“Become with me
a beloved child
of the Heavenly Father”
this is the invitation for us Roman women this Advent 2022. Two half-day retreats designed and led by Sr. M. Julie – Saturday, December 3 or Sunday, December 11 at the Cor Ecclesiae Shrine on Aurelia Antica. We had half a day to desire, to prepare our hearts, to prepare ourselves to be born again with Jesus.
IF CHRIST IS NOT BORN IN ME!
“… we would be lost forever,” says German mystic Angelo Silesius. In order not to be lost we must become children again in Christ, face the advent journey, embark on this lifelong journey to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Are we willing to take up the invitation and begin?
It was a crescendo of beautiful and fundamental concepts: Identity, Belonging, Recognition and Determination, some of our basic needs. Christ as the model of sonship. Baby Jesus is Son of the Most High. His identity is clear. We too, like Christ, are called to share in the divine life and dignity of being daughters of the Eternal King.
What does the Baby Jesus in the manger represent for us?
We look at the Child in the manger and learn from Him how to trust, to receive our security from the Eternal Father and to allow ourselves to be guided by Him. The Child Jesus shows us that we should not trust in the world’s securities but that we should rely completely on God. The Child in the manger invites us, “Come and follow me.”
Finally away from the noise and chaos and enveloped in the peace of the Shrine we were able to be silent and follow the path indicated by Sr. M. Julie to be “beloved daughters in whom God is well pleased.” If we do not become children of God we will not be able to become authentic personalities. Our names spoken one after another to become little children again, the invitation to remove the layers that cover us, just like the layers of an onion need to be peeled away before reaching the core, so too do we need to peel the layers surrounding our hearts so that we may share in the life of Jesus. We were invited to turn our gaze to the pure and innocent heart of Mary our Mother, the Immaculata. May she intercede for us and give us the grace to open ourselves to the truth that this path suggests to us.
In the Shine before the Blessed Sacrament we sang, prayed and gathered in prayer. Then each of us would receive a little white heart from the altar, sinless like Mary’s, which we wrapped in a piece of paper on which during our silent prayer we had written to the Father offering Him the layer(s) that cover(s) us that weighs us down the most, the difficulty, the most burning wound in our lives.
With God’s grace, we will try to free our heart from this layer(s), from this cumbersome wrapping and then offer our hearts to the Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve and then hang the little heart on our tree or wherever we want. In the manger begins our redemption, our journey of salvation.