A Christmas Message from Br. Nathanael
Dear friends, this Christmas letter that I bring to you has been mostly inspired by Jean vainer – Founder of L‘Arche, and it is certainly what resonates in my heart.
This is the joyous Christmas time which l most dearly love. God becomes ﬂesh. He becomes small to teach us to love and to be open to those who are suffering and who are in difficulty. God is in our world, but he waits silently for us to turn to him and call him to our help. "God stands at the door and knocks and so let us invite Him in to eat with us”. Eating with someone means becoming their friend. God wants to make us his friends. But there can be no love or friendship without freedom. If we turn God away, he still waits for us to open the door to him, because He is a prisoner of our freedom. How humble is our God?
The God of compassion cannot exercise his compassion in the world without going through our intelligence, wisdom, capacities and heart. God is not a God of violence, He is a God who invites and who waits with love to give himself to everyone. Our God is tenderness who loves us, wants to reveal to each of us that we are important and precious. So often, we believe we are important because we do "great"and admirable things. We must then be strong, courageous, effective and show how capable we are. Our God of compassion loves us at a much deeper level, in our weaknesses, our vulnerability and our smallness. He welcomes us and says: "l love you as you are”. He raises us up so that we can all be instruments of His love, His Mercy and His peace.
I realize more and more that loving means welcoming other people as they are, with great respect because they are different; they are someone, they are children of God. When we welcome others, we free them so they can be themselves. We must try to Listen to each other with a deep respect, not to show superiority in any way, but rather to enter into communion with each other. Communion is not a manger in which one “eats” the other; rather it gives freedom and raises the other person up so that they can fully be themselves, as the Father in Heaven intended them to be. This is based on humility.
This Christmas season let us be true to ourselves, so we can start to see in the other person somebody important who has his/her own relationship difficulties. Acting with respect and love to help bring down the walls of protection in the other person, and trying to bring down our own walls. Seeing all the positive and beautiful things in the other person, before seeing the negative. That does not prevent us from being prophetic and from saying things which may upset others. What is important is that we live in truth with each other. We create a path of peace when we are loving and true. God became ﬂesh so that we would not be afraid, nor would we need to show how we are good. God who became small calls us to be poor and small. God who comes to welcome us calls us to welcome those who are poor. Pride can never approach where the Lord walks in the clothes of the humble, among the poorest, in the company of the lonely, lowliest and lost. Loving others means welcoming them as they are, so that they can welcome others in the same That is Christmas! And Christmas is every day. We can show love through little gestures every day. One little gesture at a time done with great Love. Changing the world, one heart at a Welcoming God as a child, to become like a child. Yes, I still have much work to do on myself, I still very much need God's grace to become like a child. But the Lord is Good and leads us in the way of humility. And with His example, His words and each other we journey in this work of Christmas Peace.
Thank you for all your love and support,
Have a joyous Christmas and a Blessed New Year
Affectionately yours, Br. Nathanael