Contemplating in the Sacred Scriptures the mystery of the Nativity through the «Lectio Divina» and being aware that this «Lectio Divina» ends in personal prayer and becomes prayer in the name of the Church and for the Church; on this occasion, I am sharing some reflections in order to be a point of spiritual support in the experience and inner admiration of the mystery of the Nativity in the Holy Land and in Bethlehem. This time, not only does it enable me once again to affirm the basis and foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ, Man and God, but I will make room for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to actualize this mystery in daily life as a Carmelite, daughter of Saint Teresa and John of the Cross and also sister and spiritual daughter of Saint Mariam.
The Holy Scripture tells us that… there were shepherds in the same country, who slept at table and watched their flock in turn during the night. The angel of the Lord was presented to them, and the glory of the Lord enveloped them with his light, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for I declare unto you great joy, which shall be to all the people: «Today is born unto you in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord; and this shall be a sign unto you: you will find a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger» (Lk 2, 8-12). At the same time comes to my mind what our mother Teresa writes; «Deep down, he feels this divine company» (7M 1,7). Yes… Our Mother Thérèse of Jesus invites us to look with wonder at «the love that Jesus has for us… because he wanted to join us in such a way that he no longer wanted to depart» (7M 2,3).
Well, but what is the echo for us, the Carmelites of Holy Land? It seems to me that we too, at a certain point in our life, were presented with an «Angel» (people, events, inspirations) and we felt the «sending», that means: go and see Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger like signs… a «sending» that means a «mission of presence» in prayer for humanity, as Holy Mother Teresa asks of us. Indeed, one of the spiritual projects of our communities of Carmelites in prayer consists in seeking the «Glory of God» the «kabod» in the Old Testament and the «doxa» of the New Testament. We are invited to experience the splendor, the magnificence, the saving and loving power of God himself, in a word, to let ourselves be flooded by that light or glory that comes from God. Moreover, every action that the Carmelite develops within the community must bear two signs: the swaddling clothes: that is, the small actions accomplished and enveloped in love and tenderness and, at the same time, remain with Jesus in the manger of a poor and humble heart. That is why when Mariam asked, «Where do you live?» Jesus replied, «I build a new home every day, a new birth. I am happy in a low house. I am happy in a manger». Where do you live? «In a cave». «You know how I crushed the enemy? By such a low birth». (Pensées, Editions du Serviteur, 1993, 124). «This poverty manifests the glory of heaven» (CIC, 525).
To conclude, the life of the Carmelite always conveys a Christmas message, because, she brings to the Church the witness of her life in prayer, community and loving in the layers with which she envelops Jesus and which enables the proclamation of the Angels «glory to God in heaven and peace to men of goodwill», she finds a positive echo not only within Carmel, but also in all religious cultures and in all people of goodwill. The ideal, the project of today’s Carmelite, consists in collaborating with Jesus Christ so that the whole of humanity may carry out the saving plan of the Father, through Christ the Redeemer, in the new life of the Holy Spirit (cfr. Eph 1,3-14), because he chose us in him… «according to the indulgence of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which we loved in the Beloved» (Eph 1,3-6). And at the end of her days, may she be able to actualize in herself the very words of Jesus Christ: «I have glorified you on earth, I have accomplished the work which you have entrusted to me to accomplish» (Jn 17,4). Finally, to allow oneself to be enveloped by the glory of God, by the proclamation of the birth of our Saviour, that means, to live in hope, «while awaiting the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ» (Tit 2,13). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022!
Hna. Marcia of Jesus Eucharistic ocd/ Monastery of the Child Jesus – Bethlehem