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Provincial Christmas Message: Blessed Christmas, 2020

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Dear Brothers,

May God grant to you all his blessing of peace, and love as we commemorate, the great mystery of our redemption through the fulfillment of the greatest proof of love we have received from our heavenly Father, the only one, the creator, and the merciful one. As we journey through the uncertainties of life and endure the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic, that continues to affect so many families causing over a million and a half deaths and countless sufferings, let us look back to the manger in Bethlehem and listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Here is your God”.  

During Advent, as we have tried to prepare the way to the Lord, we may have discovered two aspects of true preparation. It is difficult to change temperament, psychology, convictions, human relationships, and history, but it is more difficult to attain a true conversion. This cannot be done without Him acting in us and granting us the grace of conversion when and as He wishes. But He does not act unless with humility and generosity we collaborate with His action. He has come to save and redeem us but respecting the gift of freedom. Freedom that led his chosen people to reject his coming, because He was not the Messiah they wanted.

On December 8 the Holy Father has issued the apostolic letter “Patris Corde” (With a Father‘s Heart) to commemorated the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as patron of the Church.

The mystery of Christmas cannot be separated from the cooperation and intimacy of the three persons involved according to the divine plan: Mary, Jesus, and Joseph. Because Joseph was chosen as the guardian and protector of the Holy Family we call on him that he may support, protect, and guide us in these times of trouble. His faith and humility, his doubts, and his surrender to God’s will are an example for believers and unbelievers alike who care for family values, peace, harmony, and order in our difficult times. As Mary's husband and guardian of the Son of God, St. Joseph turned his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of himself. A love that was placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home. Therefore, we should become guardians and preachers of the Gospel and turn our call to a deeper consecration into our way of cooperation and surrender to God’s will. Our vocation requires a genuine availability and disposition to be ready to preach and witness to the TRUTH we believe.

St. Joseph should guide our celebration of Christmas and lead us to the acceptance of Mary as the pattern of holiness and to imitate her unconditional “fiat” that made her, beyond human understanding, intimately united to the mystery of Jesus' redeeming mission. Nine months of waiting, thirty years of close family life with the Son of God, three years pondering on every word that came from her son’s preaching, one day of suffering as He was led to the cross, and three days waiting for his rising, submersed in the deepest agony and hope of what she had believed in from the moment of the incarnation. Forty days of joy, though the Gospels do not tell us, after the resurrection, and the final joy of knowing that He had returned to the Father’s side where he had ever been. These became her passport to the role of mother of the Church.

As we join her at the unfolding of the birth of Jesus, let us experience love, wonder, and hope. The birth of the Son of God was and continues to be for us the greatest sign of the Father’s love for mankind. Let the great news proclaimed by the angel to the shepherds resound in the deep recesses of our being as we make ours the Angels’ greeting: “Glory to God in the heavens and peace to men of goodwill”. Let us also join the shepherds in adoration of the newly born in poverty though received with great indifference by those who were expecting the coming of the Messiah.

We cannot deny our uncertainties not only regarding matters of faith but also about practical life as well. Nor should we ignore the fears and hesitations we face when making decisions on personal, organizational, ecclesiastical and political issues. We wish to see clearly but we are surrounded by contrasting ideas and options. This, I fear, was the case of Joseph and Mary as the history of the birth of Jesus unfolded and they were forced to adopt unthinkable options, as the world turned against Him who was to become the light of the world and the redeemer of the human family.

Christmas is not an empty time. It is a gift, a manifestation of the mystery of God to man and for man; and it is a call to receive and to act, to proclaim, and to live God's silence with the dynamism of his grace.

Like the shepherds, let us go to the manger in Bethlehem, to witness and to contemplate the mystery of peace in all its dimensions. Our life is a gift and an opportunity to carry out the mission for which we too have been chosen.

Come, Lord, do not delay! You have come to redeem and to save us. Your grace transforms our lives, your forgiveness erases all guilt, your presence straightens crooked ways and your peace feels our being. May the light of your star guide our way, may your Word illuminate our minds and increase our little faith, may you be the path leading us to proclaim that You are the only savior. And because out of love, you brought us into existence, show yourself to us in the way we need you, and make us unreservedly instruments of your peace and salvation.

Since words cannot change our hearts, I entrust you to God’s grace that we can become his true sons in spirit and truth and that we offer to each other the possibility of a new beginning in name and deeds. This is possible with the power of the Holy Spirit and a time of personal recollection in the presence of the mystery we commemorate. It is only there where we can hear beyond our hearing, and see where there is no human answer. Because, if the Lord does not build the house in vain do workers labor.

Holy and Blessed Christmas to all as we continue our journey through life where we are to become instruments of God’s plan for the salvation of humanity! May this Christmas mark the celebration of the VIII centenary of the death of our Holy Father Dominic!   


Fray Bonifacio Garcia Solis, OP

Prior Provincial