Saturday, December 27, 2014


Poem for Today - Saturday, December 27, 2014


I have a list of folks I know, all written in a book

And every year when Christmas comes, I go and take a look,
And that is when I realize that these names are a part
Not of the book they are written in, but really of my heart

For each name stands for someone who has crossed my path sometime,
And in the meeting they've become the rhythm in each rhyme
And while it sounds fantastic for me to make this claim,
I really feel that I'm composed of each remembered name

And while you may not be aware of any special link
Just meeting you has changed my life a lot more than you think
For once I've met somebody, the years cannot erase
The memory of a pleasant word or of a friendly face

So never think my Christmas cards are just a mere routine
Of names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between,
For when I send a Christmas card that is addressed to you,
It is because you're on the list that I'm indebted to

For You are but a total of the many folks I've met,
And you happen to be one of those I prefer not to forget
And whether I have known you for many years or few,
In some ways you have a part in shaping things I do

And every year when Christmas comes, I realize a new,
The best gifts life can offer is meeting folks like you.
And may the spirit of Christmas that forever endures
Leave its richest blessings in the hearts of mine and yours

© Kristen M. Saccardi

Friday, December 26, 2014


Poem for Today - Friday - December 26, 2014


All right, I was Welsh. Does it matter?
I spoke the tongue that was passed on
To me in the place I happened to be,
A place huddled between grey walls
Of cloud for at least half the year.
My word for heaven was not yours.
The word for hell had a sharp edge
Put on it by the hand of the wind
Honing, honing with a shrill sound
Day and night. Nothing that Glyn Dwr
Knew was armour against the rain’s
Missiles. What was descent from him?
Even God had a Welsh name:
We spoke to him in the old language;
He was to have a peculiar care
For the Welsh people. History showed us
He was too big to be nailed to the wall
Of a stone chapel, yet still we crammed him
Between the boards of a black book.
Yet men sought us despite this.
My high cheek-bones, my length of skull
Drew them as to a rare portrait
By a dead master. I saw them stare
From their long cars, as I passed knee-deep
In ewes and wethers. I saw them stand
By the thorn hedges, watching me string
The far flocks on a shrill whistle.
And always there was their eyes; strong
Pressure on me: You are Welsh, they said;
Speak to us so; keep your fields free
Of the smell of petrol, the loud roar
Of hot tractors; we must have peace
And quietness.
Is a museum
Peace? I asked. Am I the keeper
Of the heart’s relics, blowing the dust
In my own eyes? I am a man;
I never wanted the drab role
Life assigned me, an actor playing
To the past’s audience upon a stage
Of earth and stone; the absurd label
Of birth, of race hanging askew
About my shoulders. I was in prison
Until you came; your voice was a key
Turning in the enormous lock
Of hopelessness. Did the door open
To let me out or yourselves in?

© by R. S. Thomas (1913-2000)

Thursday, December 25, 2014


[Every year I like to write a Christmas story in memory of Father John Duffy - who died December 24, 1993. He used to write a Christmas story every year for his niece. He was a horrible typist - and never got into computers - so I typed up a few of his Christmas stories  that he wrote for his niece. That Christmas - 1993 - upon hearing of his death while about to begin writing a Christmas homily, I decided on writing a Christmas story instead. I've been doing this ever since. I now have 22 stories - and this one is called, "Group Photo."]

Forever is a long, long, long, long time.

Well, it’s supposed to be just that  - here in heaven.

Here was Albert – here in heaven – here for 607 years now.

And Albert just happens to be sitting – right there – right next to God – at God’s right hand - at this big, gigantic, banquet table.

And God says to Albert – “Hey, Albert, there are a lot of people here – so I never know who’s going to be on my right hand. It’s wonderful to be with you right now.”

Albert is nervous – sitting right there - right next to God. This is the first time this has happened to him since his death 607 years ago – way back in 2025.

He doesn’t say a word.  He still can’t believe he’s in heaven. He still can’t believe all that he has experienced in heaven – and all the people he has met so far.

Yet? There’s always a yet.

So God – seeing the blank in Albert’s – face - says, “Albert, so how’s it going so far?”

“Great God, great!”

Then Albert – after a long pause – says, “Well, God, to be perfectly honest, I do get bored at times.”

Then comes an “Uh oh!” thought in Albert’s mind. “Did I just say what I just said – to God?”

So God says, “Well, Albert, give me some ideas.  You know, I can be very creative.”

Albert smiled at that.

So then he says to God, “I was thinking, ‘How about some competitions? How about some contests up here?’”

And God says, “Albert, hello! In case you didn’t catch it yet, this is heaven. We’re not supposed to have any comparisons or competitions or contests and that sort of stuff anymore.”

“Ooops, God,” Albert says. “I’m sorry.”

And God laughed at the contradiction and  said, “I don’t think we’re supposed to say ‘I’m sorry!’ here in heaven – either.

Then God says, “Albert, let me think about this for a moment?”

Then there’s another long pause.

Then God says, “I need to get my imagination going here. In heaven – with everything so heavenly, with no struggles, no competitions, no contests, no games, no losers, and all that – you might be onto something.”

With that - God put his hand on Albert’s shoulder, and asks him, “What did you do for a living?”

“I was a bridge attender.”

“A what?” asks God.

“A bridge attender.”

“Yeah,” Albert continued,  “I used to attend to a little bridge over Carrol’s Creek in Annapolis, Maryland.”

And God said, “Where?”

“Annapolis, Maryland.”

“No, no” says God, “I know where Annapolis, Maryland is.  But Carrol’s Creek? Where’s that?”

“Oh,” says Albert, “It was also called, ‘Spa Creek.’”

And God said, “I don’t remember ever meeting anyone who was a bridge attender. Toll collectors on bridges – yes. Even with E-ZPass, they still have toll collectors. Tell me what you did?”

And Albert told God all about his life time – and his one great – piece of cake – of a  job: being a bridge attender over Carrol’s or Spa Creek in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

Then God asked, “Any hobbies?”

“Oh yeah,” said Albert, “I loved taking pictures. I took thousands and thousands of great pictures of sail boats and sunsets – on and over Carrol’s Creek. Great spot for picture taking.”

Then God said, “That’s it. Let’s have a photo contest.”

Albert says, “What!”

“Yeah, a photo contest,” says, God, “but I’m wondering about what?  Any suggestions?”

Albert’s imagination began to bounce – and he said to God, “Well even though I loved to do sunsets and sail boats, my favorite pictures were group photo’s – especially of families. They tell so much.

Then God lifted his hand off Albert’s shoulder. Then he  slapped that same shoulder – and said, “Albert you’re a genius.”

And then God called his favorite “Go To Angel,” -  Gabriel  - and said, “Announce to all of heaven that we’re going to have a Group Photo contest. The best group photo – the best group picture – gets a special prize!”

Gabriel says, “Great. I haven’t made any big time announcements in a long, long, long, long time. Thank you God.”

Then Albert asks God, “What’s the special prize?”

“Shush!” says, God.  “I don’t know what it will be right now. But relax – without anyone ever saying this, everyone knows that I’m the great procrastinator. So relax.  I’ll come up with something. We got plenty of time – oops eternity.”

The Group Photo contest created quite a buzz in heaven.

People gathered their whole family line from the beginning – back to Adam and Eve – who were drained – in being asked to be in so many family pictures.

People got themselves pictured with every pet they ever had.

People got themselves pictured with Army or Navy  or Air Force buddies – whom they hadn’t seen since some war – and hadn’t connected up with them yet in heaven.

People met people they heard about from their spouses – ad nauseam – when they got everybody together for a group photo.

Some people found themselves standing there nervous – because there they were to be in the same group photo – with first and sometimes second and third spouses – and step kids – and family members  whom they had had stresses with at times while on earth. But this was heaven and things went rather smoothly.

And the winner is….

After what seemed a good slice of eternity – after  a lot of tears and a lot of laughter – the winner was finally  announced.

Nobody could have guessed which group photo – which group picture -  was chosen.

And the winner was a group photo of all the animals who were in the stable that Christmas night – when Jesus was born.

Down through the centuries – people kneeling there at Christmas crèche’s and stables – and mangers – wondered – what were the animals thinking as they saw the birth of a baby boy – and they heard angels singing – “Woo!” - “Wow!”  - “Glory to God in the highest!” and in came shepherds -  and in came kings – and a few days later in came soldiers with swords  in hand – looking for this new born baby whom Herod the Horrible heard was to be the new born king – and they were told to kill him.

It’s heaven – so the sheep and the goats, the ox and the ass, told a wrapped in rapture audience – the whole of heaven – what they saw that night – what they experienced in that experience – of being at the birth of a baby in a stable.

A sheep said, “We didn’t see it coming –  a baby was born who would change the world.”

The ass said, “It was like a Mass – a Mass of Mary – as if she was  holding up this tiny baby and saying, ‘This is my body. This is my blood. Take and eat. Take and drink! I’m giving my life to you.’ No wonder Jesus was born in Bethlehem – the House of Bread.”

And the winner was – you’re not going to believe this either – a bridge attender from Annapolis, Maryland – named Albert.

“For the sake of transparency,” God announced in the award ceremony, “Albert came up with the idea of this contest – and the idea of the Group Photo. So Albert, congratulations.”

Albert, a bridge attender from Annapolis Maryland, in one instance – one momentous moment – was instantly known by all the people in heaven that ever lived.

And God said, “Albert do you have anything to say?”

“Yes,” Albert said, “Yes!”

“What is it, Albert?”

“The prize. The prize. What’s the prize? What’s the surprise?”

God paused. All were silent!

Then God said, “Albert,  you can go down to earth – and you can whisper one thing into every person on earth’s ear – sort of like Gabriel whispering in Mary’s ear – when she was being called to be the Mother of Jesus.”

“Ooops,” God says, “I like this idea of calling you, ‘Angel Albert’. It’s got a nice sound to it: ‘Angel Albert.’”

And then God said, “Angel Albert – I’ll give you a week, a month or a year, to come up with what  you’re going to whisper into every person’s ear?”

Albert says, “Hello God. Hello!  I told you I was a bridge attender and I told you I love group photos. So obviously, I’m would love to go back down to earth to try to urge people to bridge the gaps – the empty places - in the pictures of their life.  I want to whisper to everyone, “Who’s missing in your life? I would love to whisper into the mind of every person on the planet earth, ‘Is there any person you’re blocking out of your family or any group photo – any person you’re keeping on the other shore of your life? Attend to your bridges. Or as they say, ‘Stop throwing rocks! Bridges not walls.’”

“Great," God said, "Great."

"And, God, Pst!" said Albert. How about some day a group photo of everyone that ever lived?"

And God said, "Not yet Albert - and -  I don't know about that one. I don't know."

And Albert said, "But God, I thought you said, 'With God nothing is impossible.'"


Poem for Christmas Day - December 25, 2014


The things she knew, let her forget again --
The voices in the sky, the fear, the cold,
The gaping shepherds, and the queer old men
Piling their clumsy gifts of foreign gold.
Let her have laughter with her little one;
Teach her the endless, tuneless songs to sing,
Grant her her right to whisper to her son
The foolish names one dare not call a king.
Keep from her dreams the rumble of a crowd,
The smell of rough-cut wood, the trail of red,
The thick and chilly whiteness of the shroud
That wraps the strange new body of the dead.
Ah, let her go, kind Lord, where mothers go
And boast his pretty words and ways, and plan
The proud and happy years that they shall know
Together, when her son is grown a man.

© Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Poem for Today - Wednesday - December 24, 2014


The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, “There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.
He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees! —at what apiece? ”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece) ,
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas. 

© Robert Frost

Tuesday, December 23, 2014



The title of my homily for this December 23rd  is, “Can People Change?”

One of life’s biggest questions is, “Can People Change?”

Husbands and wives ask that question about the other – secretly – quietly – in the back seat of their brain – at least 10 times a year – more or less - especially after they have had a difference – a misunderstanding – or an argument.

“Can she change?”  “He does this every time and every time I don’t get him.”

Can people change.

Let me tell you most of my life living with other priests I have asked that question 100 times.

And the answer is always, “No!”

But we still have the eternal hope, “Yes – people can change.”

Then life is lived. We meet each other in the corridor or the slow lane. We bump into each other coming around the corners of life. We crash into each other in the fast lane.

Life is déjà vu all over and over and over again.


Yet there are changes in people – that happen – slowly – deeply – below the soil.  After all we became who we are – slowly – deeply – below the soil of our soul.

I’ve notice people have changed by being married and by having babies.

I’ve seen priests change when they realize that a Father is more than a collar or a role – but one’s life.

I’ve asked married couples which changes a person more: getting married or having a baby.  And the answer most of the time has been: the baby.

What’s your answer to the question?  If you are or were married – and have a child or children – which changed you more?


John Barth and B.A. Billingsly are both given credit for saying, “Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up.”

Is that true? 

I love to say: I love that saying because I've never married - so I have an excuse for not growing up.

I guess the answer is that it’s up to us. Am I growing?

How about Carl Sandburg’s comment, “A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.”

Babies change and are changed often. How about their handlers. Let’s be honest. Sometimes we stink and we need to change.

Is the following comment by Jerome K. Jerome   true? It's a comment he made in Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow:  “It is only the first baby that takes up the whole of a woman's time. Five or six do not require nearly so much attention as one.” 

What's your take on that?  For the sake of transparency, are you the oldest, youngest, only, or middle child?  

I would think you'd have to be 55 to really answer that question - and only after a lot of chatter and communication with both your parents and your siblings and aunts and uncles - who know you and know your parents.

What about Linda Becker’s comment: “Still the most magical day of my life was the day I became a mom.”

Only time and observation tells the truth about these observations.

And what about suffering? Is that the big life changer: death, rejection, divorce, being fired, the loss of a baby, war?


Today’s readings –Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24  and  Luke 1:57-66 -  triggered this topic and these questions.  What do they trigger for you?  Christmas – there’s Mary and Joseph and the baby in a thousand Christmas scenes.  Then the cross starts to appear on the horizon like the Christmas star.

And people change.



“Babies are soft. Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger's touch. But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-cheeked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands. Their joints are melted rubber, and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and seem never to find bone. Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body.

“But from the very start, there is that small streak of steel within each child. That thing that says 'I am,' and forms the core of personality.

"In the second year, the bone hardens and the child stands upright, skull wide and solid, a helmet protecting the softness within. And 'I am' grows, too. Looking at them, you can almost see it, sturdy as heartwood, glowing through the translucent flesh.

"The bones of the face emerge at six, and the soul within is fixed at seven. The process of encapsulation goes on, to reach its peak in the glossy shell of adolescence, when all softness then is hidden under the nacreous layers of the multiple new personalities that teenagers try on to guard themselves.

"In the next years, the hardening spreads from the center, as one finds and fixes the facets of the soul, until "I am" is set, delicate and detailed as an insect in amber.”  ― Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber.

“Babies are such a nice way to start people.”  ―Don Herold

“A mother does not become pregnant in order to provide employment to medical people. Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males. It is a woman's crowning creative experience of a lifetime.” John Stevenson  

“Her eyes are wide and steady beneath the brim of her floppy cap. How far out of infancy do we lose this gaze, with its utter absence of expectation or prejudice? What is it like to simply see what is before you, without the skew of context?” Michael Perry  

“So many people think that they are not gifted because they don’t have an obvious talent that people can recognize because it doesn’t fall under the creative arts category—writing, dancing, music, acting, art or singing. Sadly, they let their real talents go undeveloped, while they chase after fame. I am grateful for the people with obscure unremarked talents because they make our lives easier---inventors, organizers, planners, peacemakers, communicators, activists, scientists, and so forth. However, there is one gift that trumps all other talents—being an excellent parent. If you can successfully raise a child in this day in age to have integrity then you have left a legacy that future generations will benefit from.” Shannon L. Alder. 

“A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.”  Mark Twain

“I know now why God gave us babies. They require constant attention, of course. They make messes and disturb the peace, but their cuteness and smiles are something the only reminder of God we have in the house.” Ann Rinaldi, The Letter Writer

“When I see an evil person, I cannot believe that once he was an innocent and sweet baby.” Amit Kalantri


Poem for Today - December 23, 2014


Trying to get
the feel
of the first
I finger
the crèche

I attempt
to put myself
a shepherd
and his lamb
or by the cow
whose manger
has been commandeered
as a temporary

I would never
have consented
to such
In so
a setting
with such poor

I wonder
why Mary
is satisfied
to let God
take over

I wonder
why Joseph
the unacceptable
with such good grace.

© Thomas John Carlisle

Monday, December 22, 2014



The title of my homily for today, December 22, is, “Canticles.”

This is information type homily – for the mind – more than heart.

It is dry – like getting driving directions from someone about the best way to get from Annapolis to Wilmington, Delaware or Richmond, Virginia.


Today’s 1st  reading from 1st Samuel 1: 24-28 introduces us to Hanna the mother of Samuel. Then the Responsorial Psalm from 1 Samuel 2 gives us the Canticle of Hannah. Then today’s gospel Luke 1: 46-56 - gives us the Canticle of Mary – the Magnificat.

Hannah’s Canticle – in First Book of Samuel – seems to have been on the table when 3 New Testament  canticles were composed: the Magnificat, the Benedictus, and the Nunc  Dimittis.


A canticle is like a psalm. They are songs that were probably sung at religious services.

When you see them in the Bible they are lined up like a song or a poem – not straight prose.  So that’s what they are – to be sung.

There are roughly 12 canticles in the Jewish Bible – what we call the Old Testament. They are relatively short  - like a song.  And they have been often set to music – like the psalms – which are songs.

Then there is the Canticle of Canticles – the great love poem and song we find in the Wisdom books of the Old Testament. It’s attributed or credited to Solomon - the Son of David – but like the Psalms – they were probably all put together by temple singers and song writers.

The New Testament canticles have a similar history of being part of worship singing – worship songs.

Monks, religious sing the Benedictus, the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimiittis, and psalms each day.

The best known canticle that is non biblical is the Te Deum.


That’s a tiny thumb nail sketch of the Canticles.

Read them, listen to them in Song, digest their contents  and you’ll find some rich evidence about God, Mary,  and the Saints. Amen.


Poem for Today - December 22, 2014


I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;
one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame
to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,
and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,
so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,
I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:
forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters
and none of this, none of this matters.

© Don Paterson (1963- )

Sunday, December 21, 2014



The title of my homily is, “Hail Mary, Full of Grace.”

Today’s gospel gives us the beginning as well as a key piece of the famous prayer, “The Hail Mary.”

The translation from the Greek – Luke 1:28 – in today’s gospel goes like this:
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she [Mary]  was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.”


This part of today’s gospel is translated from the Greek as – “Hello, Highly favored one.” Or, “Hi O Blessed one.” Or, “Hail, full of grace.”

The Greek is, “Kekaritomene.”

God picks this young girl – probably around age 15 – to bring Jesus into the world – as a baby.

It’s an amazing story. It’s the Christmas story. It’s our story.

This Christmas – when you see the stable – the crib – the Christmas scene – whether it’s on a Christmas card – here in church – outside church – under your Christmas tree – wherever …. Whenever you see that scene: stop, pause, see, take a look at the baby, then take a look at Joseph, take a look at Mary, take a look at the shepherds, the kings, the animals, the stable – the manger, the crib  – where food is put for animals in a barn or stable or a cave.  Stop. Look. See. Be amazed.

The crib which the baby Jesus is placed in at his birth is as humble – as simple as those silver metal bowls outside some stores – with water for dogs. 

God, the Son of God, Jesus, the Savior, the Redeemer, when born is placed in a crib for food for animals.

Stop – get in touch with the Christmas crib.

Hear the angel Gabriel say, “Hail Mary, full of Grace.”

Hail, O Highly favored one.

Hear the angel Gabriel tell Mary God’s plan.

2000 years ago – for some reason  - God only knows – God chooses this 15 year old girl to be the mother of Jesus – the Son of God.

Mary asks questions.


“I’m nor married. How can this happen? How is the possible? You have to be kidding. You are aren’t you?”

The voice, the messenger, is serious.

And Mary says, “Yes!”

Someone said the greatest prayer to say to God is, “Thy will be done.”

It can sometimes be the hardest prayer to say – to pray.

In this short homily I asking you to see the Christmas stable, crib, or manger and hear the simple story of this 15 year old girl.


Picture a 15 year old girl in the back seat of her family car – or on a bus – and the bus or car comes to a red light  - just outside a catholic crib.
The car stops. The girl looks out the window and sees the Christmas scene in the cold night air.

She wonders what it would be like if God had chosen her.

“Hail, Mary, Hail, Cheyenne,  Hail, Deborah. Hail Penny, Hail Christine, full of grace….The Lord is with you.”

And this young 15 year old girl gets it. 

She thinks, “God wants me in the year 2015 – to be like Mary and bring Christ to our world.”

She realizes how strange that seems.

She says, “I’m not immaculate.”

She realizes, “I’m only 15.”

And yet she gets the grace to say, “Thy will be done.”

She realizes  that others might make fun of her. She realizes how difficult this will be.

She remembers how in English class this past week – when they were studying Hemingway, the teacher said that  Hemingway gave as a definition for “guts” – “Grace under pressure.”

The red light changed to green.

Yet she stayed with that thought and for the rest of her she tried to bring the gift of Christ – like Mary did – to all the people of her life.

It was difficult but she had the grace to try to do it.

And in that car – that December night – December 21st – the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, this girl realized the Christmas message – that all of us are called to be like Mary – to bring Christ to the world.

We’re called to evolve – beyond being an animal – a cat that scratches, a dog that bites, a cow that moos, an ox that gores and pushes – we’re called to be human – and to be like Christ – and like Mary who brought Christ to our world – and to have the guts to do just that – in the pressure of daily living.

“Then she said in the back seat of that car on  a cold December night, “They will be done.”


And her dad who was driving, looks in the rear view mirror, sees her daughters face in the back seat of the car. Her face is glowing. Her dad asks, “What are you thinking about?”

“Oh, just Christmas, dad. Just Christmas.”

And her dad said, “About presents?”

“Yes, dad, yes, but not the regular ones, dad.”

“It’s Christ – the gift of Christ.”

And her dad, almost crashed the car – at that.

And sitting there in the front seat of the car – with his wife asleep on the other side of him and her brother playing with an electronic game – her dad thinking about what his daughter just said, tears came to his eyes. And he want back to Mass that Christmas – and for the rest of his life.

His daughter without knowing it started her life’s job that night in that car: being like Mary – bringing Christ to our world.