to catch us unawares with a gift – sometimes large, sometimes small – that reminds us of His infinite Love for us. To reunite His lost children with Himself, He gave us His Son. Today we thank Him, too, for the surprise gift of a family reunion He gave us for Christmas.