Called to a Lifelong Process of Nurturing a ‘Contemplative Stance’ in order to be a ‘transformative presence’
Day 6 – Christmas Novena
The topic for Day 6 of our Christmas novena is “Called to a lifelong process of nurturing a ‘contemplative stance’ in order to be a ‘transformative presence”. For as long as we live, we are invited to change and allow ourselves to be changed by the One who came into the world as a child more than 2000 years ago: our God. Today let us be open to the possibility that the Infant in the crib would like to transform something in me as well.
Lord Jesus Christ,
You are coming into our world and you wish to transform it.
As long as we live, we have the chance to let you into our lives
and allow you to bring in a new vitality:
everything that has become hardened in us,
(a Sister brings a stone to the front)
everything that is dried out in us,
(a Sister brings a dry sponge to the front)
everything that is dead in us,
(a Sister brings a broken-off twig to the front)
everything that has frozen in us
(a Sister brings frozen water – block of ice – to the front)
Open our hearts for your love, goodness and mercy.
Grant this we pray, you who live and reign in the unity of the Holy Spirit in all eternity. Amen
A Child Did It
(Adapted from a true event)
During the service the priest and the sacristan noticed a man in the church who had not been there for the past 10 years. Not only that, over recent years he had made life difficult for the parish priest because he mocked and laughed at his efforts in the pastoral work.
Now he was sitting there and staring, as it seemed, at a newspaper. Already during the service, the sacristan had wanted to rebuke him. But when he noticed how sad the man looked and even that there were tears running down his cheeks, he let him be.
When the parish priest visited him on another evening, the man pointed to a picture of his granddaughter and said, “This child did it. “Never will you see me in a church again”, I had sworn. Never! But this child did it. “
He unfolded the newspaper that he had taken with him to the church, an illustrated weekly. There was a picture of his little darling. In a survey of “What children want from the Christ Child, “the five-year-old answered the reporter: “A different grandfather. One who would sometimes go to church with me. Mine is so stubborn. He never does and I have asked him so often.”
“But you didn’t have the child with you at all”, remarked the parish priest.
“Not yet”, replied the man. “It was a kind of first rehearsal, as it were, so that I don’t make a fool of myself in front of the child.”
“You knew it would be difficult for you, didn’t you? And you didn’t want the child to see that. I understand.” The man looked at the parish priest in embarrassment.
“I would never have thought that a child had so much power.”
“That’s it, we don’t want to believe that a child has such power that it can change our mind,” the priest repeated very thoughtfully and the man noticed that he meant the Child in the crib.
(Author: Rudolf Hempel, from: “The 100 best Christmas Stories”; shortened)
In a moment of silence, the community is invited to contemplate the ‘Child in the Crib’ …
What transformation can the Child in the crib bring about in me/us if we allow it?
Perhaps we will find something in ourselves that seems to be so hardened and immovable as it was in the man in the story. Let it be changed – let us be changed by the Child in the crib – in a time of silence.
God sends his Son as a child in the crib to transform us. We pray: We are waiting for you, O God, Come and transform us.
Sung refrain: Ostende nobis Domine, misericordiam tuam. Amen. Amen! Maranatha! Maranatha! (Taizé) or some other refrain.
- We are waiting for you, O God. Come to us and transform all suffering, sickness and need.
- We are waiting for you, O God. Come to us and transform our hardness of heart and lack of love, our wounds and hurts.
- We are waiting for you, O God. Come and strengthen us in our efforts to contribute, to be available, to give our energy and love so that the face of the earth may be renewed.
- We are waiting for you, O God. Come and share our laughter and tears, our joys and suffering, our range and our limits.
God, you know us and you love us. We glorify and praise you forever. Amen.
Song: freely chosen
with what is
to be different
and setting out
trusting the dreams
the star in the night
the word in the silence
the Child in the crib
May the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless us this day (evening). Amen.