God’s Love for Us

A Message from Andrew Schueller

I love Christmas time! Yes, partially because my birthday is Christmas Eve and usually kicks off the Christmas festivities for my family, but also because the Church takes this time after Christmas to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas – God’s love for us.

No other deity that has ever been worshipped has desired a relationship with humanity. No other deity that has ever been thought of has desired eternity with humanity. This is at the heart of our faith—that we have a God who loves us, desires to have a relationship with us, and hopes to spend eternity with us. So much so that God sent the Word to become man: to walk this earth, eat with us, cry with us, laugh with us, and to show us how to get to heaven. He loved us to the point of becoming vulnerable with us, even coming to us as an infant.

I am a relatively new parent. I think of everything my son needs me to do for him daily: feed him, change his diapers, get him dressed, and snuggle him when he gets hurt. As much as he is growing and learning, he is still dependent on us.

Jesus allowed for Mary and Joseph to care for Him. We are capable of loving God. As in any relationship, to love someone is a commitment. God shows His commitment to us by giving us free will, and by becoming man even while knowing that we would still face temptation and sin. He instituted the sacraments to right our relationship with him and fall more in love with him.

My hope is that this Christmas season, you encounter God’s love anew in the infant Jesus and make a commitment to grow in your love for Him.

 

Andrew Schueller is the Director of Formation at St. Dominic Catholic Parish.

 

Advertisements

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

 

When Dr. Seuss was 53 years old, he was fed up. The children’s book author and illustrator was tired of the noise, the constant activity, and the busy-ness that was attached to Christmas. His desire was that people would celebrate the joy and peacefulness of the season without all the hoopla detracting from it.

So he did what any great writer does. He wrote a story about it. How the Grinch Stole Christmas has become a classic, spanning over five decades.

It’s funny that in today’s world we think of the Grinch as an awful and mean creature. We forget that he actually transformed his attitude about Christmas. He saw the Whos in Whoville celebrating together, even without the gifts and food. He discovered that it was about being together and sharing this special day with each other.

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.

And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.”

How is your Advent going? Are you caught up in the gifts, food, and busy-ness? Are you finding yourself getting anxious about the things to do and people on your shopping list?

What is your focus as we approach Christmas Day? Are you finding time to pray, reflect and give thanks for the miracle of Christmas? Are you setting aside time to be fully present with those you love and those you meet?

How big is your heart this Christmas season?

Take a Moment and Be Still

This Christmas, I pray that each of you will take a moment to be still and ponder the gift we have in one another, and especially, in our ability to freely know, love, and serve a God who became man as a small little baby.

Never again will it be so pure, so lowly.

Peace.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School

 

A Message of Hope

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering at the Riverwest Food Pantry. I greet the individuals and families who enter the building and select their food for the week or month. It’s been a life-changing experience as I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people who utilize the pantry on a regular basis.

Last weekend the pantry held their annual Christmas Gift Giving celebration. Partnering with a local church, the entire pantry was converted into “a store” filled with donated toys, books and clothing for kids.

Parents sign up to “shop,” then they choose and wrap gifts for their children.

It is a very special event for these parents, as many of these families cannot afford a lot for Christmas.

Parents pre-registered and were invited to sit in the pews at the beautiful St. Casimir church. Here they waited for their designated shopping time to be called.

I was fortunate to be the person who greets the parents at the front door.

The first person in line was Annette, a woman I have talked to many times at the pantry. She told me how in year’s past, she’s had to wait hours to shop at this event, and was always concerned that there wouldn’t be enough gifts left for her to choose from.

“I guarantee you,” I said. “You will be one of the first people to shop downstairs. You will have your choice of items to pick from.”

The church quickly began to fill with people—we had enough gifts for over 400 children! Then the announcement came for the first group to head down the stairs to shop.

Annette was the first in line. As she approached me, her face beamed with happiness. Her smile was infectious. She didn’t say a single word, she simply walked up to me, extended her arms, and gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever received. I whispered two words in her ear: “Merry Christmas.”

But then something magical happened. The next person in line also extended their arms and gave me a hug. And the next person. And the next. Everyone in line extended their arms and gave me a hearty embrace.

The group that filed down the stairs to shop believed that they were the ones receiving a gift. But what they didn’t know was that I was the one who felt truly blessed that day.

The love we shared with these simple hugs reinforced that there is hope in the world. It reinforced that yes, we can influence people with a simple smile and a lot of compassion. It showed me that we have the ability to make a difference with both our words and our actions.

Are you ready for the birth of Christ? Are you ready to transform someone’s life in 2018?

Are you ready to share a message of Hope to everyone that you meet in the new year?

Merry Christmas.

 

Dan Herda is member of St. Dominic’s Marketing Committee and an editor of theROCK.