Saturday, December 13, 2008

Advent Reflections: Empty Hands

About Fr Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household, and his second reflection on Advent:

Finally, Father Cantalamessa considered Paul's declaration that "forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

This "forgetting," the preacher proposed, is detachment from any good that one has done in the service of the Church, "repeating to oneself, according to Christ's suggestions: 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"

In this regard, he concluded with a Christmas reflection: "This emptying of one's hands and pockets of every pretension, in a spirit of poverty and humility, is the best way to prepare for Christmas.

"We are reminded of it by a delightful Christmas legend that I would like to mention again. It narrates that among the shepherds who ran on Christmas night to adore the Child, there was one who was so poor that he had nothing to offer and was very ashamed. Reaching the grotto, all competed to offer their gifts. Mary did not know what to do to receive them all, having to hold the Child in her arms.

"Then, seeing the shepherd with his hands free, she entrusted Jesus to him. To have empty hands was his fortune and, on another plane, will also be ours."


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