Friday, December 25, 2009

Christus Natus Est

Greetings of a blessed Christmas to all of you dear Readers. This fall I was blessed with the ability to go to the Holy Land on Pilgrimage with Fr. Reid and other parishioners of St. Ann's Parish in Charlotte. It was an experience of a life-time, and something I will never forget... and I will never be able to hear or read Sacred Scripture again without having a mental picture of it in my mind... what a grace I have been given!

It is especially important today, as the Sunday Mass of our pilgrimage was held in Shepherd's Field, just outside of the cave in which the "shepherds of that region" would have been "keeping watch over their flocks." Our Mass was outside, on the edge of the hill over looking the valley below, and Bethlehem nestled on the other side of the valley. My heart raced and tears flowed as I pictured the sky and that valley filled with light of the angels and the air heavy with their song... Gloria in excelsis Deo" and the bright star standing above the sleepy town on the other side. (It is no mistake either that my favorite English Hymn is "Angels We Have Heard on High")

Following Mass we "followed in the footsteps" (in our motorized coach!) of the shepherds and went to Bethlehem... entering the Church of the Nativity and descended into the cave to the spot where Christ entered the world to save us... marked by the ever-present "Star of Bethlehem".

It is an amazing thing to have experienced, and over the course of this liturgical year, I hope to share more of my pilrimage experiences with you dear Readers. Until then I leave you with the beginning words of my favorite Italian Hymn of Christmas....

"Tu scendi dalle stelle O Re del Cielo, e vieni in una grotta al freddo e gelo"

(You came down from the stars
O King of Heaven;
and came into a cave,
cold and icy)

Et verbum caro factum est...