Circular Letter No. 12/2010
December 18, 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the MMP,
It will be Christmas in a few days.
Here in the Philippines we have the longest period for celebrating this wondrous event. The arrival of the so-called “ber” months, seem to indicate to us Filipinos that Christmas, though still a few months off, is just around the corner.
Starting as early as mid-October, the strains of Christmas carols can be heard on the airwaves and in the shopping malls. Christmas lights and decorations start to dot the main thoroughfares and many houses. People begin making their Christmas lists in anticipation of their bonuses and13th month paychecks. Children start making their wish lists to “Santa Claus” and begging their parents for the latest toys and gizmos as advertized everywhere. TV channels show a barrage of commercials designed to attract the interest of children who seem to grow more and more jaded each year. In the days leading to December 25, shopping malls are filled to capacity, announcing later closing hours; and families start making plans for their yearly gathering which almost always feature tables overflowing with food and gifts.
Everywhere there is observed the hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush.
The Simbang Gabi at dawn, a tradition inherited from our Spanish colonizers, began last December 16. Lately, the evening Simbang Gabi Masses were also introduced. Both are intended to do a nine-day novena prior to Christmas eve. Traditionally, it is believed that if we are fortunate enough to complete this novena, our wish will be granted. We actually pray to receive a gift from God.
We hope for gifts from God. But isn’t it only right that Jesus, the Celebrator, be the one given gifts by us? In the mad rush of commercialism to the exclusion of everything else, it is very sad that we seem to have excluded the reason for this season.
Our Lady aptly points this out in one of her messages given on December 24 where she says, “With me, my beloved sons, give to his Heart the first kiss. Feel with me its first beat. Be the first to look into his eyes. Hear his first cry of weeping. of joy, of love. He wants only your comfort. He asks for your gift of love. Enwrap his little limbs in love; He has so much need of warmth! All the coldness of the world surrounds Him. Only the warmth of love comforts Him. And today, there is a world which rejects Him and, in great part, closes its door to Him. Just as in those days, the great ones ignore Him. On this holy night, my beloved sons, I want to entrust my Child to you. I lay Him down in the cradle of your hearts. Let the great fire of your love increase. With Him I must enkindle all the love of the world.” (Msg # 114 i-m, o, q-r)
Our Lord, the newborn Baby Jesus needs the warmth of our love to alleviate the coldness of the night into which he was born. He wants our love to give Him comfort in the indifference and aridity of the hearts of His children. He asks us to make up for all those who do not give Him the love that He is due.
It is very easy to say the words “I love you, Jesus.” But to concretize them by our actions is another matter altogether. But He Himself has told us that we do unto others, we do to Him. He is asking us to love Him by loving his beloved. Let us look at them with his eyes, love with his Heart and help with his hands.
We are being invited to look away from our personal preoccupations in this season of love to take note of the plight of our brothers in need.
Our Lady also says, “You are called to be instruments of my motherly tenderness. Love everyone with my motherly heart. For this, I want to manifest myself in you more and more. Because, in you, I want to console those who suffer, to support those who are weak, to lift up those who have fallen, to lead back to the Lord those who have strayed, to convert sinners, to heal the sick, and to give hope to all who have lost their confidence. Be my sweet balm which comes down to soothe the great sufferings of so many of my children.” (Msg # 452 h)
And there we have it; the invitation from our Lady. Let us love Christ by loving our neighbor. Let us manifest this love in ways she herself has enumerated. When we do this, we help usher in the triumph of her Immaculate Heart in the triumph of the love of the Heart of her Son.
A blessed Christmas to all.
In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
REV. FR. ROMERICO A. PRIETO
The Marian Movement of Priests-Philippines