• Sarah Raad


God will ALWAYS accept our sacrifice, just as I accepted my children’s help in packing-up…

Padre Pio celebrating Mass - note the coverings worn on his hands to hide his stigmata.

Pretty much every year on Christmas Day, my family and I host a Christmas Party.

During the first years of our marriage, we would invite my husband’s family to join us for our celebrations, and it would be the “Raad Family Christmas Party”. But as the years drew on and my siblings started to partner-off and marry, my parents and whichever siblings who were still single and living at home were invited to join us for our celebrations on the day and it evolved into a “Family Christmas Party”.

During our first Christmas as a married couple, I was heavily pregnant with our first child and though I enjoyed the party and celebrations, the packing-up after everyone went home was really tiring…

In the years that followed, our family was growing, and each year I was either pregnant or a new mother at each of these functions and the packing-up was even more draining... Then – after all my children were born – I was running around after toddlers while trying to entertain our guests… And – as always – the packing-up was exhausting.

And then – over the last few years – our children grew up… And just like that, instead of me running around after them, they started to run around for me – doing errands to ensure that we got everything done.

This Christmas, I had pretty much just recovered from some major surgery, and while I was physically capable of hosting a meal at home, my children came to my aid, and were especially helpful with the packing-up and cleaning-up after our guests left because they knew that I easily got tired…

And I have been reflecting on this over the weeks since Christmas because I can see something of sacrifice in my actions and those of my children in this…

You see, though I was tired, I am more proficient at cleaning and packing-up than my children are. After all, I have had years of extra practice and could quite easily do all the work myself – much better than they could – though because of my weakened state, I would be slow at this time. And yet – though the job they do is not quite as good as the job that I could do – when they offered to help me with the packing-up I did not turn any of them away! Instead, I embraced their efforts and made use of them to alleviate my burden, and – once I knew that they were actually willing to assist me – I started to designate tasks to them and direct them in their work so that their willingness to elp me could be put to the most effective use...

And this is sort of like Christ…

For NONE OF US can offer a PERFECT sacrifice as Christ does on the Cross – and yet, if we attempt to make an offering or a sacrifice for love of Him – despite the imperfection of our love for Him – He will ALWAYS accept our sacrifice, just as I accepted my children’s help in packing-up…

And where we show that we are willing to make a sacrifice for love of Him He will also DIRECT our sacrifice, by sending us the suffering that will gain the greatest good from our sacrifice – in the form of the Crosses that we bear in our lives, just as I directed my children’s efforts in packing away.

And so, as I look at all the things packed-up neatly in their place, I consider the packing-up of Christmas. For even in my own weakness, I can see my Beloved’s strength – and I can only feel great joy because of that!

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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