Through His incarnation, Christ gives hope to the world.
I have been praying very much for all of our intentions, but now, at this time, I pray especially for my dear friend Nancy, who next week will undergo further testing and scans to determine if her cancer is gone.
As I pray for Nancy, and all the other suffering worried souls, I consider their bravery.
These chosen few, like Nancy, Vanessa, the family of saint baby Charbel, the mother who grieves, the family of baby Luka who is yet to be born, even my little niece, journey on to Calvary.
These special ones are surely gifted with such wisdom from the Holy Spirit that while they make the slow and painful journey on to Calvary, they are somehow able to continue to see the Manger at Christ's birth as clearly as the Cross at his death.
For if it is only in dying that we live. That humble blessed Manger reminds us of the life that follows death.
It is the promise. It is the hope.
That is what we follow in walking to Calvary.
There is something heroic in that!
Surely, as the holy family journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem, they knew, through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, that Calvary was to come.
And yet onwards they went, at the discretion of an angel.
There is something heroic in that!
As we travel in light along God's path to Calvary, we encounter him in the everyday, in the mundane in ways we could never have imagined.
When the three kings left their world behind, when they left their earthly kingdoms to follow a star to Christ, they had no guarantees that their kingdoms would still be theirs when they returned. There was no phone, email or postal service to attend their needs. These three men simply dropped all that they had in the world - presumably home, family, friends, comfort and power, to follow their intuition to a far distant star.
When I think about what that meant, I shudder. How much they gave to God without every knowing Him or His message!
Those three, those brave three, chose to trust in faith.
That is not an action human - it is an action divine!
Surely, the Holy Spirit was at work in this crazy unimaginable action of faith.
It is one thing to believe in a God we know and love, but quite another to give away our lives for a God we only feel is there.
There is something heroic in this!
Imagine their faith, to offer frankincense, incense, myrrh - gifts of such great value - in a place where animals ate, slept and defecated. Imagine the heat. Imagine the smell. Imagine the flies. Imagine kneeling in front of the Holy Family - a carpenter, a teenage girl, a child humbly swaddled in a manger - poor and powerless
And yet the three chosen kings ignored this evidence of worthlessness in this Earthly place and instead made their offerings as though standing in a gilded palace.
How brave they were. How wise!
Today, there are a billion different heroes in a billion different stables adoring Jesus in a billion different mangers in a billion different places in the world. And as those billions ignore the animals, the heat, the flies and the smell, within their own Earthly experience of life, they become something remarkable.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit to see life in death and love in pain, they grow wise. They become heroes!
On that Holy Ground inside those billion different stables in the world today. There. That is where heroes are made.
For through prayers for a billion different intentions, in a billion different stables, everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.