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Christmas Reflection

 


Christmas is a special feast for Presentations. We know from the Annals that at Christmas each year Nano made a spiritual; retreat of eight or ten days. And, of course, one of the stories at the heart of the Presentation charism happened at Christmas time:

“Toward the close of this year (1777), Mother Nagle had the happiness of seeing the building of her second convent completed, after having most courageously overcome the various difficulties, and patiently endured the many trials, which Divine Providence destined to be her portion, during the time of its erection. It was opened on the solemn and appropriate festival of Christmas Day, in honour of the Infant God, with a most uncommon act of hospitality – it was admirable in itself, not dictated by human prudence, and not the less acceptable to Him, in whose honour our holy Foundress had prepared the entertainment. She invited fifty beggars to dinner!!! She waited on them at table with great joy and singular charity. She helped them as their menial servant, faith strongly representing to her the great Patron of the Poor, who, on that day made his first appearance among men, and who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. While she lived, this same ceremony she punctually observed. Since her death it has been carefully kept up in this Monastery, and it is to be faithfully adhered to while ever the Community shall have an existence. (This practice was adhered to till 1887 when the Little Sisters of the Poor got charge of the old women . . . )”

From A Short Account of Miss Nano Nagle, Our Venerable Mother, the Foundress of the Presentation Order and of this Monastery Annals, South Presentation, Cork.

Reflection:
How can I/we welcome those who are made poor into our heart and into our life this Christmas?


Is My Heart Big Enough?
Dear God, May it be so!

Is my heart big enough
To embrace life wholeheartedly
Its joys, woundings,
Fragility, uncertainty?
Dear God, May it be so!

Is my heart big enough
Boldly to speak and embody my truth
When from all sides my fear assails me?
Dear God, May it be so!

 

Is my heart big enough for the desperate, despised, forgotten,
Condemned, unwanted, infected, rejected,
The violaters and the abusers?
Dear God, May it be so!

 

Is my heart big enough to keep opening out to life
When the temptation to settle, be secure,
Feel safe grows ever more persistent?
Dear God, May it be so!


Is my heart big enough
To sing of Earth’s beauty
To dance childlike her dawnings
To cry out with her – a mother distressed?
Dear God, May it be so!

 

Is my heart big enough
My commitment passionate enough
to accompany You
wherever your love calls me?
Dear God, May it be so!

— From Noel Davis, The Heart Waking and Breaking Into Dance

 

Let us pray for each other:


May you be known on the edges and in the crowded, lonely ways;
May the lantern of your hope and your welcome
Shed kind beams for eyes waste-misted by the weary miles;
May your hands and heart be open.
May you, receiving, know still more how to give,
And welcomed, grow in the art of welcoming.
May you lean heart to heart on the One who pulses and promises life.
May you learn to unclasp the last-kept store and lay it down in welcome:
Take and share.
May your pilgrim heart urge you still one pace beyond,
And may love continue to be your lantern flame. Amen. Cf Raphael Consedine

 

— From A Christmas Prayer 2008 by Marlette Black, pbvm, IPA Networker, Queensland, AU.

 


 


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Presentation Sisters, P.O. Box 2100, St. John's, NL A1C 5R6, CANADA                          Telephone (709) 753-8340                         Email Sister Lois Greene