Our Lady of the “Incurable” Wound

Every year on this feast-day I ask myself if the blood of our children would have flowed with the blood of the holy innocents. Would their last little screams echo in our ears forever? Would my own voice and the voice of my wife have been mingled with the cries of the grieving parents of Bethlehem? Would a voice be heard in the suburbs and the shopping malls, sobbing and loudly lamenting –– our own cry, disconnected, weeping for our children because they are no more? And when the soldiers wipe their swords and go home and the rulers go back to their affairs of state, and when in the world of commerce it is business as usual, would we just stand there with holes in our hearts, bleeding from an incurable wound?

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Tiny Tim and King Herod

Advent has begun, the time of waiting when we turn toward the coming dawn with renewed expectancy. Each year in the liturgical cycle we are invited to pray with the entire Church for the rebirth of Christ within the stable of our hearts, and for the graces we will need as we await his final coming. The scripture readings are about hope arising in the midst of darkness, of beginnings and endings and the eternal joy when there will be no more endings. Until that ultimate homecoming, we live in a world that is still in the process of being restored in Christ. The Christ Child is among us, and so is Herod.

Every year or so I read aloud to my children Charles Dickens’ great classic, A Christmas Carol. Most of our six have also reread it quietly to themselves and watched the three better known film versions of it.  There are always new lights to be found in just about any Dickens novel,  and the Carol is no exception. You find yourself laughing at something which last year you found not in the least funny; this year you’re choking back a sob where last year you were left untouched.

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