Our sweet child, Assumpta, prematurely rings in the New Year by dropping the ball at the orphanage.
On the first Christmas, Herod wished to kill Christ in the public square. In like manner, our leaders want to eradicate Christ in Christmas. Herod explicitly decreed to murder the new King. So great was his anger that he was willing to kill small children if only to guarantee the annihilation of Christmas. Our government is no different. But why does society fear a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes? Why do our political rulers dread a King of Peace that teaches us to love one another? No government fears Diwali or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, but we are pressured not to say “Merry Christmas.” This mystery can only be understood if we recognize that it is not a “struggle of flesh and blood, but of principalities and powers” (Ephesians 6:12).
So many times it seems that infinite Good fails in the face of finite Evil. Why, after all, did God not strike down the brutal tyrant, Herod? Why were the Holy Innocents allowed to die so brutal a death in the arms of their mothers? Why did Joseph have to flee to Egypt in the dead of night?
The ways of the Lord are inscrutable, but we know that God is able to draw Good out of every Evil. Especially during Christmas, we are reminded that God’s ways are notour ways. You and I cannot unravel the mystery of God’s Providence. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (I Corinthians 1:25).”
Allow me, for a moment, to relate a personal story. This event occurred a few years ago. A good and kindly mother gave birth to a baby girl. The mother passed away during child-birth, but her baby survived. With the mother gone, the father was not prepared for the responsibility of raising a child on his own. He took his new baby girl and gave the child to another family. After 10 years, the adoptive parents fell on hard times. With little money and poor health, they could no longer afford to look after the girl.
So what happened, you ask? The little girl knocked on our door…
We took this child into the care of our orphanage. A few years later, her adoptive parents, the only mother and father she knew on this earth, passed away. What occurred in the heart of this poor child when she discovered the news of her parent’s death was unimaginable. In only ten short years, her biological father had abandoned her and her adoptive parents had forsaken her.
This innocent child was left all alone in this world.
We could justifiably ask: “Why did God abandon this soul?”
First, let us remember that the evil we experience in this world is not created – or caused – by God. While on earth, Jesus comforted his friends with these words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Nothing can change the fact that we are fallen creatures living in a fallen world. Most of the evil we experience is caused by man – not by God. Even Christ suffered while He was on Earth and He died a horrific death on the Cross.
God did not abandon this little girl any more than He abandoned His only-Begotten Son.
Following a recent retreat at our orphanage, this girl, now some years older, has chosen God as her Father. On the feast of St. Thérèse, I had the honor of giving her the saving grace of Baptism. God saw fit to adopt this child as His own. This time, no one can separate her from Him (Cf. Romans 8:28).
The Eternal Father in heaven, who can never pass away, devised a special road map for the soul of this girl. In His infinite wisdom, He desired that she reach Bethlehem by means of a stony path, filled with emotional suffering.
The life of every man and woman is a long succession of blessings and trials. “If a man live many years, let him rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness, for there shall be many…” (Ecclesiastes 11:8).
Like the road prepared for this young girl, God has prepared a special path for each and every one of us. Like the life of this orphan, some roads are harder than others, and some sufferings are not optional. Yet all paths lead to Bethlehem if we choose to follow the Star. In order to find our own “stony path,” we must permit God to act in our lives. God never forces people to comply. He silently waits until we ask God direct our steps.
Your life and mine is a journey to Bethlehem. By embracing the trials of Advent, and abandoning our errant ways, we become more able to see the true meaning of Christmas. My dear friends and benefactors, let us use this Christmas to truly prepare for the coming of Christ in our homes!
Before I close, allow me to personally share my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for your continued donations. Every dollar you provide allows us to carry on this holy apostolate in India. It is my wish that I could personally thank each and every one of you for your unending generosity. But I cannot. All I can do is repay you with my prayers – and by offering the Holy Mass – for you and your loved ones. Remember, also, my dear benefactors what Proverbs says about giving to the poor:
“Whoever is generous to the poor, lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed…” (Proverbs 19:17)
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”(Proverbs 11:24-25)
Fr. Therasian Babu