Fr. Britto's Blog

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Guiding Star

One of the intriguing symbols of the Christmas season is the Star of Bethlehem that led the Magi to adore the newborn King. Seeing that heavenly body, the Wise Men left their native lands in search of a new cosmic event that would bring unprecedented peace to humanity. As long as they kept their eyes fixed firmly on the star, their journey was on course. Once the star disappeared from their sight, they were lost. Besides being lost, they sought counsel from someone who was determined to destroy the Christ Child. Retracing their steps towards Bethlehem they found the star once again and their journey ended successfully with the adoration of the Baby Jesus.

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Holy Family

Probably you are recovering from your Christmas get-togethers and looking forward to the New Year. Between these two feasts there comes another liturgical celebration, namely, the Feast of the Holy Family. The Church invites the faithful to focus their attention on the holy trio – Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Hopefully we can all learn some significant lessons from them.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

In my last column I shared my thoughts about Joseph and this week I would like to draw your attention to Mary. Besides Jesus, no other figure is more central to the Christmas story than Mary. There is no one else who can help us prepare better for the birth of the Savior than the Mother of the Savior Himself. We can only imagine with what tender love and eager anticipation she would have awaited His birth. His arrival changed drastically not only her life but also the course of human history. What lessons can we learn from this humble maiden from Nazareth whom God diligently transformed to become a worthy dwelling for His Son?

First of all, she is a woman of profound, prayerful reflection. In his infancy accounts, Luke uses twice the same set of words to describe the mental state of Mary: “She treasured all these things in her heart.” Many of the things that happened to her – the message from Archangel Gabriel, the praise of Elizabeth, the visit of the shepherds and the adoration of the Magi – were intriguing and she pondered them in her heart. In prayer she recognized the hand of God who was working out His plan quietly but surely. Even at the foot of the Cross, her demeanor is one of prayerful submission to God’s will.

Second, her trust in God is extraordinary. What young woman would not have recoiled in fear when the angel suddenly interrupts her peaceful life with an earth-shaking message from God? Even though she does not understand and is puzzled, Mary does believe that “nothing is impossible for God.” Putting her trust in the God who reached out to her, Mary humbly submits to His will. That same trust carried her through many moments in Jesus’ life – when He was lost in the Temple, when He left her to begin His public ministry, when He was rejected by His own people and finally when He was crucified as a criminal. She knew that through all those difficult moments God was holding her and that eventually Easter would dawn.

Third, she practiced the love for others that her Son so powerfully preached. Immediately after the annunciation Mary did not sit back to enjoy her new-found celebrity. Gripped by her concern for her elderly cousin Elizabeth, she undertook a difficult journey over the hills of Judea and spent six months to serve her needy neighbor. As the Word took flesh in her, she carried that Word to others in acts of loving service. That same spirit of service in her is evident in her intervention on behalf of a needy couple on their wedding day. It was she who noticed that they were running out of wine. In spite of her Son’s objections, she prevailed on Him to work a miracle.

We are three days away from Christmas and let us imitate Mary as we get ready. Amidst the hustle and bustle of our last-minute preparations, let us spend some time in prayerful reflection. Perhaps we can listen to some holy Christmas music that will remind us of God’s gift of His Son to us. Maybe we can read the story of Christmas as recounted by Matthew and Luke. Perhaps we can share that story with our children.

Even as we get Christmas presents for our friends and family, let us not lose sight of those who have so little. Perhaps we can volunteer our time in some form of service. Maybe we can donate money to a charitable cause. We can also pray for those who are suffering that someone may come to their aid. Let us reach out to someone within our family or among our friends and share an act of kindness. Let us do good to someone who cannot return the favor.

Finally, let us try to let go of the control of our lives. Let us learn to trust in our God who loves us. We need to remind ourselves – whether our lives are going well or not so well – that nothing is impossible for God. He is the God who continues to work wonders even in our time. Instead of carrying all our burdens by ourselves, we need to bring them to Him in prayer. He will lighten our heavy load and we will be refreshed.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say to you, rejoice! For the Lord is near.

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel