From the Desk of Pat Farrell, Director of Spiritual Development…

As we enter this final week of Advent, we reflect on love. Love is the essence of Christ’s relationship with us.

As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.  (Part 1, section 1, subsection 1).

That is a deeply profound statement of faith and as we live by that our faith, our relationship with Christ deepens. And so it is that love enters our lives- and enters it anew on Christmas.

Many people feel a great spirit of warmth and kindness toward others throughout the Christmas season.  But the challenge is to maintain this relationship with Christ every day of our lives – when the gatherings are over, we go back to work, it gets really cold and life gets challenging again. This is when we need a continuing awareness of that deep relationship with Christ. But how do we do it?

Well, I asked some of my “experts” what love is. One of the experts said that it was “really, really caring about someone else – the she stood up and made the biggest circle she could make with her arms and said, “ it is this big”. Another said that it is caring about someone else “…the most that you could ever care.”

Then the “experts” started to talk about their families and basically said that it is in their families that they come to know love. In their families, they come to know Christ. That is love. For Christ uses all that has been created for the good, for showing us what His love is. Most importantly, Christ shares His ability to love so that we can reflect Christ’s love to one another. It is family where this is found most deeply.

I have a grand niece who I see a lot and she always seems happy to see me. When she started to talk, she had plenty to say – but she didn’t call me by my name. When she wanted to greet me or when I asked her who I am, she would simply answer, “I know who you are.” I hope that she meant that she senses how much I love her. I hope that in our relationship she senses some of how God loves her, even though she cannot understand or articulate that yet.

So that is our final “Advent” assignment is – to show those whom God has entrusted to us- the spark of divine love that is in each of us-everyday.