We hope that you’re enjoying this time of Christmas. If you are feeling lonely, due to the many restrictions in place right now, we hope that this can assure you of the One who can see us through even the darkest of pandemic days. Fr. Michael Schleupner shares this reflection on “Silent Night” and we have shared a prayer about God’s Presence too. May you feel that Presence today and always, enjoying the quiet reflection of that silent night.

Silent NightChristmas manger

Dear Friends,
For me, the number one Christmas carol has always been Silent Night. It was the first carol I remember as a child. I have always seen Silent Night as the foundational Christmas carol, the one that proclaims the heart and soul of what Christmas is all about. After all, doesn’t God come to us in “Emmanuel, which means God is with us,” in the silence of the night?

Jesus did not first appear to us in fanfare, with lots of  words and noise. He, Emmanuel, was born in utter simplicity, at nighttime, when things were silent. This seems very intentional – that God would break through to us and our world in utter silence.

Maybe that was the best possible or even the only possible way to get our attention. So, could it be that we, in turn, need to be silent to take in and appreciate what this night is all about? Could it be that to encounter God, to absorb this profound mystery, we need silence?

Could it be that we need to let go of our busyness and just be, just be, here and now, open to this singular and sacred event, to God becoming incarnate? Could it be that we easily forget “Emmanuel, God is with is” when we do not make space for silence in our lives? Without that silence, might we even live as if God is not with us?

I believe that deep down, we all know that this is true – that we need some silence in our lives if we are really going to be in relationship with the person of that first silent night.

Instinctively, we realize that the encounter with Emmanuel calls us to silence in order to illumine the once hidden reality of intimacy with God…. From the beginning, Christ intended for us to meet him in silence, whereby stillness of mind and heart, body and spirit become encounter with Emmanuel.

~Father Michael Schleupner

I Am There

Now God says to us
What He has already said to the earth as a whole
Through His grace-filled birth:

I am there. I am with you.
I am your life. I am your time.
I am the gloom of your daily routine. Why will you not hear it?
I weep your tears – pour yours out to me.
I am your joy.
Do not be afraid to be happy; ever since I wept, joy is the standard of living
That is really more suitable than the anxiety and grief of those who have no hope.

I am the blind alley of all your paths,
For when you no longer know how to go any farther,
Then you have reached me,
Though you are not aware of it.

I am in your anxiety, for I have shared it.
I am in the prison of your finiteness,
For my love has made me your prisoner.

I am in your death,
For today I began to die with you, because I was born,
And I have not let myself be spared any real part of this experience.

I am present in your needs;
I have suffered them and they are now transformed.

I am there.
I no longer go away from this world.
Even if you do not see me now, I am there.

My love is unconquerable.
I am there.
It is Christmas.
Light the Candles! They have more right to exist then all the darkness.
It is Christmas.
Christmas that lasts forever.

– Karl Rahner, S.J., “The Eternal Year”