As we close out the Christmas season today with the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, I remember starting my weekly Holy Hour during the first week of Advent. As I sat in the quiet chapel, I was struck by the placement of the nativity scene under the true Presence of the Blessed Sacrament on the altar and Christ Crucified above.
This infant Jesus, who the shepherds knelt before in adoration and praise. This newborn babe, who the magi traveled to find, to honor, and to present gifts fit for a King. There He was before me.
This tiny Jesus who I just wanted so much to pick up and hold in my arms, is the same Jesus that Our Blessed Mother and Sts. John and Mary Magdalan stood before at the foot of the cross with reverence, strength, and gratitude. Am I brave enough to stand with them? I sure hope so. Because Jesus on the Cross is the same Jesus in the manger. Can I embrace the cross as much as I embrace the Babe?
Today, Jesus—the same Jesus yesterday, today, and always—waits for me to be like the shepherds, wise men, and saints and to worship and adore Him. Present in the Holy Eucharist, He is in my Chapel just as much as He was in the manger and on the Cross. And He invites me to be with Him in His poverty and vulnerability; to be with Him in His glory and majesty. Just like He asked the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane to stay and pray with Him for one hour, so He asks me to do the same.
I am growing to love my Holy Hour. To spend that time in adoration, unity, and conversation with the Lord. It is quiet. I share. I try not to talk too much. I listen. I write something that comes to mind. I gaze at the One who gave His life for me.
Jesus. Jesus. Praise You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me.
As I pack up Christmas for another year, I am grateful for one aspect of my Advent and Christmas seasons that will not be put into a box. And that is my Eucharistic Holy Hour. Every week, just like the Christmas hymn sings, I get to come and adore Him … Christ the Lord!
“The baby Jesus is … a tremendous strength … Out of the overflowing abundance of his love, Christ, the Son of God, chose to pass through a little infant’s helplessness, the only state in which someone is totally given over into the hands of another …
That is how our God first appeared, and he wants to be contemplated and adored in this state not only by the lowly but also by the great, for he accepted the adoration of both shepherds and wise men, and he even led them by a star into the presence of this little baby without grandeur or majesty …
When I look at the crib and the little infant Jesus in the straw, and the shepherds and the Apostles and all those who started what was in fact something great, I think to myself that our poverty and our weakness are the very things the Lord desires, so that it can be he alone acting through us; we are only the instruments, which he can handle without putting up the least resistance.
In his immense love, Christ the Beloved willed to take the only form capable of reaching the hardest hearts, those hearts most closed in on themselves, most weighed down by guilt and pain, those who would have been broken by his cross or frightened by his majesty.”
—Little Sister Madeleine of Jesus
What is one thing you can do to keep the prayerful and joyful season of Christmas alive in your ordinary, everyday life?
Originally published on Jan. 11, 2015.