Dear Friends in Christ,
Once more we follow the lead of the Church as it brings us back to the great events of Christ’s birth. We come again to the stable in Bethlehem, poor and deserving no attention, save for those with eyes of faith and hearts open to wonder.
The simplicity of the stable comes through even in the most elaborate creche scenes; it is hard to cover over such glaring poverty, something we rarely equate with the power of God.
Yet, as Pope Francis proclaimed in his Christmas homily last year, “it was precisely there that the revolutionary spark of God’s love was kindled.” Revolutionary indeed! God’s outrageous, overwhelming mercy for us overturned all our expectations to draw near to us, to our world, and especially to those who like Mary, Joseph and the Child count for nothing in human eyes but evoke the compassion of our Triune God.
We see so many places in our world in need of God’s reconciling mercy, in need of the presence of the Child whose birth we celebrate. So many people like the Holy Family find themselves deprived of even the basic necessities. We know in our hearts, in our relationships, in our families, the spaces that yearn for the Lord to touch us in our poverty and need.
The wondrous revolution begun in Bethlehem comes to us as hope, a hope we need to rekindle by God’s grace. At this time of year, please know our prayer for you and for all whom you love. May God’s gracious mercy fill your hearts and open your imaginations to the new world Christ comes to bring. May you find the healing you desire in heart, mind, and relationships, from him who is our Savior, healer, friend.
Most of all, may you and all whom you love know blessings in abundance not only on Christmas but throughout the coming year.
Be assured of our prayers for you in this holy season and always, prayers always tinged with gratitude for the many ways you support the Society of Jesus and our ministries as we seek by God’s grace to fan “the revolutionary spark of God’s love” kindled in Bethlehem.
A merry, blessed and joyous Christmas to you all.
Ronald A. Mercier, S.J.