"o come, all ye faith-ful"
"For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth." —Song of Songs 2:11-12
When the Church tells us on the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere that "winter is past," it is calling us to walk by faith and not by sight (see 2 Cor 5:7). Faith is "conviction about things we do not see" (Heb 11:1).
Mary was a pregnant teenager, who could have been divorced by her husband Joseph and possibly even executed as an adulteress. Although externally Mary had reason to feel fearful and depressed, she magnified the Lord and rejoiced in God, her Savior (Lk 1:46-47). She visited, rejoiced, praised, and lived in faith, not sight. Mary had faith "that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled" (Lk 1:45).
As we near the Christmas season, let us not go by what we see, for then we will get only what we see, that is, winter, coldness, and darkness. Rather, let us proceed by faith. Let us look at the inside, that is, God's indwelling, and not so much at the outside, a culture of sin and death. Let us rejoice in the measure in which we share Christ's suffering (1 Pt 4:13), not in the measure that we avoid sharing Christ's suffering. In the Holy Spirit, let us go by the invisible, not by the visible.
Christmas and life are matters of faith. Have faith in the Christ of Christmas. Share your faith so that others may have Christmas. Live by faith.
Prayer: Father, "increase our faith" (Lk 17:5). May we believe as Mary believed.
Promise: "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." Lk 1:41
Praise: "O Radiant Dawn, Splendor of eternal light, Sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death."
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2017
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