Saturday, December 13, 2014


I was meditating in church this morning, and started out with the reflection assigned for Saturday of the Second Week of Advent in my book From Holidays to Holy Days. (I find that the questions I was asking myself years ago tend to stay fresh and green for a long time.)

There were two aspects to the meditation about Christmas cards. The first was the idea of that God is always sending me Christmas cards. In his poem "Leaves of Grass" Walt Whitman wrote: 

I find letters from God dropped in the street, and every one is signed by God's name." God is constantly dropping Christmas cards at my feet as reminders of his love. I try to cultivate a feel for recognizing God’s gifts in the people and experiences I encounter every day, especially in my students and my brothers in the monastery, in the pretty face of a college student or the way the sunlight filters through a certain tree. I think I do pretty well on that part.

The other half of the metaphor, though was what spoke to me this morning. It was contained in this paragraph:

And it occurs to me that God must entrust me with the task of delivering many of those divine Christmas cards to others: a little favor done for a brother monk, spending fifteen minutes listening to a student tell me his problems, taking special care to prepare a good homily for the people for whom I say mass on Sunday. God uses me to drop all of these “letters” at people’s feet to assure them that they are loved, and that the Lord is with them every minute.
In the reflection questions I’d asked: “When has the Lord used you to deliver a message of love and concern to someone?”

I smiled as I remembered all the situations I was in yesterday that were testing my patience and my calmness. I’d tried very hard at the time not to be resentful of all the demands on my time and energy. I guess it was a gift that I was able to pull it off pretty well, especially on a Friday. In other words I was able to see that most of what I was doing involved being of some sort of help to others. Being patient with a troubled student who was being difficult, staying after school to give a retest, discussing a student’s grades with him, reviewing the light cues for next Thursday’s Christmas Program, arranging to get to a wake that evening even though I knew I’d be tired after a hectic day.

So now this morning’s reflection question gave me a lovely way of seeing what I’d been doing yesterday: “When has the Lord used you to deliver a message of love and concern to someone?”

I don’t send out Christmas cards. But now I realize that I have the opportunity to send them by the hundreds every day. Each one personal -- and postage free -- and signed by God.

Each of us is meant to be a letter carrier for the Lord, delivering his “love letters.”

It gives a new meaning to an expression people don’t use any more: “You’re such a card!”

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