Day 1 – Christmas Novena

Introduction

The theme of the first day of our Christmas Novena is: Communion within our family and community.

The God of the Incarnation lives in a family, in a community of shared existence.  Hence, whoever shares her/his existence inside of family and community experiences God and has the very life of God flowing through her and in the community. We haven’t chosen our community or the sisters we live with. But we have been sent to this community. We are given the members to live with. And this is one of the clear manifestations of God who has become a human being. This day, may we hear God’s invitation to grow in communion within our community, in the Word become flesh who is our common holy ground. The closer our contact with that common ground, the greater will our communion be with each other.

Opening prayer

God, your Son Jesus became a human being
in order to show us who you are and who we are,
to show us what we are capable of and who we could become.
May this prayer invite us to celebrate the Feast of Christmas
Make us alert to his presence in our humanity in each of us.
Shape us into His likeness,
like Him in His way of transforming the world with compassion.
We pray this in the name of your own Son and our Brother. Amen

Reading

“To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision, but born of God.” (Jn. 1: 12)

Quote from St. Arnold Janssen: “Meditating on the throne of God (in the human heart) will help us see what a tremendous value mission work has. Imagine that we could gaze into the hearts of all those in a state of grace. We would see their hearts suffused and enveloped with light and at the center the Triune God. What an astonishing sight!!”

Story

According to an old Hindu legend, there was a time when all human beings were gods, but they abused their divinity. So, Brahma, the chief god, decided to take the divinity away from them and hide it somewhere they could never find.

Brahma called a council of the gods to help him decide where to hide the divinity. “Let’s bury it deep in the earth,” said the gods. But Brahma answered, “Humans will dig into the earth and find it.” Some gods suggested, “Let’s sink it in the deepest ocean.” But Brahma said, “No, Humans will learn to dive into the ocean and will find it.” Then some gods suggested, “Let’s take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there.” Brahma replied, “Humans will eventually climb every mountain and take up their divinity.” Then all the gods gave up and said, “We do not know where to hide it, because it seems that there is no place on earth or in the ocean that human beings will not eventually reach.”

Brahma thought for a long time and said, “We will hide their divinity deep in the center of their own being, Humans will search for it here and there, but they won’t look for the divinity inside their true selves”

All the gods agreed that this was the perfect hiding place, and the deed was done. And since then, humans have been going up and down the earth, digging, diving, climbing, and exploring, searching for something, which already lies within themselves.

“Divinity lies within us all”

Teilhard de Chardin rightly said: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.”  Jesus came to show us how to live from that Divine center which is the sanctuary of compassion, kindness, mercy…  This is our vocation – to live godlike, for we are created in God’s own image (Gen. 1: 27)

Personal reflection and sharing

In what concrete way am I being called to express the Divine in my daily life?

What gifts might I be holding that could be shared more? – Peace? Kindheartedness? Understanding? Tolerance? Friendliness?

In my relationship with the members of my community what efforts could I make to call forth their sacredness? In what way could I contribute to making the community a home?

Share with each other

Intercessions

We recognize and celebrate the presence of the Divine in each one, honor each other and call forth the compassion, kindness, goodness and the divine beauty in each one. Take a moment in silence to be present to each member of the community gratefully, as the name of each person is mentioned.

Response to the intercessions:

God, may we discover your presence in each other and be a blessing to one another in our community.

May we discover your love in our deepest self when we feel unloving and irritable: Resp.
May we look for your goodness in others when it hides beneath layers of coldness: Resp.
May we embrace you in the persons whose faithfulness we take for granted: Resp.
May we notice your non-judgmental acceptance in those who keep an open mind: Resp.
May we search for your gentleness when the harshness of another hides it: Resp.
May we reveal your mercy when we pardon someone for having turned against us: Resp.
My we discover and accept the wisdom of the older/experienced sister/s and the passion and energy of the younger ones in our intergenerational living: Resp.

 (adapted from Joyce Rupp)

“There is a longing in us to make our families and communities truly homes. We want to take a step further in intercultural and intergenerational living by valuing it as a gift to be celebrated and shared among us and with the world.” 

Concluding prayer

Jesus, you came as a cherished one filled with the radiance of eternal light. As you grew in humanness, your life and teachings revealed the vast goodness of your inner being. We are now called to carry your loving Spirit of radiance within us, reflecting your goodness, mercy and compassion to each other in our family and community. As we prepare to celebrate the wonder of your birth, help us discover your presence in each piece of our life and that of our sisters. You made your home in us. May we make a home for each other in our hearts, celebrate the gift of each other in our community.

God, bless us and let Christmas happen in our family and community! Amen