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Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

I was thinking what to write today and then received again something that had been written about the children who lost their lives so suddenly at school; I found it rather consoling to read and so pass it on without any idea of the author.
Sandy Hook Elementary School

Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
When 20 beautiful children stormed through Heaven's gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy; they didn't know what to say.
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"This is heaven" declared a small boy. "We're spending Christmas at God's house".
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
But Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only Heaven can bring
Those children all flew into the arms of their King.
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
One small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of Mom and Dad."
Then He looked down on Earth, at the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!
May this country be delivered from the hands of fools
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools! "
Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"Come now my children let me show you around. "
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

May each of you have a quiet day to prepare for the New Year - with or without resolutions. I think it helps to take at least one or two New Year Resolutions and remember what I was told as a young nun: "If you have made the right resolution, you will be breaking it!" That is how we know it is the right resolution for us - we will fall but get up and start again. With God's help we may achieve whatever we have resolved. I am thinking of one that demands action and one that is more not doing and we will see how this goes as today I will take time to look over the past year and talk to Jesus about it and what He wants from me for the New Year and will write it in my Journal!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Feast of the Holy Family

The Sunday after Christmas is the day we celebrate the Holy Family. We also celebrate our own family and the life we have together. It is a beautiful feast and we should take time to be grateful for all the love we have received from our family - that includes extended family. My parents were wonderful but I also had a grandmother and five aunts to love me on my Dad's side of the family and a very young grandfather on my mother's side plus some holy and devoted great uncles and a great aunt who was like a grandmother. Surrounded by so much love, we grew up knowing that God loved us and so did others. My mother always told me, "Love others and they will love you!" Later, I found St. John of the Cross said, "Put love where there is no love and you will find love."

Here is another poem by Ivan M. Granger from his book, "Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey":


Yes, seekers, do
sit up,
stand tall.

But hear
my bent secret:

       All saints slouch,

And lover's lean
into the divine embrace
and there
let the years pass.

       Struggling for straightness,
       your strivings shaken,

       learn what true knowers know:

Effort clears the way,
but the steps
are already taken.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Real Thirst"

Someone sent me a book of poetry; "Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey" with Peoms and translations by Ivan M. Granger. For me, besides finding some really deep poems that lead into prayer and pondering, the short biographies of each of the poets are a treasure. There are also some marvelous notes at the end of the book. Now, I was not knowledgeable about many of the poets, including the author, but after going through the book I feel I know some of the Indian and other poets. Here is an excerpt from Tukaram who lived from 1608-1649; he was born in the western region of India to a lower caste family. Here is his poem:

All men to me are god-like Gods!
My eyes no longer see
vice or fault.

Life on this suffering earth
is now endless delight;
the heart at rest and full,

In the mirror, the face and its reflection
watch each other;
different, but one.

And, when the stream pours into the ocean...
no more stream!

Ivan has many poem in the first part of the book. Here is one:

real thirst
draws rainwater
from an empty sky.

I may continue to share with you from this book, but you can also go to  and find out more about Poetry Chaikhana. I am going there now. Chaikhana is a teahouse! Read the blog.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Real Thirst

The Feast of the Holy Innocents

This is one of the readings that we had at our Christmas "Veilee" and I thought you might like it.

Christmas Poems
-          Patricia Rainier

There’s a little bit of Christmas
 In every face we meet.
And a little bit of Christmas
     In each new day we greet.
    There’s a little bit of Christmas
In all the deeds we do.
       And it really should be Christmas
                  Each day the whole year through
      For Christmas is the one true day
      We always give our best –
   The kindness, joy and happiness
    That always tops the rest.
It is the day we show our love
                To family, friends and strangers,
The day we celebrate the birth
                  Of the Child Who’s in the manger.
        So if Christmas wasn’t just one day,
But every day that’s new
         There’d be a LITTLE BIT OF CHRISTMAS
              Each day our whole lives through.

The children so recently shot come to mind as we celebrate the Holy Innocents.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snow in the North

Here I am in Miami enjoying delightful weather and so many are being stranded in airports all over the country because of the snow storms. The news showed most airports in the Northeast and even mid America were either closed or suffering from delays due to the snow.

Here I am late getting started on my day. I lost track of time because I was looking at a book of poetry that someone sent me in the mail. I will have more on that tomorrow as I found myself reading the poems and thinking of the ones I would like to share with you.
I wish someone could tell me how to get rid of the intrusive ads that have found the top of my blog. I do not want them there but do not seem to know how to get rid of them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day After Christmas

We never  have snow in Miami but we think of those who do and Christmas seems to be a time for a picture with snow. Snow is quiet, silent, and everyone stays in around a fire unless they are children who delight in playing in the snow. I am glad that I grew up with snow in the winter, but do not miss it now. We are invited out to lunch today and will be eating outside. How many can do that on December 26?

We had a lovely Christmas. We all prepared a pot roast dinner and had, of course, invited the other Religious in the area for dinner at 3:00. My community open stocking together in the morning and, of course, we have all gone to Mass together the night before. We play carols and one of us loves to bake and made delicious pecan pie!!
I guess it was a quiet Christmas but very nice. Now to clean up, thank for gifts and enjoy the holidays!!
I hope everyone is having a good Christmas in spite of so much bad news and especially the loss of so many lives, especially of all those children. That makes our Christmas one of prayer for those who are mourning and prayer for peace in our world.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

May your Christmas be joyful, peaceful, and full of His Love!

He gives Himself to us and wants only our love in return!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

One of my best memories is going caroling with the choir in seventh and eighth grade; we went all through our neighborhood and people would offer us Christmas cookies and then we would end with hot chocolate and more goodies at one of our homes. Actually, this was done before Christmas eve. Christmas eve was for family. I love to drive around now and listen to Christmas Carols on the radio in the car and visit some of the really spectacular Christmas displays. I think we are going to do that after we go to the 7:30 Mass this evening. Last night we had a lovely "Veilee" and then we had dinner together. Usually it is dark and we sit around and listen to Christmas readings and music with all the candles lit and the Christmas tree. The atmosphere is part of Christmas.
I wish you all a very blessed and merry Christmas! What will you give the Infant Jesus this year, and, even more important, what is His gift for you tonight?

Magnificat just sent this to me and I thought you also might like it:

Litany of Christmas Thanks

Response: Baby Jesus, we thank you.

For the Blessed Virgin Mary your Mother who said "Yes" to the angel. R/

For John the Baptist who leapt in the womb of Elizabeth his mother when you visited him in Mary. R/

For Joseph your foster father who trusted the angel instead of heeding his own doubts. R/

For the donkey that carried your expectant Mother to Bethlehem. R/

For the neighbor who led your holy family to the stable. R/

For the manger in which you were placed as if in the first tabernacle. R/

For the animals who were there in the first moments that you were adored. R/

For the angels and their song that led shepherds to your stable. R/

For the shepherds who worshiped you and then proclaimed the Good News like priests. R/

For Simeon who all his life had been waiting for you in the temple, longing to hold you. R/

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Finally, all the candles are lit and we know that Christmas is very near; this year we have only a day of the fourth week of Advent and then it is Christmas! Actually, tomorrow is Christmas eve. Some of you may not have time to be looking at blogs in the next few days so I will make mine very short!
I was looking at something to use for our "veilee" prayer tonight (we have a long tradition in Society of the Sacred Heart of having a special "Veilee" on Christmas eve before preparing for Midnight Mass). Now, in the Miami area, we have begun to celebrate this "Veilee" on December 23 as that was a day all could come and we moved it up so now we have dinner and then the "Veilee prayer where we sit around and share with the Christmas candles all lit, the tree, Christmas carols, and maybe some cookies as one of my community is baking cookies today, I think. 
This leaves my own community free to sit in quiet prayer tomorrow night and just listen to Christmas music.
I cannot copy all I will be sharing tonight but I found a great chapter in Morton Kelsey's "The Drama of Christmas: Letting Christ into Our Lives"; the chapter title is "Cosmic Tentacles of Brilliance" and includes all the Christmas songs with angels - an impressive number and all the angels are rejoicing with the birth of Jesus and telling us to do the same.
Here is where the idea of angels as "tentacles of brilliance" may have come from: (it is by Caryl Porter)

Looking Toward Christmas

Advent again,
 and the very stones are silent.

In the east, no star;
only shadows
and the threat of darkness.
We have run out of light, 
and we wait in fear.

from the cosmic distance,
tentacles of brilliance probe,
seek us out, look for a dwelling place
among us.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

O King of all nations...come and save us...

On this last day of the Third Week of Advent we have the O Antiphon for December 22:

"O King of all nations and keystone of the Church; come and save man, whom you formed from the dust."

I was doing some Advent reading this morning and really we are to feel needy and humble as we get nearer to the coming of Jesus. Each year we have this beautiful season of Advent to prepare for Christmas. I am glad that I at least began well, but must say that this past week has been a very humbling one; I have not done what I should do and feel that I just wasted time without...the only thing I see good about my reflection is that I am humbled and hope today is better with the Lord's help.

I read this and thought it worth copying here:
"our faith lives are rooted in a constant quest to discover God in the unpredicted and unexpected. If we’re not experiencing that process, we really don’t have a lot to rejoice about."
I guess I am going to make more effort to really discover God at each moment of the day. He is so near!

I also feel a call to pray much for the Church - we all need to do this as some things really need to change.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The O Antiphons

From December 17-23 the Church observes the ancient custom of praying each day one of the seven 
O Antiphons (each begins with "O")
Each addresses God
who comes in Christ
with a different biblical title.
The seven in Latin are given above but here they are in English 
O Wisdom
O Lord
O Root of Jesse
O Key of David
O Dayspring
O King of Nations
O Emmanuel

These are found in the Liturgy each day and today we have

O Dayspring, brightness of eternal Light and Son of Justice:
come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Waiting - a grace!

This morning I had to wait by the phone for a really long time. I had called the doctor's office early to get some results of tests and was told to call back; I did this and was asked to wait and the nurse would soon be there with the information. I waited and waited and thought of all that I had planned to do and here I was just waiting. Then I thought that I was doing what Advent is all about - slowing down and waiting - not doing but being! It made all the difference in the world and I am sure that the other waits these days will be grace-filled for me. I am just waiting so that means that I can concentrate on what is important in my inner life and let the outer life with my "to Do" lists just wait! I have discovered, at least for now, what a grace waiting can be! (I am still waiting on the results as the office finally told me that the nurse will call back).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today I am silent...

Sometimes it is best just to be silent. Today I have done many things but only now had time to think about my blog. I am sitting here and thinking that I have a need to be silent. I could tell you how much I enjoyed the Carrollton Advent prayer service last night. I was impressed by the students and especially the two who had original compositions performed by the choir and the harp and flute solos, the reading selected, etc. But I need to be quiet so will sign off now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Silence. Space. Quiet.  That’s what we all need right now. In the words of Christina Rossetti’s Christmas hymn, “In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter, long ago.” 
I received this from another blog and then also found this to share today:

I am for you.
I love you.
I believe in you.
I will not fail you.
I will be with you.
I will provide for you.
I will bless you.
I will give you rest.
I will strengthen you.
I will answer you.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
Numbers 6:24

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Birthday Puzzle Cards - December Special

Encouragement Premium Cards - December Special

Work, Stress, Stuff
Sorry the road is so rough right now.
I'm asking God to smooth the way for you, and give you just what you need,
right when you need it.
Those who trust in the Lord
will find new strength.
Isaiah 40:31

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Your friendship...
lifts me up!
You bring joy to my life!
God will be the bond
between me and you.
I Samuel 20:42 The Message


Monday, December 17, 2012

Eight Days to Christmas

As I listened to President Obama speak at the Memorial Service for the twenty little children and six adults, I imagined a heavy cloud of sorrow pressing down on those sitting in the auditorium. Yet, I saw some there holding small children and felt that the sorrow had to be mixed with joy. Perhaps joy means more when we are able to feel it after great suffering. However, I am also convinced that our faith allows us to feel a deep currant of joy that is the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, with us, giving us the strength and courage to continue to love and to believe that those we have lost now are rejoicing with God for all eternity. We still shed tears and feel the heart suffering, but underneath it all, there is a joy we cannot feel because of the numbness and shock of the tragedy. The joy comes in thinking of the courage of the teachers, the first responders, the many children saved that day, the relief of so many parents as they found and hugged their children...parents all over the nation have responded with a renewed gratefulness for the gift of their children... and into all this Advent waiting we realize that Jesus is here with us - no matter how great the sorrow, God is with us! And that is a cause for joy!

Here is a quote from Psalm 46:
There is a river
whose streams give joy to the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it stands firm.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Third Sunday of Advent

This is a Sunday full of joyful expectation. We are told to rejoice! Why? Because the Lord is near.
I was thinking about the families who lost children yesterday because of one person who decided to take the lives of innocent children. They cannot be feeling joy this Christmas.

I feel for all the children in that elementary school and pray that those who were not shot are able to regain their joy in Christmas. Perhaps the joy we have all felt as little children waiting for Santa will still be there for them.
And, on reflecting back when I was still waiting for Santa, I remember the joy of expectation and think that carries over to our waiting now for Jesus; He is coming and He loves us. I read today that "Joy is the leap of the heart at the encounter with one who loves us" - I am not sure I remember the quote as it was, but this is what stayed with me.
Let us pray for all those who are suffering today.

As for my Diamond Jubilee,  it was only my community, the campus minister at St. Thomas University who is also in charge of all the Archdiocesan Campus Ministry, Dr. Jim Conley and Claudia Herrera, another campus minister, who came with her husband and little girl. We had the Mass around the dining room table and everyone made their own sandwich afterwards. I renewed my vows and gave the "homily" - I had not expected that but just shared some of the joys of my life and the fact that the theme of the Third Sunday is joyful expectation of Christ's coming.  What a gift to have had 60 years as a vowed Religious in the Society of the Sacred Heart!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Diamond Jubilee is really here!!

Today is the day and I really felt that I should be lighting another candle on the Advent wreath as the evening Mass will be that of the Third Sunday of Advent. I will renew my vows  that I made sixty years ago today to follow Jesus Christ in the Society of the Sacred Heart by perpetual obedience, poverty, and chastity...

I remember the day so vividly that it seems strange to think that sixty years have passed. They have been wonderful years full of joy and suffering, but always with Jesus who is my joy and strength. I am just grateful that I have been able to serve God in the Society of the Sacred Heart and know that the twenty years in Chile was a special grace for me as well as the months I had before my final profession at the Trinita dei Monti in Rome. Teaching in Peru was another grace as well as the years giving retreats and spiritual direction and the grace of having made several thirty-day retreats myself. I just have so much to be grateful for and want to keep on living each day in gratitude and joy. Let us pray for one another that we may give joy to all around us.

Friday, December 14, 2012

I took this from Sister Juliet's blog which is listed on the side of mine:

"I'll wait with you." "Isn't that what prayer is, too?  To pray is to be present to God, who is always present to us.  That's what we're doing in this season of Advent:  preparing for Christ's coming by being present to the God within, by making space in our lives for Jesus to be born in us every day.   We wait for his coming.

The good news is, we do not wait in vain."

I hope you read her whole blog - she posted yesterday and it is on waiting with hope and I would add joy.
Perhaps because I am concentrating on the joys of each day, I see Advent as a time of joyful expectation.
Yes, there are many things wrong in me and in the world, but Jesus is coming and He is Prince of Peace. 
I am looking back over my sixty years from my first Vows made to serve God in the Society of the Sacred Heart and I am finding so much to rejoice in and thank for that I seem to be overflowing in gratitude and joy. 
I think God wants us to be joyful in Advent so please do not let the rush and stress of Christmas preparations take away our joyful expectation. I think it helps to sit quietly and reflect what is the real meaning of Christmas. The cards and gifts are to express our love for friends and they are important, but we do this at Christmas because the Infant Jesus came to teach us to love one another as He loves us - take time to be with Him today! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Joy and Suffering Combined

Today we are having our monthly Reflection Group and the Chapter we will use to at least start our reflection after our supper together and quiet prayer is on both joy and suffering. I think it is true that our lives are full of both, but Jesus wants to share His risen joy with us so we look at the suffering in our own lives and in the world today but we also look at the joy we have each day in the gift of life. God wants us to be happy even in the midst of the pain around us and perhaps in us. We need to be conscious that we are a mixture of both joy and sorrow. This Chapter mentions that we are very much influenced by those who have gone before us and I think this is true. There is the suggestion to take some relative who may have been dead even before we really knew him or her and light a candle and sit each evening and talk to the person; try to get to know the grandmother who may have died years before you were even born. The relative you choose may help you in ways you cannot imagine. Now, I have not yet tried this and one is supposed to spend about twenty minutes each evening for two weeks talking with the relative chosen and I am not sure I will do it just now, but it is fascinating and I suspect I want to try it. I think it would be easiest with my mother as I still find myself talking with her when I wake up at night sometimes. On the other hand, I do spend more than twenty minutes with Jesus each evening and I know He is a tremendous influence in my life - He is the reason I am who I am and He knows me better than I know myself!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe; it is also the birthday of St. Madeleine Sophie who was born in 1779. I took the habit on this day in 1950 and then, after two years as a novice, made my vows to serve God in the Society of the Sacred Heart on December 15, 1952.
We had a lovely liturgy at the University today for all the faculty with a Christmas luncheon afterwards in the new gym.I was struck by the President's homily explaining that small miracles happen every day; we just need the faith to recognize these moments of grace.

I am reading the Third Part, really the third book, of Benedict XVI's "Jesus of Nazareth" and finding it quite helpful to understand more fully the Infancy Narratives of Luke and Matthew.

My energy seems to disappear in the late afternoon and I had no time to write this morning. I will just say that I am still looking for the joys of each day; one of them is that I can stop now and do nothing for at least a few minutes!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Second Week of Advent and Making room in our hearts

I just received a card from Our Mother General and I am so touched by her thoughtfulness! She sent it because the 15 of December, this Saturday, is the Diamond Jubilee of my first vows. Now, it is strange to think that years ago we celebrated Diamond Jubilees with great pomp and now I am just hoping to have a Mass here in community with some of the campus ministers. We shall see what I can manage but  I just felt so good about hearing from our Mother General that I had to share this with you. I am spending this week in a spiritual preparation for the day. I began with some real house-cleaning in my room as I needed to dust and put books in order.

Enclosed in the note from our Mother General is this beautiful quote from Pedro Arrupe, SJ:

"Now more than ever,
I find myself in the hands of God.
This is what I have wanted all my life,
from my youth.
And this is still what I want.
But now there is a difference;
the initiative is entirely with God.
It is indeed a profound spiritual experience
to know and feel myself
so totally inthe hands of this God
who has taken hold of me."

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.

I think we need the ritual of lighting the Advent candles each week to internalize our waiting and preparation for Christmas.
I found today's liturgy full of joy and that is what I am trying to cultivate this Advent - joy because we know that Jesus is coming, has come, and will come again; joy because Jesus loves each of us and comes so helpless and vulnerable so that we may not be afraid to love Him. I often think that the poor stable open to the cold of the night is what made it possible for the shepherds to approach and have the joy of being the first visitors that the Holy Family welcomed!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Second Sunday of Advent

Today we light another candle as we begin the second week of Advent. the smaller picture is an Advent icon.
It is good to spend these days in intense desire for the coming of the Lord. I feel that we are full of joy when we have this desire; God gives us the desire and the joy of expectation even though God is with us now. I think Jesus wants to share His risen joy with each of us in a very special way this Advent for the world needs joy!

John the Baptist attracted many followers. Someone told me that other day that she thought John and Jesus had played together when children - the Gospel only tells us that John leaped for joy when Elizabeth and Mary greeted each other; then no word of John until he appears preaching the same message that Jesus will preach: "Repent"!
Jesus must have been about thirty when He went to the river Jordan where John was baptizing. John's mission was to prepare the way for the Lord. In a sense, we are all to prepare a way for the Lord. First, let us prepare our own hearts and then pray for all to desire the coming of Jesus this year into our hearts in a special way.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Happy Feast! Remember that joy is God's echo in us!
Our Lady, under the title of "Immaculate Conception" is the patron of the United States. Today is her feast and it is a Holy Day of Obligation which shows how important this day is in the eyes of the Church. Here is what
Wikipedia says about the Feast:
The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church maintaining that from the moment when she was conceived the Blessed Virgin Mary was kept free of original sin and was filled with the sanctifying grace normally conferred during baptism.[2][3] It is one of the four dogmas in Roman Catholic Mariology. Mary is often called the Immaculata (the Immaculate One), particularly in artistic and cultural contexts.[4]
The Immaculate Conception should not be confused with the perpetual virginity of Mary or the virgin birth of Jesus; it refers to the conception of Mary by her mother, Saint Anne. Although the belief was widely held since at least Late Antiquity, the doctrine was not formally proclaimed until December 8, 1854, by Pope Pius IX in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. It is not formal doctrine except in the Roman Catholic Church.[5] The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is observed on December 8 in many Catholic countries as a Holy Day of Obligation and in some places as a national or public holiday.

I wanted to share this with you that came to me :

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.
Isaiah 9:6

To those in sin, God sent us the Savior;
To those in darkness, God sent us the Light;
To those in bondage, God sent us the Deliverer;
To those in defeat, God sent us the Victor;
To those in want, God sent us the Shepherd;
To those in hunger, God sent us the Bread;
To those in pain, God sent us the Physician;
To those in doubt, God sent us the Truth;
To those in confusion, God sent us the Way;
To those in turmoil, God sent us the Prince of Peace;
To all in need, God sent His only begotten Son.
-Devotional by Roy Lessin, from his blog Meet Me In The Meadow