Father Werenfried van Straaten, 1996
Dear friend! No sooner had Jesus outshone the world with the splendor of his deity on Christmas night, does the merry-go-round of the church year set in motion again.
On January 1, the church celebrates the feast of the Blessed Mother.
And then comes the new year, a big question mark, followed by many dots, where all the love and sorrow must be written down. The Blessed Mother of God , whose feast is celebrated on the 1st of January, and the caravan of kings, who approached on their camels, are of great importance to our work.
Because even if we knelt in the Christmas Eve full of reverence and gratitude before the manger, on New Year’s Eve begging guilty and penitent forgiveness and on New Year’s Day, looking into the future full of God trust, we know how uncertain our perseverance in virtue and how fragile our good intentions are.
I wish for me and for all of you, as a New Year’s gift, the wisdom of the Magi.
For though it seems foolish to run after a star for weeks to seek a baby in the Bethlehem area , they are called, not without reason, the wise men from the East.
If the sages of our day make great journeys, they do so too often to invent or perfect in a stronghold of nuclear energy murderous instruments with which to destroy the whole world.
Or they travel to international congresses as propagandists for pills, with which the mothers can murder their unborn children in their laps without inconvenience .
Basically, these are not “wise men”, but at most scholars who abuse their minds. The wise men from the East who went to Bethlehem were true sages.
Wisdom, however, has nothing to do with learning, because we can also speak of a wise woman or of a wise man, meaning a person who has spent the rest of his life repairing only the broken shoes of others.
I knew an old housemaid who’d spent her entire life cleaning up the junk, cleaning her dirty shoes, washing her dirty clothes, making her beds, and enduring all her nagging. She saw all the “Misses” and all “young gentlemen” leave the house.
At last, she sat alone in a small room in the nursing home , and everyone said, “Now she’s been trying her best all her life, and what’s the hell of it?”
But she had very much that all her “Misses” did not have: bright eyes that looked into your soul, hands that had never done evil, a heart that could take in the whole neighbourhood, and a soul, in which there was no room for suspicion or slander, but only room for peace.
See, that was a wise woman after the heart of the three true sages from the East. For they gave away their gold and knelt on the stable floor to worship Jesus.
Such wisdom of service, humble prayer and princely generosity according to the power and vocation of each I wish you all and also with all my heart.
I hope that all of you, in this anxious time, will again be like children crying to their mother. Yes, go to Mary , whom Jesus has given us as a mother! Pray daily the Rosary.
Pray as our ancestors prayed, like Moses on the mountain and Jonah in the belly of the fish, like the youths in the furnace and Job when he was visited by Satan.
Pray with unwavering confidence and a heart that embraces friend and foe in love. And the Lord will turn to us and his mercy will have no limits.