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Archive for December, 1997

December 1997

Chaplain’s Counsel

I hope that some of our Knights and Ladies will be participating in Convocation 2000. Otherwise, you’ll have a thousand year wait for the next millennium celebration. There will be great speakers: Francis Cardinal Arinze, Dr. Scott Hahn, Helen M. Alvare, Rev. Benedict Groeschel, etc. The parish is providing a bus to help with transportation to the event. Mark your calendars, it is from January 15 to the 17th at the Washington Convention Center. If you have missed the opportunity for free entry as part of the parish, you can still attend for $5 a day.

We are now entering the special seasons of Advent and Christmas. When I was a seminarian, we would light the candles of the Advent wreath before meals, offer a blessing prayer, and sing a stanza of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. My favorite goes as follows:

O come, O come, thou Dayspring bright!
Pour on our souls thy healing light;
Dispel the long night’s lingering gloom,
And piece the shadows of the tomb:

We remember the first coming of Christ as we await the second coming and the consummation of the world. What was started will be finished. Christ is the light which dispels the darkness of a cold world enraptured by sin and death. Between the two comings, Christ has not utterly abandoned us; he pours himself into our souls as saving and actual grace. We need no longer fear the twilight or the day of tomorrow. The victory has been won in Christ. Jesus became a human being so that he might take our punishment for sin upon his shoulders. Our sins delivered Christ to the cross and to the grave. The loving Spirit of God liberated him from the tomb and ourselves along him.

A tender Christmas hymn is O Come, All Ye Faithful.. Note that the hymn invokes the Lord to speed swiftly to us; this latter one would have us respond in kind by rushing to him. One stanza reads as follows:

Child, for us sinners
Poor and in the manger,
Fain we embrace thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love thee,
Loving us so dearly?

Who would not love thee? And yet, dear friends, that is the puzzling question we face as commercialism and fable seeks to displace the child of Bethlehem. One and a half million babies are aborted each year in America — all of whom are reflections of the Christ-child — who would not love thee? Let us continue to show by our words and actions, that we are very much in love with our Savior — where ever he is to be found. Have a very merry Christmas and a happy and holy New Year!

Your Servant in Christ,

Fr. Joseph A. Jenkins, Jr.

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