Saturday, January 25, 2014


Christmas was just a month ago.  All the lights and decorations have been boxed and put away in storage, but remnants of the holiday’s goodies can still be found in the refectory. 
What remnants can still be found of the Christmas spirit in our lives?  Should they be just remnants?
In the classic movie A Christmas Carol, the Spirit of Christmas Present says, ‘We Spirits of Christmas do not live only one day of our year. We live the whole three-hundred and sixty-five. So is it true of the Child born in Bethlehem.  He does not live in hearts one day of the year, but in all days of the year.’
The Three Spirits of Christmas held up to Scrooge, as it were, mirrors of his life and he came to believe there was a better way to live his life.   By the end of the classic story, Scrooge is overflowing with Christmas joy and gave his word to be ‘…as good a man as the good old city knew…’
What keeps us from living that Christmas spirit three-hundred and sixty-five days a year?
Today, as our tradition, we celebrate the Incarnation.   Why is that central to our charism?  We turn to our foundress to hold up the mirror to give us the answer.
When Celeste was a novice the Design of the Father was revealed to her.   She wrote down the Father’s words, “Stamp on your spirit the features of his life and the resemblance of him that comes from imitation.   Be on earth living and inspired portraits of my beloved Son.  Carry him about as the life of your heart and as the goal of your existence and as the Master of your spirit.”   
In her Autobiography she wrote,  This instruction was for her soul like a polished mirror into which she remained gazing continually as at the dazzling light of the sun (the Son) and found herself at once drawn into the divine splendor of her Well-Beloved.”   Celeste was called from the beginning  to be for the world  a Mirror of God’s Love. 
That is our call also. We are to fix our gaze on the Son and, as if gazing in a mirror, see not only the splendor of His Being, but in our own being a living reflection of God’s eternal love.   “It is in this that the Redeemer is able today to accomplish His work of salvation in us and through us.” Const. 5    For, “The more we strive to live the love of Christ, the more the thoughts and feelings of Christ will fill our spirit and our heart, the more we will become His faithful images.” Const.6
Celeste describes Jesus, the only Begotten Son of the Father as the mirror of the Father.   She invites us to look into this mirror of the Son saying, “Those who are pure of heart know My Father because they look upon Him fixedly with a gaze of love.” and adds: “They are children of the light because with the vision of right intention, they gaze into the mirror of the divine perfections of their God.”   ‘The Mystic Who Remembered’ by Joseph Opptiz, CSsR
Jesus continued to instruct Celeste with these words, “In my wisdom, goodness, and infinity I call you, dear soul, because I want you to be clothed with all the virtues that make me beautiful, thus you will be the image of me and I shall live a life of love in the world by dwelling in your heart.”   Florilegium 4. Colloquies, III, 18 (28)
Celeste responded, “I no longer saw myself, but I saw You in my very self and myself transformed into You, my Most Pure Love.”
Like a double exposure of a photograph, one superimposed on the other, we endeavor to be Christ to one another:  “To be a living copy and faithful portrait of Jesus so that he might find himself in you, and you recognize yourself in him, your God through faith.”  Florilegium 6. Spiritual Exercises for December, med. 3 paraphrased
This is our call to transformation:  the call to be mirrors of God’s love and to live the Spirit of Christmas the whole three-hundred and sixty-five days of the year being as good a nun / associate as the good old monastery knew!